By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
Only got a weekend? Here’s how to make the most of Leeds across two days.
Begin your weekend at Leeds Tourist Information Centre in the heart of the city. Book a theatre performance and cram a couple of trail guides in your pocket. Walking is a wonderful way to soak up the sights of Leeds. Venture out on foot with the family trail, architecture trail, waterfront trail or even the unique owl-spotting trail – the choice is yours.
Stop for lunch at one of the city’s many excellent eateries. Independents like Manjit’s Kitchen, Mr Mackerel and Yorkshire Wrap Company await inside Kirkgate Market. Trinity Kitchen serves up even more choice with big-name restaurants and street food stalls rubbing shoulders on the top floor of Trinity Leeds, the city’s main shopping centre.
After a bite to eat, stretch your legs and expand your mind at the free cultural attractions on offer. Leeds Art Gallery contains one of the best collections of 20th-century British art outside of London. Inside, the ornate Tiled Hall Café makes for a picture-perfect pit stop. Leave plenty of time to come face-to-face with Egyptian mummies at Leeds City Museum. Or, take a short stroll along the River Aire to admire 8,000 weaponry exhibits at the Royal Armouries Museum.
As night falls, don your glad rags for a swish pre-theatre meal at Kendells Bistro or The Wardrobe. Both are a stone’s throw from Leeds Playhouse. From musicals and comedies to shows from local writers, the theatre’s seasonal programme is wonderfully diverse. For touring West End productions, head for the bright lights of Leeds Grand Theatre.
Leeds is a shopping haven. Find a treat to take home inside the Victoria Quarter, a glittering arcade adorned with gilded mosaics and designer shops galore. Adjoining the arcade is Harvey Nichols. Even if you’re not tempted by the premium brands, the department store’s Fourth Floor Brasserie is a great spot to relax with a glass of fizz.
A mix of independent boutiques sit opposite in Thornton’s Arcade and Queens Arcade. Meanwhile, high street favourites abound on pedestrianised Briggate. If you’re hungry after all that retail therapy, grab one of the best sandwiches in Leeds from Olive & Rye in Queens Arcade. For a treat, FINT on Great George Street is a masterclass of Scandi-cool, while Bundobust and Little Bao Boy specialise in tasty street eats.
Walk off the post-lunch slump with a trip to the suburb of Roundhay. This is where you’ll find magnificent Roundhay Park with its 700 acres of rolling woodland and flower-filled gardens. Once you’ve got your fresh air fix, say hello to the meerkats, snakes and butterflies at Tropical World indoor wildlife park.
Round off your weekend in Leeds with a meal to remember. HOME, led by chef Elizabeth Cottam, crafts exquisite tasting menus that put the fine in fine dining. If you’ve still got energy to spare, Leeds’ legendary nightlife is only just getting started. Take your dancing shoes to Call Lane where back-to-back bars include über-cool speakeasy, The Maven, the delightfully wacky Cuckoo, and the good-time party bar, Oporto.
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