Things to do in Leeds

Now you've got your cheap tickets to Leeds, why not explore what the city has to offer with these 7 exciting activities...

 

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1. Discover the ancient Latin city of Lanuvium

Ancient Rome is one of the most interesting and captivating periods in history – power-drunk emperors, gruesome gladiator fights and rich, gout-inducing food.

And you can explore its history at Leeds City Museum.

Lanuvium was one of the oldest Latin cities and plays a big part in the history of Rome.

Solid marble statues of cavalrymen and horses’ heads found in the city were brought to Leeds by the British ambassador to Rome in 1896.

They once stood proud in the ancient city, but they’re now on display at Leeds City Museum. The statues were carved after a great battleground victory, so the history books tell us, in the 1st century BC.

Just a bit old then.

 

Where is it? Millennium Square, LS2 8BH

How much? FREE! 

2. See swashbuckling swords from Middle Earth

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy captivated audiences with its tales of Middle Earth, bringing to life the legendary books written by JR Tolkien in the 1950s.

The swords used by some of the films’ main characters were central to the story. From Anduril, the sword of Aragorn to the two-handed sword of Gandalf – Glamdring.

Now you can see them yourself (kind of).

The swordsmith Peter Lyon who made these has created accurate replicas of some of these swords, and they’re now on display at the Royal Armouries, Leeds.

 

Where is it? Armouries Drive, LS10 1LT

How much? FREE!

3. Walk in Charlie Chaplin’s footsteps at Leeds City Varieties

Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton are among the entertainment greats to have trodden the boards at this Victorian theatre.

Leeds City Varieties, opened 140 years ago, was the perfect example of a music hall – the popular Victorian-era talent-show format which included singers, comics and magicians among the acts.

Most other music halls from then have been knocked down or developed. But City Varieties is pretty much as it was in 1865 – it’s recently reopened after millions of pounds were spent restoring the carpets, seats and plasterwork.

And now you can venture backstage, onstage and into other off-limits areas with a theatre tour of City Varieties, which still hosts concerts, comedians and other live shows.

 

Where is it? Swan Street, LS1 6LW

How much? Adults £5, Under-18s £3  

4. Window-shop in exclusive shopping arcades

Leeds is the shopping capital of the north. Its most exclusive stores can be found in the historic shopping arcades, just off the main drag of Briggate.

The Victoria Quarter has the most high-end brands, and also the grandest designs. You’ll love its stained-glass windows and marble floors, not forgetting the ornate wrought-iron metalwork and pretty shopfronts.

The shops’ stock is equally stunning – from expensive leather bags at Mulberry to designer frames at Cutler and Gross, sharp suits at Paul Smith and preppy dresses at Hobbs.

Expect serious shopping envy.

 

Where is it? 4 Cross Arcade, Victoria Quarter, LS1 6AZ

How much? FREE (if you can resist temptation)

5. Swerve the shops at Kirkstall Abbey

What about when you’re all shopped out? Head out of Leeds along the River Aire to these spooky remains of a Medieval abbey.

Kirkstall Abbey was home to monks in the 12th century. Much of the abbey still stands today and is littered with nooks and crannies for inquisitive families to explore. 

Nestled in parkland and surrounded by ancient trees, it’s a million miles from the buzz of Leeds city centre and a great place for a spot of quiet contemplation.

Step in and out of shadows cast by the towering walls and ponder the vastness of history and time. And if it rains, there’s a great museum on-site too.

 

Where is it? Abbey Road, Kirkstall, LS5 3EH 

How much? FREE! 

6. Dip some pita bread at the hummus café

Whether you’re plunging pita or scooping carrot sticks, hummus is an incredibly moreish snack.

We can’t get enough of the whole mashed chickpeas thing. So what about a café that serves only hummus (and falafel)? Humpit is a truly original place to eat – and what’s more it’s easy on the wallet.

It’s causing quite a stir – with stacks of good TripAdvisor reviews and a nod of approval from Sir Richard Branson with a Virgin Foodprenuer award.

Why not see what all the fuss is about? They even tell you how to eat it – grab it, rip it, wipe it (apparently).

 

Where is it? Corn Exchange, Call Lane, LS1 7BR 

How much? Hummus in Pita, £3.99 

7. Give your kids a skateboarding lesson

Do you have young children who dream of riding halfpipes on skateboard or BMX one day?   

Take them to the Works skatepark for an afternoon watching the supremely talented boarders and BMXers doing their stuff.

While your kids watch awestruck at the grinds, kick-flips and massive air coming off the ramps, you can relax with a coffee and a good book in the café.

And for a real treat, you can even book them in for a lesson.

 

Where is it? Kitson Road, LS10 1 NT

How much? FREE (to watch)