Leeds Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Leeds

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    Temple Newsam House & The Stable Courtyard

    by spidermiss Updated Jul 18, 2010

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    Temple Newsam House
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    Temple Newsam House is one of the biggest parks in Leeds covering 1500 acres. The site was mentioned as Neuhusum in the Doomsday Book in 1086 and given to the Knights Templar in the 12th Century. Various important figures lived at the mansion including Lord Darnley, husband to Mary Queen of Scots. Nowadays, it's a stately home and museum where you can tour the house and appreciate the history including the Romantic and Georgian influences. It's worth wandering around the House's formal grounds. You can take tea and enjoy the local produce at the Stable Courtyard. It cost around 3.50GBP to look round the house although you can get a combo ticket for both the house and farm.

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    CORN EXCHANGE

    by alyf1961 Written Nov 6, 2010

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    LEDS CORN EXCHANGE
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    Cuthbert Broderick [the architect behind the Leeds Town Hall] designed the corn exchange in 1860. The building was designed to improve facilities for farmers and merchants. The building was designed as open plan inside on three levels with two rows of windows on the outside. The dome has two sections of glazing with natural light that was essential for the trading in grains and cereals.
    In recent years the building has changed from quirky retro shops into a space for restaurants and cafe's.

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    LEEDS TOWN HALL

    by alyf1961 Written Jun 7, 2010

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    A competition was advertised to build Leeds town hall in 1852 a 29-year-old architect from hull by the name of Cuthbert Broderick won the competition to design the building.
    Sir Charles berry, who was the architect of the houses of parliament in London, was adviser to the committee of the competition.

    The site for the town hall was purchased from wealthy merchant and landowner John Blayds for £9,500
    The original budget to build this magnificent building was set at £35,000 not a great sum, even in those days. The sum rose to £41,835 by the time the main contract was signed on the 25th July 1853. The figure went up again with the addition of the clock tower.

    The clock tower made Leeds town hall the tallest building in Leeds. A record it held until 1966

    The building took six years to construct using local millstone grit.

    Queen Victoria opened it on Tuesday the 7th September 1858. The nearby mills and factories were closed for the day and the people of Leeds had a long day of celebrations in the city. A statue of Queen Victoria in the main entrance marks the opening ceremony.

    When it was first opened the town hall held law courts, council chambers, municipal offices, a suite of entertainment rooms, a public hall with a grand organ, the basement included a police station with gaol [jail].

    After the opening of Leeds civic hall in 1933, many civic functions were transferred to there.
    The role of the courts was transferred to the nearby combined courts centre and magistrates court when that was built in 1993.
    Today the town hall is mainly used for social end entertaining purposes and as the offices of the Leeds leisure services.
    The town hall is also used today for civil weddings

    There is a blue plaque situated in the Calverley street entrance.

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    Temple Newsam Park (Estate & Grounds)

    by spidermiss Written Jul 10, 2010

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    Temple Newsam Park
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    It's a perfect place for everyone to do something or simply take a picnic and relax. There is The Farm where you can see the farm animals and rare breeds. The Estate itself covers over 1500 acres of grounds including gardens, woodlands and lakes and designed by Capability Brown, a famous 18th Century landscape designer. In the summer a number of events are held in the park including the yearly "Opera in the Park" and "Party in the Park" and various fairs.

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    Leeds Corn Exchange

    by Balam Updated Mar 1, 2011

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    Leeds Corn Exchange
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    The Leeds Corn Exchange opened in 1864 it was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick who also designed Leeds Town Hall. It is a Grade I listed structure and is one of only three Corn Exchanges in the country that still operate in as a centre for trade although now no longer dealing in corn.
    In 1985 work began to re-develop the building as a shopping centre, this refurbishment process was designed by Alsop & Lyall and the building was completely restored with new staircases allowing shoppers access to the balcony and basement levels. It opened for trade in 1990 with lots of different shops selling allsorts of things from second hand books and clothes to jewelry and alternative goods.

    But good things never last and in 2007 it was revealed that the centre was to be converted into a food emporium this brought protests from the existing independent traders who were removed from the Corn Exchange, and their customers.

    The centre re-opened in November 2008 as a 'boutique shopping destination' for creative independent retail enterprises, not the great shops that had been there before.
    The entire 13,200 square-foot ground level is now occupied by Primo's Restaurant with the upper levels home to a number of small retailers and a cafe.

    It's a lovely building and if your passing it is worth looking inside but if your going to do some shopping i'm afraid you will not be coming out with full shopping bags only an empty wallet

    Opening Hours
    Mon-Wed.... 10am - 6pm
    Thur............. 10am - 7pm*
    Fri-Sat.......... 10am - 6pm*
    Sun............. 10.30am - 4.30pm

    (*Primo's 9pm)

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    Leeds Owl Trail

    by mickeyboy07 Written Feb 19, 2012

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    Millenium Square Owl
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    This walking tour or trail is a must when visiting Leeds,there are 25 locations around the city centre displaying various kinds of Owls,some are statues or sculptures some are pictures or sketchings,all of them are unique and have a history behind them.You'll have to keep your eyes wide open as some are not in the most obvious of places.Its a great way to see the sights of the city as many of the Owls are located on or near famous landmarks and points of interest.The whole purpose of the trail is to inform and inspire people about Leeds' rich heritage and also to create new Owls for future generations to enjoy.
    If you happen to be in Leeds and spot any other Owls not listed on the trail you can let them know by email at-'info@leedsowltrail.com.

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    Leeds Grand Theatre & Opera House

    by spidermiss Updated Sep 11, 2012

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    The Grand Theatre & Opera House
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    The Grand Theatre & Opera House opened in 1878 and is Leeds' largest theatre. It's a listed Victorian building and was considered as an achievement in Victorian theatre building.

    The theatre offers a wide range of entertainment including opera, ballet, musicals and plays. The theatre has The Howard Assembly Rooms where smaller scale concerts and entertainment are performed.

    Opera North and Northern Ballet, Leeds based companies, host most of the operas and ballets respectively at The Grand and also some musicals that are on tour nationally and internationally stop in Leeds as well.

    This was the theatre where I developed my love for opera and musicals and I'm glad of The Grand!

    On 12th September 2010, I was privleged to explore the Grand including its auditorium and the backstage when the theatre opened its doors to the public to celebrate Heritage Open Days (national and internationally). I took a lot of photos and you can see the traveloge.

    I did a tour of The Grand Theatre in July 2012 and please see my traveloge.

    The Grand is hosting "The Phantom of the Opera" in August & September 2012!!!!

    Please check out my travelogue of Heritage Open Day 2012 when I visited the venue.

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    Town Hall

    by Balam Written Mar 1, 2011

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    Leeds Town Hall
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    Leeds Town Hall is a Grade I listed building and was built between 1853 and 1858 on what was then Park Lane now called The Headrow. Until 1813 the Moot Hall which was situated at the top of Briggate had served as the county seat for Leeds Corporation also being used as a court. This was then replaced by a new Court House on Park Row but it soon proved to be to small for both court and Town Hall and so In July 1850 Leeds Borough Council decided to build a new town hall it was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick who later designed the Corn Exchange and was opened by Queen Victoria in 1858 thus highlighting its status as an important Victorian civic structure.

    The Town Halls distinctive clock tower serves for many as a symbol of Leeds but was not a part of the initial design, it was added by Brodrick in 1856 as the civic leaders sought to make an even grander statement. The building was subject to much criticism during its construction with the original estimated building costs being vastly exceeded but with the corporation willing to pay any excess in order to create a municipal building at a time when there was great poverty in Leeds.
    With a height of 225 feet (68.6 m) it was the tallest building in Leeds from its construction in 1858 until 1966 when the Park Plaza Hotel was built and is currently the eighth tallest building in Leeds.

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    Leeds City Square & Former Post Office

    by spidermiss Updated Sep 30, 2010

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    Leeds City Sqaure (from the East Side)
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    Leeds City Square was created in 1899 in front of the old Post Office (now houses offices, hotel and restaurants). The City Square was given statues of famous local people including Joseph Priestley and Dr Walter Hook. The main statue is of the Black Prince on a horse, a bronze statue and designed by Thomas brock and is place in the centre front of the square. There are also statues of nympths and lighting which were designed by Alfred Drury, a local sculptur. The City Square was refurbished at the beginning of the 21st Century to address the city's traffic issues. Additions and editions were added and implemented such as repositoning of the balustrades and statues and adding new fountains that blends in the City Square's decor and space.

    The Queens Hotel and the railway station is south of the square; the east of the square is the Park Plaza Hotel (formerly The Royal Exchange building which housed offices); and the north faces One City Square and One Park Row Office blocks and Park Row leads towards The Light Leisure Complex, The Town Hall and Millennium Square.

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    Leeds Town Hall

    by spidermiss Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Leeds Town Hall
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    In order to accommodate the growing population during the 19th century a need for a municipal building to serve its many functions was requested. Leeds Town Hall was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, an architect from Hull, and work began in 1853 until it was finally completed in 1867 and opened by Queen Victoria.

    This Grade I Listed Victorian Building is famous for its architecture, clock tower (this was added on in 1856) and its beautiful Victoria Hall where classical concerts are usually held. Look out for the concert organ inside the hall, one of the Europe's largest, and used for its popular organ recitals.

    The Town Hall is now a working building in the City Centre and continues being used for concerts, conferences, civic events, weddings and civil partnerships, city launches and celebrations.

    It was noted by Architecture Today's Editors and Wikipedia that in November 2008 that Leeds Town Hall was selected as one of the top ten town halls to visit alongside Halifax and Manchester. Cuthbert Broderick also designed Leeds City Musuem Building and The Corn Exchange.

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    LEEDS CITY MUSEUM

    by alyf1961 Updated Nov 3, 2012

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    The mechanic institute was built in 1865 as an education centre to improve workers education and employment prospects. It was used to provide educational courses, examinations, evening classes and lectures for the working classes. It was built by Cuthbert Broderick, who also built the town hall and corn exchange. The building later became Leeds civic theatre. It is now Leeds city museum, which has a range of interesting displays and exhibitions

    Monday closed (with the exception of Bank Holidays)
    Tuesday 10 am - 5pm
    Wednesday 10am - 5pm
    Thursday 10am - 7pm
    Friday 10am - 5pm
    Saturday 11am - 5pm
    Sunday 11 am -5pm

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    Kirkstall Abbey Park

    by spidermiss Updated Dec 27, 2010

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    Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds
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    The gothic abbey was occupied by the Cistercian monks from 1152 to 1359 when the dissolutions of the monastries had begun. The site was left derelict until the Romantic movement in the 19th Century where the gothic buildings had become fashionable. Kirkstall Abbey Park became a public park in 1869. As well as the abbey, there are walking trails in the park and alongside the River Aire.

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    MILL HILL CHAPEL

    by alyf1961 Updated Dec 1, 2010

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    MILL HILL CHAPEL

    Mill hill chapel was designed by Bowman and Crowther in 1848. The chapel that stands on the site today replaced an earlier church that was built in 1672 after the declaration of indulgence allowed non conformists to practice their religion in public. It was formerly a Presbyterian church which opened its door to its congregation in 1674. The cost of the building was £400 which was raised by propriety shares. In 1767 the trustee's appointed Joseph Priestly the minister. Joseph was a scientist and the discoverer of oxygen. He stayed as minister until 1773. Whilst in Leeds he wrote thirty books and founded the leeds library, which is the oldest surviving public subscription library in England. The new chapel was opened on 27th December 1848 and cost £7,300 to build.

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    ROYAL AMOURIES

    by alyf1961 Updated Jul 12, 2009

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    ROYAL AMOURIES

    The royal armouries in Leeds houses a large part of the national collection of arms and armour.
    It has five themed galleries and over 8,500 items on display.
    They also have occasional live shows involving falcons, horses and jousting.

    FREE ENTRY TO THE MUSEUM

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    Leeds City Museum

    by spidermiss Updated Feb 17, 2012

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    Leeds City Museum, Millennium Square, Leeds
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    I briefly visited the museum when if first opened. The museum has several galleries such as the:
    The 'World View', Out of Africa, Life on Earth, Ancient Worlds, Leeds Collectors and 'The Leeds Story'.

    The highlight of my visit was visiting 'The Leeds Arena' where you can walk on the giant map of Leeds and learn about the different communities and cultures that shape Leeds today. There are interactive podiums dotted on the map and you can watch the films about those who serve in those communities. There is the Leeds Arena balcony that overlooks the map and you can look up at the visuals aids from the ceiling featuring this amazing city with its landmarks and famous connections!

    On my second visit to the museum (February 2012) I visited galleries where I hadn't previously visited. I particularly enjoyed The Leeds Story where I learnt about Leeds from the first human settlers, through the Roman and Medieval, and to the rise of the woollen cloth industry and the Industrial Revolution and eventually Leeds today!

    There is a cafe and gift shop at the museum. I haven't yet visited the cafe or the shop but sure plan to on a future visit!

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Leeds Things to Do

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No trip to Leeds would be complete without a visit to the ROYAL ARMOURIES MUSEUM. The Royal Armouries is one of four museums, the other three being The Tower of London, Fort Nelson in Porstmouth...

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