Leeds is a deceptively large city, one that offers something a little bit different around every corner and will take a lifetime to truly understand. 48 hours isn’t enough to get to know Leeds, 48 years probably won’t do, but beggars can’t be choosers and we’re always doing what we can to help. How to spend the perfect 48 hours in Leeds?
Day 1: Morning
It might seem counter-productive to spend the first few hours of your brief time in Leeds wandering around, but you’ll understand once you hit the pavement. The architecture here is stunning, and you’ll get a good feel for it just by walking about with your head up. If you want to mix it with a little bit of curiosity, why not follow the Owl Trail? It’ll take you around the centre of the city, giving you plenty of history along the way, not to mention a mass of Instagrammable photo opportunities.
Leeds is a creative paradise, the artistic capital of the north, and a city that is home to some seriously fascinating galleries. None are as inventive as The Tetley, a modern day multimedia marvel set in an old brewery. Give that a look, before checking out either the Leeds Art Gallery or the Henry Moore Institute. Sculpture fans are in for a treat at the latter. With a few hours of art behind you, head back to the centre of the city and indulge a little with some retail therapy — this is the prettiest shopping city in the UK.
Leeds has a proud history of beer, be it fancy or traditional, so you won’t be shocked to find out that it was also at the forefront of the recent craft beer revolution. The city is home to a wild variety of craft bars, most of which are within walking distance of the centre and make for a great little crawl. Be sure to check out North Bar and Tapped, or just check out craft beer page for more options.
Craft beer isn’t going to give you a hangover either (depending on how much you drink), so you should be fresh and raring to go for another day of culture, history and beer in Leeds. Let’s go with history to begin with, and it doesn’t get much older than Kirkstall Abbey. The 12th century Cistercian monastery is one of the best examples of its kind in England, a stunning piece of work that quite literally inspires echoes of the past. The Abbey House Museum also happens to be one of the best museums in town.
Speaking of excellent museums — does it get any better than the Royal Armouries? Fans of wacky old armour and weaponry will be in their element here. Head to the northern wing of this ancient museum and prepare to be amazed, amused and whatever falls between the two. The elephant armour is fascinating and then some, while the horned helmet of Henry VIII might be the most curious piece of medieval fashion you’ve come across to date. Henry VIII was an unusual chap, to say the least. You could easily spend hours in this place, but give yourself a little extra time to get to Headingley and check out the Yorkshire Cricket Museum. Trust us.
Your time in Leeds will have given your pedometer quite the workout, and you deserve an evening’s rest. You’re already in Headingley, so where better to enjoy your final night than the city’s best pub and England’s best live music venue? We have a real soft spot for the Brudenell Social Club, we first saw Manatees, Blacklisters and Hawk Eyes here after all, but the quality of the beer and the live music really does astound. This is the first place we seek out when we return to the city, and usually the last place we check out before heading to bed. Long live the Brudenell.