See armour worn by elephants (and kings)
If you’ve ever felt interested in the history of warfare and battle, then you’ll find the Royal Armouries well worth a visit. It charts the history of battle from the Middle Ages to the modern day.
The elephant armour is a real must-see.
Dating back to 17th-century India, at a time when elephants were sent to battle, it’s the largest animal armour in the world. You can see it dressed on an artificial elephant – all 118kg and 5,840 plates of it.
Where is it? Armouries Drive, LS10 1LT
How much? FREE!
More info: The Royal Armouries
Watch a film in a 1920s cinema
Step back into the golden age of silent movies at the 1920s cinema at Armley Mills Industrial Museum. Cinema became hugely popular after the First World War for its cheap escapism.
Charlie Chaplin was the big star of silent cinema – and a piano would play while the stars mimed out funny scenes. Sit down and enjoy a movie at one of the world’s smallest working 1920s cinemas at Armley Mills. Pass the popcorn.
Where is it? Armley, LS12 2QF – a short train ride out of Leeds
How much? £3.30 adults, £1.40 children, £7.50 for family ticket
More info: Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills
Feed the animals at Temple Newsam Farm
A trip to a petting farm is the perfect tonic for bored kids, fed up after a day of shopping. And at Temple Newsam you can find a real working farm with more than 400 animals to get to know.
There’s everything from pigs and goats to cows and chickens – many of which are free to roam around the farmyard. It’s one of the largest rare-breed farms in Europe.
If you’re lucky, you may catch them on a demonstration day, when the kids can see how butter was made and other tasks from the days of yore.
Where is it? Take the No 10 bus from Leeds station, LS15 OAE
How much? £9.60 for a family ticket
More info: Temple Newsam House and Home Farm
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, found just off the main drag of Briggate.
The Victoria Quarter has the most high-end brands, and also the grandest design. 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)
More info: Victoria Quarter
Take the Owl Trail through Leeds city centre
Looking for a different way to get to know Leeds? How about through the eyes of several owls? You can explore the industrial history of the city with Owl Trail.
Owl sculptures old and new are dotted across the city – fill a couple of hours by trying to follow the Trail and find them all. It’s a great way of tiring out the kids.
Where is it? City-wide
How much? FREE!
More info: The Leeds Owl Trail
Gaze at the Monet Garden at Roundhay Park
Claude Monet is behind some of the prettiest paintings of all time.
Many of the Impressionist painter’s most-famous works were influenced by the gardens at his cottage in Giverny in France – from waterlilies atop shimmering ponds to iridescent irises.
You can get a feel for Monet’s gardens in Leeds, at Roundhay Park with a garden influenced by his work. It’s, rather unsurprisingly, called The Monet Garden.
Where is it? Roundhay Park, LS8 2ER
How much? FREE!
More info: Roundhay Park – the Monet Garden
Walk to Headingley and Woodhouse Moor
Fancy stretching your legs? The slow climb from Leeds city centre up towards Headingley is a mighty fine walk. Headingley is a cool, slightly bohemian student-y area.
On your stroll you’ll take in the grand Leeds University, the sprawling Woodhouse Moor and lots of quirky independent shops – including vintage boutiques and cool charity shops.
Buy a caramel latte from one of the many coffee shops, and stride off into Woodhouse Moor to really blow the cobwebs away.
Where is it? It’s about an hour’s stroll from town – map here
How much? Free! (until you buy a coffee)
More info Time Out Leeds Headingley article