The Ultimate Guide to What’s On in Leeds this Autumn
3rd September 2021
If you’re looking for things to do in Leeds in Autumn, you’ve come to the right place. Because we’ve been out and about collecting up all the must-do events, don’t-miss destinations and absolutely unmissable attractions popping up in the city from September onwards.
There’s all sorts of fun things to do, from crowd pleasers taking place in Leeds city centre, to food and drink hotspots, intriguing festivals, musical entertainment and family fun – so take a look, grab that diary and get planning.
Chow Down returns for Autumn
Dates throughout September and October 2021
Leeds’ favourite open air dining and drinking experience continues throughout the Autumn with dates available into October. Chow Down has recently announced that it will be a permanent fixture at Temples Arches with the launch of its very own cocktail bar, Tipples.
Head down to Temple Arches to enjoy an incredible selection of the finest street food, drinks and music including some of the North’s best brass brands every Sunday! Find out more.
(Chow Down – credit Jo Ritchie for Visit Leeds)
Let the music play at Brudenell Social Club
September – November 2021
Brudenell Social Club is pegged as one of Leeds’ most prestigious music venues. With a range of performances from an eclectic mix of bands and musicians, there really is something for everyone. Over the next few months, the stage at Brudenell will be graced by the likes of Slowthai, Ben Howard, Fontaines D.C., Celeste and many more. Grab a drink and settle into the intimate venue for a performance like no other. Find out more.
Learn about Leeds’ hidden queer history on a walking tour
4th & 19th September 2021
Queer history is all around us and you can now discover Leeds’ hidden queer history on a walking tour through the city centre. West Yorkshire Queer Stories produced an interactive queer history trail app that offers hidden stories of Leeds’ queer past around 13 points throughout the city centre.
Historian and co-creator of the trail app, Kit Heyam, uses the app to take you on a tour of its highlights. From Pride to squats, from 1840s case courts to 1990s raves, you’ll see Leeds and its past in a new light. Find out more.
Hear inspirational ivories at Leeds International Piano Competition Festival
8th – 18th September 2021
‘The Leeds’, as it’s called by those in the know, is probably the highlight of the international calendar for those who love pianists and the beautiful music they create. As part of the triennial competition, an array of musical and cultural events is taking place across the city for all ages. The competition gathers the best of the best from all over the world, with the second round, semi finals and finals taking place here in Leeds. The grand final is hosted by Leeds Town Hall, so it’s a good excuse to get out and about in the city centre and enjoy world-class music from maestros present and future. Find out more.
(Leeds International Piano Competition)
Follow the Leeds Piano Trail
4th – 19th September 2021
The Leeds Piano Trail returns to the city running as part of a two week festival to celebrate the 20th Leeds International Piano Competition. If you’ve ever dreamt of playing the piano, now could be the perfect time to start with Learn to Play in a Day where you can sign up for a free lesson with a patient and professional piano teacher. Find out more
If you’re looking for something new to do on a night out, you can take a nocturnal journey on A Musical Nightwalk which takes you through Leeds city centre punctuated by prose and live piano. Find out more
Come along for a green piano planting session at Tiered Gardens. The family friendly workshops will give you the chance to work with Leeds Allotment Federation to explore gardening in a new and exciting way! Find out more
As part of the Leeds Piano Trail, keep your eyes out for pop-events happening across the city featuring sculptures of Pianodrome, the talented Tabor Piano Ambassadors and a host of local musicians and artists. Find out more
Go exploring at Heritage Open Days
10th– 19th September 2021
Find out all about the very fabric of Leeds as a city, through the upcoming Heritage Open Days series. Perfect for lovers of history, or anyone wishing to find out more about the history of the city in an interactive way. There’s everything on offer, from a self-guided walking tour of Leeds’ History at New Briggate, through to an activity day celebrating the Forge at Kirkstall – which was the longest continually used industrial site in the UK. There’s even a look into some of the city’s villains at the Otley Courthouse, in an event that’s both live and online. At the event, visitors can discover shady stories and vicious villains from the past, hear court cases about theft and poaching as well as details of prisoners’ food, police officers’ canteen refreshments and magistrates’ tea time. Find out more.
Lotherton Autumn Harvest
12th – 19th September 2021
Autumn is the perfect time for a harvest. Why not enjoy an experience picking apples in the beautiful orchard at Lotherton this September? Beautifully grown in tranquil surroundings, visitors can enjoy choosing from over 100 varieties of apples – including classic everyday varieties and more unusual types, too. They have even provided an online template for creating a very special autumn apple wreath, so that visitors can create a seasonal momento of their visit once they get home. Find out more.
Leeds International Festival of Ideas
13th – 27th September
Roll out the red carpet, there’s a whole host of celebs making their way to Leeds in September.
Leeds’ International Festival of Ideas brings with it ideas and innovation from keynote speakers to discuss the world of tomorrow. This year, the likes of Kanya King, George Clarke, Kathryn Ryan and the legendary Sir Lenny Henry will be gracing the concourse at Leeds Corn Exchange with many others scheduled to appear at venues across the city including Leeds Town Hall and City Varieties Music Hall. Find out more.
Grab your glow sticks at MiNT Festival
25th September 2021
If dance music is more your cup of tea than classical piano, MiNT Festival is probably about as good as it gets. The celebrated music festival draws big crowds every year with some of the biggest electric acts and DJs on the scene, all inspired by Leeds’ much loved clubbing scene.
The 2021 lineup features the likes of Amelie Lens, Ricardo Villalobos, Patrick Topping and Eats Everything, with four huge arenas to choose from. Find out more
Sing along to the best at What’s Love Got to Do with It – A Tribute to Tina Turner
25th September 2021
Tina Turner fans have had to wait a whole year for this rescheduled celebration of a singer many consider simply the best. But the time has come for What’s Love Got To Do With It at the first direct Arena. Join them to revel in the ultimate tribute to the Queen of Rock n Roll, in town for one night only. Expect world class vocals, a 10-piece band and lots of dancing in the aisles. Find out more.
Jimmy Carr: Terribly Funny
27th September – 29th October 2021
One of the UK’s comedy greats is bringing his latest work to the city this September, where he’ll fill the Town Hall with laughter as he touches on all things terrible. Suitable for ages 16 and above, those easily offended have been forewarned, as his brand new show contains jokes about all kinds of terrible things. Those things that you shouldn’t laugh at, but you can’t quite help doing so. Find out more.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes Living Dangerously
Tue 28 September 2021
Ever wondered what it’s like to travel along the White Nile in a hovercraft, or journey across the world’s polar axis using surface transport only? Find out in an evening with world famous explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes at the Town Hall this September. Listen as Sir Fiennes’ tells the story of his many endeavours – endeavours that have pushed his endurance levels to the very limits, inspiring generations and making him a pioneer of exploration. He will tell his story, both light-hearted and strikingly poignant, as he covers childhood and school misdemeanours, his army life and early expeditions, right through the Transglobe Expedition to his current Global Reach Challenge – his goal to become the first person in the world to cross both polar ice caps and climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. It’s certainly not one to be missed! Find out more.
Stick Man at Leeds Town Hall
2nd – 3rd October 2021
What starts off as a morning jog becomes quite the misadventure for Stick Man: a dog wants to play fetch with him, a swan builds a nest with him, and he even ends up on a fire! How will Stick Man ever get back to the family tree? Find out in this fun-for-the-family production from the team behind Zog, Tiddler and other Terrific Tales at Leeds Town Hall this October. Enjoy a live adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book, packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky dance moves. Find out more.
Raise a stein with friends at Oktoberfest Leeds
7th – 10th October 2021
Every year in Munich, thousands of revellers descend on the city’s beer halls to drink, sing and generally have a fantastic time. These days, Oktoberfest has made its way around the world – and Leeds is no exception. There’s an authentic Bavarian brewery on board to bring the spirit of Oktoberfest, and the beer of Oktoberfest too, plus traditional currywurst from sausage-slingers Get Wurst and a house Oompah band. Prost! Find out more
See the city shine at Light Night
14th – 15th October 2021
Over the past 17 years, Leeds has made Light Night an essential fixture in the Autumn calendar. For one night only, the city bursts into dazzling detail with installations, projections and artworks across all sorts of buildings and locations.2020 saw Leeds become ‘Last Light City’, and this year we’re set to see a new theme fizzing into existence. So plan your wander around the city after dark, and prepare to be dazzled. Find out more
Discover new music at Live at Leeds
16th October 2021
There are plenty of music festivals to choose from in Leeds, but none have the reputation for uncovering fresh talent as Live at Leeds. Now in its fifteenth year, the inner city festival schedules gigs across urban venues of all shapes and sizes, so you might see a packed set from a big name at the intimate Brudenell Social Club, or the next big thing packing out the O2 Academy. Live at Leeds usually runs in May, but this year’s rescheduled version gives you the chance to get your gig on in the autumn instead! Find out more
Leeds Black History Walk
23rd October 2021
Leeds is an incredibly diverse city, with historical roots that are told throughout the walls of the city. The Leeds Black History Walk has been celebrating the city’s history since 2009, bring locals and tourists together to educate them on the history of the city by exposing unseen narratives and bringing the past to life with a guided walk that starts at the iconic Parkinson Building on Woodhouse Lane and through to the campus of one of Leeds’ most recognised academic venues, the University of Leeds. A sure hit for history lovers and those looking to broaden their knowledge on a city that sits at the heart of the North. Find out more.
Find out why Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Leeds Grand Theatre
2nd – 7th November
It’s a smash hit West End musical, but now Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is making its way to Leeds Grand Theatre. The UK tour stars Layton Williams, who you might have seen in Bad Education or Billy Elliot the Musical, as well as Shane Ritchie of EastEnders fame.
We won’t spoil the story, but safe to say the production is funny, fabulous and feelgood – and family friendly too, which makes for a great day out with the kids. But hurry, there’s only a handful of tickets left. Find out more
Bring the popcorn for Leeds International Film Festival
3rd – 18th November 2021
LIFF truly deserves the ‘International’ tag in its name. The fortnight-long festival brings the best international cinema to Leeds, so you can nab tickets for critically acclaimed films from up and coming directors, indie flicks that didn’t get a UK release and inspiring documentaries touching on everything from sport to sustainability. There are plenty of ticketing options available, including passes that let you plan out loads of films across the festival. Find out more
Be spellbound by Northern Ballet’s Merlin at Leeds Grand Theatre
9th – 20th November 2021
Our national ballet company, Northern Ballet, knows just how to turn on the magic, and their upcoming production of Merlin is set to be no different. The show takes inspiration from the story of the mythical wizard, taking audiences on an epic adventure of heartbreak, hope and wizardry. There are plenty of ticket options, including matinees on Saturday if you have young dance fans to bring along. Find out more
Take flight with Wendy & Peter Pan at Leeds Playhouse
18th November 2021 – 22 January 2022
Autumn is definitely the season for sinking into your seat and enjoying world class theatre, and Leeds is blessed with a plethora of opportunities to do just that. From November, the recently renovated Leeds Playhouse will host the truly magical Wendy & Peter Pan. The story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up is a firm family favourite, so why not book in with the kids for a pre-Christmas treat? Find out more
Find that festive feeling this Christmas at Temple Newsam
26th November 2021 – 2nd January 2022
One of Leeds’ most gorgeous period properties is the venue for a must-see Christmas experience in 2021. The Jacobean Temple Newsam estate will host an after dark illuminated trail through the grounds and gardens, leading visitors on their festive way towards the big day. Find out more
That’s just the start of Leeds’ Christmas offering, though – so keep your eyes peeled for future festive updates! We’ve got plenty of festive events in the works, to keep you entertained long after the leaves fall and snow is on the horizon.