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Leeds attractions

Leeds makes the most of its natural beauty and fascinating history and these are some of the best attractions to visit. Start your day by taking a water taxi along the River Aire to Leeds Dock, where you can visit the Royal Armouries. Tourists come from around the UK to see its national collection of arms and armour. Capability Brown landscaped the grounds of Temple Newsam, a Tudor-Jacobean house to the east of the city which is definitely worth a trip.

Kirkstall Abbey is a beautiful ruin, founded in 1152, it remains one of the most complete Cistercian monasteries in Britain and just across the road is the Abbey House Museum, where you can experience life as a Victorian in the recreated street. Leeds is rightly proud of Roundhay Park, one of the biggest city parks in Europe, with more than 700 acres of woodland, parkland, playgrounds and lakes to explore.

If you prefer to continue browsing the historic side of Leeds, then the City Museum is well worth a visit. Get past the huge Bengal tiger that guards the entrance, say hello to Nesyamun, the Egyptian mummy, and check out the many other events that take place all year round. For 2019, one of the must-see exhibitions features the work of children’s author Michael Morpurgo.

Housed in what was once the world’s largest woollen mill, Leeds Industrial Museum holds collections of textile machinery, railway equipment and heavy engineering. Until September, catch the Queens of Industry exhibition, but there are events throughout the year.

If old industry is your interest, don’t miss the eco-friendly water-powered mill and Georgian house at Thwaite Watermill. Guided tours are available. Travel back to old Leeds in the Thackray Medical Museum on Beckett Street. It’s in the former Leeds Union Workhouse, built in 1861. It became a museum in 1997 and is open every day.


Our picks


Royal Armouries Museum
Royal Armouries Museum

Armouries Dr, Leeds LS10 1LT

Home of the national collection of arms and armour and international jousting, the Royal Armouries Museum houses a world-renowned collection of over 75,000 objects. This national museum is a short distance out of town and can be reached by a stroll alongside the River Aire. Check out the weapons and armour of warriors through the ages from early medieval knights to the modern-day soldier. Or discover treasures from around the globe – explore the Ottoman Empire, the Wild West, Europe, Japan and India. A fascinating free day out for the whole family, there’s also hands-on history activities and live combat demonstrations. Visit website


The Emmerdale Studio Experience
Film set

27 Burley Rd, Leeds LS3 1JT

The Emmerdale Studio Experience is the only way to tour the official TV set. Follow in the footsteps of Yorkshire’s best loved soap-stars on this guided walking tour of Emmerdale’s outdoor TV set. Visit website


Thackray Medical Museum
Thackray Medical Museum

Harehills, Leeds LS9 7LN

Housed in the old Leeds Union Workhouse Thackray is one of the largest medical museums in the UK. Through nine interactive galleries you will be taken on a journey of discovery to explore the incredible world of medicine. Travel from the Victorian age to the present day to explore the fascinating world of surgery and find out how breakthroughs in science have changed all our lives for the better. Visit website


Yorkshire Air Museum
Spitfire aeroplane

Halifax Way, Elvington, York YO41 4AU

The Yorkshire Air Museum is a living memorial to all allied air forces personnel particularly those during the Second World War, and especially the tens of thousands of young people who gave their lives in that conflict. The Museum aims to be relevant to present day generations by explaining, in a realistic way, what life was like on a typical wartime bomber station, as well as displaying the history of aviation. Visit website


Middleton Railway
Steam train

The Middleton Railway Trust Ltd, Moor Rd, Leeds LS10 2JQ

Visit the world’s oldest working railway for a steam/diesel hauled train ride at Middleton Railway. Located within 10 minutes from Leeds city centre and has easy access from the M621. The running season is from the start of April until the end of October, there’s also a free museum and monthly special events. Visit website


Northern Monk Brew Co
Northern Monk Brewery

Marshalls Mill, The Old Flax Store, Marshall St, Leeds LS11 9YJ

Like the monks before them, Northern Monk Brew Co is committed to creating the highest quality beers, combining the best of traditional monastic brewing values with a progressive approach to ingredients and techniques. The Refectory is a true showcase of the beer that is brewed either downstairs or at the new facility just half a mile down the road offering up to 18 Northern Monk beers at any given time. The fridges are packed with the brewary’s latest canned and bottled releases for you to take away with you. The kitchen hosts regular takeovers as Northern Monk look to use their venue and products as a platform for local like-minded businesses. Visit website


Like these? Try these…

Leeds restaurants and cafes

Leeds shopping

Leeds nightlife venues

Leeds cultural attractions

Image credits: © Ipopba/Jon Ritchie/stock.adobe.com; Royal Armouries; The Thackray Medical Museum; Tom Joy Photo/Northern Monk Brew Co

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