It’s one of the most diverse cities in England and it’s the city we love so dear.
We want to share that love by shouting about some of favourite things to do in this magnificent home of ours. If you live in Leeds, you’ll understand. If you don’t live in Leeds, you’ll be considering your options about a few minutes from now.
Have a drink in a three-century-old pub
Alright, alright. Beer might be one of Leeds’ favourite things, but, trust us, it’s for good reason.
Whitelock’s Ale House, located just off Briggate in the city centre, is one of the oldest (and best) pubs in Leeds, having been established all the way back in 1715. That’s a lot of time to learn how to pull a pint and pull a pint they can, indeed.
or have a drink on a boat
This list won’t be entirely about beer, honest, but this one is worth putting on your Leeds to-do list.
There’s a boat on a roundabout and it’s a pub. That’s all we need to say, right? Oh yeah, its name. It’s called Dry Dock and it’s located on Woodhouse Lane near Leeds Beckett University. All aboard.
Take in a show at the Grand Theatre
Like many cities of similar size, Leeds has a number of top city centre theatres. While the modern delights of the West Yorkshire Playhouse are not to be dismissed, the Grand Theatre is arguably the best to visit for those who want top-class entertainment with opulent surroundings to match.
The Grand Theatre, built in 1878, hosts operas, plays and even stand-up comedy from some of the biggest names in the world, as well as a few local artists. A night at the opera is best enjoyed here because the setting and the performance are truly a marriage made in heaven; a meal out at one of the bars or restaurants along nearby North Street can make the night really special.
Aside from beer, Leeds is famous for a few other things, too. Its shopping scene is deemed one of the best around and it’s easy to see why.
The Trinity Shopping Centre that opened in 2012 is on another level (or a few other levels) and even boasts its own indoor street food canteen with a monthly rotation of stands from all over the country.
The city centre is compact, so it’s easy to get between top shops like the Apple Store and House of Fraser and it will soon be home to another brand new shopping centre in Victoria Gate (open late-2016), which will have a huge John Lewis department store.
Watch a film in a century-old cinema
Cottage Road Cinema, north of the city centre in Headingley, is over 100 years old. It’s been continuously screening films since 1912 and prides itself on retaining its heritage as a cinema that doesn’t submit to modern expectations, plainly because it doesn’t need to.
This is evident in the screenings of old classics like Psycho and Brief Encounter, as well as new blockbusters, which you can experience in the way cinema used to be for just a few quid.
Visit Harewood House
Travel a few minutes north of Leeds and you can experience one of the finest country houses in England. Harewood House was built in the 18th century and boasts some terrific examples of contemporary art and wonderful gardens.
It was the location of the ceremonial start of the Tour de France when it came to Yorkshire in 2014 and it’s easy to see why the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge looked so comfortable there.
Jogging in Roundhay Park
The people of Leeds are spoilt for choice when it comes to green spaces. Golden Acre Park, Kirkstall Abbey Park and Middleton Park all spring to mind, but the most famous of all is Roundhay Park. In the north-east of the city, this 700 acre-plus park is a must-visit for anyone who wants to go running or jogging.
Roundhay Park is often used as a starting or finishing point for marathons, and it’s easy to see why. The path that goes around the lake is perfect for a run, providing great views and plenty of corners and hills to navigate. It’s also a good spot for picnicking and hosts the most popular fireworks display in the Leeds on 5th November.
See tropical life at Tropical World
In one of the biggest city parks in Europe, Roundhay Park, lies a tropical home for plants and animals alike. Tropical World, which houses everything from butterflies to terrapins, is an unbeatable day out for families with kids. Combine it with a picnic in the park and everybody is happy!
Visit the first direct Arena
One of the newest additions to the Leeds skyline, the first direct Arena is a massive indoor venue that the city craved for years. Holding more than 13,000 fans for live gigs, its acoustics are first-rate and it has great views from just about every angle.
Aside from live music, the arena also hosts comedy, boxing, darts, wrestling and miscellaneous events such as job fairs. It has a highly-rated restaurant too, just to the left of the main entrance.
Visit the home of champions
Leeds is home to three famous sporting teams: three-time English champions Leeds United, reigning Super League champions Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket Club, who hold the County Championship crown.
Leeds United may play in the second tier of English football these days, but a day at Elland Road is well worth a try, especially in a local derby against Huddersfield Town or Sheffield Wednesday. The Rhinos and Yorkshire play in adjacent stadiums in Headingley; the latter boast world-class cricketers including Joe Root, who can also be seen in test matches in the same venue for England!
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This post was written by John I