I have been living in Leeds for nearly two years now and I think it’s time I share some nice places to visit around.
Leeds is not a touristy town, there nothing really old or interesting, architecturally speaking. It’s a very busy shopping and business centre. On the other end, it is very vibrant! One of the fastest-growing cities in the UK and the perfect place to go out for a drink, a coffee, for fancy food or just shopping.
What to do in Leeds and around?
The Corn Exchange
This is the most interesting Victorian building in Leeds where you can find plenty of independent shops and the home of one of my favourite place to eat food.. Humpit. This is the best place to eat hummus and falafels in Leeds!
The building was finished in 1864 and became a trading centre where merchants were trading corn and other produces for more than 100 years. Nowadays, there are still some craft fairs and specialty markets taking place there every other month. The atmosphere is great :-)
People claim it is the largest indoor market in Europe, with around 800 stalls! The architecture is quite unique and a lot of people came just to have a look at the steel decorated pillars. You can find a lot of local products but also specialised foods (there is for example a polish supermarket, a spice corners, etc). I love shopping there but it’s not convenient when you are working because it closes around 5 pm.
The Victorian arcades
Taking a look inside these famous arcades is very pleasant, and the architecture is really lovely, especially around xmas. Some of them are full of luxury shops but others are full of independent shops, so there is something for everyone. That’s where I could find my favourite bubble tea shop until it closed down recently.
Just outside the busy city centre, you can find this fun place to visit if you want to learn more about the animals from all over the world. I think it’s better for kids, but as an adult, you can still enjoy the wonderful butterfly house and the cute meerkats.
You can also visit the Roundhay park nearby, for a picnic with friends or family, sitting in the shade or by the lake at the centre.
This is my favourite place in Leeds, I have been there a countless number of time! This is the most interesting museum around. It was originally built in 1996 to house armour and weapons from the Tower of London, but subsequently expanded to cover more than 3000 years worth of combat and self-defence. There are a lot of activities organised throughout the day and you can learn a lot spending a few hours there… and it’s free!
Leeds’ most impressive medieval structure is the beautiful Kirkstall Abbey, founded in 1152 by Cistercian monks from Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. I have been there three times already and the weather was quite miserable each time…. This photo does not do justice to the place!
In the centre of Leeds, this is the place where all the events take place throughout the year… including the beach during summer or the German xmas market during winter.
Leeds city museum
Close to Millenium Square, you can find this free museum with 6 galleries to visit. Life on earth was definitively my favourite part but the history of Leeds was also very interesting.
Yorkshire Sculpture park
This is an open-air gallery where you can walk throughout the park, admiring artwork on the way. The sculpture change all the time so you can always go back and see new things. My favourite permanent sculpture is the octopus below.. so colourful ! Entry to the park is free and parking is £8 for an all-day pass, or £5 for up to 2 hours.