The ‘Knightsbridge of the North’, Leeds is the doyen of dance and classical music in the north: it is the only city outside London to have its own ballet and opera companies. In addition to this thriving cultural scene, Leeds offers a dining experience to match, with numerous culinary gems and fine-dining destinations serving top-quality fare. We take a closer look at Leeds’ ten must-try cultural restaurants.
There was much fanfare when Trinity Leeds, the immense shopping centre, opened in 2013. Housing many chain restaurants, there is one establishment, however, that stands out from the rest. On the 5th floor, you can find the award-winning Crafthouse: a restaurant that has quickly forged an impressive reputation for fine dining in Leeds. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients sourced locally, such as Bridlington crab and lamb from the Yorkshire Moors, diners can enjoy a gourmet culinary experience whilst drinking in the panoramic view of the city. Additionally, Crafthouse is armed with a Josper oven, which provides a unique technique in the preparation of meat and fish, char grilling at 480 degrees over charcoal.
When Benjamin Harvey decided to expand his empire, he chose Leeds as the home for his second department store. The Fourth Floor café and bar are a visual feast, owing to their contemporary art deco decor and windows revealing stunning vistas over the city. Their mission is to serve fresh local food underlining the best of Yorkshire in a glamorous setting; highlights include Beverley duck served with confit leg tarte tatin and figs, or line-caught stone bass with mussels and chive velouté.
A bright and stylish restaurant featuring a stunning waterside balcony, Brasserie Forty 4 is generally regarded as one of Leeds’ most original contemporary dining establishments. It showcases the finest food in British and Mediterranean cooking and updates its menu every two months, thereby keeping it fresh and exciting. Some of their signature delicacies include Portobello mushrooms served with goat’s cheese, spinach, pine nuts and tomato sauce, or the tender halibut with asparagus and truffle butter. With its subtle, elegant decor and sophisticated atmosphere, Brasserie Forty 4 is the perfect spot for a special occasion dinner.
A beautiful, vintage interior and commitment to the best of British tradition define Just Grand!, a one-of-a-kind cafe in the heart of Leeds. Boasting a brand-new location in the Grand Arcade, this establishment serves up a tantalising assortment of loose-leaf teas, accompanied by delicious scones and teacakes; tea aficionados can also pick ‘the full works’, a speciality that includes unlimited Yorkshire tea and three courses, arranged beautifully on a vintage cake stand. Though the cakes and teas are an obvious draw, the biggest attraction is the cafe’s atmosphere; flowers, pastel colours and vintage clutter dominate the scene, crafting a setting that’s just grand.
An informal bar-restaurant on the edge of the city centre, The Reliance is a relaxed and friendly environment which delivers delicious modern British dishes, including Yorkshire pork sausages, Erdinger-battered haddock and spatchcocked poussin. With a wide selection of craft beers on offer, an in-house charcuterie and a laid-back decor, The Reliance is a firm favourite for a casual night out, where fresh, homemade food and great drinks are guaranteed.
If you fancy eating in a more rural and grandiose setting, then make your way over to Hazlewood Castle. Located just 15 miles away from Leeds, in a town called Tadcaster, this former monastery is surrounded by 77 acres of woodland. The restaurant itself is called Vavasour, named after the family estate which has owned the castle since the Norman times. In addition to many culinary events held throughout the year, Vavasour boasts a menu of local meats and fish, cooked to perfection and served in a historic atmosphere; a must-try for history lovers.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.