Fun things to do in Leeds

Must-see fun Leeds sights

Leeds is one of the best cities of the north. With plenty of fantastic attractions, from shopping opportunities to lively events, you’ll never be stuck for what to do in Leeds for fun.

  1. Enjoy Leeds’ city centre and its museums on offer
  2. Indulge in a celebrity chef’s restaurant
  3. Make the most of the fantastic shopping opportunities in Leeds
  4. Discover many exciting events in Leeds
  5. Enjoy the numerous cosy pubs in Leeds
  6. Head to Temple Newsam

Leeds - exciting, vibrant, fun. There’s lots to enjoy in this northern gem from cute pubs to incredible artwork. If you’re looking for a UK break, make sure it’s here. Tempted? Have a look at our selection of Leeds holidays.

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Enjoy Leeds’ city centre and its museums on offer

The commercial capital of Yorkshire, and one of the most rapidly-growing cities in the country, Leeds has undergone a huge transformation in recent years. There’s still a true northern grit to its character, but any trace of grime has been removed from the impressive Victorian buildings and the city - along with its well-connected suburbs - is revelling in its new persona as a booming financial, commercial and cultural centre. Museums include the impressive Royal Armouries, which hold the national arms and armour collection, while the City Art Gallery has one of the best collections of British twentieth-century art outside London.

Best for: Museums

While you’re there: The Henry Moore Institute is home to plenty of sculptures and makes a fascinating visit.

2. Indulge in a celebrity chef’s restaurant

Brasserie Blanc is one of the twenty restaurants established by French celebrity chef Raymond Blanc all over the country, the Leeds branch is a 5min walk from the train station. Housed in an old mill, with plain brick walls, vaulted ceilings and iron pillars, it offers good food in smart but unstuffy surroundings at unthreatening prices. Think a wide variety of cuisine from green Thai vegetable curry to slow-cooked boeuf Bourguignon.

Best for: Foodies

While you’re there: The Mediterranean fish soup is a fantastic starter.

3. Make the most of the fantastic shopping opportunities in Leeds

Leeds is one of the best cities outside the capital for shopping, with numerous independent shops, a throng of classy emporia in the beautifully restored Victoria Leeds - the “Knightsbridge of the North” which includes landmark Victoria Gate - and other arcades that open off Briggate. Other options include the shopping complex The Light, the city-centre malls, such as the Merrion Centre off Merrion St and the Trinity Leeds complex in Albion Street, not forgetting the eight hundred traders in Kirkgate.

Best for: Keen shoppers!

While you’re there: Don’t miss Harvey Nichols in Leeds. This is the first one to open outside London.

4. Discover many exciting events in Leeds

Temple Newsam, four miles east of Leeds city centre, hosts numerous events, from concerts and plays to rock gigs and opera. Roundhay Park is the other large outdoor venue for concerts, while Bramham Park, ten miles east of the city, hosts the annual Leeds Festival at the end of August with rock/indie music on five stages. August bank holiday weekend heralds the West Indian Carnival in the Chapeltown area of Leeds. Enjoying the city’s plethora of events is most certainly one of the most fun things to do in Leeds.

Best for: Events

While you’re there: Leeds is also home to some great live music venues too such as the O2 Academy.

5. Enjoy the numerous cosy pubs in Leeds

The newly coined Northern Quarter, north of the Grand Theatre and Opera House, is booming. A short walk in any direction and you’ll stumble on one of Leeds’s many independent brew pubs packed out with young creatives sipping local ales. The North Bar is the city’s beer specialist and has a massive selection of guest beers (more Belgian than bitter) plus cold meats and cheeses to nibble on. This place is part of the hugely successful North Bar group, with great pubs popping up across the city.

Best for: Pubs

While you’re there: Headingley is a great area for a few drinks and some cosy pubs.

6. Head to Temple Newsam

The Tudor-Jacobean house of Temple Newsamshows many of the paintings and much of the decorative art owned by Leeds City Art Gallery. There are paintings from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, furniture (including a number of Chippendale pieces), textiles and tapestries, silver, porcelain and pottery. The estate is over fifteen thousand acres and also contains Europe’s largest rare breeds farm, where you can see four breeds of pigs, six of sheep, eight of poultry and no fewer than nine of cattle. It’s one of the best fun things to do in Leeds if you’re traveling with children.

Best for: Art

While you’re there: Harewood House is a fantastic find just outside Leeds. It’s one of the country’s grandest country mansions.

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