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Top 10 things to do in Leeds

04 November 2016

When it comes to city breaks, this country really does know how to spoil us. One of our favourite city spots is Leeds, located in the English county of Yorkshire.

The city of Leeds
The city of Leeds

Transformed beyond recognition from its industrial days, Leeds is now a dynamic city filled with exciting things to see and do. Here are ten of the best:

1. Shop, shop and shop some more

Leeds is renowned for its shopping opportunities so save some room in your suitcase for souvenirs. Visit the fancy boutiques, shops and food outlets at the Grade I-listed Corn Exchange or head into the Queens and Thorntons arcades for a spectacular array of independent shops.

2. Take in a show

With its reputation as a hub for artists, musicians and actors, Leeds knows a thing or two about how to put on a good show. Spend an evening watching achingly beautiful dance at the Northern Ballet theatre or lose yourself in a drama at the Yorkshire Playhouse.

3. Get a sugar fix

Avid fans of the Bake Off rejoice, Leeds has an abundance of cake shops and tearooms for you to enjoy. If you fancy an expertly crafted cupcake to go, try Johnnie Cupcakes or Cupcakes by Charley. If you have a little more time on your hands, settle down to afternoon tea in the quaint and quirky Louve Rouge.

4. Visit a retro cinema

The Hyde Park Picture House is something of an institution in Leeds, renowned for its vintage interior and history that dates back to 1914. Reminiscent of the cinemas of days gone by, this charming establishment screens all manner of off-beat, indie and mainstream movies.

5. Eat independently

From breakfast and brunch to dinner and cocktails, you'll find the diverse menus of Leeds keep your hunger at bay. Explore Headingley for award-winning, well-established independent restaurants such as Salvo's, Thai Sabai and Caliente Cafe.

6. Take a hike

A gentle stroll might take you to the picturesque Rodley Nature Reserve but, if you fancy venturing into the Yorkshire countryside, a 20-minute train ride will allow you to walk in the footsteps of the Bronte sisters, out on the wilds of Ilkley Moor.

7. Admire the Abbey

Visit the majestic Kirkstall Abbey to see one of the best examples of a medieval Cistercian abbey that can be found in Britain. Set in a public park on the north bank of the River Aire, its silhouette casts an impressive shadow over the landscape.

8. A day at the museum

The excellent museums of Leeds cater to a variety of interests in immersive and creative style. Explore the gory history of healing at the Thackray Medical Museum, the industrial past of the city at Armley Mills, or a glimpse of the reality of warfare at the Royal Armouries.

9. A night at the opera

Not every city can boast of having its very own Opera House, so why not dress up for the evening and see what Opera North has to offer. The opera company performs regularly at the many venues around Leeds and include all the classics - check what's on and time your visit accordingly.

10. Step back in time

A British city break just wouldn't be the same without the chance to visit a stately home or two. Fortunately, Leeds can fulfil your Downton Abbey fantasies with several attractive options such as Harewood House, Temple Newsam and the stunning Castle Howard, complete with its own arboretum.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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