A-Z OF VISITING LEEDS
Coronavirus restrictions are easing from Monday 29 March 2021.
We are looking forward to welcoming you back and we can’t wait to see you.
This guide has been put together to give you handy tips and hints when planning your visit to our wonderful city.
A – Arriving. Travelling to Leeds is a breeze. You should use public transport safely, observing social distancing, and everyone must wear a face covering. Plan your journey in advance and it is advised to avoid peak times. And if you choose to drive into the city, check out the car park information here.
A – Architecture. Leeds is known for having spectacular architecture around every corner. From the Victorian splendour of the arcades to the iconic modern buildings, once you start to take it all in, you’ll be surprised at what you discover. You can follow the architecture trail here.
A – Attractions. Outdoor attractions have reopened; Lotherton’s Wildlife World, the Harewood Bird Garden, and Home Farm at Temple Newsam have reopened but please book online before you visit. From 17th May, the majority of Leeds many wonderful attractions will be reopening their doors and ready to welcome you safely. Many do require booking in advance so please visit their website in advance of your visit. Face masks will be required for indoor spaces and busy areas.
B – Bars – Bars have been able to open their outside seating but many do require pre-booking. Bookings are allowed for two households or six people. Why not let your hair down with a visit to one of Leeds cool and quirky bars? Check out which venues are ready to mix up your evening here. Indoor hospitality will reopen no earlier than 17th May when the rule of six or two households will still apply.
B – Brunch. Who doesn’t love a good brunch? And with places like IF, Olive & Rye, Fettle, Feed and Laynes offering takeout options, you don’t have to go without, just order in advance ready for collection at a time that suits you.
B – Big Change Leeds. Big Change Leeds are working hard to get vulnerable people on the streets of Leeds the help they need. If you are in Leeds and wish to help someone who is currently experiencing homelessness or a vulnerable person on the streets, the best way to do this is by donating to Big Change Leeds. At this time especially, direct donations of cash or food have increased health risks for both the person on the street and anyone donating. If you do have any concerns of the welfare of people on the street, please contact 0113 2459445.
C – Coffee. We love our coffees and cafés here in Leeds and we are spoilt for choice. While they may not be open in the way we are used to, they have transformed to make sure you can still grab your favourite coffee and a treat to go too! Mrs Athas, Flamingos Coffee House Leeds and La Bottega Milanese are open for collection. And if you’re looking for the perfect outdoor spot to enjoy a coffee with friends, our new blog is full of inspo.
D – Driving. If you have decided to drive into Leeds, we recommend planning your journey in advance and checking for any road works that may be taking place via the Connecting Leeds website. You can find car parking information here.
D – Distancing. We couldn’t not mention this here. As you enjoy wandering around our lovely city, please remember to keep 2 metres apart. Where this isn’t always possible, for example in a restaurant, please stick to the 1m+ distance.
E – Exercise. Walking is a great form of exercise and brings the added benefit of spending time outdoors in the fresh air. Walk along Leeds waterfront when in the city centre, or follow the route along Leeds Liverpool Canal to Kirkstall, where you can discover the historic splendour of Kirkstall Abbey. The grounds make a lovely picnic spot too! Check out our Spring Walks blog for more inspiration.
F – Friendly. Leeds is a friendly and welcoming place, so it’s no wonder we’re keen to see your smiling faces back in the city centre again. Although, we do ask that while you’re here, please be respectful of others, maintain the 2 metre social distance and keep yourselves and others safe.
F – Food and Drink – The food and drink scene in Leeds is some of the country’s best. And we’re thrilled that many restaurants, cafes and bars have opened their outdoor spaces. With indoor bookings hopefully being possible for the 17th May onwards. Both for up to six people or two households. You can tuck into more on our Food and Drink pages – please be sure to check and book with the venue in advance. Looking for somewhere with outdoor seating? We’ve got you covered! Or treating yourself to a tasty takeaway? Look here!
G – Gardens and Greenspaces. Leeds is home to a number of beautiful green spaces and gardens. Stroll around the lake at Roundhay Park, one of the biggest and most popular city parks in Europe, or visit Golden Acre Park which is near to two of Leeds’ most treasured nature reserves: Breary Marsh and Adel Dam. Beautiful gardens await at Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall. Take in the historical splendour of Kirkstall Abbey with a visit to the grounds. Staying in the city centre? Scroll down to P for Picnic Spots. Or have a look at our Spring Walks blog.
H – Hotels. From the 17th May, hotels can reopen. We have a range of excellent hotels here in Leeds, from the big names to stylish boutiques who will be ready to welcome you! Most hotels require advance bookings so please be sure to book your stay in advance. Although things may be slightly different, you can still guarantee a warm welcome. Self-catering accommodation can open from 12th April.
H – Hand sanitiser. There will be hand sanitiser stations in place in the main areas of the city and many shops will also have their own stations. It’s always a good idea though to bring your own just in case.
I – Information. We will be keeping this webpage up to date with information about visiting Leeds. When you’re in the city centre, you will see new signage in busy areas of the city with key information and a reminder to maintain two-metre social distancing at all times. Leeds Visitor Centre is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4pm and ready to assist with any enquiry you have. Information related to the Coronavirus can be found on the Leeds City Council website.
J – July. The current date for all social contact restrictions being lifted is 19th July.
K – Kirkgate Market. A visit to the iconic Kirkgate Market is a must! With a variety of traders you can stock up on all the essentials, fresh food and gifts. Please be sure to where a face covering and maintain social distancing.
K – Know Before You Go – While we’re excited to be able to welcome you back, you’ll find that some venues still remain closed and things work slightly differently to keep you safe and maintain social distance. Therefore we advise to plan all aspects of your visit in advance and ‘Know Before You Go’.
L – Local Areas. It’s not all about the centre of Leeds! There are plenty of neighbourhoods that are waiting to be explored. Chapel Allerton has a great independent food and drink scene, Otley has a bustling market and spectacular views from The Chevin. You can find out more about our our districts from the comfort of your sofa here.
M – Millennium Square. Millennium Square is an award-winning, city centre, outdoor public space and live entertainment venue. Situated in the heart of the civic quarter, the venue is surrounded by some of the city’s other most significant and iconic buildings including: Leeds Civic Hall, Carriageworks Theatre and Leeds City Museum. The Millennium Square Summer Series sees an incredible line up take to the stage.
M – Museums and Galleries. Museums and Galleries outdoor attractions have now reopened and are excited to welcome you back again. Some things may have changed for your safety, such as one-way systems and advance bookings, but the fun you’ll have when you visit hasn’t!
You can also enjoy your favourite attraction from home with virtual tours, videos and more.
M – Music. Whilst we’re enjoying live-streaming at home we know that many are looking forward to when venues can re-open. And we’ll make sure we up-date this page when we know more. But if you want to take some music home with you why not make a visit to Jumbo Records in the Merrion Centre (you might need to make an appointment).
N – Nightlife. Leeds is well known for having a vibrant and exciting nightlife to be enjoyed by all. Bars have now opened their outdoor space and are hoping to welcome you indoors from 17th May, with the rule of six or two households applying to both. Many will require pre-booking so be sure to check in advance. Theatre lovers will be pleased to know that theatres can reopen from 17th May, some limits will be in place. For now, you can enjoy performances from your own home.
O – Outdoor. Leeds has the best of both worlds, a thriving city with access to fantastic countryside. With stunning parks, gardens and green spaces and yet we’re only 45 minutes from the Yorkshire Dales. But if you don’t want to go that far there’s…
O – Otley and Otley Chevin. Spend a day exploring the cobbled streets of quaint market town, Otley. Hike to the top of Otley Chevin for breathtaking views over Lower Wharfedale, bring your bike and cycle in the tracks of the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire, or walk your dog through scenic woods.
P – Parking. If you’re planning to drive into Leeds, there are plenty of car parks available in convenient locations in and around the city. Find out more here.
P – Picnic spots. While you’re visiting the city centre, you may wish to relax with a bite to eat or enjoy a social distancing lunch with friends. There are plenty of pretty spaces for a picnic; enjoy greenery in Park Square, St John’s Gardens or Queens Square, watch the world go by on the waterfront, or take in the stunning architecture on the benches at Millennium Square or Victoria Gardens. Check out Leeds’ 11 best outdoor spots to share a coffee with a friend.
Q – Queuing. In order to maintain social distancing and keep everybody safe, shops will be limiting the number of people inside with a ‘one in one out’ system. Restaurants, bars and cafes that open will be doing so on a reduced capacity, so please book in advance. This does mean you may need to queue to get into some shops and restaurants, potentially for a fairly long time, so please be prepared for this. As ever, your patience is hugely appreciated.
R – Restaurants. Enjoy a whole menu of delicious dining here in Leeds. Outdoor dining and drinks is now open and indoor hospitality will reopen no earlier than 17th May; the rule of six or two households will apply. We recommend booking your table in advance. You’ll also need to wear a face covering when moving around inside the restaurant. If you can’t visit your favourite Leeds restaurant, café or bar in person, many venues offer deliveries, so you can still get delicious dishes direct to your door. Find out more on our Leeds At Home page.
S – Shopping. Leeds is one of the UK’s best shopping destinations and here you can safely enjoy some retail therapy. The wonderful arcades, shopping centres and independent retailers haven’t moved an inch and are all looking forward to welcoming shoppers back…at a safe distance of course! It is mandatory to wear a face covering when in the shops and you may be asked to queue during busier times.
S – Sport. Leeds is a city with a rich sporting heritage, home to Premier League team Leeds United and decorated sides like Leeds Rhinos and the Yorkshire County Cricket Club. We’re also famous for triathletes, boxing and cycling! Find out more about sport in Leeds.
T – Test and Trace. We encourage you to download the NHS Test and Trace app and use it during your visit. You’ll see the QR codes in prominent positions at the venues you visit so you can easily ‘check in’. Find out more and download the app here.
T – Toilets. Many public toilets and baby changing facilities are open, but some are closed. All toilets have less capacity than usual, so you may need to queue at busy times, please keep this in mind. In the city centre, The Core, Trinity Leeds and Victoria Gate do have toilet facilities open.
T – Travel and Transport. As restrictions continue to ease, you may be wondering what the best way of travelling into Leeds is. Have a look at our travelling into Leeds page for info. You must wear a face covering when on public transport.
V – Victorian. Leeds may be a modern city but you can still find lots of examples and connections to our Victorian heritage.
W – Waterfront. A walk along Leeds waterfront is like a walk through the city’s history. You’ll pass impressive modern structures like Wellington Place and the Royal Armouries rubbing shoulders with the historic character of The Calls. But walk a little further and you’ll be taken even further back at Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds Industrial Museum or Thwaite Mills, one of the last remaining examples in Britain of a water-powered mill. You may also spot wildlife and street art along the way! Our favourite way to travel along the waterfront is the little yellow water taxis. While the taxis are not currently running, we’ll be sure to let you know when they are, so check back soon.
W – “We’re Good To Go”. VisitBritain / VisitEngland have launched “We’re Good To Go”, the official UK mark to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. So when you see the green ring logo in windows, on websites and on social media, you can be reassured these places are safe to visit.
X – X-marks the spot. On a map of Leeds and the surrounding area, where would you mark as the place that you treasure? We’d love to see! Share with us on social by tagging @VisitLeeds and using #ReDiscoverLeeds. You may just inspire someone to visit a new place or rediscover somewhere they’ve not been for a long time. Here are some of our favourites.
Y – Your safety. While we’re thrilled that the city is beginning to reopen again, here at Visit Leeds, our priority is to keep visitors and locals safe and healthy. Leeds City Council has been working hard to make sure the public spaces in city centres and towns are safe and ready for you to visit. You’ll see hand sanitising stations in place for the public, narrower streets and arcades becoming one way with markings in place to make it easy to follow, and new signage in busy areas with key information and a reminder to maintain two-metre social distancing at all times. You’ll also be asked to scan the QR code to ‘check in’ to venues through the NHS Test & Trace App, or to provide your details if you do not have the app. Face coverings are required on public transport and in venues. You can read about more what has been put in place here.
Z – ZZZs (Sleeping). You deserve a night away and with many of the accommodation providers getting ready to welcome you back soon (self-catering from 12th April, remaining accommodation from 19th May), now is a great time to start browsing for inspiration. There’s a wonderful range of places where you can relax and catch those ZZZs. Whether you prefer hotels, serviced apartments, B&Bs or self-catering, your ideal place to stay can be found in Leeds.