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20 things you can only see in Leeds

From Christmas art trails to museums and restaurants, cheat on your home city for a weekend with an Instagram worthy trip to Leeds

 

Make sure you’ve got plenty of storage on your smartphone because if you visit Leeds it will be switched almost permanently to camera setting.

There’s a host of must-see sights to capture during a trip to this magical city.

In fact, there's more than enough to create an album full of memories to store and send.

Below are 20 spots you can take fantastic photos in Leeds...

1. Christmas Art Trail: A Trail of Art, Light and Magic

From an angel spirit hovering over commuters in Leeds railway station to 20,000 lights twinkling in the trees of Park Square, there are 15 stops on a special trail to ensure visitors see the city at its best between December 1 and January 3. Installations and sculptures have been created by local artists at some of the most notable landmarks, and you can get a trail map to make sure you spot every one – including the stunning window displays at Harvey Nicks. #ChristmasInLeeds

http://christmas.welcometoleeds.co.uk/

2. Leeds Library

You’ll feel like a character in Harry Potter if you gain entry into what is said to be the most secret library on the planet! And you’ll feel even more magical once you get inside this 250-year-old institution with a stunning interior and an incredible selection of books. Founded in 1768 as a subscription library it is now the oldest surviving example of this sort of library in the British Isles, boasting scientist Joseph Priestley as one of its original subscribers. Membership starts at £120.

http://www.theleedslibrary.org.uk/

3. The Spirit of Christmas

Leeds Male Voice Choir returns to the city’s cathedral on Great George Street, and it is even more special as the choir celebrates the season and its own centenary year. The Spirit of Christmas will feature carols and popular Yuletide favourites, on Saturday, December 10. Tickets are from £10 with under 18s free. And you can marvel at the Gothic Revival architecture of what is regarded as one of the finest catholic cathedrals in England.

http://www.leedsmalevoicechoir.co.uk

4. The Typesetting Project

Typesetting is a Colours May Vary project which has been supported by Leeds Inspired. Working closely with Josiah Craven and Hungry Sandwich Club, the project hopes to become an archive of publicly sourced photographic images of different typography from the Leeds area. Create your own archive while taking a tour of destinations not normally found on the visitor’s map.

http://welcometoleeds.co.uk/gallery/typesetting/

5. Royal Armouries Museum

The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds is home to the national collection of arms and armour, from across the world and throughout time, displayed in six themed galleries. You can learn more about the objects, how they were used, and the people behind them in entertaining daily talks and demonstrations.

https://royalarmouries.org/visit-us/leeds

6. Roundhay Park and Tropical World

You’ll find a rainbow of colours and plenty of photographic views and visions at this, one of the world’s largest urban parks. On the northern edge of the city, Roundhay Park covers 700 acres with garden, lakeland and woodland walks with loads of events, festivals and markets held throughout the year. It also houses the Tropical World Gardens and butterfly centre which contains the biggest collection of tropical plants in the UK outside Kew Gardens.

http://www.roundhaypark.org.uk/

7. The Tetley

A storm brewed when Tetley closed down its beer-making plant in 2011, but many raised a glass to its rebirth as a centre of contemporary art and learning. Housed in the fabulous Art Deco brewery building with its interior largely intact, that alone is something to focus on, but added to that you can enjoy an exciting programme of events, exhibitions, activities and more, or just drop in for a coffee, pint or a bite to eat at its café bar and restaurant. Cheers!

http://thetetley.org/

8. Kirkstall Abbey

Dramatic architecture set in the most wonderful parkland along the banks of the River Aire, Kirkstall is one of the finest remaining medieval Cistercian abbeys in the whole of Britain.

Learn about the lives of the 12th century monks who inhabited it, and its history right up to the present day. There are family trails and activities in the abbey and parkland, which provides a popular backdrop for film-makers and photographers.

http://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/Pages/Kirkstall-Abbey.aspx

9. Angelica

Another one to locate your lens! This must-visit bar and restaurant is on the sixth floor of Trinity Leeds shopping centre, with a wraparound terrace and the most stunning panoramic city views. Bright and airy in design, a central feature of this uber-modern destination venue is the pewter bar offering new drinks and a collection of creative cocktails from its team of mixologists. The restaurant has a truly varied menu and, while it’s a very grown up place, it caters for kids too.

http://www.angelica-restaurant.com

10. Thackray Medical Museum

Housed in one of the most impressive buildings in Leeds, it’s the only museum of its kind in the north of England. With a cool collection of surgical instruments, the Beckett Street building boasts nine interactive galleries to take you on a journey through the world of medicine from the Victorian age to the present day.

www.thackraymedicalmusem.co.uk

11. Leeds, Liverpool Canal

Enjoy a walk or cycle ride along this beautiful stretch of waterway linking two cosmopolitan cities. The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest in Britain built as a single waterway. As well as wonderful walks and peaceful boating, wildlife has found a home along its 127-mile length. It ends at the River Lock in Leeds when it locks into the River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation.

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canal-and-river-network/leeds-and-liverpool-canal

12. Kirkgate Poems

You may tell the kids not to look down while they’re walking but, for once, you might wish to make an exception. As part of efforts to help give Leeds’ oldest street a bit of a facelift, two local poets were given the chance to have their words carved into stone on the paving stones. Antony Dunn and Peter Spafford were the writers and their words travel along the paving and up onto a pair of granite seats, that you might not think twice about otherwise.

http://news.leeds.gov.uk/leeds-writers-see-work-carved-into-stone-on-citys-oldest-street

13. Zaap

Climb into a Tuk-Tuk and take a trip to Thailand for an unforgettable restaurant experience. There are now three Zaap restaurants offering Thai street food but the very first was this one in the Grand Arcade on New Briggate in Leeds. You can enjoy a slice of Bangkok with a real market atmosphere and authentic dishes like Tod Mun Pla ( Thai fish cakes) and Khow Pad Pla Khem (a fried rice with shredded salted fish and egg).

http://www.zaapthai.co.uk/leeds

14. Leeds Urban Landscapes

They may not seem the prettiest places at which to poise your camera but that didn’t stop renowned artist Tom Joy whose work is attracting hundreds of tourists to the city. Originally from Aberdeen, Tom always has always carried his camera with him to capture the city he has grown to love, both for its architecture and – his particular favourites – its car parks.

http://welcometoleeds.co.uk/gallery/leeds-urban-landscapes/

15. The Ivanhoe Clock, Thorntons Arcade

And the time, sponsored by Potts & Sons, is... For decades travellers to Leeds have told the time with the help of this incredible carved clock by the well-known city clockmakers, at the west end of the Victorian arcade. The painted wooden figures are close to lifesize, carved by Leeds mason and sculptor John Wormald Appleyard. They are all from Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, with – left to right – Robin Hood in green, Friar Tuck in black, Richard the Lionheart in red and Gurth the Swineherd in khaki.

http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/leeds/6.html

16. The Corn Exchange

You can shop in style at Leeds Corn Exchange, one of Britain’s finest Victorian buildings and a Grade I listed structure. It’s significant as an architectural masterpiece and a cultural icon for the city as well as championing the best in creative, innovative and independent retail enterprises.

http://leedscornexchange.co.uk/

17. A Theatre Lies Above Briggate

One of Leeds’ many famous theatres once stood on Albion Place and, while it hasn’t been used in around 50 years, it’s still there – just tucked away in the bowels of a period building. It’s a real hidden gem with a striking marble staircase at one end and a stage at the other, showing a time that’s a world away from today.

https://leeds-list.com/culture/10-secret-leeds-things-you-never-even-knew-existed/

18. The Man Behind The Curtain

If you’re after fish and chips, or pie and mash then this probably isn’t the place for you but if you’re after a dining experience then you can get no finer. Opened by chef Michael O’Hare the restaurant, on Vicar Lane, has a reputation for modern and unusual food – and we quote: Inception of a spacecat in black – monkfish with Amalfi lemon and acorn-fed Iberico lamb. It was awarded a Michelin star in October last year and is currently the only restaurant in Leeds to hold one.

http://www.themanbehindthecurtain.co.uk/

19. Leeds Art Gallery

But it’s closed you say. And, indeed it is, but while the gallery on The Headrow is currently shut for repairs to the Victorian roof, The Tiled Hall café is still open, and that’s a chance to stop for a cuppa and a slice and marvel at this magnificent arched space which was originally a reading room for the library before the original features were covered up in the 50s and 60s. In 2007 it was restored to its former glory, revealing its decorative tiles, gold ceiling detailing and marble columns.

http://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/Pages/Leeds-Art-Gallery.aspx

20. Whitelock’s Oldest Pub

Built in 1915, with its current interior dating back to the 1800s, Whitelock’s is the oldest public house in Leeds. Serving real ale and craft beers – many from Yorkshire breweries – alongside a menu of fresh, home-cooked and locally sourced food daily, the hostelry in Turks Head Yard was described by Sir John Betjeman as ‘the very heart of Leeds’.

http://www.whitelocksleeds.com/

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