In the running to be the city of culture in 2023, Leeds certainly holds its own as a cultural hotspot of the north. Only two and a half hours from London on the train, it’s the perfect weekend getaway for fans of food, music and of course, that famous Yorkshire hospitality.

Dine at Headrow House

The Ox Club. Image via Leeds List

Positioned right in Leeds City Centre, Headrow House is a former textile mill turned multi-purpose events space, hosting events, rooftop art, and a cavernous beer hall.

Nestled in its depths is the fantastic Ox Club, offering both evening service and weekend brunch with a modern twist.

Food at the Ox Club. Image via Leeds List

From Pina Colada French toast to their famous rib eye steak with salsa verde and anchovy-and-pecorino-dressed spinach, you’re guaranteed excellent service without having to empty your wallet.

Just don’t forget to leave space for pudding—their chocolate, cherry, and olive oil cake is worth the trip alone. 

Other favourites include…

  • Salvos, Headingley (Italian)
  • Little Tokyo, Leeds City Centre (Japanese)
  • Ira B’s, Moortown (Jewish homecooking)
  • Maureens, Roundhay (Carribbean)


Shop independent with Colours May Vary

Leeds may have a fantastic high street (including the newly built Victoria Gate, featuring a John Lewis, Anthropologie and & Other Stories), but it’s the independent stores that are really worth leaving some space in your suitcase for.

Colours May Vary is a hive of inspiration just opposite the bus station, full of magazines, books, gifts and quirky home accessories. 

Leeds Corn Exchange. Image via Simon Dewhirst

For music fans, a visit to Jumbo Records is a must. Something of a Leeds institution, its recent relocation to a larger space now accommodates music books, merchandise, and a coffee area as well as their huge span of vinyl records.

And then, of course, there is Leeds Corn Exchange—regular host of craft and vintage markets as well as its permanent stores, its architecture makes a stunning backdrop for a touch of shopping.

Other favourites include…

  • Tall Boys Beer Shop
  • Village Bookstore
  • Retro Boutique Clothing and Homeware
  • West Yorkshire Cameras


Get outdoors at Kirkstall Abbey

Like things on the spooky side? Nowhere does Halloween celebrations like Kirkstall Abbey. Founded in 1152, it's ruins and sprawling grounds are perfect for a long Sunday walk or backdrop to a picnic, but really come into their own at night.

As the colder weather draws in, Kirkstall Abbey is home to some spectacular events—Guy Fawkes Fireworks, Bonfires and open air film screenings are hugely popular in the area, inviting the whole family to dress up for some witching fun.

Other favourites include…

  • Tropical World
  • Meanwood Valley Trail
  • Roundhay Park
  • Temple Newsam stately home and gardens


Discover new talent at West Yorkshire Playhouse

From touring productions to local talent, the West Yorkshire Playhouse is home to affordable and inclusive theatre, as well as hosting an array of workshops and talent development schemes for young people.

Recent highlights have included The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, The Kite Runner and the Carnival Chronicles, a specially commissioned show in tribute to the 50th anniversary celebrations of Leeds West Indian Carnival.

Other favourites include…

  • Northern Ballet
  • Grand Theatre
  • Leeds Arts University


Try a tipple at Brudenell Social Club

Image via Leeds List

A trip to Yorkshire wouldn’t be complete without a strong brew or a stiff pint, and there’s arguably nowhere in the city with more character than the Brudenell Social Club.

One of the country’s most esteemed small music venues, this is your place to spot artists across a multitude of genres on their way to stardom in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, with a full round often costing less than a tenner.

Aside from the main gig room, The Brudenell boasts a games room, Sky TV and a cosy lounge for daytime socializing, as well as its own house dog. Charlie the King Charles Spaniel is often seen putting a shift in behind the bar.

Other favourites include…

  • The City Varieties
  • Belgrave Music Hall
  • Hyde Park Book Club
  • LS6 Cafe


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