Leeds tourist attractions

Top Leeds sights

There’s plenty to like about the north, and particularly Leeds. England’s third-largest and Yorkshire’s main city, this beauty has a lot going for it, from its fantastic museums to its dazzling nightclubs.

  1. Enter the fantastic Armley Mills
  2. Discover the Royal Armouries Museum
  3. Marvel at art in the Leeds Art Gallery
  4. Go shopping in the city centre
  5. Enjoy the buzzing nightlife of Leeds
  6. Discover the outstanding Yorkshire Sculpture Park
  7. See the Hepworth
  8. Head to a fantastic science museum
  9. Explore Harewood House

With a fantastic art scene and plenty of outdoor activities, Leeds is a fantastic break up north.

1. Enter the fantastic Armley Mills

Leeds is one place to go to see the region’s industrial heritage. The Armley Mills, on the northwest side of this lively university city, was once the world’s largest woollen mill. It still demonstrates the machinery that once helped to make Britain the richest nation.

Best for: History buffs

While you’re there: Have a look at what people used to wear in the Leeds Discovery Centre with over a million objects to discover!

2. Discover the Royal Armouries Museum

The Royal Armouries Museum, beside the River Aire at Clarence Dock, contains an impressive collection of arms and armour organised around several themes including war (with a section on peace, too), tournament, self-defence and hunting. There is also the Jester’s yard play area, a crossbow range and a tiltyard, where you can watch demonstrations of jousting.

Best for: Admiring artefacts

While you’re there: For more history head to Leeds Industrial Museum. You will find railway equipment and engineering pieces.

3. Marvel at art in the Leeds Art Gallery

The Leeds Art Gallery has works by Courbet and Sisley as well as Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-93), a local artist and one of the best painters of Victorian towns, and the great landscape painter John Sell Cotman (1782-1842). The sculptor Henry Moore, who was born not far away in Castleford in 1898, studied in Leeds, and the Henry Moore Institute, with sculpture galleries, was added in 1995.

Best for: Creative types

While you’re there: If you're inspired to get creative, head to the Craft Centre and Design Gallery which hosts a seasonal exhibition programme.

4. Go shopping in the city centre

Best for: Retail therapy

While you’re there: Enjoy the Victoria Leeds shopping precinct - full of technology and clothes shops plus plenty of places for lunch.

5. Enjoy the buzzing nightlife of Leeds

Best for: Evening entertainment

While you’re there: For live music head to the O2 Academy to see one of your favourite bands play while you’re in town.

6. Discover the outstanding Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, south of Leeds near Wakefield, is where the sculptor Barbara Hepworth was born in 1903 and is one of the top Leeds attractions. This self-described “gallery without walls” is also home to temporary exhibitions. Past pieces have been from Damian Hirst and Ai Weiwei. A £3.6million visitor centre called The Weston was unveiled in 2019. Here you will find an indoor gallery, restaurant and shop. The whole area is Leeds sightseeing at its very best.

Best for: Great art + great outdoors

While you’re there: For more walks and scenic views, who could forget the beautiful Yorkshire Dales?

7. See the Hepworth

The nearby area of Wakefield is home to a stylish public gallery, the Hepworth, which showcases modern British art. The gallery also branched outside in 2019 with its new Riverside gallery garden - one of the UK’s biggest free gardens.

Best for: Contemporary culture

While you’re there: Head to Leeds City Museum, it’s home to six galleries and hosts family-friendly exhibitions.

8. Head to a fantastic science museum

Best for: Family fun

While you’re there: Head to the Abbey House Museum in Kirkstall, where kids will love finding out about how children grew up in the Victorian era.

9. Explore Harewood House

Best for: A day trip from Leeds

While you’re there: For another day trip, head to lovely Harrogate where you can see the Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens - and visit Betty’s Tea Rooms.

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