72 HOURS IN LEEDS
With 72 hours in Leeds, you can explore the city centre, the suburbs and head out even further afield to the surrounding Yorkshire Dales. Throw in some excellent food, and we’re sure you’ll fall in love with city and be straight back for more!
Start your day with brunch at the opulent Grand Pacific, with décor inspired by the infamous Raffles hotel chain and a fabulous food menu. Located in the newly refurbished Queen’s Hotel, it’s the perfect way to begin your trip.
Once you’re satisfied and ready to go, join onto one of the walking tours in the city centre. This is the perfect way to find your way around the city whilst learning about its varied and layered history.
Leeds City Walking Tours have an extensive range of walking tours, and you can book a bespoke, private tour too. Leeds Walking Tours are run by Blue Badge guides on Saturday mornings and give you the opportunity to discover the story of Leeds through its buildings, spaces and people. For a unique cultural walking tour led by refugees, book onto a tour by social enterprise, Tales of a City Tours. Another intriguing option is the Leeds Black History walk, meeting at the University of Leeds Parkinson Building every Saturday at 11am. The tour tells the unseen stories of Yorkshire’s African community, from ancient history and empire through to contemporary identity.
After exploring the city and its rich history, journey out to Temple Newsam for the afternoon. There’s plenty to explore so start with a light lunch at the Café before taking a look around Temple Newsam House, which captures over 500 years of history by telling the stories of the people who lived and worked there through various art forms.
Next to the house you’ll find Home Farm, where you can meet rare breeds of farm animals including cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
The grounds surrounding Temple Newsam House and Home Farm are worth a wander around too: The Rhododendron Walk is particularly beautiful, and the Walled Garden is home to produce used in the Tea Rooms and shop.
If you have still have plenty of energy, it’s time for a treetop challenge at Go Ape, situated in the woodlands of Temple Newsam. Cross from tree to tree using high ropes, zip lines and even a free-falling plummet, safe in the knowledge that you’re always hooked on.
Back in Leeds, spend the evening getting a little bit competitive at Junkyard Golf, with three 9-hole crazy golf courses made from a variety of junk. Expect scrap yard slides, car parts, bathtubs and circus props. Under 18s are only permitted Thursday – Sunday before 6pm so bear this in mind if visiting as a family.
If crazy golf isn’t for you, test your bowling skills at Roxy Lanes or see if you can beat an escape room at Tik Tok Unlock or Escape Hunt.
Of course you’ll need a good meal to fuel your evening activities, so book a table at The Owl: a gastropub in Leeds Kirkgate Market focusing on high quality British food, beer and wine and serving dishes using local ingredients. Their early-bird menu with a 5pm sitting is perfect if you’re planning one of the above activities for afterwards.
Leeds is perfectly situated for exploring the Yorkshire Dales, providing the perfect excuse for a day trip to the countryside.
Set yourself up with an early breakfast at Laynes, a barista-owned and run café located right next to Leeds Train Station. They work hard to provide the best quality cup of coffee they can and serve up delicious breakfasts made with high quality ingredients.
After breakfast, hop on the train to Ilkley for a Tuk-Tuk tour of the Dales with Love Tuk Tuks. A six hour tour will take you to Bolton Abbey, Bardon Moor, Hebden Bridge, Grassington and Linton Falls, and includes a ride on the Embasy & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway and a couple of short hikes for impressive views. Lunch is included, as well as drinks on arrival, so you can make a proper day of it!
Two and three hour tours are also available from Ilkley, Skipton and Harrogate, and give you time to explore these towns before or after your tour.
Treat yourself to a tasting menu experience at one of Leeds’ fine dining restaurants. HOME is led by Chef Patron Elizabeth Cottam and located in a beautiful building that was once home to a Victorian tiled fish market. They offer four different menus depending on the day of the week, which change regularly to include the best seasonal ingredients. Choose from the 8-10 course or 10-12 course tasting menu, or visit on a Sunday for their 6 course Sunday Lunch tasting menu.
Vice & Virtue is another great option with a 10 course modern, British tasting menu created by Masterchef finalist, Chef Jono. For Michelin Star indulgence, Michael O’Hare offers a highly experimental 14 course tasting menu at Man Behind The Curtain, although bookings often need to be made months in advance.
Now you’ll be completely familiar with the city it’s time to explore one of our most popular neighbourhoods for breakfast. Heaney and Mill in Headingley is just a short bus ride away and is renowned for serving the best breakfasts you’ll be fortunate enough to eat. A proud family-run restaurant there’s vegan and gluten free options and their breakfasts include the finest locally sourced produce. Why not stretch your legs and walk back into the city – it’s all downhill and will take you past the university of Leeds campus.
Millennium Square and Leeds Town Hall, both spots that shouldn’t be missed on a sightseeing tour of Leeds. Take a tour of the Town Hall if you can, which will take you down into the historic prison cells and up to the top of the clock tower.
Whilst here, visit Leeds Central Library just across the road. The 19th century, Grade II listed building isn’t just packed with books, but also home to some stunning architecture inside and out. Don’t miss the Tiled Hall Café for a coffee and a slice of cake, enjoyed amongst marble columns, Victorian tiles and a mosaic ceiling in what used to be the main library reading room.
Next, walk up to Millennium Square where you’ll find Leeds Civic Hall and Leeds City Museum. Millennium Square hosts various events throughout the year including food festivals, concerts and screenings of sporting events.
You’ll also want to include some of Leeds’ most beautiful shopping spots on your sightseeing tour. The city is home to several Arcades, full of small shops selling everything from crafts to clothing, and the stunning Corn Exchange. Built in 1963 and functioning as a traditional corn exchange until the 1990s, this round building is now packed with independent retailers and is a joy to walk around.
Just around the corner from the Corn Exchange is Kirkgate Market, another must-see in Leeds. Not only is the market beautifully designed and steeped with history, it is also home to all the fresh produce you can imagine. Make sure to check out bustling Fish Row, the Market Kitchen food court and the outdoor market.
The former headquarters of the Tetley Brewery makes for a great afternoon in Leeds. Once one of Leeds’ oldest breweries, it’s now a centre for contemporary art and a platform for emerging young artists.
Have lunch at the Tetley Bar & Kitchen, with all proceeds directly supporting their artistic programme, before spending some time checking out the latest art exhibition and then browsing the Tetley shop for gifts and souvenirs from independent sellers. Check ahead as there may even be a family art workshop to take part in whilst you’re there.
Starting in the afternoon and running through until early evening, the Gin Journey is the perfect activity for your final evening in Leeds. This gin tasting tour takes you to five carefully selected gin bars and includes five samples of gin, five gin cocktails, a gin guardian to host you and even a chauffeur.
To soak up the cocktails, spend the rest of your evening at Assembly Underground. Here you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best street food in Leeds from a selection of independent food vendors, including Brazilian BBQ, falafel, pizza and burgers. There’s also a tap room by Vocation Brewery, with 50 taps of beer on offer.