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:
Leeds is the City of Culture 2023 so it’s jam packed with cool stuff to do right through to December. We love this theatre production and you can check out the full range of events on offer here.
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.
Light Night Leeds
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.
Booking is essential.
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 The Bookish Type 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.
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.
Not really. But what you will find, in an old textile mill, is Any Work That Wanted Doing, an exhibition that brings disabled people's voices from the past and present together, highlighting their contributions to heritage and contemporary culture. The work responds to hidden histories of the people who used to work there.
Any Work That Wanted Doing
For those in the know, the Left Bank Leeds café-bar is the only place to be. It’s a meeting spot for likeminded locals, freelancers and families as well Leeds artists, innovators and makers. There’s a bevy of brilliant events coming up, not least the candlelit Elvis tribute on 15 September.
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.
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.
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.
Because Leeds centre is compact and bijou it's easy to do on foot. You can be walking down the canal one minute and along the high street the next. But if you really want to push the boat out, jump aboard the Leeds Water Taxi.
Affordable, convenient and comfy rooms close to the event you're going to
We recommend these hotels:
Cheapest? Quebecs Luxury Apartments - full private apartment with all amenities
Closest? Mansio Suites The Headrow - 5* hotel close to the city centre
Leeds station has great links down to London Kings Cross, as well as York and Sheffield.
Affordable, convenient and comfy rooms close to the event you're going to.
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