Leeds has plenty of great breakfast options, and Laynes Espresso is right at the top of the list. A firm favourite with commuters, Laynes pairs fresh European coffee with delicious breakfast bites to get any day off to a good start. Get your mouth watering with a plate of savoury buckwheat pancakes, or choose from a selection of vegan options to fuel you up.
High-street, designer and exciting independent brands can all be found in this series of shopping arcades. The beautiful Victoria Quarter is the place for deluxe buys amid marble, mahogany and stained-glass windows. Nearby, the Grade I-listed Corn Exchange is packed with character and independents.
For a more offbeat thing to do in Leeds, check out this warts’n’all history of medicine. It takes you from the quack ‘cures’ that prevailed on the grubby streets of Victorian Leeds to the driving force of modern military medicine, via lanced boils and surprisingly Instagrammable apothecary jars.
If you love sampling a bit of everything, grab your mates and head to Kirkgate Market. Serving tasty treats inspired by places around the world, you can chow down on the likes of American hot dogs at Fat Annies, syrupy baklava at Istanbul Bakery and Yorkshire's piece de resistance, the all-in-one Yorkshire pudding wrap!
Walk off lunch on the self-guided Leeds Owl Trail, starting at Civic Hall. Twenty-five owl statues roost along the route past key Leeds’ heritage sites. Look carefully and you’ll spot owls everywhere, from the modern Trinity Centre to the Victorian Town Hall. Why owls? Three of them feature on the Leeds Coat of Arms.
Moore trained as a sculptor in Leeds and, with neighbouring Leeds Art Gallery, this eponymous black granite-clad gallery has one of Britain’s best collections of home-grown sculpture. Expect to see anything from medieval sculpture to provocative works by leading contemporary sculptors, capped off with a world-class research library, archive and programme of thought-provoking events.
Yes, the artworks in Leeds Art Gallery are world-class, but it’s the Tiled Hall Café that earned the institution its place in locals’ hearts. It used to be a reading room, but now this ornately tiled room with marble columns and a mosaicked ceiling is the place for your Yorkshire tea fix.
Study history at the Royal Armouries Museum
Royal Armouries Museum
Gaze in awe (and a smidge of fear) at the national collection of arms and armour. There are spears, crossbows (you can shoot them on floor 5) and Henry VIII’s actual suit of armour – he was a large man but the suit pales in comparison to the 18-stone elephant armour also on display.
Relish exciting tastes at The Man Behind The Curtain
The Man Behind The Curtain
Dinner at the best restaurant in Leeds (the city’s only Michelin-starred restaurant) is more of an event than a meal. Each of the 10-14 “sequences” on the tasting menu is a work of modern art. Expect dishes like the Delhi to Dali – a Denia prawn served on a telephone – or the chef's signature dish, The Emancipation – fish and chips with a decadent twist. Book soon – rightly, there’s a long waiting list.
As the sun sets, head up to East 59th, a Manhattan-style rooftop bar serving top-quality drinks and cocktails. Gawk over Leeds' historic rooftops as you take a swig of your expertly made cocktails, like the signature gintastic Strawberry Sling or more classic flavours including mojitos and margaritas. The highlight of the bar's social calendar is its Saturday night parties where, from 1pm until midnight, resident DJs bring the hottest tunes while you indulge in tasty treats and tipples.
This exclusive boutique hotel doesn’t try to hide that it used to be an 18th-century flour factory. The rooms still have their original mill mechanisms, so you could end up sleeping under machinery used to haul grain up from the river outside. Top off your Leeds adventure with a tasty breakfast, starring one of 12 varieties of sausage.
Hop on the train and 30 minutes later you’ll be in Ilkley on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Get on your bike and coast/sweat your way along the same routes used by the Tour de France pros.
20 May 2021(last updated)
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