24 HOURS IN LEEDS

Leeds is beautifully compact, making it possible to get a real flavour of what the city has to offer if you’re visiting for just 24 hours. To help you make the most of your time, we’ve created this itinerary that showcases our diverse city, but will leave you wanting more.

MORNING

A day of exploring requires a slow start to consider the day ahead, accompanied by a strong cup of coffee in one of the many independent coffee shops in Leeds. Head to Laynes, a barista-owned and run café with a focus on providing the best quality cup of coffee they can. If you haven’t already filled up on breakfast at your hotel, delve into a plate of their fabulous pancakes or avocado on toast.

Victoria Quarter - Victoria Leeds - Giles Rocholl

For Foodies...

You’ll need to build up your appetite, so have a wander around the beautiful arcades in Leeds, discovering local shops full of handmade treasures. You’ll want to visit the stunning arcades: Grand Arcade (make sure not to miss the 105-year old animated Potts Clock inside), Queen’s Arcade, Victoria Quarter and Thornton’s Arcade. You’ll likely stumble across a few more coffee shops on your way and won’t be able to resist a quick stop off. Look out for IF on Call Lane, Olive & Rye in Queen’s Arcade, Flamingos on Briggate, or Kapow in Thornton’s Arcade.

Golden Owl, Leeds Civic Hall - Carl Milner Photography

For Families...

Get your bearings of the city by following the Owl Trail. Owls are an integral part of Leeds’ heritage and this trail is a fun way for the whole family to explore the city and its history. Download a free map online or pick one up for £1 from the visitor centre, and spend your morning searching out 25 owl statues around the city.

Cornucopia, Leeds - credit Visit Leeds

For Culture Lovers...

Immerse yourself in the artistic side of Leeds on a self-guided art trail. Pop on your trainers and choose from the Waterfront Art Trail and the Street Art Trail.

City Square - credit Carl Milner Photography for LCC

For Heritage Fans...

Find out everything you could wish to know about the city’s heritage with one of the many walking tours on offer. Leeds City Walking Tours, Leeds Walking Tours and Leeds Civic Trust all offer a range of tours, many of which are led by Blue Badge Guides and can be tailored to your interests. The self-guided architecture tour is another option if you’d like to explore the city’s past and present without a guide.

AFTERNOON

Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom - credit Hannah Webster

For Foodies...

If you still have room for more, this is the perfect time for afternoon tea. Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom serve traditional afternoon tea, as well as a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, on mismatched china in a quirky, old fashioned tearoom setting. Alternatively, try Le Chalet for elegant afternoon tea with a French twist, and make sure to pick up a box of their wonderful Macarons on your way out.

For a quick coffee instead, head to Mrs Athas or Stage Espresso Bar. If you’d prefer something a little stronger, you’ll find incredible cocktails at The Hedonist or Blind Tyger and an extensive wine list at Decanter.

Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds - Credit Mikee Wilcze

For Families...

Explore the waterfront, beginning at Granary Wharf and taking the yellow water taxi to Leeds Dock, which costs just £1. When you arrive at Leeds Dock you’ll want to wander around the waterfront, admiring the moored boats, before visiting the Royal Armouries for a family friendly exhibition of arms and armour from across the world.

If armour isn’t your thing, or you fancy another museum afterwards, the Thackray Museum of Medicine (a 10 minute taxi or 25 minute bus ride) will give you an intriguing insight into the history of medicine. It’s really interactive: you can stroll through Victorian Leeds, watch operations take place in a 19th century operating theatre and much more.

Leeds Art Gallery - Visit Leeds

For Culture Lovers...

Leeds Art Gallery is full of modern and contemporary British art, and is home to one of the largest collections of 20th century British art in the UK. The gallery is filled with light and is worth visiting for the beautiful glass ceiling alone, which was restored a few years ago. Make sure to stop off for tea and cake in the beautiful Tiled Hall Café on the ground floor whilst you’re there!

Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills - Leeds Museums and Galleries

For Heritage Fans...

Take a walk along the Leeds Liverpool Canal, which is both a beautiful walk and steeped in history, until you reach the Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills. Here you’ll find collections of textile machinery, railway equipment and heavy engineering. The building is supposedly haunted, and occasionally ghost hunting nights are held there, so don’t stay too late!

EVENING

Northern Monk, Jessie Leong

For Foodies...

Wash down all that food with a few drinks. There are plenty of experiences depending on your tipple of choice: you can make your own gin at Hotham’s Gin School (with lots of tastings included!) or partake in a brewery tour and tasting at Northern Monk. Located in the Old Flax Store, this independent Leeds brewery have combined traditional brewing values with modern ingredients and techniques, and regularly collaborate with national and international breweries, businesses and charities. Having begun brewing at the Old Flax Store in 2014, Northern Monk now export their beer all over the world.

If you fancy a bite to eat afterwards, Granary Wharf is just a five minute walk away from Northern Monk. Here you can enjoy authentic Italian food at Livin’ Italy, or an indulgent South American grilled meat feat at Fazenda. Not far from Hotham’s Gin School is Assembly Underground: a cool basement full of independent street food and a 50 beer tap room. Also nearby is Ox Club – a Michelin recommended solid-fuel grill restaurant, showcasing the best of Yorkshire produce. For Italian small plates and arguably the best wine list in the city you’ll want to try Stuzzi, or for fine dining and tasting menus head to Vice & Virtue or HOME.

Trinity Kitchen - Hannah Webster for Visit Leeds

For Families...

Grab some food from one of the many street food stalls at Trinity Kitchen before treating yourself to a family film at Everyman Cinema, where you’ll find five screens filled with sofas, armchairs and foot rests for ultimate comfort. Leave room for dessert as you can order an indulgent ice cream sundae to be brought to your seat.

Northern Ballet theatre Dancers in Dangerous Liaisons

For Culture Lovers...

There’s always a performance on in Leeds, with plenty of places to enjoy a play, ballet or opera. Plan ahead by looking online at Leeds Grand Theatre, City Varieties, Leeds Playhouse, Opera North, Northern Ballet, Howard Assembly Room and Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre. Many restaurants offer a pre-theatre set menu such as The Restaurant Bar & Grill, Ambiente and Crafthouse, perfect for grabbing some dinner beforehand.

Whitelocks, Leeds - credit Proud Fox Creative

For Heritage Fans...

Enjoy dinner at one of the oldest pubs in Leeds, Whitelocks. The pub goes back to 1715, with a rich and varied history and décor dating back to 1886. Whitelocks serve a delicious menu made with ingredients from reputable suppliers, sourcing as much as possible from Yorkshire. They’re Cask Marque certified and know how to pull the perfect pint of ale!

STAY LONGER

With so much more to explore in Leeds, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to stay longer. Luckily, there’s an excellent choice of accommodation so you’re sure to find a room that’s right for you. Excellent public transport links mean that you can explore beautiful parks just outside of the city, spend the day in historical York or even venture out to the Yorkshire Dales. Make sure to check out our 48 and 72 hour itineraries too.