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Don’t be fooled by its humble Yorkshire exterior – this city has plenty to shout about.
Award-winning eateries and luxury boutiques rub shoulders with grungy student bars and quirky vintage shops along the cobbled streets of Leeds. The city isn’t just about fun and games though, with the largest legal and financial sectors outside of London proving it’s more than just a pretty face.
This complex is pure entertainment from the top down. Start with a slap up meal at the rooftop terrace and spend your afternoon perusing the 120 shops, before catching a matinée at the four-screen art house cinema. When evening falls, the cool crowd go underground to explore the basement bars or get their geek on at The Alchemist, where mixers serve up cocktail concoctions with a scientific twist.Accommodation near Trinity Leeds
Household names and emerging artists alike line the walls of this gallery. First opened in 1888, the current collection is as eclectic as they come. Rembrandt prints are billed equally with graffiti pieces referencing gaming culture. The café has remained true to its Victorian roots though. With the original tiles and stately feel, it’s an ideal place to enjoy a ‘brew’ – Yorkshire slang for a good cup of tea.Accommodation near Leeds Art Gallery
This institute has carved out a niche in the world of sculpture. Far from sneering at those who don’t know their J. Koons from their A. Calder, their aim is to make it accessible to all. A programme of lectures, guided tours and film screenings helps budding aficionados to appreciate the intricacies of the art. Their curated collection of British sculptures is also regularly loaned out to neighbouring galleries.Accommodation near Henry Moore Institute
Old world meets new in this shopping hub. The marble lined arcades are a nod to the original development in the early 1900s, while the designer togs couldn’t be more contemporary. You can spend hours playing amongst the high-end brands, exploring Louis Vuitton and Harvey Nichols or sauntering around Radley and Whistles. When you need a pick-me-up, sip espresso at the Opposite Café’s boutique coffee bar.Accommodation near Victoria Quarter
If Harvey Nichols is a little out of your price range, the Corn Exchange may be more your style. This building has a long history of trade, ever since its origins as a farmer’s market in the 1800s. Nowadays you’re more likely to find quirky clothing than ears of corn. Bonus factoid: the 75 foot domed roof wasn’t just built for show, it allowed the room to be flooded with light without discolouring the precious corn.Accommodation near Leeds Corn Exchange
Prepare to do battle! Twinned with the Tower of London, this museum houses over 5000 objects showing the advances in armoury through the ages. The collection demonstrates how hunting, tournaments and war have inspired our ancestors to come up with some extremely creative weaponry. Displays range from the regal to the obscure, with knights’ jousting attire standing alongside a full set of elephant armour.Accommodation near Royal Armouries Museum
Now one of the city’s top attractions, this grand building wasn’t always so popular. Built in the 19th century as a workhouse for the poor, it became a hospital in the early 1900s and was transformed into a museum some 70 years later. Using interactive displays, the museum highlights how scientific breakthroughs have shaped modern medicine and gives visitors a gruesome look at the life of a Victorian surgeon.Accommodation near Thackray Medical Museum
It might be quicker to tell you what Roundhay Park doesn’t offer… For those looking to work up a sweat there are tennis courts, rowing clubs and the chance to hit a wicket on the cricket field. At the park’s Tropical World, visitors can mingle with meerkats and frolic amongst the fauna, while the monthly farmer’s market is the place to try burgers prepared with prime Yorkshire Angus.Accommodation near Roundhay Park
Founded in 1152 by Cistercian monks, Kirkstall Abbey was once a place of reflection and solitude. The monks moved on long ago, leaving a much noisier crowd in their wake. Locals and tourists have taken to picnicking amid the surrounding greenery. If you’re heading that way, make time to visit the Abbey itself to stroll through the chapel ruins and the remains of the old refectory.Accommodation near Kirkstall Abbey
Always wanted to live a life of splendour? A stroll through this 18th century country house will help you live the dream. The kid’s adventure playground might not fit in perfectly with your genteel fantasies, but a boating trip around the lake will soon have you feeling all Pride and Prejudice. Just don’t be surprised if you see a few famous faces – part of the estate is used for filming the popular British soap, Emmerdale.Accommodation near Harewood House
8.3 Very good
Score from 2366 reviews
£53Average price per night
Now resident in London, travel-mad Charlotte spent 3 years living and studying in Leeds.
This is a great comedy club set within a bar and restaurant called The Wardrobe. It also serves as a live music venue and offers cocktail classes.Accommodation near House Of Fun Comedy Club
While living in Leeds, Jack loved exploring its bars, restaurants and music scene.
For good food and great cocktails, head to this funky bar and restaurant set in the midst of the happening Call Lane.Accommodation near Brooklyn Bar
Hailing from nearby Rochdale, Helen now lives in beautiful Paris.
Take a walk around the city’s Hyde Park area and over Woodhouse Moor. It’s a great place for a scenic and relaxing stroll and you can also browse the nearby antique shops.Accommodation near Hyde Park & Antiques
Emily lives in East London but enjoys venturing outside the capital to find cool hangouts.
This venue is great for live music and clubbing, offering one of the best alternative nights in the city. The music played ranges from Motown, to Northern Soul and modern indie classics. If that’s not enough, there are also comedy sessions featuring stand-up acts from around the world.Accommodation near HiFi Club
When she’s not working or travelling, Kirsten loves to go rock climbing, surfing and biking.
Head up a narrow flight of stairs to Smokestack — a cocktail bar with a dance floor and 'strict' policy of playing live blues, funk, jazz and Latin music several times a week.Accommodation near Smokestack Bar and Club
Amy studied in Leeds and loves the city’s quirkiness, nightlife, music scene and its history.
One of my favourite places in the city for a night out is Neon Cactus, which has a reputation for getting people dancing on the bar and dishing out free shots of Jägermeister.Accommodation near Neon Cactus
Booking.com asked travellers...Is there more to shopping in Leeds than main street stores?
Plenty of restaurants and bars, theatres etcSee all 56 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Leeds.
All the fashion stores are in one main area out of one straight into the next one shoppers heaven.See all 52 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...Where should people go if they don't want to eat in a tourist trap?
Try Bundapost, Theravadu or the Reliance.See all 15 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...What should you avoid to make the most of the nightlife in Leeds?
Don't go out too early.....party on till the early hours!!See all 13 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...What was the most entertaining thing you saw in Leeds?
The Standard Lamps (group) and The Who in Concert at Leeds Arena - both excellent.See all 13 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...What makes the people from Leeds so friendly? Tell us your story.
always helpful when asked for directions or help; usually added "have a nice evening"See all 8 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...What did you enjoy the most about Leeds pub crawls?
ConveienceSee all 8 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...Which fine art museums should a first time visitor to Leeds start with?
Visit the City Art Gallery,the excellent craft gallery and the ceramic tiled refreshment room in the same buildingSee all 7 answers
Leeds Bradford Airport is located around 10 miles from the city. The Flying Tiger bus service connects you to Leeds in about 30 minutes and costs GBP 3.60 for a single ticket. Buses run on a 24-hour timetable with services every 20 minutes. This can vary throughout the year, however, so check their website. Official airport taxis have an arrow logo, or you can pre-book a Mercedes E-Class. They leave from outside Arrivals and fares cost around GBP 22.
The train is used mainly for getting to surrounding towns and cities, rather than within the city itself. You may use it to travel to Headingly Stadium for sporting events, or to go to Carlisle, Huddersfield or York. You can buy tickets at stations such as Leeds Central, or online, where you can also consult train times. Services run 7 days a week but timings vary depending on the service and provider.
Leeds CityBus runs the network within the centre of the city, linking rail and bus stations, central districts and points of interest. Buses tend to run around every 8 minutes, from around 06.30 until 19.10, with single fares costing 0.50 GBP. Other bus companies start from around 05.00 and end services at 23.00, while fares range from GBP 1.30 to GBP 2.80, depending on the route. A MetroDay ticket costs GBP 5.50 and is useful for trips of 4 stops or more.
Most of Leeds city centre is fairly walkable, so there is not much need to drive. There is also a one-way system which can be confusing for first-time visitors. Metered parking is available in some areas but it may only be available during certain times. Some areas are for residents only. Multi-storey car parks are dotted around the centre and cost around GBP 11 for 6 hours’ parking.
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