My best friend moved up to Leeds from London about 10 years or so ago, and it’s still hard to know that she is so far away! There’s nothing quite like the friendship you have with your bestie. With the distance (200+ miles) between us, we don’t see each other as often as we would like to; when she comes down here, it’s like coming back home. When I go up there, it’s like going on a little holiday!
As our families have grown up, it does mean that we can’t stay overnight at her house anymore – there just isn’t the room for all of us! So these days we end up staying in a local Travelodge which is just a short drive from her house. We pick this value hotel because of the price first and foremost – we don’t want to spend a fortune on somewhere to rest our heads, as we’ll be out and about, and catching up with each other!
I wish I had a photo of us together in school, but the oldest I have on my computer is from my 21st birthday, and then one of us in summer of 2014 when she came down south! Just writing this post makes me realise how much I miss my bezza!
As I said, going up north for us is like going on a holiday as there is so much up there that we haven’t done, and so, I thought I’d make a list of things to do in Leeds.
10 Things To Do When Visiting Leeds
1. Harewood House and Gardens, LS17 9LQ
Harewood House was built in the 18th century, and is one of the Treasure Houses of England. Over 100 acres of gardens with a variety of plants from all over the world, there is plenty to explore, including a walled garden, bird garden, Himalayan garden and an adventure playground for kids. All this in the setting of a magnificent landscape created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
[Image Credit: Harewood.org]
2. Tropical World, LS8 1DF
Tropical World at Roundhay Park is home to one of the largest collection of tropical plants outside of Kew Gardens. You can see meerkats, visit the butterfly house and watch the fish in the Amazon tank, amongst other attractions.
3. Thackray Medical Museum, LS9 7LN
The Thackray Medical Museum started life as a Leeds Union workhouse in 1861, and eventually the added infirmary became St. James’ Hospital in 1925 when workhouses were no longer needed. In 1948 the merged workhouse and infirmary became part of the NHS, and in 1990 was considered unfit for modern medicine. Because of its listed building status it became a museum in 1997. The museum cares for over 47,000 items of historical medical equipment, holds various events through the year and is a popular place for ghost hunts!
[Image Credit: Wikipedia]
4. Lotherton Hall, LS25 3EB
A charming Edwardian house and country estate with plenty to see and do including a bird garden, deer park, play areas and a 12th century chapel. The bird garden has over 480 individual birds from more than 130 species.
5. National Media Museum, BD1 1NQ
We all visited the National Media Museum about 5 years or so ago which is in Bradford, about 10 miles outside of Leeds city centre. It is home to over 3.5 million items of historical significance. They look after the National Photography, National Cinematography, National Television and National New Media Collections. The museum is spread over 8 floors with traditional and interactive galleries and is also home to the first IMAX theatre in the UK.
[Image Credit: National Media Museum]
6. Temple Newsam, LS15 0AE
Temple Newsam is an impressive Tudor-Jacobean mansion and birthplace Lord Darnley, notorious husband of Mary Queen of Scots. It is home to one of the most important collections of decorative arts in Britain. The house is set in grounds landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. You can enjoy a round of golf here, walk in the woods and visit the working rare breeds farm.
7. Royal Armouries Museum, LS10 1LT
The Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds has over 8,500 objects on display throughout five galleries: War, Tournament, Oriental, Self-defence, and Hunting. There is a Jester’s Yard Play Area for children, you can train to be a knight at Knight School and practise your shot at the Crossbow Range. The museum also includes the Hall of Steel, a giant staircase whose walls are decorated with trophy displays composed of 2,500 objects reminiscent of the historical trophy displays erected by the Tower Armouries from the 17th century.
8. Leeds United FC Stadium Tours at Elland Road, LS11 0ES
Leed is home to Leeds United Football Club and they are one of the only clubs that allow behind the scenes stadium tours on the days of home games. The tour takes you on to all the main places of interest including the dressing rooms where you may get to see the kits laid out in readiness for the match, walk up the tunnel towards the pitch and sit in the manager’s seat in the dugout.
There are lots of places to shop in Leeds including: The Grand Arcade is one of the oldest shopping Arcades in Leeds City Centre, and is full of independent retailers. The White Rose Shopping Centre is located on the outskirts of the city. Crown Point Shopping Center is located in the heart of the city centre. Victoria Quarter is a beautiful shopping centre and known as the premium shopping centre in the North of England and home to the first Harvey Nichols store outside London. Leeds Corn Exchange is one of Britain’s finest Victorian buildings and a Grade 1 listed structure. Unique fashion, jewellery, beauty and gifts all under one amazing domed roof with great food and drink and special events most weekends. Trinity Leeds is the city’s newest and biggest shopping and leisure destination with over 120 shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
10. Food & Drink
As you would imagine, a vibrant city like Leeds will have plenty of places to eat and drink. Some of my friend’s recommendations are Cosmo – a buffet restaurant; Akbars serving authentic Indian food and Red’s True Barbecue – slow cooked meat with specially crafted rubs and seasonings in casual wood and brick filled canteen. You could also try out The Midnight Bell – for a pint of Leeds Best with a plate of beer battered fish and chips. The Cross Keys – award winning gastro pub with a large outside courtyard for summer drinks, and a real log fire for cosy meals in the winter. The Sunshine Bakery – a small cafe serving plenty of cute cupcakes and other treats. Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen – an independent venue with music, art, film and food spread across three floors, including Leeds’ most spectacular roof terrace.
Until I started researching all the different things to do in Leeds, I really hadn’t realised how much there was to do! A visit must be planned soon – not just to visit my friend and her family, but to go on some great days out and continue to tick off my list of wanting to visit all of England’s counties!
Do you live in Leeds or visited before? What other things would you add to this list?
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