How to Spend 24 Hours in Leeds

How to Spend 24 Hours in Leeds
An aerial view of the city of Leeds, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Experience British culture and delicious food with this tour guide to the city of Leeds

Sahana Iyer
June 21 , 2019
05 Min Read

In West Yorkshire, England, the city of Leeds acts as a cultural and economic beacon to the country. The city has the fourth highest population of student population in the country and is also considered one of the most diverse economies in the nation. With the ICC Cricket World Cup taking over England and Wales, Leeds will be welcoming cricket fans from all around the world. For those who might end up cheering their team in Leeds, here are a list of things you can do in the city besides watching the game.

Picnic at the park surrounding Kirkstall Abbey

Get acquainted with local history at Kirkstall Abbey

One does not have to sit straight and attentive in history class to appreciate the historical and architectural marvel of Kirkstall Abbey. Built over 800 years ago, the ruins of this Cistercian Monastery flaunt gorgeous 12th century Christian architecture amidst a lush public parkland. The allure of the Abbey has served as muse to various artists. Later renovations of the attraction have added a visitor centre that holds exhibits depicting the history of the Abbey and providing insight on the lives led by former resident monks.

The surrounding parkland gives an opportunity to set out on a picnic, or take a stroll alongside River Aire. Additionally, an outdoor market is set up every month on the grounds between March and November. With free entry, the park also has wheelchair access and makes an ideal relaxation spot.

A view of Waterloo Park at Roundhay Park

Explore various recreational activities at Roundhay Park

One of the largest city parks in Europe, Roundhay Park is a recreational haven. With a large gamut of attractions including gardens, lakes, a golf course and a mansion- among other sights- the 20th century park leaves one spoilt for choice. Of all the options, a must-see is the Tropical World exhibit. The attraction consists of temperature controlled glasshouses that replicate the diversity of climate around the world with various plants and creatures. One can view hundreds of butterflies in the butterfly house, or opt for an underwater experience at the aquarium, or even look out for the cheeky family of meerkats. Fans of the creepy and crawly can check out the 2015 Aztec area addition to view salamanders and piranhas.

Marvel at the cheeky meerkats at the Tropical World exhibit

Besides Tropical World, the park also holds the Barran’s fountain that was presented to the Borough of Leeds by John Barran. The fountain’s water outlets have now been removed.

Other attractions in the park include multiple lakes such as the Upper Lake and Waterloo Lake. Consider fishing on the Waterloo lake for a peaceful activity (Fishing is only permitted in designated areas). One can even spend some time in the specialist gardens such as Canal garden, Monet Garden, Alhambra Garden or grab a bite at the popular Explorer’s cafe.

Indulge in some traditional fish and chips

Fish for the best local cuisine in town

A seafood experience is mandatory when you look to indulge in the local cuisine of England. The cliched combination of fish and chips is unaviodable when one is in the country and as a bonus, they look rather delicious, even on Instagram stories. For a more budget-friendly experience, Nash’s seems to be the local favourite. Well-known and cherished for their fish dishes and reasonable prices, Nash’s could definitely make it to a foodie’s bucket list.

For a slightly higher end option, travel to Murgatroyd’s, a much-loved counterpart. A reservation is generally recommended, else one can land up at the end of a long line. The restaurant serves a multitude of dishes and also has a children’s menu, as well as a senior citizen menu for cheaper alternatives.

An alternative would be to ditch the heavy meal for a light yet delightful snack at the Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom. The eatery serves tea and cakes at their tastefully decorated old-school venue. Servers are dressed in vintage clothing here and deliver one’s choice from 90 different flavours of tea while you listen to the background music that is curated for an old-time feel.

A view of the Leeds Corn Exchange

Get your souvenir at the Corn Exchange

One of the three corn exchanges in England, the Leeds Corn Exchange is a magnificent spot to bring all your shopping needs. Initially built in 1864, the structure was later turned into a shopping centre in 1985. Finally opened to the public in 1990, the traditional corn exchange-turned-shopping centre soon became a tourist favourite. It contains independent as well as branded retailers. Everything from clothing and accessories to instruments and records are sold at the Exchange. For those who like to fulfill multiple needs at one spot, this is the place to visit. One need not visit this place just to shop. The structure, originally built by famous architect Cuthbert Brodrick, is an architectural treat for the eyes. Explore the place and enjoy the combination of traditional architecture and shopping mania.

A performance of La Boheme by Opera North

End the night with an opera performance by Opera North

Established in 1977, the Opera North’s mission has ever since been to deliver high-quality opera performances throughout the country. Though their performances take them across the nation, they are quite often seen at their home venue at the Leeds Grand Theatre. The company is highly reputed and has received multiple awards. They perform a vast number of plays in various languages (sometimes translated into English) and also dabble in different genres. They also include unconventional practices. The group has worked with electronic composer Mira Calix to introduce a more nontraditional sound to the mix.

One can definitely end their trip on a strong note by viewing a memorable performance here.

Other places to visit: Harewood House, The Royal Armouries Museum and  Temple Newsam House

England will take on Sri Lanka at the Headingley Cricket Ground on June 21, 2019.


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