Leeds: A northern soul of shopping and sightseeing

A day out in Leeds can be anything you make it – from shopping-spree heaven to cultural tour or gastronomic blow-out. There’s enough variety in the city to keep everyone happy, whether you’re travelling as a family, getting a group of friends together or exploring solo.

Here’s a run-down of the best things to see and do in Leeds this autumn to inspire your next great day out.

 

Things to see and do in Leeds

As temperatures begin to drop, why not warm up in the inviting  Tropical World? Based at Roundhay Park, this ever-popular destination is home to all kinds of exotic animals and plants. Wander through the lush indoor gardens and look out for butterflies, bats, lemurs, crocodiles and an adorable group of meerkats.

You can take a step back in time at Royal Armouries, the UK’s National Museum of Arms and Armour. It’s home to over 8,500 objects from the world of military and hunting history, and with interactive displays and frequent events there’s plenty to keep families entertained. You can even try your hand at shooting a crossbow – supervised, of course.

 

 

Shopping in Leeds

You can easily spend a full day in Leeds doing nothing but shopping, thanks to its fantastic range of shopping centres, boutiques and specialist stores. 

The city centre is small and perfectly formed, meaning it’s easy to hop between points of interest. Leeds Corn Exchange is an essential stop for street fashion and boutique stores, while the Victoria Quarter has lots to offer for lovers of designer labels.

The biggest and newest of the city’s shopping destinations is Trinity Leeds, which sits across the city centre and incorporates the old Leeds Shopping Plaza. It offers an incredible range of stores and restaurants under one roof. Trinity Leeds is hosting the British Street Food Awards from 26-28 September.

Kirkgate Market is a Victorian indoor trade hub that’s a destination in itself thanks to the ornate décor and high-vaulted glass ceiling. As well as the traditional market fare like meat, fish and fresh produce, you’ll find clothes stalls, bric-a-brac, household goods and electricals. Interestingly, Kirkgate Market was the birthplace of Marks & Spencer. The retail chain opened a heritage stall here in 2013 that’s worth a stop-off.

Food and drink in Leeds

Yes, you can taste the flavours of the world without ever leaving West Yorkshire. The restaurant scene in Leeds is lively and diverse, with new dishes and menus popping up regularly. Here are some autumn favourites…

Neon Cactus offers hearty Mexican dishes to spice up a wintry evening or lunchtime. There’s a taco and tostada selection for sharing, nachos and of course the essentials – burritos, fajitas and enchiladas made with carefully sourced, authentic ingredients. 

Think of chicken restaurants as a guilty pleasure? Change your mindset at Bird and Beast, where succulent rotisserie dishes are taken to a new level with delectable dressings and charcoal-smoked flavour. There’s a healthy salad selection too, and to mix things up, a Sunday roast deal with beef and pork. 

Family-owned Safran is your destination for Iranian and Persian dishes full of warm flavour. Slow-simmered dishes teeming with Middle-Eastern herbs and spices are flanked with delicately flavoured rice and followed up with a sticky-sweet baklava dessert.

Hidden Leeds

There’s plenty to find off the beaten track if you go looking for it…

Bramley Baths: A traditional Victorian public baths with swimming pool, steam room, sauna and gym. It was revived by local Leeds residents in 2013, who secured funding to transform it into an affordable resource for local residents and visitors. To get there, take the train to Bramley rail station and walk up through Bramley Park.

Global Tribe Crystals: This shopping destination will appeal to budding geologists as well as those interested in crystal healing. The shelves groan with sparkling gems in all colours of the rainbow, some in jewellery form, others as polished stones. There’s also a café and a range of books and gifts.

Crash Records: A must-visit for vinyl enthusiasts. As well as records, CDs and DVDs from a wide range of esoteric artists, there’s merchandise and rare white-label discs to collect. Crash is also known for its well-priced tickets for local gigs and concerts.

Enjoy your stay in Leeds.