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Things To See For Free In Leeds


Historically, the great city of Leeds owes its success to the wool trade, but the world changed and luckily, Leeds changed with it. It's now a top destination for a city break, with activities, events and festivals for everyone. The good news is that even if your budget is limited, you won't feel left out – nothing suggested here will cost you anything.

Many attractions have free entrance. Walk along the Headrow, once the northern edge of medieval Leeds, pausing to watch the giant chess game and give some unwanted advice to players. View Leeds Art Gallery collection and gasp at the opulence of the Tiled Hall Café, originally part of the Central Library and a cause of concern in case it distracted readers. Pop into the adjacent Henry Moore Institute or the Visit Leeds office.

Have a look at the splendid Leeds Town Hall designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, also responsible for the Corn Exchange, and then turn the corner to discover the history of Leeds at the excellent City Museum.

Take a themed walk. Mr Marks met Mr Spencer in Leeds, and together they opened their Penny Bazaar on the open-air market. The rest is history and you can follow it. Pick up a leaflet at the M&S Heritage Stall in Kirkgate Market or download one here, and plot their progress to the Marks in Time Exhibition on Leeds University campus (weekdays only).



MS Kirkgate market stall - The Marks & Spencer Company Archive
Leeds Owl Trail

Everybody loves owls so why not tick off sightings on the Leeds Owl Trail to learn more about the history and heritage of the city? Or search out some of the clocks made over five generations by the Potts family, whose products grace buildings around the world. Each has its own story and many are still in working order.

Spend a relaxing half-hour in leafy Park Square, surrounded by Georgian elegance. The exception is the exotic 1878 Hispano-Moorish styled St. Paul's House, complete with terracotta minarets (now fibreglass reproductions). Owner John Barran pioneered ready-to-wear clothing, after developing a cutting machine based on a bandsaw used for wood.


Explore the peaceful waterfront area and drop in to the Royal Armouries to see the National Collection of Arms and Armour or head away from the city centre to the Cistercian monastery of Kirkstall Abbey. Take advantage of the beautiful parks that surround the city, and spend a pleasant Sunday afternoon listening to one of the band concerts.

Leeds is famous for its shops from designer through vintage to local, but window shopping costs nothing. Stroll through the stunning glass-covered Victorian and Edwardian arcades leading off Briggate, one of the city's oldest streets. And after a spend-free day, why not reward yourself with a coffee at the Harvey Nicks espresso bar in the Victoria Quarter?!


Kirkstall Abbey

Pauline x

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