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The Perfect 48 Hour City-Break in Leeds by Train

15th June 2023

Whether you’re new to the city or a returning visitor – there’s a side to Leeds you’re yet to discover. With LNER you can travel from King’s Cross Station to the heart of Leeds from just 2 hrs and 13 mins*. A perfect journey time for a weekend city-break (or a cheeky mid-week getaway). To make planning your next trip to Leeds even easier, we’ve put together the perfect 48 hours in Leeds.

*T&Cs Apply: Most common journey time between London King’s Cross and Leeds, Monday to Friday



If you’re looking to maximise your stay in the city, book your train for the evening before your two day break – even if you leave after work there will still be plenty of time to check into your hotel, drop your bags and head out for dinner, drinks or even catch a show.

If you want to experience Leeds like a local, then head to Headrow House for some of the finest food and drink in the city. The two-storey building has an events space, two roof top bars and award-winning restaurant Ox Club. Just next door you’ll also find House of Fu which specialises in Ramen and Karaoke. And if you can’t decide who’s buying the drinks a stop at retro games bar and arcade Pixel Bar is a must.

Call Lane is one of THE places to be to experience Leeds’ vibrant night life. Here you’ll find legendary Leeds’ bars and venues all jostling for your attention including Roland’s which has some of the best espresso martinis around and Neon Cactus where you can eat tacos and sample tequila cocktails until the early hours. And just round the corner you’ll find Leeds Freedom Quarter with the likes of glam gay bar Viaduct Showbar and the iconic Fibre.


Headrow House credit Tom Joy

(Headrow House – Tom Joy Photography)



Explore the city by foot

Whether you arrive for brunch, or need to refuel after a night of partying with the best of Leeds, a stop at Laynes or Friends of Ham on New Station Road (yes its right by the train station!) is a must.

Leeds is a great city to explore by foot. The centre is compact and full of breath-taking Victorian architecture. You must always remember to look up on your travels to appreciate all the grand facades and architectural details that you would never expect!

One of the most beautiful aspects of Leeds are the shopping arcades. Here you will find everything from quirky independents selling vintage leather and skateboards to high end fashion with Mulberry, Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton to name a few. So be prepared to spend a morning shopping or window shopping!

It’s not far from two other iconic Leeds’ buildings – the Corn Exchange is a unique historical venue reimagined, with plenty of small independent shops selling clothing, plants, records, artwork and more. Make sure to seek out independent restaurant Owt with seasonal menus and locally sourced produce, a great spot for lunch.

Right next door you’ll find the historic Kirkgate Market (home of the very first Marks and Spencer’s market stall). Make sure you have room to sample some of the street food from around the world.


A cultural afternoon

For the afternoon, immerse yourself in a world of culture and discover artists that are putting Leeds on the map at Leeds Art Gallery. This stunning building is located in between the central library and the tiled hall café which are spectacularly ornate. Leeds Art Gallery has an impressive collection of permanent artworks from 17th century to the present as well as a diverse exhibition programme that sees some of the finest artists in the world showing their work in Leeds. Don’t leave without visiting the Henry Moore Institute dedicated to contemporary sculpture and just next door.


Dinner and a show

After a day exploring you can freshen up and decide where to have dinner. Leeds is packed full of restaurants situated in heritage buildings giving you a truly unique dining experience. Iberica and Cut & Craft are local favourites which have their own hidden surprises or check out Shear’s Yard, Ox Club or Six by Nico (opening in July 2023).

An evening in Leeds isn’t complete without experiencing the wide variety of entertainment on offer. Leeds Playhouse is one of the best repertory theatres in the country or unwind with comedy and entertainment at the UK’s longest running Music Hall City Varieties or experience Opera North and Northern Ballet performances at Leeds Grand Theatre.

If live music is more your scene – Leeds is home to some of the finest independent music venues including Brudenell Social Club, Belgrave, Domino Club, The Wardrobe and HiFi Club.


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

(Victoria Quarter, Victoria Leeds – Giles Rocholl )



Street art

For your second day in Leeds why not see the city in a different light and follow the Street Art Trail? Featuring work by some of the best local, national and international artists this walk takes you towards the fantastic Leeds water ways. Did you know we have both a river and canal?

It’s essential to take a ride on the cute water taxis brought to Leeds from The Netherlands. Water Taxis leave every 15 minutes from Granary Wharf (next to the train station) and take you to Leeds Dock.


Leeds Dock

Once you’ve arrived at Leeds Dock you can grab a bite to eat from a range of cafes and eateries on the waterfront. Our recommendation is The Canary Bar and Kitchen.

After lunch you can explore the Royal Armouries for free! The sister museum to the Tower of London houses the largest collection of arms and armour in the country, spanning centuries and continents.

With time to catch a water taxi back to Granary Wharf and hopefully time for one last refreshment or drink at Water Lane Boathouse before you pick up your bags and head back home.


(Cornucopia mural – Carl Milner Photography for Visit Leeds)



Leeds is a fun and walkable city, and the hotels are no exception. You’ll find accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets within a ten minute walking distance of the train station.

Dakota Leeds is the ultimate luxury hotel, just a short walk from Leeds Train Station. Stylish, sleek and beautifully bold, all rooms at Dakota Leeds are designed to the very finest detail. You can also stay in The Queens Hotel, an iconic Leeds institution located just beside Leeds Train Station. Originally built in 1937, The Queens is a hotel proud of both its Art Deco heritage and 4* modern luxury.  The Marriott has a wide range of great rooms including rooms for larger groups and families – and with new flagship restaurant by Gino D’Campo it’s the perfect base to explore the city. For something a little different there is the Art Hostel, a one-of-a-kind hostel with double rooms and dormitories each designed by a local artist. You’ll not see anything else like it.


(Dakota Deluxe Hotel)