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

Portable Sculpture at Henry Moore Institute in Leeds
Exhibitions Until 29 August 2021, FREE

Portable Sculpture at Henry Moore Institute in Leeds

Portable Sculpture will explore sculptures from 1934 to the present day that are designed to fold up, pack down or dismantle.

Northern Ballet Swan Lake
Dance Until 26 June 2021, from £20.00

Northern Ballet: Swan Lake at Leeds Grand Theatre

Set to Tchaikovsky’s electrifying score, Swan Lake is ballet’s greatest love story and adored by audiences all over the world.

Compass Festival : One in, One Out: Leeds' Smallest Gay Bar
Festivals Until 27 June 2021, FREE

Compass Festival 2021

With live art installations and performances, Compass Festival is set to animate the city of Leeds this summer.

Ballad of Crown Point Bridge
Visual Arts Until 27 June 2021, FREE

The Ballad of Crown Point Bridge at Crown Point Bridge

Blending voice recordings and the sounds of the city’s water, The Ballad of Crown Point Bridge is a new sonic artwork for Leeds.

Zadie Xa: Moon Poetics 4 Courageous Earth Critters and Dangerous Day Dreamers at Leeds Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 4 September 2021, FREE

Zadie Xa: Moon Poetics 4 Courageous Earth Critters and Dangerous Day Dreamers at Leeds Art Gallery

Visitors are taken on a journey through multiple dimensions by five animal guides which speak of the damages caused by industry and resource extraction.