The best spots to embrace Autumn in Leeds
26th October 2023
Autumn has blown into Leeds and its time to swap those beer gardens and rooftop terraces for cosy pubs, roast dinners and strolls through crunchy leaves. It’s a great time of year to explore the city and find cosy spots to warm up and refuel afterwards.
So we’ve worked with our pals at The Hoot to pull together a guide to some of the best things to do this Autumn in Leeds. From pumpkin picking and nature walks to wholesome indoor activities, we’ve rounded up the best spots across the city to make the most of your trip to Leeds…
Whitelock’s Ale House ticks all the criteria of what a cosy pub should look and feel like with a roaring fire, hidden nooks and Sunday papers. Leeds’ oldest pub, founded in 1715, has as much character and charm these days as ever before.
Similarly the Lamb and Flag just over from Calls Landing is perfect for those that love a watering hole with history and locally brewed beers, and its outdoor area with heated lamps is perfect for cosying up on a cold afternoon.
To continue the theme of old pubs with a cosy feeling – the Adelphi has also stood tall for over 200 years. Originally opened with a stable for customers to leave their horses in whilst they grabbed an in-house-brewed pint before becoming a Tetley house in 1960.
Over in the suburbs, the Mustard Pot is the perfect place to while away the cold nights. The Chapel Allerton favourite has recently been taken over by a new landlord but still has a jam-packed event schedule (including bonfire night and Halloween bookings) planned for autumn, both inside the main bar and inside a new tipi area.
Sunday Roasts are a British staple and we have plenty of variations to enjoy this Autumn.
Braizin’ Squad recently took over the kitchen at Green Room and is serving up some of the UK’s best roasts on the newly opened Winter Terrace. Choose from herb-stuffed porchetta with apple cider jus, butternut squash wellington or grilled beef rump cap served with a huge Yorkshire pud, grilled seasonal veggies and roasties.
Meanwhile The Brunswick remains a popular roast option across the city for its vegan and vegetarian options and Wapentake, a Yorkshire-themed bar on Kirkgate, has become locally famous for its Yorkshire puddings, and uses local produce from the Market next door and locally brewed beers and spirits.
For those looking for a fine-dining experience on a Sunday, Chef Jono of V&V has a five course Sunday roast taster menu on offer each week accompanied by a wine pairing menu.
Meanwhile inside Three’s A Crowd you’ll find rare breed porchetta and rump cap, as well as shoulder of Yorkshire moors lamb and butternut squash and chestnut nut roast. It’s quality food in a relaxed setting.
And if you feel as if you’ve seen it all, head to The Cheesy Living Co. inside Leeds Corn Exchange for a Sunday lunch fondue. Owners Jake and Soph have taken everything we love from a roast and found a way to dip it in a pot of gooey Swiss cheese.
Catching up with friends during lunch and want coffee, tea and a light bite? There are plenty of independent coffee shops to visit on a blustery Autumn day.
The Tiled Hall Cafe is one of the city’s most photographed spaces with amazing Victorian architecture that compliments the history of the entire building. With a variety of hot drinks, sandwiches and cake it’s a great place to stop off when it’s wet and wild outside, don’t forget to explore the Art Gallery too!
If you are exploring the waterfront then North Star’s own coffee shop is down at the Leeds Dock ready to serve high quality and responsible coffee alongside seasonal food and baked goods in a cosy setting away from the Autumn weather.
Closer to the train station is Layne’s Espresso, a favourite of the locals and usually voted best in the city. Open for over 10 years, they have perfected the best cup of coffee and an extensive breakfast and lunch menu which only gets better every year they are open. The large windows are great for watching the world go by.
There’s nothing like a brisk walk across Leeds’ beautiful green pockets – and you don’t have to travel far from the city centre to find acres of unspoilt land.
St Aidan’s Nature Reserve is the perfect example of this. Where a former open mine site lay, 988 acres is now managed by the RSPB, with guided routes ranging from a brisk 1.8km stroll around Bowers Bimble to the 12 km of running paths. The area is full of wildlife and you can explore a rich variety of habitats including reedbeds, wetlands, meadows and woodland.
For a circular route popular amongst families and dog walkers alike, Eccup Reservoir spans across 4.5 miles and remains popular all year round. Find lots of birds, including the Red Kite, and beautiful sights over the water.
Further out of the city in LS29, Ilkley Moor and its ever-popular Cow and Calf Rocks is the perfect place to watch the sun go down. Just a short train ride from Leeds be sure to wrap up warm and take in the stunning panoramic views of the Wharfe Valley.
Don’t forget our historic homes which have some fantastic trails of their own.
Located just a 15-minute drive, or a 30 minute bus journey from Leeds’ city centre, is Temple Newsam. This East Leeds beauty is the perfect autumn day out as the estate boasts a gorgeous country house, well-manicured grounds, not to mention a beautiful courtyard cafe. The hidden ‘Walled Garden’ is the perfect Instagram spot, featuring 800 acres of rose beds and herb gardens beautifully aged within the 18th century walls.
Harewood House, one of the Treasure Houses of England, was built in the 18th century and sits in Yorkshire’s most beautiful landscape. There are over 100 acres of gardens to explore with plants from all over the world, a lakeside garden, woodland and an adventure playground. Enjoy several eateries on the premises, shops and soon it’s Christmas experience.
It’s officially pumpkin picking season, and lucky for us, Leeds is a stones throw away from the UK’s biggest pumpkin festival. With over a quarter of a million pumpkins available every October, Farmer Copleys is home to 40 different varieties, ranging from traditional orange pumpkins to pastel blue Blue Crown Prince types.
Over in Horsforth, you’ll find a family-run pick your own pumpkin patch at Kemps Farm, now in its fourth generation, Horsforth PYO houses some 70,000 pumpkins, complete with tractor and trailer rides during weekends.
Bert’s Barrow is a great dog-friendly farm just outside the city, with a strong selection of 30,000 pumpkins to choose from, fairground games for the little ones and a cosy barn perfect for a coffee and cake before taking your pumpkins home.
Wholesome rainy day activities
We may be heading into the colder months but we’re not one to let the rain dampen our fun here in Leeds!
Hyde Park Picture House reopened this year after an extensive renovation and has quickly become a new favourite hangout spot for locals. Escape reality with a movie inside the only known surviving gas lit cinema in the world and support indie film makers by choosing a new flick, or pop in on a Saturday morning with the little ones for a pay-what-you-can screening for kids.
Alternatively, Jackrabbits Pottery in Oakwood is the perfect excuse to get creative, and there’s events for all ages to get involved in. Choose from painting a pot, coming in for story time or grab tickets to an evening BYOB night where you can order pizza and paint to your heart’s content.
Similarly, Boozy Brushes offers pop-up sip and paint events across the city, with a different theme and located in a different bar every week.
For a more relaxed setting, head to Leeds Art Gallery to see some of the country’s best 19th and 20th century artworks including oil paintings and sculpture and enjoy the architecture of the building too.
When else can you walk into the pub for an evening drink and walk out with up to £1000? There’s plenty of pub quizzes across the city with prizes ranging from a round of drinks and a £25 bar tab to a whopping £1000+ in cash prizes. At Water Lane Boathouse the prizes roll over each week and often stack up to some serious cash amounts.
Also by the waterside, SALT Granary Wharf hosts a speedy pub quiz every week where all you need to do is bring your phone and a great team name to be in with the chance of winning.
Headrow House is an ever-popular choice for Tuesday night quizzing: you’ll find a huge wheel to spin for prizes like a free drink and gig tickets – and it’s free entry for all those wanting to play.
Over in Meanwood, The Meanwood Tavern has become a popular Monday night spot for quizzers to hang out and prove that all those random facts you learn, do in fact come in handy. Come down for the prizes but stay for the Five Points lager and Pizza Loco slices, it’s a real winning combo.
There is something for everyone, for every weather, for any budget this Autumn across the city.