Do you consider yourself as a bit of a culture vulture? Perhaps you’re a foodie who’s constantly looking out for the next best eatery for some decadent dining. Or maybe you enjoy taking the kids on fun, entertaining and educational weekend excursions. However you like to spend your weekend, one thing is for sure – Leeds has something for everyone.
From stunning architecture to world-class museums, state-of-the-art shopping centres to a vibrant nightlife scene, you’ll find it all and more besides in the city that’s been dubbed as the ‘London of the North.’
If you are planning a weekend in Leeds take a look at some of the best things to do to ensure you’re break is memorable, entertaining, fun and fulfilling.
The Grand Theatre and Opera House
Even if you are not especially a fan of opera or the theatre this magnificent building is an inspiring place to visit, if just to marvel at its architecture. Opened in 1878, the Grand Theatre is widely regarded as a major milestone in Victorian theatre building.
The grand and stately auditorium plays host to a huge range of theatrical performances, including drama, dance, comedy and many musical productions. The critically-acclaimed Opera North and Northern Ballet have residencies at The Grand Theatre.
Whether you’re after comedy, family entertainment, romance or adventure, with the likes of Dawn French, Shrek the Musical, Jasper Carrot and The Play That Goes Wrong either currently playing or in the pipeline, there’s a production for everyone at the Grand Theatre.
A sport-inspired weekend in Leeds
Needless to say we’ve all heard the exciting news – the Tour de France’s Grand Depart is taking place in Leeds this July. If joining in the excitement and buzz of the world’s biggest cycling event doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s plenty of other sporting ventures going on in Yorkshire’s capital.
A visit to the exquisitely elegant York and Wetherby Racecourse, with its legendary steeplechases, special Ladies’ Day events and anyone under the age of 16 able to enter the course for free, makes a fine day out for all the family.
If cricket is more your cup of tea then you’ll probably be aware that the sport has many historical roots with Leeds. Several of the world’s best cricket players began their careers at the famous Headingly Carnegie Cricket Ground, including Len Hutton, Geoff Boycott and Fred Truman.
Visit the Yorkshire Country Cricket Club website for an update on the events and fixtures taking place at the club this summer.
Rugby fans are also in for a treat in Leeds as both the Leeds Carnegie Rugby Union and the Leeds Rhinos, winner of the rugby league World Cup Challenge, are based at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium, this family-friendly rugby venue is home to some electrifying rugby.
A city geared up for some serious shopping
Calling all self-confessed shopaholics, you won’t be disappointed in Leeds…
Bargain hunters and designer addicts will be in their element in Leeds, where high street brands, quirky market stalls and designer boutiques are all at your disposal. With the likes of Harvey Nichols, Vivienne Westwood, Louis Vuitton, Paul Smith and Mulberry under the same impressive roof of the Victoria Quarter’s Grade II-listed arcades, the VQ is the place to head to if you fancy treating yourself to a designer label.
For those looking for higher-end shopping you’ll be pleased to know that Harvey Nichols is present in the city. The luxury brand opened its first store outside London in the historic Victoria Quarter of Leeds in 1996. The five-floor store has naturally become a landmark destination for luxury shopping, eating and drinking in Leeds.
If you are looking for accommodation in Leeds that is close to all the action visit the Residence Six website.
For those with a quirkier, vintage style of fashion, the beautiful domed building of Leeds Corn Exchange might be better suited to your individual sense of style. Here you will find many an indie store including Candy Candy, Mad Elizabeth Vintage and Northern Acoustics.
Leeds’ rich and favourable association as being a shopper’s paradise intensified further in 2013 when the Trinity Shopping Centre was opened. With 120 shops, bars, restaurants and even a cinema under one roof, you can shop, eat, drink and be entertaining in one convenient location, right in the heart of Leeds City Centre. However keep posted as the new Eastgate Quarter will also be in full production from late 2014.
Museum magic in Leeds
With nine museums and a number of great art galleries, you’re never far from some cultural, historical and artistic inspiration in Leeds.
The Henry Moore Institute
The Henry Moore Institute in the heart of Leeds is universally-recognised as a leading centre for the study of sculpture.
This award-winning exhibitions venue hosts a rich and varied programme of events, exhibitions, lectures and conferences throughout the year.
The institution was set up by the Henry Moore Foundation in 1977 as an attempt to encourage local appreciation of the visual arts, in particular sculpture.
For more information on forthcoming exhibitions at the Henry Moore Institute visit the website.
Leeds City Museum
The Leeds City Museum for example is home to hands-on displays and numerous interactive games and provides an eye-opening experience for visitors of all ages.
For an equally as fun, educational and entertaining day out visit the award-winning Thackray Museum. Here you can discover the marvels of modern-day medicine, ranging from the intricacies that occurred on a Victorian operating theatre to the wonders of contemporary surgery. This wonderfully interactive museum brings the world of medicine alive.
The Leeds Arena, also known as the First Direct Arena, opened in July 2013. The popular venue has a diverse range of events and concerts planned for the forthcoming months.
The Official Tour de France Opening Ceremony will take place at the First Direct Arena on July 3, 2014. Other July and August highlights include Pearl Jam on July 8 and Ant and Dec’s Takeaway on Tour on 12 – 13 August 2014.
For a full list of events at the First Direct Arena visit the website.
With so much to do, see, explore and discover in this fascinating city, spending a weekend in Leeds will merely touch the surface of what’s on offer. What it will do is give you a taste to come back for more.
Have you been anywhere or had a great experience in Leeds that you’d like to share? If so, we’d love to hear about it.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Leeds, our conveniently-located apartment accommodation will ensure your visit to Leeds is as luxurious and comfortable as it deserves to be.