History, Heritage & Trails

Leeds may be a modern city but you can experience its history and heritage around every corner. Take a journey along our trails…

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds


Leeds is famous for its spectacular Victorian arcades – Queens Arcade, Thornton’s Arcade, Grand Arcade and the magnificent Victoria Quarter, all awash with history but each with their own unique atmosphere and identity. To see more Victorian gems, a visit to Europe’s largest indoor market, Kirkgate Market, and the magnificent Leeds Corn Exchange are a must; both buildings are Grade 1 listed and steeped in the history of Leeds. The arcades are just one of the ways our Victorian Connections are still prominent to this day. You can read more about Leeds’ history here.

For a slice of British History the city has plenty to offer with a number of nearby historical houses, including Harewood House, Lotherton and Temple Newsam. If you’re a lover of beautiful green spaces then be sure to visit to Kirkstall Abbey. Situated only three miles north-west of the city and set in a spacious green park along the River Aire, Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most complete medieval 12th century Cistercian Abbeys in Britain.

Leeds corn exchange, home to independent shops - credit Carl Milner


Strolling through the city you’ll come across the iconic Leeds Town Hall, Leeds Civic Hall and Leeds Central Library, a gothic masterpiece with spectacular staircases and archways and mosaic tiling. Follow the architecture trail to find even more architectural wonders.

Street art has made a splash in Leeds in recent years, bringing a burst of colour to the city’s buildings. Follow the street art trail to discover the striking works that provide a decorative backdrop for much of the city, creating an ever-growing web of distinctive pieces that tell the story of Leeds and its communities.

Another popular city centre trail is The Leeds Owl Trail; download the map and see if you can find all the outdoor owls!

You can find even more self-guided trails here, with everything from walking along the waterfront to the history of Marks & Spencer; who opened their first ever stall right here in Leeds’ Kirkgate Market.

The beautiful architecture of King Edward Street in Leeds, credit Wide Oyster


Or, why not delve deeper into the history and stories of the city by joining a city centre guided walking tour? With a range of tours available and friendly, informative guides ready to regale you with an afternoon of exploration, the tours are the perfect way to #ReDiscoverLeeds. Find out more here.

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