15th December 2022

LEEDS 2023 marks the year of culture in the city of Leeds

Exciting events include an unmissable opening ceremony, culture film festival and even a Day of the Dead celebration

Leeds truly is a city with culture around every corner


You may not know yet, but 2023 is the Year of Culture for Leeds; a year-long festival that celebrates Leeds’ identity as a thriving, creative and inclusive city.

Leeds is a city of contrasts, where the biggest names take to the stage alongside undiscovered talent. Where you’re just as likely to find the joy of dance pounding the pavements in carnival dress as you are to find it sweeping across a stage in ballet flats.

The whole city is a stage, emerging and exciting, vibrant, and energetic with a vibe you won’t experience anywhere else. With such diversity, Destination Management Organisation for the city of Leeds, Visit Leeds, is encouraging people to visit the city to experience all of its culture and community whether that be street art, museums, country house estates, performances and theatre.


There’s culture wherever you are in Leeds. Come be a part of it all.


What’s in store for LEEDS 2023?

The year-long LEEDS 2023 festival will be split into three parts, each filled to the brim with exciting happenings and events. And it all starts with a bang! On 7th January 2023, ‘The Awakening’ will begin, with an unmissable event with music, poetry, dance, comedy and much more, from artists including Corinne Bailey Rae, The Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North and Jamie Jones-Buchanan and LYR (a band which includes author and current British poet laureate Simon Armitage, singer-songwriter Richard Walters, and multi-instrumentalist & producer Patrick Pearson). The event will be hosted by Gabby Logan and former Leeds United footballer and broadcaster Sanchez Payne.

After The Awakening, ‘Playing’ is the focus of Part Two (May to August), and ‘Dreaming’ takes centre stage towards the end of the year (September to December).

Top picks from the Season One of the Leeds 2023 programme include:

‘Smeaton 300’ – a programme inspired by Leeds-born, world-renowned engineer and astronomer John Smeaton. Smeaton300 will include a magical mobile observatory, which will tour the city from June to December.

‘1001 stories’ developed by repertory theatre, Leeds Playhouse and The Performance Ensemble, is taking place in April, and will put the voices of older people centre-stage, creating artistic work from their stories about love, loss, heartbreak, community, and chance meetings.

Also in April, ‘EUNIC in Short’ will see the European Union National Institutes for Culture film festival take place in Leeds, the first city outside of London to ever host the film festival.

A sound walk in music through the centre of Leeds, ‘As You Are’ is also happening in April. Composed by South African cellist Abel Selaocoe, for the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North and featuring guest musicians, this promises to be an unmissable experience.

Speaking of unmissable experiences, ‘All That Lives’ is a collaboration by Leeds artist Ellie Harrison and Mexican artists Zion Art Studio, will reimagine Day of the Dead with the people of Yorkshire in November. It’s set to be a truly unique event like you’ve never seen before.

Why else should I visit Leeds?

While LEEDS 2023 is all about letting culture loose in the city, Visit Leeds is here to let you know that Leeds really does have culture around every corner too and there’s plenty for visitors to enjoy alongside this celebration of culture.

The visual arts are well served by Leeds Art Gallery, with a remarkable collection of twentieth century works. Contemporary art finds a home in The Tetley, a hangover from the city’s brewing heritage. And Leeds takes centre stage in Yorkshire’s sculpture triangle, stretching from the inner-city Henry Moore Institute, to the rolling landscape of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

On the stage, you’ll find sights and sounds to savour. Our city is the only outside London to boast both a resident opera and ballet company Opera North and Northern Ballet alongside four major theatres, a world-class arena, and countless independent venues. A feast for the eyes, and ears. And it doesn’t stop there, there’s country house estates and a jam-packed events programme and live music in outdoor spaces and unique venues.

From the events of LEEDS 2023 to the culture that’s around every corner, there’s many ways to Love Leeds for Longer. To find out more about how to fill your time in the city, whether that’s for 24 or 48 hours, please visit:

Visit Leeds will issue a round-up of unmissable events for 2023 in the first week of January.

For more information about Visit Leeds, contact

[email protected] 07891 270460

For more information about the Leeds 2023 programme, contact

Anita Morris at Anita Morris Associates   [email protected] 01943 603311/07976 584592