Exhibit A in the case of “There’s More to Great Britain than London” is Leeds. Spend two days eating, drinking and ambling about this riverside gem of a city and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Try this 48-hour itinerary on for size.
Where to Stay
For style on a budget, check in to Roomzzz Leeds City, a contemporary residential hotel offering studios kitted out with fully equipped kitchens.
For one of Britain's first boutique hotels, check out 42 The Calls, a renovated 18th-century corn mill by the River Aire.
For something a little fancier, the New Ellington is an Art Deco inspired four-star hotel with an impressive gin bar.
10:00 AM Get a culture fix at Leeds City Museum
Start in the Civic Quarter at a museum with a gallery dedicated to the city's history.
12:00 PM Browse independent shops at the Corn Exchange
One of the city's most iconic buildings, the Corn Exchange is a stunning Grade I listed Victorian structure that dates back to 1864. It’s still dedicated to commerce, so you’ll have your pick of clothes, gifts, jewelry and more. You may want to consider a new bag to carry your treasures home in.
1:00 PM Stop for lunch at Europe's biggest covered market
Founded in 1857, Kirkgate is Europe's biggest indoor market and is packed with affordable street-food stalls selling Yorkshire's finest food, flowers and fashion.
3:00 PM Explore atmospheric ancient ruins
Set in a leafy park at the edge of the River Aire, Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery founded in 1152. The Abbey House Museum across the road features a re-created Victorian street, lined with traditional shops and pubs open for business.
4:00 PM Stroll through Headingley, a student center
This popular student suburb is packed with bars, restaurants and cafés. Jocks flock to cricket and rugby matches at Headingley Carnegie Stadium. Bohemians flock to the Hyde Park area for its independent shops and an arthouse cinema.
6:00 PM Grab pre-dinner drinks on a bar crawl around The Calls
Head to The Calls area by the River Aire and start with a drink at the Maven, a Prohibition-style bar hidden behind a secret staircase. Move on to Jake's Bar and Still Room for a quirky cocktail using spirits and liqueurs made on-site. If the weather's nice, go al fresco at Calls Landing on the river.
8:00 PM Treat yourself to Michelin-starred cuisine
Experience modern and unusual food served with visual flair and inspired by contemporary culture. That’s what’s on the plate at Man Behind the Curtain, a Michelin-starred restaurant headed up by British chef, Michael O'Hare.
10:00 PM Get out to the city's best live music venues
See a gig at the Brudenell Social Club, a live music venue in a former working men's club that plays host to up-and-coming indie bands. Big name acts perform at the First Direct Arena or at the 02 Arena, in a refurbished Gothic building.
11:00 AM Visit an award-winning sculpture center
With three gallery spaces, the Henry Moore Institute is a leading site for the study and presentation of sculpture. Catch one of the rotating exhibitions or sign up for a talk by a prominent artist.
1:00 PM Dig into giant Yorkshire puddings
The Nation of Shopkeepers' large courtyard and impressive selection of craft beers draw a hipster crowd. If you're visiting on a Sunday, leave room for a traditional roast dinner, including an awesomely immense Yorkshire pudding.
3:00 PM Shop for bargains or browse boutiques
Often referred to as the “Knightsbridge of the North,” Leeds is one of Britain's top shopping destinations. In the city center, Trinity Leeds has over 120 shops under a striking glass roof. To up your style game, head to the Victoria Quarter for stylish arcades and designer boutiques.
5:00 PM Sip cocktails and soak up panoramic views
Angelica Restaurant is a rooftop bar at Trinity Leeds. Rest your feet and work your way through a creative cocktail menu, surrounded by skyline views.
7:00 PM Catch a show at the Grand Theatre Leeds
Built in 1878, the Grand Theatre Leeds plays host to theater productions, ballet performances, opera and comedy shows. Julie Andrews and Laurence Olivier were here, and Opera North and Northern Ballet still are.
Posted in England