Leeds in northern England is an old industrial town that bloomed during the Victorian age, declined in the 20th century but which has recently undergone a renaissance. Here’s our Leeds travel guide.
This city is full of history, delicious dinners, and activities to keep your schedule packed for days.
Our helpful guide has everything you need to know, from the best times to visit to the most incredible attractions this city has to offer.
Where Is Leeds?
Leeds is a city in England located west of Yorkshire. This area is stationed in the eastern foothills of the Pennine Chain, settled in the valley of the River Aire.
The city lies between London and Edinburgh and is the fourth largest West Yorkshire’s Built-up Area or Urban Subdivisions.
Leeds is one of the few cities in England (outside of London) with a lot of high-rise buildings.
The Leeds city center is surrounded by motorways and A roads, including the A61, A63, A58, A64, and the M621 motorway.
Leeds City is the largest area of Leeds, with surrounding towns of Pudsey, Rothwell, Morley, Otley, and Wetherby making up the rest of the district.
Leeds is 195 miles from London by car, 53 miles from Manchester, and 64 miles from Liverpool, UK.
How Should You Prepare for Your Trip?
One of the things we love about Leeds is you don’t need a ton of money to have a great time. However, if you choose to take advantage of the free activities provided by the city, you may want to bring a comfortable and durable pair of walking shoes.
When preparing to go to Leeds, book the trip well in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on the attractions you want to partake in the most. Many popular tourist sites provide the option to purchase your tickets online, making it easy to plan ahead.
You can also visit the Leeds Visitor Center online to find some of the best resources to help better prepare you for your vacation. There you can find the most up-to-date list of local events and cancellations, along with a ton of other information about the city.
How to Get There
Most tourists make their way to Leeds by plane. Most US visitors will probably have to take a train into the city after flying to nearby places like London, Manchester, Heathrow, or Birmingham.
For those who can fly straight to Leeds, the most popular airport is the Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA), and it will take around 30 minutes to get to the center of the city by train or bus from there.
A flight from the US to England typically takes around eleven hours with no layovers or up to 22 hours with two stops in between. A round trip costs between $800 and $1500, depending on the airline and where you’re flying into.
Why Should You Visit Leeds?
There are many reasons to plan a vacation to Leeds. You can find something for the entire family to enjoy. From vibrant clubs and music centers to drinking cocktails at upscale bars or grabbing a beer from the local pub, there is plenty to do here.
Other reasons to book a trip to Leeds:
- Gorgeous parks and gardens
- Strong fanbase for sports like soccer and lacrosse
- A glimpse of England’s long and rich history
- Fabulous eateries
- Bursting with culture in arts, theater, and dance
- Beautiful and historical architecture
- Visiting is affordable on all budgets (many attractions, from parks to museums, are free!)
When Is the Best Time to Visit Leeds?
The best time to visit Leeds will vary significantly based on your specifications. A few things to consider are the busiest and warmest months of the year.
As you can tell from the graph, Leeds isn’t well known for hitting extremely high temps during the year, nor will you see the degrees dropping below freezing very often. With that said, most people would prefer to visit this city during July and August.
During July and August, you will most likely find comfortable, dry weather and a decent amount of sunlight throughout the day.
Regarding weather, December through March aren’t ideal for sightseeing, outdoor adventures, and typical tourist attractions.
If you are booking your trip around busy seasons, you want to avoid August altogether, with that month seeing the most tourists throughout the year.
- Very-low tourist season – January, February, and March
- Low season – April, May, and November
- High season – June, July, September, October, and December
- Peak season – August
Ways to Get Around the City When You Visit
When you finally make your way into the city of Leeds, you will need a form of transportation to get around.
If you are heading to this populous area of England during the spring, summer, and fall, you may decide biking or walking is the best way to get where you want to go. Luckily, Leeds is one of the driest cities in the U.K, meaning there’s little chance that rainfall will ruin your day.
However, if you visit in the cooler seasons, aren’t keen on walking everywhere, or have long distances to travel, there are other means of transportation to choose.
- Taxis and Ubers – Of course, a metropolitan borough with a population of over 812,000 offers a variety of taxis and ride shares to get you around the city fast.
- Trains – You can travel through the city by train at one of its 16 railway stations.
- Planes – Leeds Bradford International Airport provides transportation to eight UK destinations and 70 international ones.
- Waterways – Taxi boats are another lesser-known way to travel around the city of Leeds. You can book these boats, track them on a TaxiTrack app, and get real-time locations and schedules.
- Cars – You can also drive into Leeds or rent a car during your stay.
Check Out These Great Places to Stay When Traveling to Leeds
Now that you have established transportation, it’s time to decide where you will stay. There are hotel packages, bed and breakfasts, and VRBOs for every budget and interest type. Whether you plan on spending one night or an entire week, Leeds has something for you.
Below are a few top places to stay in Leeds:
1. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Leeds City Centre
DoubleTree is a 10-minute walk from the Leeds shopping center, right near the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Enjoy the view from the rooftop bar or have a drink or snack on the waterfront terrace.
Address: Granary Wharf, 2 Wharf Approach, Leeds LS1 4BR, United Kingdom
Cost: £247 to £380
Reviews: 4-star property, 4.4 / 5 rating
2. Malmaison Leeds
Malmaison Leeds Hotel is a Victorian-style building just a few minutes from the railway station. You will also find a bar and restaurant inside this hotel. Great for family vacations and wedding stays, and even your pets are welcome.
Address: 1 Swinegate, Leeds LS1 4AG, United Kingdom
Website: Malmaison Leeds Hotel
Reviews: 4-star property, 4.4 / 5 rating
3. The Barn (Bed and Breakfast)
The Barn is a cozy and clean bed and breakfast, perfect for a single person or couple. No cots or cribs are available for small children, and pets are not allowed. Breakfast here is complementary and served from 7-8:30 am on weekdays and 9-10 am on weekends.
Address: 41 Main Street, Monk Fryston, Leeds LS25 5EG, United Kingdom
Website: The Barn, Leeds
Reviews: 3.5-star property 4.9/5 rating
Other places to try, especially when looking last minute, include:
- Dakota Leeds
- Clayton Hotel
- Hampton By Hilton
- Thorpe Park Hotel & Spa
Trending times to stay (when booking a hotel will be the cheapest):
Per Trip Advisor, you will pay less for a hotel stay if you book your vacation between December and February. While saving a few dollars, you will also be spending time in the coldest weather of the year.
Great Places to Grab a Bite to Eat in the City
Although many places to stay offer complimentary breakfast, restaurants, and bar services, it is a must to get out of your room and find some local spots to eat around Leeds.
This city offers visitors an array of cuisines and environments to suit their needs depending on their taste.
If you are up for a little fine dining, here are some fantastic places you should try.
Address: 8 Russell Street, Leeds LS1 5RN, United Kingdom
Website: Dakota Leeds
Cuisine: British Steakhouse Grill, Contemporary
Address: Minerva House, 29 East Parade Minerva, Leeds LS1 5PS, United Kingdom (Leeds City Centre)
Website: Tattu Leeds
Cuisine: Chinese, Asian, International, Vegetarian-friendly, Vegan options
There is also the Home Restaurant, Chef Jono at V&V, and The Man Behind the Curtain.
In the mood for a little bit of local comfort food? Here are some great diners to visit that won’t break the bank.
Myrtle Tavern, Meanwood
Address:Parkside Road Meanwood, Leeds LS6 4NE, United Kingdom
Website: The Myrtle Tavern
Cuisine: British Pub, Vegetarian-friendly
Address: Trinity Kitchen, Trinity Leeds, Leeds LS1 5AY, United Kingdom
Cuisine: Quick Bites, Italia, Pizza
Other delicious diners to try include Debaga, Falafel Guy, and Poco Sicilian Street Food.
Activities to Keep You Busy
Leeds City is a tourist haven full of activities that can keep you busy for a lifetime. You can schedule group tours or visit museums, galleries, historical sites, and more all on your own.
Consider stopping by one of these places when planning your vacation to Leeds, England.
Visit the Royal Armouries Museum
There is no museum quite like the Royal Armouries Museum. In this building, you will find a marvelous collection of Arms and Armour. Before opening in 1996, the collection was displayed at the Tower of London.
The museum is exquisite and packed with more than 5000 objects permanently on display.
Temple Newsam is one of the most incredible country houses in England. It offers a rare breed animal farm, jaw-dropping parkland on the outside, and decorative & fine art, Chippendale furniture, and historical wallpaper throughout the inside.
Take some time walking through the woods, visiting the gift shops, or grabbing lunch in the Stables Tea Room.
Plan a Picnic in Roundhay Park
You will find Roundhay Park at Mansion Lane & Princes Avenue, Leeds, England LS8 2HH. The park is open 24/7, with over 700 sections of gardens, forests, lakes, and parkland to visit. This spot is one of the most popular in Leeds, thanks to the nearby restaurants, golf courses, beautiful scenery, and an enchanting castle.
Explore the Ruins Around the Kirkstall Abbey
Nothing is more beautiful than a well-preserved piece of history, and Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds is just that. The medieval ruins showcase the well-crafted Christian architecture used many years ago.
After visiting the remains of the church, take a stroll along the nearby River Aire or take a few photos of a notorious British landmark.
Walk the Path Along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal
Book an exciting walking tour or travel by boat down the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. You can book a food tour to explore the delicious diners along the route or enjoy lunch on an Afternoon Tea Cruise. There is so much to see along this 127-mile-long canal.
In Leeds, just about everywhere you turn there are adventures to be had, history to explore, and memories to be made. Let our informative guide be your guide in planning an unforgettable trip to Leeds, England.