8 reasons why you’ll want to visit Leeds this autumn


Circus tricks and light shows, jazz speakeasies and Percy Pig

November 29, 2023

Leeds' cool vibes are on the down low, but our guide to its hidden hip spots will make sure your visit to Leeds rocks your world. You'll want to visit because:

It's having a moment

Leeds is the City of Culture 2023 so it’s jam packed with cool stuff to do right through to December. We love this  production and you can check out the full range of events on offer here.

The city lights up at night

Visit Leeds between 12-13 October and you’ll be rewarded with Light Night Leeds, when a technicolour immersive arts and lights festival takes over key sites throughout the city with spectacular artworks and captivating performances by local, national and international artists. We're in love with End over End, a giant slinky from Studio Vertigo which will be at the Plinth, Playhouse Square, Quarry Hill.

Mr Kite lived here

Pablo Fanque aka William Darby aka Mr Kite was a Black Victorian circus master and equestrian. He was extremely popular in Leeds, where his circus performed many times and he broke the barriers of race and class to become a respected member of Leeds society. He was also the inspo for the Lennon-penned Beatles song ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’.

Mr Kite is finally getting the recognition he deserves and on 16 September a blue plaque is being unveiled in his memory; they’ll be circus performers, speeches and a performance afterwards at Leeds City Varieties in celebration.

Queer culture is celebrate all year round

As well as thoughtful curation of the latest queer literature: fiction, children’s books, YA, memoirs, poetry, short stories, zines, non-fiction, colouring books and graphic novels at queer indie bookshop  you can accompany owners Ray and Nic on tour of their Leeds' Hidden Queer History Tour to uncover and celebrate Leeds’s hidden queer history and heritage. Two September dates are bookable now.

You can drink beer by the banks of the River Aire

Not just any old beer, mind. This is the only place in the UK to get your laughing gear round a Piglove Craft beer - a Yorkshire-Latin American mash up with flavours from the Amazon no less. The open-air bar is perfect for an autumn sundowner.

The riverside vibe is off the scale

At Leeds Dock you can go wild swimming, stand up paddle boarding, and if you’re feeling lazy the place to catch a water taxi to explore the city. Or just sit about and eat the Lime Meringue Croissants S’mores Croissants from local Nova Bake House. We know which we’ll be doing.

Eating Italian tastes like being in Italy

Want to enjoy authentic Italian without the pretentious crowds? Stuzzi dishes up the dolce vita. Dishes like their  handmade tomato and paprika bucatini vongole, tossed with fresh local clams, chilli, parsley and lime concasse gets a chef’s kiss from us.

You can listen to jazz in a secret speakeasy

The Domino is an underground, speakeasy-style Jazz club hidden downstairs from an unassuming barber’s shop. Once inside, you’ll find a jewel-box of a club with some of the best jazz acts in the north as well as some blues, funk and soul thrown in, every night of the week.