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

Writer and performer Jess Green.
Literature 30 June 2022 8:00 pm, from £10.00

Tubthumping at The Constitutional

A rip-roaring evening featuring some of the UK’s most dynamic spoken word poets: Nymphs & Thugs present Tubthumping at The Constitutional, this time round featuring Jess Green and Sabrina Mahfouz.

Festivals 22–25 September 2022, from £15

Leeds International Festival of Ideas 2022

Leeds International Festival, the UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation, is back in 2022, with a focus on tackling some of the most crucial questions of our time.

Music 30 October 2022 7:30 pm, from £13.50

Porridge Radio at Leeds Irish Centre

Porridge Radio are one of the most vital new voices in alternative music, having gone from being darlings of the DIY underground to one of the UK’s most thrilling bands in the space of less than a year.

Exhibitions 8 July–30 October 2022, FREE

Lungiswa Gqunta at The Henry Moore Institute

Lungiswa Gqunta’s largest exhibition to date internationally, will be on display at The Henry Moore Institute this July.

Exhibitions Until 18 September 2022, FREE

Emily Hesse: The Witches’ Institution (W.I.) at The Tetley

Emily Hesse imagines what a cultural institution run by a community of witches would look like for her brand new show ‘The Witches’ Institution (W.I.)’ at The Tetley.

Exhibitions Until 29 August 2022, FREE

Bubu Ogisi at The Tetley

Nigerian artist Bubu Ogisi presents new work at The Tetley, produced during her 2022 residency, made in collaboration with young creatives in Leeds.

Exhibitions Until 16 October 2022, FREE

Jill McKnight: Desire Lines at Leeds Art Gallery

Leeds-based artist Jill McKnight presents a new body of work: Desire Lines, exploring the physical and metaphorical paths Leeds residents have taken across generations.

Activity 6–7 August 2022, from £175.00

Stone Carving Weekend Workshop

Get hands on with a weekend of stone carving with expert sculptor Dominic Hopkinson at Sunny Bank Mills Galley.

Peter & Friends' Summer Adventure at Kirkstall Abbey
Theatre 6 August 2022 10:00 am, from £11.50

Peter & Friends’ Summer Adventure at Kirkstall Abbey

Packed with mischievous characters, this entertaining promenade performance is sure to put a little hop, skip and a jump into everyone’s day.