How to spend 3 days in Leeds


So, you’re coming to Leeds for a festival? Or maybe to see your favourite artist in concert? Whatever you’re in Leeds for this Summer, stay for longer. Come and experience the top attractions and events, and stay for those hidden gems, that amazing coffee shop, those open green spaces, that beautiful tiled cafe, those independent shops, that must-try restaurant. Whether you’re a family, a couple, or a solo traveller, there’s so much waiting to be discovered in Leeds this Summer.

Day 1

See the city

Interior view of Victoria Arcade in Leeds showing beautiful ornate architecture and glass ceiling

From the moment you arrive into Leeds, you’ll find culture all around. Immerse yourself in the arts, get lost in a shopping Mecca, and experience a foodie community unlike any other. Absorb our unique city vibe as you wander through our pedestrianised streets, not forgetting to look up and admire the incredible architecture that reflects our innovative past.

The city centre is a treasure trove, crammed full of famed attractions and photo ops. Get to know Leeds through the eyes of a local and join a guided walking tour to uncover the city’s secrets hidden in its urban architecture and public art. We’ve got shopping arcades that compete with Milan’s, street art that goes beyond just the walls, and sculpture that tells the stories of how Leeds came to be.

Find all of the maps and guides you’ll need for your visit here.

Fuel up at Laynes Espresso, a local brunch café favourite just by the Train Station. Its yellow walls are hard to miss and pancakes unbeatable. Once you’re raring to go, hop on one of our little yellow water taxis down the River Aire to Leeds Dock and see the city from a different angle. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore the Royal Armouries and their impressive collection of arms and armour from around the world and throughout the Ages. Head back to the city on a scenic walk along the river, making sure to catch some of our most famous street art on the waterfront art trail.

Interior view of Leeds Corn Exchange

You can’t miss out on The Calls, a window into Leeds’ industrial past. Take a detour through the streets once walked by local mill workers, part of the cloth and wool trade which put Leeds on the map. The cobbled paths will bring you up to the Corn Exchange in all its grandiose splendour, where you can snap a shot of the glass roof and do a 360 of the indie boutiques and eateries. Cross the road for even more shopping among the historic buildings of the Victoria Quarter, from the stunning 19th century arcades to the modern Victoria Gate shopping centre, all filled with some of the biggest brands.

Visit Europe’s largest indoor market, Kirkgate Market, and browse the range of haberdashery, blooming bouquets, baked goods, fresh produce and street food on offer. Opened in 1857, the market is keeping the long-standing tradition of local markets going strong. And there’s more where that came from! Head towards the Briggate high street for Trinity Leeds, where you’ll find everything on your wish list. Take your pick from all the top chain restaurants, or head up to Trinity Kitchen to sample some of their monthly rotation of food trucks.

There’s culture around every corner in Leeds. From the grandest of theatres and most brilliant of playhouses, to some of the most intriguing exhibitions and coolest collections. Head to Leeds Art Gallery to discover their permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, don’t forget to stop by the Art Gallery Shop for souvenirs. And next door you’ll find everything modern sculpture at the Henry Moore Institute.

When the night falls over the city, then it’s time to experience Leeds’ legendary nightlife on Call Lane, or catch a show at one of our amazing theatrical venues, from the City Varieties to Leeds Grand Theatre, Leeds Playhouse to Howard Assembly Room. We’ve got loads of exciting events coming up this Summer, check them out here.

Day 2

Explore the area

Child plays in grounds of Harewood with House in background

Leeds is a city of contrasts. Covering acres upon acres of green space, with vibrant country parks and history-filled heritage houses. Escape the hustle and bustle and discover the other side to Leeds. With frequent buses running between the City Centre and our suburban villages and neighbouring towns, you can travel guilt-free this Summer. Here are just a few of our favourites…

Exterior view of Harewood House and gardens

Hop on the 36 bus from the city centre to Harewood House Estate and visit the 18th century house and its idyllic gardens. Harewood sits in the heart of Yorkshire and is one of the Treasure Houses of England. The House was built in the 18th century and has art collections to rival the finest in Britain. Visitors can enjoy exhibitions of contemporary art, Farm Experience and over 100 acres of exquisite gardens to explore.

Family hold hands and wander the interior of Lotherton in awe

Lotherton makes the perfect day trip for the whole family. You can explore the Edwardian hall filled with hidden treasures, and encounter animals from across the globe at their very own conservation zoo, Wildlife World.

Or, get lost in the labyrinth at Temple Newsam, set in 80 acres of parkland and gardens that were originally built in 1704. The house was famously once occupied by Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. There’s also an 18th century stable block where some of the country’s biggest concerts are held throughout the year. And with plenty of trails, you could spend hours upon hours getting lost in the vast estate.

Kirkstall Abbey with people cycling along canal in foreground

Deep dive into more local history at Kirkstall Abbey, where you could learn about the lives of the monks who lived in the Cistercian monastery, which dates back to the 12th century. Cross the road for Abbey House Museum and wander through the Victorian streets of Leeds, finding out how the Victorians survived through 19th century Britain. You can reach the Abbey by catching the A1 Flying Tiger bus from the city centre.

For more ideas for all the family, check out our dedicated Family Friendly Summer page.

Once you’re all warn out, head back to the centre for whatever suits your fancy, whether that be street food, fine dining, or something quick. Head to our foodie corner for all our top picks. When it comes to great places to eat and drink, Leeds’ restaurants are world class. After all, we are the Foodie Capital of the North. Here, Masterchefs are plating up their eccentric creations and local indies are putting their culinary skills to the test. We’ve built a food-loving community you won’t found anywhere else, with doughnut specialists working alongside tapas connoisseurs to bring food from every continent to our very special city.

Day 3

Venture out

Catch a train or bus to one of the many iconic travel destinations right on our doorstep. For the adventure seekers, there are plenty of hiking and trekking trails just waiting to be discovered. And for the city explorers, our neighbouring towns and cities are filled with tonnes of history and character.

During your stay in Leeds, you can even experience a slice of the traditional British seaside holiday. Live like a local this Summer and take a trip to one of the towns on the Yorkshire Coast for a day of fish and chips and soft serve ice cream with pristine views of the open sea. Discover the places where families have visited for years and years and make your own memories this Summer. Head to our Day Trips page and get inspired.

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