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UK breaks: 24 hours in Leeds

1

Start the day with a local favourite

Laynes Espresso

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.

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2

Shop in the historic Victoria Quarter

Victoria Quarter

 The Victoria Arcade or Victoria Quarter, Leeds Quarter is a restored traditional building in the middle of the, city with an arched glass roof, and an elegant early 20th century style.

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.

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3

Baulk at the cures of the past

Thackray Medical Museum

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.

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4

Lunch at Kirkgate Market

Kirkgate Market

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! 

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5

Take a tour of Leeds' Owl Trail

Civic Hall

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.

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6

Linger at The Henry Moore Institute

The Henry Moore Institute

External shot of the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds

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.

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7

See the Tiled Hall Café

Leeds Art Gallery

Entrance to Leeds Art Gallery

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.

8

Study history at the Royal Armouries Museum

Royal Armouries Museum

Weapons on display in The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.

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.

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9

Relish exciting tastes at The Man Behind The Curtain

The Man Behind The Curtain

Prawn laying on top of an old-fashioned telephone

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.

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10

Sip and savour cocktails at East 59th

East 59th

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. 

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11

Rest up at 42 The Calls

42 The Calls

 42 The Calls at night, Leeds, England

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.

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Good to know

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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  • 1

    Laynes Espresso

  • 2

    Victoria Quarter

  • 3

    Thackray Medical Museum

  • 4

    Kirkgate Market

  • 5

    Civic Hall

  • 6

    The Henry Moore Institute

  • 7

    Leeds Art Gallery

  • 8

    Royal Armouries Museum

  • 9

    The Man Behind The Curtain

  • 10

    East 59th

  • 11

    42 The Calls

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