Welcome to House of Coco’s ultimate Leeds guide, your go-to source for everything you need to know about exploring this vibrant and bustling city.
This northern gem boasts a diverse tapestry of captivating attractions that pay homage to its storied past while simultaneously celebrating its contemporary essence.
Prepare to be dazzled by Leeds’ eclectic array of top-notch museums, art-infused galleries, vibrant nightlife, and drool-worthy culinary hotspots, all wrapped up in that unmistakable, tongue-in-cheek Yorkshire wit.
So fasten your seatbelts and lay your misconceptions to rest as we guide you through the cobbled streets of the city – from the Leeds railway station to the New Station Street and Victoria Quarter – revealing its best-kept secrets, enchanting architectural marvels, and vibrant hotspots teeming with tantalising delights.
When To Go
If you’re planning to visit Leeds, arrange your trip during the late spring and summer months, from May through September.
During this period, the city boasts pleasant temperatures, ranging from 15°C to 22°C (59°F to 72°F), providing a comfortable climate for exploring its historical landmarks, such as the Kirkstall Abbey and Harewood House.
Additionally, you can immerse yourself in the rich musical and cultural events Leeds offers, including the renowned Leeds International Film Festival, Leeds Festival, and the West Indian Carnival.
The verdant landscapes of Roundhay Park and Golden Acre Park further enhance the city’s allure during this season, as breathtaking floral displays and lush foliage create picturesque settings for leisurely strolls or picnics.
Venturing to Leeds during these months will allow you to truly experience the diverse offerings of this dynamic, thriving metropolis.
Where To Stay
Whether you’re a discerning traveller, a stylish weekend visitor, or a savvy business person looking for a luxurious pitstop, in this guide we’ve curated a swanky list of Leeds’ best stays, just for you.
So get ready to be wowed as we dive into the world of chic interiors, plush bedding, and swoon-worthy dining as we whisk you around some of the coolest and most luxurious accommodations in town.
Dakota Deluxe Leeds
Image courtesy of Dakota hotel
First up in our swanky selezione, let’s talk Dakota Deluxe Leeds.
Nestled in the pulsating city centre, this uber-luxe hotel is an oasis of elegance and style.
Imagine sinking into a sumptuously plush bed, sipping on a tantalising concoction from the swish in-house bar, and feasting on delectable cuisine at the hotel’s chic restaurant.
Add to that the generosity of complimentary WiFi and the dedication of the 24-hour front desk, and you’ll find yourself in a sheer haven of comfort, convenience, and sophistication. We’re feeling indulgent already!
Image courtesy of the Oueens hotel
Next on our cool and classy itinerary, let’s head over to The Queens, a palatial lodging that boasts a rich heritage and a modern makeover to match
This iconic Leeds landmark has emerged from a recent multi-million-pound refurbishment, perfectly marrying its historic charm with contemporary comforts that will leave you feeling like royalty.
Get ready to make your grand entrance in the hotel’s show-stopping dining area, clink glasses in the glam bar, and slumber like a regent in the beautifully appointed rooms. Feel free to pinch yourself at any time; yes, this empire of elegance is real!
Image courtesy of the Malmaison hotel
Malmaison Leeds is an avant-garde boutique hotel housed in a spellbinding Victorian office building.
Stepping inside this architectural marvel, you’ll be transported to an immersive world of enchanting design, luxurious amenities, and captivating atmosphere.
The rooms are the epitome of style and sophistication, featuring alluring touches to enhance your stay.
For gastronomes, the sublime brasserie will have your taste buds dancing, while the cosmopolitan bar is the ideal setting to sip and socialise as you immerse yourself in the vibrant and enticing spirit of Leeds.
Ibis Styles Leeds
Image courtesy of Ibis Styles hotel
For those urban explorers on a budget, Ibis Styles Leeds is the perfect base camp.
Located smack in the heart of the action, this vibrant hotel offers a breath of fresh air with its bold, quirky interior design. Neon lights, comic-inspired wallpaper, and funky furniture will have you Instagramming every nook and cranny.
So, fellow travellers, there you have it! Leeds offers an eclectic mix of accommodation options to suit every taste, budget and whim.
From city slickers to history buffs, you’re sure to find your perfect home-away-from-home in this vibrant and diverse city. Just choose one of the locations in this guide and…sweet dreams!
Where To Eat
With an innovative culinary culture constantly on the rise, Leeds is the perfect place to satisfy your taste buds with both classic and novel flavours
In this tantalising guide to the city’s gastronomic gems, we will dive into the mouth-watering delights of Fettle, Dough Boys, the fine dining cuisine at The Man Behind The Curtain, and many other must-visit restaurants that are sure to leave you craving more.
Image courtesy of Fint
First on our gastronomical guide is Fint.
At Fint, you’ll be greeted by a warm, airy ambience that sets the stage for a wholesome and inspiring dining experience.
Located in Leeds city centre, this Scandinavian-style restaurant focuses on serving simple food in a welcoming atmosphere.
Image courtesy of Dough Boys
For those with a penchant for perfect pizza, Dough Boys has you covered. Housed in the hip Belgrave Music Hall, this trendy pizza joint puts a creative twist on the traditional doughy delight.
Specialising in heavenly sourdough concoctions, Dough Boys offers an array of tantalising toppings to suit every palate, from the classic Margherita to the inventive Bianca Beets.
Fear not, dietary warriors; they also cater to vegan and gluten-free cravings, ensuring that no pizza-lover goes unsatisfied.
The Man Behind The Curtain
Image courtesy of The Man Behind The Curtain
A notable figure on our Leeds guide is The Man Behind The Curtain. This Michelin-starred gem tucked away in the heart of Leeds truly is as magical as the name suggests.
Masterminded by the culinary wizard Michael O’Hare, The Man Behind The Curtain takes diners on a whimsical journey through art and gastronomy. With a tasting menu that changes on the chef’s whim, expect to be dazzled by imaginative dishes that look like they belong in a museum.
A visual and gustatory delight, this is one curtain worth peeking behind.
Image courtesy of the Ox Club
A mecca for the carnivorous crowd, Ox Club lures patrons in with the irresistible scent of their wood-fired grill.
Situated in the Headrow House, this sleek and modern eatery boasts a rotating seasonal menu highlighting the finest locally-sourced meats.
From juicy steaks to succulent pork belly, Ox Club knows just how to satiate the cravings of die-hard meat enthusiasts. Pair your delectable dish with a handpicked craft beer or a robust wine curated by their expert sommelier for the ultimate indulgence.
Image courtesy of Issho
Prepare to be transported to the land of the rising sun at Issho, a contemporary Japanese haven situated in the bustling Victoria Gate.
Helmed by acclaimed chef Weike (Shane) Zhao, Issho offers an elegant izakaya-style dining experience, featuring a tantalising array of sushi, robata-grilled meats, and inventive small plates.
Don’t forget to sample their impressive sake menu, as you soak in the stunning panoramic views of the Leeds skyline.
A sublime experience for both the palate and the soul, a meal at Issho is an unforgettable adventure.
Image courtesy of Bondobust restaurant
Ditch the notion that vegetarian options are all salad and quinoa when you step into Bundobust, the craft beer and Indian street food paradise.
Housed in a laid-back basement space, this eatery offers a variety of veggie-friendly delights inspired by the vibrant streets of Mumbai.
Nosh on delectable dishes like the signature Bhaji Butty or the Paneer Tikka while washing it down with the perfect pint from their extensive selection of local and international craft beers.
Who says veggie fare has to be boring?
Image courtesy of the Crafthouse
Situated elegantly on the fifth floor of Trinity Leeds, Crafthouse boasts a refined dining experience coupled with unparalleled views of the cityscape.
Executive Head Chef Simon Jewitt weaves culinary magic with his inventive menu, showcasing the finest locally-sourced ingredients and seasonal produce.
Opt for the Scallops and continue by indulging in the exquisite Salt Aged Duck Breast.
To top off the unforgettable experience, their knowledgeable sommelier is always on hand to recommend the perfect wine pairing for each exquisite course.
Don’t just take our word for it – allow Crafthouse to redefine your concept of elevated dining.
Image courtesy of Fazenda
Ready to embark on a carnivorous adventure?
Then Fazenda is your culinary paradise. Following the rich traditions of Brazilian gaúchos, this sumptuous steakhouse brings the churrascaria experience right to your table.
Skewers of succulent meats, including fillet mignon, Brazilian picanha, and Chorizo de Vagyu, are carved tableside by expert passadores.
Tempting sides like cogumelos, morrones, and provoleta complement the feast, while an expansive vegan and vegetarian assortment of dishes featuring fresh, organic vegetables and charcuterie boldly challenges the myth that you’re only here for the meat.
Unwind with a sip of a heavenly Caipirinha or one of their myriad of cocktails designed to sizzle your senses right alongside your steak at Fazenda.
Vice and Virtue
Image courtesy of Vice And Virtue
Sinful indulgences and heavenly delights find themselves intertwined at this gastronomic gem.
Chef Jono at V&V offers a Modern British dining experience which masterfully crafts innovative, modern cuisine that dances within an intricately designed space.
From impiously named cocktails like the “Kyoto Perfect Serve” to ambrosial plates with locally sourced ingredients, each dish is designed to titillate your taste buds and seduce your senses.
Their Signature Tasting Menu, a diabolical fusion of chef Jono’s whim and divine intervention, navigates you through an unforgettable culinary journey. After all, there’s always time for redemption amidst temptation.
Image courtesy of Zaap Thai
The hustle and bustle of Bangkok street life is captured in every flavour and detail at Zaap Thai.
A neon-clad oasis of sensory overload, Zaap Thai brings you the finest spices and ingredients of Thailand, presented in a chaotic, yet charming fashion.
Feast on authentic pad thai, ta-lea pao, and fragrant green curry, each dish brimming with the essence of Thai cuisine.
Venture deeper into Thai culture with their enticing street food options, like the tender, marinated moo ping skewers.
Don’t shy away from the challenge of an authentic Thai spice level, but be prepared with a cooling mango sticky rice dessert to soothe your fiery taste buds.
Image courtesy of Blackhouse restaurant
Last but not least on our Leeds culinary guide is Blackhouse.
A shrine to exquisite cuts of meat, Blackhouse is the ultimate destination for steak lovers.
Bathed in a luxurious, sophisticated setting, they proudly showcase pristine displays of quality beef, an elegant raw bar, and innovate seafood dishes.
Offering a discerning selection of premium steak cuts, ranging from a tender, flavorful chateaubriand to an expertly aged ribeye, each dish is served with delectable accompaniments like garlic mushrooms, buttered mash or seasonal greens.
The wine connoisseur won’t be disappointed either, as Blackhouse curates an impressive list of old and new world bottles, each specifically chosen to elevate your meaty ambrosia to transcendent levels. So go ahead, cut yourself a little slack and indulge in the lavishness that Blackhouse has to offer.
What To Do
With world-class museums, picturesque canal walks, and a shopping extravaganza waiting for you, there’s never been a better time to dive in and explore everything that Leeds has to offer and our guide is covering it all.
Leeds Art Gallery
Immerse yourself in the world of art at Leeds Art Gallery, where bold strokes and vivid colours captivate your imagination. With masterpieces from renowned British artists and remarkable contributions from international virtuosos, this gallery is a true visual feast.
Delight your senses as you explore the vast exhibit, and did we mention that’s all for free?
That’s right, experience this delightful slice of culture without spending a penny!
Leeds National Museum
Take a journey through time at the Leeds City Museum, a place where history unfurls before your very eyes.
Peel back the layers of the past, from the city’s humble beginnings to today’s bustling metropolis, this riveting museum is a must-visit for history buffs and curious minds alike
With engaging exhibitions and an ever-changing calendar of events, there’s always something new to explore.
And just when you think it can’t get any better, remember that admission is, once again, absolutely free!
Opera North Leeds is a renowned opera company that has been entertaining audiences for over 40 years. Its diverse repertoire and talented performers make it a must-see destination for music lovers.
With stunning productions and world-class venues, Opera North is a cultural gem in the heart of Leeds.
Royal Armouries Museum
Armour up at the Royal Armouries Museum, the nation’s leading museum on arms and armour.
Prepare to be dazzled by the largest collections of ancient weapons and armour gleam under a modern spotlight, providing both an educational and downright cool experience
Time-travel through centuries and continents as the collection spans the globe, exhibiting everything from mediaeval swords to modern-day firearms.
With free entry, there’s nothing stopping you from experiencing the wonders of the world’s most formidable artefacts.
Canal And River Trust Walks
Next up on your Leeds guide, embark on the picturesque Canal and River area, an enchanting blend of waterways, verdant green spaces, and charming architecture.
Whether you choose to stroll hand-in-hand with a loved one or enjoy some me-time among nature, these soothing walks will be perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of city life.
With numerous trails to explore and wildlife to spot, the city’s hidden havens await you.
Where To Shop
Finally, it’s time to indulge in some retail therapy.
From high street giants to independent boutiques, the city offers an unrivalled shopping experience.
Indulge your inner shopaholic, uncover alluring treasures from the city’s thriving independent scene or simply sit back and watch the world go by as you sip a coffee in one of Leeds’ trendy cafes.
Where To Party
And if you think that it cannot get better, wait till the evening sets.
Our guide will walk you through an eclectic mix of experiences, with a myriad of stylish bars, groovy clubs, and energetic live music venues, all surrounded by a scenic atmosphere that captures the essence of a perfect night out in Leeds.
So, buckle up, party-goers; let’s dive deeper into some of Leeds’ nightlife gems that you definitely won’t want to miss.
Belgrave Music Hall
First on our list is the multi-purpose wonderland, Belgrave Music Hall.
This is not just any ordinary music venue. Located within a stunningly restored building, it boasts an impressive rooftop bar that offers remarkable nighttime views over the city.
Catch a fantastic live act or immersive film screening, and don’t miss their special art market events. Oh, and did we mention their mouth watering street food options that will have you coming back for more? Yeah, Belgrave has it all.
Now, let’s add a touch of magic to your evening with a trip to The Alchemist.
No classic pub experience here, as this enigmatic cocktail bar will enchant you with its theatrical potion-like concoctions in a visually spectacular setting.
From flaming liquids to swirling smoke, each drink at The Alchemist is not only delicious but also an experiential masterpiece.
As pioneers in molecular mixology, this is the place to tease both your taste buds and your imagination.
Finally, for those seeking the pulsating rhythm of an unforgettable club experience, look no further than the iconic Mint Club.
With a two-decade-long legacy of hosting legendary DJ lineups and exhilarating events, this club is an essential stop on your night-out itinerary.
Mint Club’s intimate atmosphere – with only 500 capacity – creates an exclusive yet welcoming vibe, and its cutting-edge sound system ensures a night of non-stop dancing.
Who To Know
Leeds has given the world a rich array of iconic figures and pioneers across various fields. From the realms of entertainment and sports to the culinary arts, the city has nurtured and produced talent that has left an indelible mark on the world.
Alan Bennett, an esteemed playwright and author, was born in the Armley area of Leeds in 1934. He attended Leeds Modern School and graduated from Exeter College, Oxford.
Bennett is known for his sharp wit, distinctive voice, and ability to deftly combine comedy and tragedy in his works.
His plays and adaptations have become classics of English drama, earning him numerous awards, including multiple Tony Awards and Olivier Awards. One of his most famous creations, The History Boys, follows the lives of a group of British schoolboys preparing for university entrance exams. The play was adapted into a successful film in 2006.
Beyond the stage, Bennett has authored numerous books, with his autobiographical works such as Untold Stories and Keeping On, Keeping On garnering critical acclaim.
The indie rock sensation Kaiser Chiefs were formed in Leeds in 2000, initially under the name Parva.
Comprising singer Ricky Wilson, guitarist Andrew White, bassist Simon Rix, keyboardist Nick Baines, and drummer Vijay Mistry, the band has released seven studio albums, accumulating numerous awards and chart-topping hits.
Their debut album, Employment, was released in 2005 and was a primary driver for the resurgence of British indie rock during the mid-2000s. With tracks like “I Predict a Riot” and “Ruby,” the Kaiser Chiefs’ infectious energy, catchy tunes, and anthemic choruses have resonated with music lovers worldwide.
The band’s name was inspired by the former Leeds United football team manager, Jimmy Armfield, who also played for the South African football club, Kaizer Chiefs.
Leeds’ culinary scene has also produced some exceptional chefs who have gained global recognition.
Among them is Michael O’Hare, a Michelin-starred chef known for his unconventional cooking style and innovative dishes at his Leeds-based restaurant, The Man Behind the Curtain.
He has appeared on television shows such as “The Great British Menu” and “Saturday Kitchen,” showcasing his inventive and unique culinary creations.
Leeds is the city where neo-Gothic spires mix with architectural marvels making your jaw drop and your heart sing.
Stroll through its green havens, get rowdy at a football match, or bask in the romance of its streets – this city up north has got it all and then some.
From shopping sprees to cultural exploits, Leeds has its own unique flavor that’ll tantalize your senses and leave you wanting more.
So don’t be afraid to explore the unknown, dear wanderer, and let this Leeds city guide be your trusty companion on this epic journey of discovery – for sometimes, the greatest treasures lie hidden in the most unexpected of places!