From shiny new shopping centres to green spaces we love to graze in, part of Leeds’ charm is in its variety.
Over recent years it has become the finest city in the north, and with these awesome places, some old, some new, it’s not hard to see how.
Join us for a stroll through some of the places that will make you fall in love with Leeds.
1. Trinity Kitchen
Is there a better symbol of the ‘modern Leeds’ than Trinity Kitchen? Diverse, smart and fresh, it’s a little treasure trove of great food, random events and lots of neon lighting. From pale ale and a Goan roast pork at Rola Wala to a little slice of decadence at 360 Champagne and Cocktails, the beauty is in the choice.
2. Hyde Park Picture House
From a modern wonder to an age-old classic, the beautiful Hyde Park Picture House is a joy to behold for any film lover the city over. A real sense of history echoes through its corridors, not that it only shows old movies – every brand new blockbuster is given a run at Leeds’ grandest movie emporium.
3. The Gin Garden at The Ellington
In the mood for a drop? You’ll do well to find somewhere better or more serene that at The Gin Garden, one of Leeds’ best kept secrets. It’s a peaceful spot to take a load off and enjoy a nice, calm drink, even on a Friday or Saturday night. The cocktails ain’t bad either.
4. Kirkgate Market
There’s something quite special about a bustling market square, and none more so than at Kirkgate, probably both the best known and most central of Leeds’ daily market places. It’s especially worth a look on a Wednesday, when sections of the market turn Bazaar for its weekly Indian-themed makeover.
5. The Tetley
Leeds loves ale, and don’t get me wrong, Leeds loved the fact that the biggest ale brand in the country was piped straight out of our fine city. Once the grieving subsided, however, we were left with one of the coolest spaces the country over. The Tetley is a chic spot to grab a quick drink in the beer garden, or peruse the free art exhibitions and cultural offerings. It couldn’t be more different, and we love it.
6. Meanwood Valley Trail
Done with the city centre for a day and fancy getting back to nature? Where better to realign yourself than on the Meanwood Valley Trail, seven miles of open-air freshness that puts air in your lungs and wind in your hair. You don’t have to do the entire walk, but we thoroughly recommend you do.
7. Blue Rinse
Blue Rinse featured as one of our favourite independent fashion outlets recently, and for those with a passion for all things vintage, it’s not hard to see why. From retro sportswear to up-scaled footwear, it’s got it all, and at hugely welcoming prices.
8. The Belgrave beer garden
If there is a better beer garden in the country, we’d like to hear about it! Based in the Northern Quarter, the Belgrave is one of Leeds’ favourite bars to eat, drink, watch music, comedy, do yoga and just about everything else, but the jewel in the crown is way upstairs on a sunny day.
9. Our Handmade Collective
Crafts may not be your thing, but even so, check out Our Handmade Collective the next time you’re in town, where you’ll find all manner of smart, crafty trinkets and tips for household beauty. There are also greatweekly classes that allow you a sneak peek into the majesty of their work.
Whoever first fused authentic Indian street food with some of the finest ales in the city is a genius, and that’s the name of the game at Bundobust, a relatively new addition to the city centre based down Mill Hill.
11. The Royal Armouries Museum
As one of Leeds’ main attractions, the Royal Armouries isn’t exactly a secret, but it’s right up there on this list as one of the places that makes our city brilliant. Home to the national collection of arms and armour, alongside a huge wealth of other axhibitions, London can keep it’s museums – we’ve got ours!
12. Roxy Ballroom
Beer pong, table tennis, an indie playlist and Sam Adams on tap? What’s not to love about Roxy, based slap bang in the heart of the city centre? Sure, it can be hard to find a table on those busier nights, and true, its bar is a little on the unvaried side, but come on, beer and table tennis?!
13. Harewood House
Okay, not strictly in Leeds itself, but just outside town sits Harewood House, a grand old institution that used to house royalty. Now home to a whole hive of activity, including the world famous (in Leeds) Butterfly Garden, the huge children’s play area and any number of the visiting roadshows, it’s definitely one to try if you fancy a trip out.
14. The Maven
The secret bar. And by secret, we don’t mean it’s a little-known gem, we mean it’s an actual secret. Based at very the top of Call Lane behind a big, black door with absolutely no signage, The Maven is one of the city’s very best cocktail bars. Just don’t tell them we told you!
Street food really is part of the furniture nowadays in Leeds, and none more so than Carvanserai, a middle-eastern food joint situated on Crown Street. A big part of the majesty is in the fact it’s decked out to look like a Persian caravan, along with some of the very, very best grub the city over.
16. The Public Herb Garden
It’s often said that us Loiners are the friendliest folk around, so our thinking is, if you want some free herbs, you have them! Maintained by students of Leeds University, it hosts everything from basil to apples, so the next time you feel like a forage, head on down to the Dry Dock.
A veritable haven for shoppers, Briggate is one of the busiest streets in Leeds, with any number of high street retailers calling it home. What really makes it tick, however, is the run of buskers that perform there rain or shine. Some are good, some a brilliant, and all are friendly, diverse and well worth a listen. Go on, throw them a quid.
18. Elland Road
Nothing says “Leeds” louder than Elland Road – literally. Home to the famous Leeds United FC, Elland Road is the spiritual home of thousands of Loiners, and if you don’t love Leeds after signing “Marching on Together” after a last minute winner, then there’s no hope for you. Check out the Billy Bremner statue on your first visit.
19. The Corn Exchange
Home to some of the city’s favourite fashion outlets, and handful of other shops and a whole lot of childhood memories, The Corn Exchange represents the changing of the guard in Leeds culture. Plus, it’s the home of Lulu, the charming little dog that welcomes all-comers. When it comes to Leeds institutions, it doesn’t come much more brazen than this.
20. Millennium Square
From ice rinks to Summer concerts to deck chairs in front of Wimbledon, Millennium Square has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, and that’s without factoring in the numerous bars and restaurants that have always been dotted around the perimeter. At its best in the sun.
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