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OUR TOP 17 FOR 2017

With so much taking place next year, we’ve picked our top 17 for 2017 to help you plan your perfect short break in Leeds


1) first direct arena shows

first direct arena is bringing super stars to the city in 2017. An already packed events calendar will see Bruno Mars, Drake, Kings of Leon, Green Day, Craig David and many more take to the stage in the iconic arena.

With a unique ‘super theatre’ fan shaped arena, every seat faces the stage ensuring you get the best view of your favourite act!

Dates: Various throughout 2017
Location: first direct arena


2) World premiere of Northern Ballet's Casanova

Throw caution to the wind. Be led into temptation. Unmask Casanova with Northern Ballet.

Consumed by his desires, Casanova lived every minute in a whirlwind of scandal and excess. But there’s more to the man.

This original ballet will expose a story so sensational you won’t believe it’s real.
A spine-tingling spectacle of 18th Century decadence, it will flood your senses and take your breath away. Watch the world premiere of Casanova at Leeds Grand Theatre from Saturday 11th March 2017.

Dates: 11th – 18th March 2017
Location: Leeds Grand Theatre


first direct arena - Credit Populous
Northern Ballet's Casanova. Photo Guy Farrow
Jenna Coleman playing Queen Victoria, Cinnamon Drawing Room, Harewood House
Victoria Gate - 23rd Oct - Giles Rocholl


3) Harewood House Victoria Exhibition

Harewood House was recently used as a major set for ITV’s Victoria series. The crew filmed across Yorkshire for several months during winter 2015/16. To celebrate the success of the programme, the opulent rooms on Harewood’s State Floor will come to life with costumes from the programme.

Outfits worn by Jenna Coleman who played Queen Victoria will be displayed throughout the 2017 season. Alongside the costumes, the exhibition will present a behind the scenes look at filming in a grand House like Harewood. Learn how the team prepare and manage the house and discover how rooms are transformed into sets

Dates: 24th March – 29th October
Location: Harewood House



4) Victoria Gate Rooftop Restaurants Opening

D&D will launch two rooftop restaurants including an outside dining terrace.
The first will be a Japanese restaurant named Issho, offering a menu of fresh and interesting plates that will include some show-stopping sharing dishes, with a rooftop bar and outdoor terrace.

The second restaurant will be a Manhattan-style rooftop bar and grill, named East 59th after the address of D&D’s New York outpost, Guastavino’s, and will have a US-inspired food menu. The restaurant will be a glamorous all-day grill, bar and rooftop destination which will boast panoramic views across the city.

Dates: Summer 2017
Location: Victoria Gate



5) Live at Leeds

Winner of Best Metropolitan Music Festival at the UK Festival Awards, Live at Leeds is an annual city centre music festival held across a variety of unique venues in Leeds during the first bank holiday weekend in May. The festival will celebrate the best in upcoming local bands, alongside some more established names, featuring a huge number of gigs and other music inspired events.

The first acts for 2017’s festival have already been announced with Slaves, Wild Beasts, The Pigeon Detectives, Jagwar Ma and White Lies set to perform.

Dates: Saturday 29th April 2017
Location: Various Leeds’ venues


6) Summer Cricket at Headingley

Headingley Stadium, just 10 minutes from the centre of Leeds, is one of the world’s best known cricket stadiums, which has been the backdrop for key moments across cricketing history, from hosting its first Ashes test match in 1899, to Don Bradman’s famous score of 309 in one day’s play in 1930 and Yorkshire’s own Geoff Boycott’s hundredth first-class century scored during 1977’s Ashes test.

2017 will see more international cricket action with a one day series, England v South Africa at Headingley on Wednesday 24th May and the 2nd Investec Test Match against the West Indies from Friday 25th to Tuesday 29th August.

Dates: May – September 2017
Location: Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Headingley


The Pigeon Detectives - tour poster
Cricket at Headingley - Vaughn Ridley - SWPIX.COM
Tom Joy - Tour de Gueuze - Leeds Indie Food
City Beach 2014 - Millennium Square - Leeds City Council


7) Leeds Indie Food Fest

Each May the city celebrates its fantastic food scene with Leeds Indie Food Festival, the country’s biggest festival of independent food and drink culture. There’s always plenty of choice whatever your taste with over 100 innovative events, including fine dining restaurants to coffee shops and independent cinemas to art galleries getting in on the action. 2017’s festival is set to be even bigger and tastier than ever!

Dates: 11th – 28th May 2017
Location: Various venues across Leeds



8) Summer in Millennium Square

Millennium Square in Leeds city centre is THE summer destination. Hosting everything from outdoor music concerts, Wimbledon screenings and even a beach there's always something happening. Watch this space for more on what's happening!

Dates: Summer
Location: Millennium Square



9) ITU World Triathlon

Following the success of the Brownlee Brothers triumph at this event last year, the ITU World Triathlon is set to return to Leeds. This prestigious event, provides more than 5,000 amateur triathletes with a unique opportunity to compete on the same course as the world’s best.

If participating isn’t for you, then make sure you don’t miss out on joining thousands of spectators who will witness the world’s fastest triathletes race around the city centre of Leeds in a thrilling showcase of endurance and strategy.

Dates: 10-11 June 2017
Location: Triathlon route around Leeds with various spectator areas. Full route yet to be announced



10) Leeds West Indian Carnival turns 50

2017 marks the 50th Leeds West Indian Carnival, meaning the celebrations will be even more colourful than ever. Check back soon to find out what's in store! 

Dates: Events throughout summer 2017. Parade is Monday 28th August 2017.
Location: Various Leeds venues. Parade is at Potternewton Park.


Elite Women's Race - World Triathlon Leeds - credit Getty Images
CARNIVAL QUEEN 2012 - credit L Wenham
Leeds Festival - Credit Victor Frankowski
Leeds International Beer Festival - credit Phil Faulks


11) Leeds Festival

Leeds Festival is one of the UK’s largest and most popular music festivals. Held over the August bank holiday weekend, with a number of stages across Bramham Park, this annual favourite hosts some of the world’s most-loved music names, including Florence and the Machine, The Foo Fighters and Kaiser Chiefs. This year, Leeds Festival is set to be bigger than ever, with over 75,000 tickets available, which include weekend campsite tickets and day tickets. 2017’s acts have yet to be announced so keep an eye out!

Dates: 25th – 27th August 2017
Location: Bramham Park, Leeds


12) Leeds International Beer Festival

The Leeds International Beer Festival is an annual festival in the heart of the city centre, coming into its 6th year, which celebrates craft beers produced through the UK and overseas. Along with hundreds of beers and ciders from the UK, USA, Sweden and Germany, the festival also includes a street food marketing, live music across two stages and other beer-related activities in the heart of the city centre.

Dates: 7th – 10th Sept 2017
Location: Leeds Town Hall



13) Theatre shows throughout

Leeds has four theatres, along with the first direct arena, and its own Opera and Ballet companies, which means the city boasts an outstanding repertoire of performances.

City Varieties will have you cracking up with plenty of comedy; Henning Wehn, Stephen K Amos and Miles Jupp are on the bill for 2017. Sing along to much-loved musicals such as Mamma Mia, Dreamboats and Petticoats and Dirty Dancing at Leeds Grand Theatre. Little ones will love the performances put on by the brilliant Carriageworks and West Yorkshire Playhouse. And look out for shows on tour from the West End.

Dates: Various throughout 2017
Location: Various



14) Thought Bubble Festival

The Thought Bubble Festival is the UK’s largest event of its kind – an annual celebration of sequential art in all its forms, including everything from superhero comics to independent and small-press artists and writers.

Each year the ComicCon hosts a programme of events and entertainment, designed to inspire and delight everyone from the industry expert or comic book fanatic to a complete newcomer to sequential art.

The special two day convention includes an incredible line-up of leading artists and writers, with creator appearances, publisher presence, and retailers. Dressing up as your favourite character is encouraged too!

Dates: 18th-24th September 2017
Location: Various venues in Leeds city centre




Leeds Grand Theatre - Opera North - Bartered Bride Schools Performance - credit Tom Arber
Thought Bubble - Photo Credit Bob Peters
Light Night 2016 - Simon Dewhurst for Leeds City Council
Magical Leeds


15) Light Night

Leeds’ most illuminating event, returns for 2017 with two nights of spectacular light projections, exhibitions, installations, film, dance, music, theatre and street performances taking over Leeds City Centre.

Bring your friends and family along to experience a fantastic festival atmosphere, navigate your way around over 50 different events across the city centre, and sample some delicious street food.

Dates: 5th & 6th October 2017
Location: Various venues across Leeds city centre


16) Magical Leeds

Leeds is a truly magical place in winter. The city comes alive with sparkling lights, festive markets and plenty of family fun. This is Christmas with a difference; wonder at the stunning displays of the Magical Lantern Festival, take in the delights of the German Christmas Market, cosy up at the pantomime or Little Mermaid the ballet, and tick-off that Christmas shopping list. A visit to Leeds is unforgettable!

Dates: Throughout winter
Location: Various Leeds venues



17) Leeds Art Gallery reopening

Leeds Art Gallery is home to an extensive collection of 20th Century British art. Described by The Times as the best collection outside London, Leeds Art Gallery is part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, Europe’s largest sculpture collection.

After an extensive refurbishment, Leeds Art Gallery will reopen in late 2017.

Dates: Late 2017
Location: Leeds Art Gallery


Leeds Art Gallery - Zagni Photography for Leeds Museums and Galleries