Leeds is known for having some of the best pubs in the United Kingdom, and a lot of them have been there for over a century. We’ve listed the best of the best to help you find the perfect spot for a pub lunch or a drink, whilst making you feel like you’re part of Leeds’ cultural heritage.
If you turn down a little alleyway right next to the hugely commercialized Trinity Shopping Centre, or just off Briggate Street, you will find yourself in the beer garden of the city’s oldest pub. First opened in 1715 as The Turks Head, it was renamed Whitelocks when it was taken over by the Whitelock family in the 1880’s. Nothing about this pub reflects its 21st century surroundings; the interior is full of dark woods and stained glass and the space is small and cosy, making it the perfect escape from the overcrowded shopping centre. The pub offers a large selection of local ales, all reasonably priced, and a quintessential pub grub menu if you’re after a bite to eat. Its history alone makes it a must-visit locale.
Another of Leeds’ historical pubs, The Packhorse is conveniently located right in the center of town. It is everything you could really want in a pub; it’s cheap, it sells local ales and continental lager and it’s got a great atmosphere. It has a great beer garden to make the most of the sun and the inside is warm and inviting to escape the cold. They are always putting on events and themed nights so it’s worth checking the website before you visit to see what’s on. This is another hidden gem tucked away off Briggate Street and you can’t help but feel slightly detached from the business of the city centre.
Walking into The Adelphi is a bit like taking a step back in time, as the period decor is similar to that of an original Victorian Tavern, until you notice the contemporary touches that make the atmosphere so cosy and inviting. This is a popular Leeds local that has stood the test of time and still continues to flourish. The food is delicious and from sustainable sources, with British pub classics as well as international dishes available. They have a weekly rotation of three local and two guest ales so you’re always guaranteed something new and interesting to try. We recommend heading there on a Sunday as they do a delicious roast using fresh, local seasonal produce.
Tucked away in the residential Woodhouse area of Leeds is The Chemic Tavern, a pub at the heart of the local community. Its simple decor and no-frills menu make this a quintessential British pub untouched by gentrification and the need to commercialize. If you live in Leeds and haven’t been here yet then save yourself a trip to the city center and definitely do so. Check the website as they literally have something going on every night, be it a pub quiz or live music there is always a reason to visit. What’s more, they were voted Yorkshire’s 4th favorite pub in 2013 and best pub in Leeds 2014, a pretty impressive accomplishment considering the competition.
Kirkstall is a seriously beautiful part of Leeds that doesn’t get the attraction or recognition that it deserves. It’s worth making the journey out of the city center to see the remains of Kirkstall Abbey as this is one of Leeds’ top historical sites. It’s even more worth it if you then stop off at the Bridge Inn for some food and a drink as this is definitely one of Leeds’ must-visit pubs. It has a brilliant house beer selection, all brewed on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool canal and they have guest kegs sourced from around the world. The food is really delicious – fresh and reasonably priced – and the interior is warm and inviting. This is the perfect place to stop off and spend a relaxing afternoon after wandering the ruins of the ancient abbey.