Things to do in Leeds

Creative Tourist

There’s plenty of things to do in Leeds, a hub of northern creativity, the metropolis of Yorkshire and one of the greenest cities in the UK. With a population of over 750,000 and ambitious regeneration plans, the city is one of the largest and most rapidly developing in the country.

Tech companies are formed, record labels created and arts organisations promote social change. No wonder then, that this climate produces countless celebrations of the city’s cuisine, culture and history. Leeds has a packed calendar of events meaning that the city centre has a constant buzz of activity. Priding itself on its rich cultural diversity and history, Leeds plays host to the decades-old West Indian carnival every August.

Leeds Grand Theatre houses resident companies Opera North and Northern Ballet; both admired for their innovative and risk-taking approach, and their ability to reach diverse audiences through bold performance and fully inclusive participation projects. The city is also home to Phoenix Dance, one of the UK’s leading contemporary dance companies, radical touring theatre company, Red Ladder and the influential Leeds Playhouse, which has recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Part of the prestigious Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, head to Leeds Art Gallery to discover one of the best collections of 20th-century art before hopping across to the Henry Moore Institute next door. Leeds Dock is home to the Royal Armouries Museum and its six themed galleries holding the national collection of arms and armour.

If you look past the shiny facade of the Trinity and Victoria Gate shopping centres, you’ll find plenty of independent shops and eateries, coffee roasters and pop-up food places across Kirkgate Market, the Corn Exchange and the Victorian arcades. And the nightlife has an unmistakably northern vibe; whether you choose to have a chilled one in a boutique bar owned by the local brewery, or dance till the AM at one of the DIY club nights showcasing the city’s vibrant live music scene.

Discover our top picks

Dracula: The Untold Story at Leeds Playhouse
Theatre Until 9 October 2021, from £14.00

Dracula: The Untold Story at Leeds Playhouse

Using their cinematic storytelling techniques and cutting-edge technology, imitating the dog and Leeds Playhouse deliver a gothic horror for our time, politically loaded and relevant.

Toria Garbutt
Literature 2 October 2021 6:00 pm, from £14

Trouble At’ Mill: Queen’s Mill Word Fest in Castleford

Trouble At’ Mill: Queen’s Mill Word Fest is a new literary festival taking place in Castleford, on the banks of the River Aire, featuring performers Toria Garbutt and Matt Abbott.

Widescreen Weekend
Cinema 7–10 October 2021, from £30

Widescreen Weekend at The National Science and Media Museum

Widescreen Weekend celebrates its 25th edition with a programme of cinematic classics and exciting modern film.

Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre: Season of Dance
Dance 12 October–23 December 2021, from £5

Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre: Season of Dance

The spectacular season of dance includes DeNada Dance Theatre, Northern Ballet, Ballet Cymru and Humanoove, alongside free performances happening as part of Light Night Leeds 2021.

Literature 30 September 2021 5:00 pm,

Writing workshop with poet Matt Abbott at Chapel FM Arts Centre, Leeds

Poet Matt Abbott leads a free creative writing workshop for young people under the age of 26.

florence nightingale bicentenary: inspiration to genius
Exhibitions Until 17 October 2021,

Florence Nightingale Bicentenary: Inspiration to Genius

Florence Nightingale Bicentenary: Inspiration to Genius is an online exhibition exploring the life of Florence Nightingale and her connection to Lotherton Hall.

Thwaite at 30 online exhibition
Exhibitions Until 1 December 2021,

Thwaite at 30 at Thwaite Watermill

In the Thwaite at 30 online exhibition, uncover the fascinating story of Thwaite Watermill as it celebrates its 30th year as a museum.

archive open saturdays at sunny bank mills
Exhibitions Until 27 November 2021,

Archive Open Saturdays at Sunny Bank Mills

Discover the unique history of a textile mill and the community that surrounds it at the Sunny Bank Mills Archive Open Saturdays.

sounds of our city online exhibition
Exhibitions Until 31 December 2021,

Sounds of Our City Online Exhibition

The Sounds of Our City Online Exhibition gives you a chance to visit the current exhibition at Abbey House Museum virtually. Find out how the different musical styles and venues of Leeds interact.

Below the Salt Online Exhibition
Exhibitions Until 31 October 2021,

Below the Salt Online Exhibition

Below the Salt is an exhibition of new works by Catherine Bertola, shown alongside the first inventory of Temple Newsam House, made on 12 September 1520.