Things to do in Leeds

Get inspired by some of our suggestions of things to do in and around Leeds.

Eating and drinking

In Leeds you can enjoy eating world foods, whatever your budget. Try something new or enjoy old favourites at restaurants, cafes and market stalls around the city.

Tasty street food is on offer at Kirkgate market and Trinity Leeds food court. There's a huge selection of restaurants, cafes and pubs around the city. For up-to-date listings check out Visit Leeds.

Food and drink events take place all through the year, including the annual Leeds Food and Drink Festival and Leeds Indie Food Festival, where businesses all over the city (from fine dining restaurants to coffee shops, independent cinemas and art galleries) collaborate to run innovative events. The German Christmas market on Millennium Square is a festive favourite.

Of course, there are also lots of places to eat and drink on the University campus.


Leeds is a shopper’s paradise. Victorian arcades with quirky individual shops sit alongside the global chain stores you’d expect in any big city. The city centre is compact and easy to walk around.

Briggate is the main pedestrianised shopping street, where you’ll find many familiar high-street shops and the Trinity Leeds shopping mall, offering fashion, food and drink and a cinema.

Victoria Leeds shopping centre offers high-end and luxury brands in the stylish historic and modern surroundings of Victoria Quarter and Victoria Gate.

Leeds Corn Exchange, opened in 1863, is now home to independent boutiques and cafes. You’ll find more independent retailers in the Grand Arcade. Pop-up shops and events appear around the city throughout the year.

Theatre and cinema

At Leeds you’ll have access to a thriving theatre and cinema scene. The city is home to one of the largest producing theatres in the north, Leeds Playhouse. The atmospheric Leeds Grand Theatre shows major touring productions, as well as acclaimed productions from Northern Ballet and award-winning Opera North.

The Carriageworks has an exciting mixture of drama, musicals, dance, pantomime, exhibitions and community events and City Varieties is a rare surviving example of a Victorian music hall.

As well as city centre multiplexes, you could visit smaller independent cinemas including the Hyde Park Picture House – located close to campus and one of the country’s last remaining gas-lit cinema. The Leeds International Film Festival runs every November and is chance for film fans to enjoy premiere screenings, world cinema, theme nights and more. 

Find out about theatre on the University campus.

Museums and galleries

Leeds City Museum takes you through the city's 800 year history with hands-on and audio-visual displays, exhibitions and interactive games. The city is also home to the Royal Armouries which displays part of the national collection of arms and armour and holds many treasures including the world's only suit of elephant armour.

Kirkstall Abbey is a 900 year-old ruined monastery that sits in a park you can visit just a few miles from campus and the city centre.

Leeds City Art Gallery has a world-class collection of 20th century British art with works by Francis Bacon, Stanley Spencer and Barbara Hepworth. The Henry Moore Institute owns a number of works by Henry Moore and has regular exhibitions from other sculptors.

Find out about galleries and collections on the University campus.

Live music

Leeds’ First Direct Arena and the O2 Academy attract world-famous acts. The city also has a thriving underground network of smaller venues which showcase the best in new music, including Brudenell Social ClubBelgrave Music Hall, and The Wardrobe.

If classical music is more your taste, Leeds Town Hall regularly hosts some of the finest classical musicians in the world as part of the annual Leeds International Concert Season, as well as regular orchestra performances. The Howard Assembly Room has a diverse calendar of jazz, world music, folk and classical concerts.

Find out about live music on the University campus.


Leeds has several major sports teams. Headingley Carnegie Cricket Ground is just a 30-minute walk from campus and regularly hosts international Test matches and Twenty20 games.

Leeds United Football Club is one of the longest established teams in the country, and its stadium is a short bus ride from the city centre at Elland Road.

Leeds also has a rugby league team Leeds Rhinos, whose home ground is also in Headingley and a rugby union club Yorkshire Carnegie.

If you want to take part in sport yourself, Leeds has a wide range of sporting facilities and gyms including sports facilities run by Leeds City Council in local communities.

Find out about sports facilities on the University campus.

Parks and countryside

Leeds has plenty of green space that you can easily reach on foot, bike or public transport. There are many parks dotted around the city, such as the beautiful Roundhay Park, or Woodhouse Moor right next to campus. There are woodland walks, or the Leeds Liverpool canal, a haven for walkers and cyclists.

Outside of the city, some of the finest cycling, walking and climbing routes in the UK are right on our doorstep, including the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. This location makes Leeds perfect for international competitions, such as the World Triathlon series, which brings a great atmosphere to the city centre.

It's not hard to find green space in Leeds. Roundhay Park is one of my favourite places to get away from my books. It's the perfect place to de-stress, walking around the lake with friends and having a picnic when the weather's good.

Arthurnatious Muzuva, LLM International Banking and Finance Law

To find out more about what’s on offer in Leeds and Yorkshire visit the Welcome to Yorkshire website.

For more inspiration read 10 things you can’t miss in Leeds.