Laura Bartlett, shopping in Leeds, Victoria Quarter


Love Leeds for Longer with Laura Bartlett

2nd August 2023

You only need to follow me on social media for approximately 0.3 seconds to discover my obsession with Leeds. I’ve hiked mountains in Switzerland, watched sunsets in the Hollywood Hills, and slept under the stars in Canada, but no place in the world has ever come close to making me feel the way Leeds does. Maybe it’s my innate ability to know when the traffic lights are going to change in any part of the city, the fact that I was born and raised here, or maybe it’s the people who prove my theory that happiness thrives in the North. Whatever the reason, I simply can’t get enough of this city.
As a self-proclaimed expert on all things Leeds, I encourage everyone to visit and truly experience the magic of this vibrant city. There’s so much to see and do that deciding how long to stay can be a challenge, but in my opinion, the sweet spot is three days.
Within that time, you’ll have ample opportunities to explore, indulge, and immerse yourself in the essence of Leeds. Fair warning though, once those three days are up, you’ll find it hard to leave.
Allow me to share my ultimate guide on how to make the most of your time in Leeds, along with my personal recommendations for must-visit hotspots in the city, so that you can Love Leeds for Longer.

Laura Bartlett outside Leeds Town Hall

(Laura outside Leeds Town Hall)

Where to Stay

Queens Hotel

When it comes to accommodation, look no further than The Queens Hotel. As the name suggests, it is an iconic destination in the heart of Leeds city centre. Conveniently located right next to the Leeds train station, there’s no better place to stay if you want to arrive and be checked in faster than you can say “I love Leeds.” This hotel serves as the perfect base for exploring the city centre, with an abundance of museums, galleries, and shops just a stone’s throw away. And if you have a hankering for a hearty Sunday roast, don’t miss the Grand Pacific restaurant within the hotel. Trust me when I say they serve up the best roast in the city.

Grantley Hall

Further afield, nestled in the breathtaking Yorkshire Dales, Grantley Hall is a true hidden gem that will capture your heart and it boasts not just one, but five exceptional restaurants. From the Michelin-starred delights of Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall to a variety of dining options, every meal is a masterpiece waiting to be savoured. And for those seeking a delightful libation, three stunning bars await, each offering a unique ambiance and a wide selection of carefully crafted drinks. For those wanting the hangover free fun, they have the most extensive alcohol free options I have found anywhere in the world. At Grantley Hall, attention to detail is everything. From the exquisite design and decor to the impeccable service, every aspect of your stay is carefully curated to ensure an unforgettable experience. Whether you seek a romantic getaway, a rejuvenating spa escape, or a gastronomic adventure, Grantley Hall is the epitome of luxury and refinement. Discover the difference that lies in the meticulous details and allow yourself to be swept away by the magic of Grantley Hall.

Queens Hotel

Where to Eat – City Centre

Leeds is a culinary paradise, offering a diverse range of dining experiences to satisfy every palate. Here are a few of my top picks:

1. WolfoxWhether you’re a health-conscious foodie or simply looking for a refreshing and nutritious brunch option, Wolfox Leeds is guaranteed to leave you satisfied and craving for more. Copy my fool proof order and go for the açai bowl which is bursting with fresh flavours and vibrant colours, it really is a must-try. It’s a perfect blend of creamy açai, topped with a medley of fresh fruits, crunchy granola, and a drizzle of honey. Paired perfectly with a matcha latte, this is the brunch spot of dreams.

2. If Up North: If you’re looking for a place in Leeds that has been serving incredible all-day brunch since 2016, look no further than the original IF on Call Lane. This cosy spot has become my go-to for all things brunch, whether it’s a relaxed coffee and cake, a hearty brunch feast, or indulgent pancakes. And let me tell you, their cakes and bakes are out of this world. The talented in-house baker, Masayos, works her magic at their York Place cafe, creating the most delectable treats that are impossible to resist.

3. Fleur Cafe: For an Instagram-worthy lunch or dinner spot, Fleur Cafe is a must-visit. Founded and curated by the acclaimed Master Chef Finalist and Great British Menu-famed consultant, Bobby Geetha, he takes inspiration from his extensive international travels and culinary expertise. Each dish showcases the flavours and techniques gathered from around the globe, all while highlighting the best local ingredients Yorkshire has to offer.


Where to eat – Further afield
When it comes to dining in Leeds, the suburbs are where the magic happens. Get ready to indulge in fabulous fine dining, tantalising Indian street food, mouthwatering tapas, and outstanding Italian cuisine. Who says you have to stick to the city centre? Venture beyond and discover a world of flavour in Meanwood, Horsforth, Otley, Rawdon, Harehills, Farsley, and more. Here, you’ll escape the hustle and bustle while treating your taste buds to a culinary adventure like no other.

Craving a fiery curry that’ll make your taste buds tingle? Look no further than the lip-puckering Indian delights at the cities favourite curry house in Kirkstall, Sheesh Mahal. From aromatic spices to rich sauces, each bite is a journey to culinary bliss.

Or how about a flavour-packed Italian feast? San Carlo Flying Pizza is your spot, picture yourself savouring homemade pasta, perfectly melted cheese, and the freshest ingredients that transport you straight to the heart of Italy. Buon appetito!

Make your way to a Mediterranean oasis in Adel and let the flavours at Tuana transport you to the heart of Turkey. Indulge in the succulent lamb or chicken shish, or savour the standout Iskender Kebab that will leave you craving more. If you’re in the mood for comfort, the moussaka will wrap you in its delicious embrace, while the beef stifado in its rich, herby red wine sauce is a true culinary delight.

Credit cards at the ready. Leeds, oh how I adore your vibrant shopping scene! It’s a paradise for any shopaholic, offering a world of retail delights at your fingertips. What makes it even better is our compact and walkable city centre, ensuring that you’re never too far away from the latest trends, unique boutiques, and those hidden gems that only markets and independent stores can offer.

For those seeking a mix of high street favourites and trendy hotspots, Trinity Leeds is the place to be. Step beneath its iconic glass roof and immerse yourself in a bustling hub of 120 shops, bars, and restaurants that buzz with excitement seven days a week. It’s a shopping haven that never disappoints.

But let’s not forget the incredible charm of Kirkgate Market, a Grade I listed gem that holds a special place in retail history. This is where the legendary Michael Marks of Marks and Spencer began his journey. Stroll through its lively aisles, and you’ll find everything from textiles to aromatic loose leaf teas, fresh blooms, and mouthwatering street food. With over 400 stalls, the variety is simply astounding.

Calling all fashion enthusiasts! Victoria Leeds is where your designer dreams come true. Lose yourself in the splendour of this premier shopping destination, or explore the bustling floors of Harvey Nichols, where luxury awaits at every turn. And let’s not overlook the fierce independent spirit that defines Leeds. From the beautifully restored Corn Exchange to the enchanting Victorian arcades that lure you away from the bustling Briggate, there’s an abundance of talented makers and creators showcasing their unique offerings.

Leeds, my love for your shopping scene knows no bounds. So, embrace the joy of retail therapy and uncover the wonders that await in this vibrant city. Get ready to shop ’til you drop, discovering treasures that will leave you in awe.

Laura Bartlett, shopping in Victoria Gate Leeds(Laura in Victoria Gate)

Nature Fix
While Leeds is undeniably a bustling city, it also offers a delightful escape into nature with its abundance of green spaces. As someone who cherishes the rejuvenating power of nature, I find solace in these tranquil environments that allow me to disconnect from the world and reconnect with myself. Thankfully, Leeds presents an array of options when it comes to embracing the beauty of nature.

One such oasis is Roundhay Park, a sprawling gem that invites you to immerse yourself in its picturesque lakes, lush gardens, and expansive grounds. Take a leisurely stroll, find a serene spot for a picnic, or simply bask in the tranquility that envelops you. There’s a secret garden that opens every day, see if you can find it!

Another nature retreat that deserves a mention is Harewood House, a captivating estate that combines breathtaking landscapes with architectural marvels. Explore its sprawling gardens, meander through the woodland trails, and witness the harmonious coexistence of nature and history. With every step, you’ll discover hidden corners and enchanting vistas that inspire a sense of wonder.

Views of the landscape at Harewood House

(Harewood House views)

Insta-worthy moments
Leeds offers more than just a connection with nature; it also provides plenty of insta-worthy moments that will leave your followers in awe. Let’s face it: If you visit Leeds and fail to capture those perfect photos for the gram, did you really visit Leeds? Fear not, for I have handpicked some must-visit spots that are sure to nail THE shot. Grab your camera, soak in the vibrant atmosphere, and let the vibrant spirit of Leeds ignite your creativity.

First on the list is Leeds Town Hall, although temporarily closed for an extensive renovation, the exterior of this magnificent building still captivates. The grand cast iron doors serve as a stunning backdrop that will transport your followers’ imagination to the stylish streets of Milan. And with the anticipated completion of the renovation in 2024, it presents the perfect excuse to plan a return trip to Leeds and witness its transformation firsthand.

For a truly unique and aesthetically pleasing experience, make your way to The Tiled Hall Cafe nestled within the Leeds Art Gallery. Step into this Victorian Hall, adorned with intricate tiles, and be transported back in time. Indulge in delectable cakes that not only satisfy your taste buds but also impress your followers with their artful presentation.

Leeds Dock is another haven for capturing those envy-inducing moments. More than just a picturesque location, it serves as a thriving hub for professionals in the media, tech, and creative industries. Whether you’re sipping a matcha latte and relishing the Docks Brunch at North Star Coffee or living your best remote work life at Department UK, Leeds Dock offers endless photo opportunities and unforgettable experiences.

Other noteworthy spots that beg to be photographed include the iconic Civic Hall and the vibrant Millennium Square, where the energy of the city converges with the beauty of the surroundings. The Civic Hall stands as a symbol of Leeds’ rich history and architectural grandeur. With its imposing neoclassical facade adorned with intricate detailing, it commands attention and provides a striking backdrop for memorable photographs.

Adjacent to the Civic Hall, Millennium Square pulsates with life and activity. This lively public space serves as a hub for cultural events, concerts, and festivals throughout the year. From street performers to lively gatherings, Millennium Square offers endless opportunities to capture the essence of the city’s vibrant social scene.

Laura Bartlett at Tiled Hall and in front of street art.

(Laura at the Tiled Hall Cafe and in front of street artYou & Me, Me & You’)

I could write chapter and verse about this city and give you endless tips on where to go and what to do. However, with just three days to play with, the above recommendations should be enough for you to curate the perfect visit and leave you wanting to come back for more.

As a born and bred Leeds local, I may be biased, but I can’t help but fall in love with this city time and time again. Despite growing up here, I never get bored of its charm and endless possibilities. With its vibrant culinary scene, stunning architecture, and abundant green spaces, Leeds captures hearts and leaves a lasting impression. So, come and visit this city of wonders, immerse yourself in its magic, and truly Love Leeds for longer. I promise you won’t be disappointed.