If you’re planning a visit to Leeds, we highly recommend staying for at least a weekend to allow plenty of time for exploring the city and surrounding area. It is possible to get a real taste of Leeds life in a short 24-hour trip, although you’re likely to leave wanting more. If you do find yourself in the city for just one day, follow our itinerary below to make the most out of your time.
There are so many amazing places to eat breakfast in and around Leeds that you’ll be spoilt for choice, but if you’re only visiting for one day, make Layne’s Espresso your first choice. Located right by the train station, it’s the perfect location for popping into as soon as you arrive in the city. Treat yourself to one of the best coffees in Leeds and their trademark vegetarian breakfast (bacon is an additional extra).
Once you’re fed and watered, spend a couple of hours exploring one of the best high streets outside of London. You’ll find every high street store that you need, alongside an interesting array of independent stores to explore. Head into the Victorian arcades to admire the ornate architecture and discover intriguing shops such as Village bookstore and Tall Boys Beer Market. Serious shopaholics shouldn’t miss the Victoria Gate shopping centre.
If you’d like to visit a selection of the city’s most interesting buildings but feel a little overwhelmed with the short amount of time that you have available, try following the owl trail around the city centre. The unofficial emblem of the city, owls, appear everywhere, including on statues and as part of mosaics on buildings like the City Library, Leeds Municipal and the Town Hall. Follow this map to discover some of the most interesting owl motifs while admiring the architecture.
Once you start to feel peckish, make a beeline for Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen for a quick lunch in relaxed surroundings. Treat yourself to a couple of slices of Dough Boys pizza (your first two slices are half price) or an award-winning burger and loaded fries from Patty Smiths. If the sun is shining, head out to the roof terrace to enjoy a frozen cocktail or craft beer outside.
Take advantage of sunny days by exploring some of the beautiful outdoor spaces that surround the city. Our top choice would be to visit Kirkstall Abbey to explore the ruins while enjoying the fresh air. Take a stroll along the river or take a well-earned rest and sit on the grass while catching up with friends.
Don’t despair if the weather is miserable, there are plenty of indoor options for spending an afternoon. The Henry Moore Institute is not to be missed, offering one of the largest sculpture gallery spaces in Europe. Admire iconic pieces of work by the prolific artist alongside the temporary exhibition spaces.
When it comes to picking a restaurant for dinner, there are plenty of outstanding options in the city centre, but we really think that every visitor to Leeds should experience Bundobust. Specialising in South Indian street food and craft beer, this buzzing space has secured rave reviews both sides of the Pennines after opening a sister restaurant in Manchester last year. If there’s a group of you dining, opt for their special offer that gives you everything on the menu for just £60.
Once you’re feeling suitably stuffed, head out into the night to explore the vast variety of bars in the city. Set up residence for the night on Headrow House’s roof terrace or check out the programme to try to catch a local band playing at A Nation of Shopkeepers. If you prefer pints to cocktails, Parkside Tavern or The Cross Keys are all great options with cosy interiors and sizable beer gardens.
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meet our Local Insider
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WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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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.