It’s one of the most multicultural cities in the UK and there’s good reason for it. In fact, there are many good reasons for it.
People flock here from all over the land to experience the best that Leeds has to offer and we want to shout about it from the rooftops. Since we don’t have a digital rooftop right now, we’ll make do with our blog. Here’s our A-Z of the best of the great city of Leeds:
A: Abbey Dash
One of the annual 10k road races in Leeds, the Abbey Dash is, if you ask us, well worth the entry fee. In November, you run from the city up Kirkstall Road right to the ruins of the best-preserved Cistercian monastery in Britain – and then back again. Beats your average morning run, eh?
B: Brudenell Social Club
The Brude, as it’s affectionately known to locals, is one of the most famous and popular live music spots in the city. It’s not a sparklingly attractive venue and it doesn’t try to be because it doesn’t need to be. It’s grungy and it attracts the likes of The Heavy, Cherry Ghost and Roddy Woomble, as well as the masses of musical geniuses to be found around Leeds.
C: Chapel Allerton
Chapel Allerton is a leafy suburb in north Leeds that boasts a host of great new bars and restaurants. It’s popular with young professionals…and we think the street parties that Chapel A holds in the summertime might have something to do with that…
One of the greatest things about Leeds is the fact that it’s minutes from the world famous national park, the Yorkshire Dales. Where else in the world do you have a vibrant, multicultural city mere miles from rolling hillsides with luscious green grass?
E: Elland Road
Home to the mighty whites, Leeds United, Elland Road is a major stadium that attracts major events from around the world. The 39,460-capacity venue has seen the likes of Queen, U2 and the Four Nations in years gone by and it remains the premier outdoor arena in the city.
F: First Direct Arena
Until recently, big-city Leeds was missing a major indoor arena and was consequently missing out on world tours of the biggest stars around. Then the 13,000-capacity First Direct Arena changed everything. We now get the likes of Bruce Springsteen, The Who and Michael McIntyre coming to town, so Leeds is well and truly on the world tour scene.
G: Grand Theatre
One of the favourite pastimes of Loiners (AKA people from Leeds) is going to the theatre – and there’s plenty of choice. The famous Grand Theatre on New Briggate is the venue of some of the finest theatre, comedy and opera in the country.
H: Harewood House
The stately home of Harewood House is simply magnificent. The gardens are pristine, the décor and art are exquisite and the structure itself is nothing short of breath-taking. And it’s not even that far out of Leeds city centre.
I: International Beer Festival
Despite being only a few years old, the Leeds International Beer Festival has well and truly sewn itself into the rich tapestry of the city of Leeds. It’s hosted in the town hall, so there’s room for more breweries than you can raise a glass to. It happens early in September and sells tickets by the session, not by the day, so be sure to get yours early.
J: Junk Food Project
West Leeds is home to a laudable project at Armley Junk-tion: The Real Junk Food Project. It’s championing a global ‘pay as you feel’ (#PAYF) movement to reduce waste and hunger by feeding people with the goods that are so rashly thrown away in today’s society.
K: Kirkstall Abbey
The ruins of Kirkstall Abbey have to be seen to be believed. They’ve been very well preserved, so it’s easy to imagine what it was actually like to walk around the abbey a thousand years ago. What’s more, such is the moodiness of the ruins, you might even get the chance to see your favourite Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings film screened in the grounds of this famous spot.
L: Leeds Rhinos
Headingley’s Carnegie Stadium is home to Leeds Rhinos, Yorkshire Carnegie and Yorkshire County Cricket on the adjacent Headingley cricket pitch. It has seen some of the greatest players in recent Super League history play their hearts out for the city. There isn’t a better way to spend a Friday evening in the city.
M: Millennium Square
The city’s main square is the epicentre of many a summer celebration. There’s a big screen to show big events like the World Cup and Wimbledon, a big open space to host big gigs and food festivals and an account of the history of Leeds in the city museum that sits on its edge.
N: New Briggate
Home to some of the best bars in the city centre and the famous Grand Theatre, New Briggate is a top night any day of the week. It connects the Headrow and Leeds’ Northern Quarter, which is itself undergoing something of a revival with new bars and music joints popping up every other week.
One of the quaintest spots in the district of Leeds is the historic market town of Otley. It’s got amazing pubs coupled with some unrivalled scenery that’s very easy to access. Not only that: it’s no more than a 30-minute bus ride from Headingley.
P: Pop-up Cinema
Sneaky Experience is responsible for some of the coolest events going on in and around Leeds: pop-up cinema screenings of cult classic films. They’ve screened the likes of Halloween and Lord of the Rings in the spooky ruins of Kirkstall Abbey and they’re only going from strength to strength. This is a bandwagon well worth jumping on.
Q: Queens Hotel
The Queens is a 4-star hotel centrally located next to Leeds Train Station. Its 1930s art décor interior, Portland stone exterior and 500-capacity Queens Ballroom make for one of the most decadent hotel experiences in Leeds.
R: Roundhay Park
Leeds has one of the largest city parks in Europe in Roundhay Park. The 700-acre space is a favourite with families in the area because of its wide-open grasslands and kid-friendly Tropical World, which houses some of the most exotic plants and animals you can imagine.
The small village just on the edge of Leeds is an excellent place to visit on a sunny Saturday. It’s beautiful and not only because of its world famous brewery that is responsible for some of the finest ales Yorkshire has to offer.
T: Trinity Shopping Centre
Leeds already had a reputation for being a brilliant place to come shopping, but Trinity, which opened in 2013, took it above and beyond. It’s indoors for a start, which keeps the rain off your head, but it also has some of the best shops in the city and even its own indoor street food kitchen, namely Trinity Kitchen.
U: Underground Prison
Leeds Town Hall has 10 Victorian prison cells beneath it that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Alcatraz. Of course, they’re out of use now, but you can still access them if you want to explore the creepy underground of Leeds of old.
V: Victoria Hotel
One of the oldest and quaintest pubs in Leeds is the Vic on Great George Street. It’s still got stained-glass windows between booths and bar lamps to light it at night, so it’s a proper English pub experience, if ever you are looking for one.
W: West Yorkshire Playhouse
If you want world class theatre, the WYP is where it’s at. Theatre groups from all over the world flock to Leeds to perform here and the great thing for locals is that it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get in. An evening in the Playhouse is always an evening (and a few quid) well spent.
Not far from Leeds is a leisure complex that offers everything from indoor skiing to simulated surfing. Xscape in Castleford also has a cinema and an array of restaurants to cater to your every need, so it’s a favourite amongst locals.
Y: Yorkshire Food and Drink Show
Leeds loves its food and drink and that is blindingly obvious at the annual Yorkshire Food and Drink Show held at Millennium Square. Every June, street food vendors, restaurants and breweries converge on the square to serve their best produce to the people of Leeds. And everyone loves it.
Z: Zaap Thai
A self-proclaimed “street food revolution”, Zaap has recently reinvigorated the restaurant scene in the Northern Quarter of Leeds. It boasts epic Thai street food in an authentic setting that transports you to Thailand with more than just the dishes; there’s an array of hanging signs and tuk tuks on display for the full experience.
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