Leeds is modern, vibrant and ever-changing but, like any big city, things can seem pricey. With so much great food, drink and retail therapy on offer, the possibilities are endlessly expensive. But can you live a luxury life on a budget in Leeds?
With the fourth largest student population in the UK, the answer is – yes! Leeds has lots on offer for free or very cheap, once you know where to look. Here’s how to live on a budget in Leeds, but still feel like a VIP.
Nestled between shops on Commercial Street and overlooked by many is tiny, quaint Leeds Library, the oldest lending library in the UK.
Hosting free exhibitions alongside great permanent works, the Leeds Art Gallery and adjacent Henry Moore Gallery are great places for your art fix. Whilst across town, Munro House is a smaller, less-known gallery which is just as worthy. In good weather, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a must, combining beautiful parklands with world-renowned sculptures.
Leeds has countless supermarkets, but the best place for price and quality is Kirkgate Market. Stock up on fruit and veg, and head down Butcher’s Row for great fresh fish and meats. You’ll also find great Asian, African, Caribbean, Chinese and Polish food you’ll struggle to find elsewhere.
For nightlife, activities & indulgence
Lots of the best Leeds venues are free entry. Head to Belgrave Canteen or Headrow House for great music, drinks and food. For more mainstream music, wander towards the universities, grabbing free entry flyers.
Grub and Grog, the refectory above the Northern Monk brewery serves great food at really reasonable prices alongside their beers, and the events floor upstairs features free to use ping pong tables.
If you’re in the mood for pampering, why not book a complimentary hand and arm massage at Jo Malone in the Victoria Quarter?
For food & drink
You’ll find great deals on food and drink if you know where to look. Head to Veeno, between 5-8pm for spuntini with your drink (think Italian meats, cheeses, and breads), or head to Livin’Italy, for aperitivo, featuring fresh pizza, pasta and bruschetta with your drink. (5-7pm weekdays).
You’ve probably walked past Caravanserai without knowing. This tiny, brightly-coloured shop window behind the Corn Exchange is famous city-wide. Their Trinity Kitchen pop-ups and Café Moor stall are endlessly popular. Those in the know ask to sit upstairs (it isn’t a restaurant, but you can enjoy your food in the simply decorated Moroccan room above the shop).
At lunchtime, nothing beats a flavoursome Keralan curry. Tharavadu’s express lunch thali offers several veggie curries, chutneys, rice and a dosa for £4.95 (£5.95 for meat).
North Brew Co supply some of Leeds’ best venues, and have decided to open their brewery on Fridays and Saturdays. You’re welcome to bring a takeaway with you; they promote a happy, beer-loving atmosphere!
For up-to-date information on deals at independent places to eat and drink all around Leeds, check out InDeals