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Travel / Tours / England / Leeds
A guide for visitors to Leeds
  Leeds Art Gallery & Henry Moore Institute
  Royal Armouries
  Armley Mills (Leeds Industrial Museum)
  Roundhay Park (and Tropical World)
  Temple Newsam
  Arts & entertainment
  Further information


This page provides a brief guide to some of the main attractions in or near Leeds in West Yorkshire (north England). The population of the metropolitan area of Leeds is about 720,000. It is the largest city in the north of England, and the fourth largest in the UK (after London, Birmingham and Glasgow). People from Leeds are known as Loiners.

Clocktower at the top of
Leeds Town Hall

Statue of a nymph with a lamp
(in City Square)

Civic Hall
(in Millennium Square)

Itchy Insiders' Guide - Leeds 2007 (guidebook)
Publisher: Itchy Group
Date: March 2007
Leeds: The Story of a City
Author: David Thornton
Publisher: Fort Publishing
Date: July 2002
A Celebration of Leeds
Author: John Morgan
Publisher: Great Northern Books
Date: October 2006
Leeds (Pevsner Architectural Guides)
Author: Susan Wrathmell
Publisher: Yale University Press
Date: June 2005

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Leeds Art Gallery is a free gallery containing one of the finest collections of British art outside London. It is located in the city centre on The Headrow, next to the Town Hall.

Henry Moore (1898-1986) is one of the most famous British sculptors. He was born in a Yorkshire mining town called Castleford and studied at Leeds College of Art (now part of Leeds Metropolitan University). The Henry Moore Institute is a centre dedicated to the public display and study of sculpture, including works by many different sculptors. There is no entrance charge to see the collections.

Henry Moore's statue of a reclining woman
(outside the City Museum and Henry Moore Institute)

Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of The Henry Moore Foundation
Author: David Mitchinson
Publisher: Lund Humphries
Date: July 2006

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The Royal Armouries Leeds museum is a national museum of arms and armour. Entry is free, although there may be charges for some special events and exhibitions. The galleries on four floors of the main building show weapons from many periods of history, including objects from different parts of the world. At various times of the day costumed actors give demonstrations or interpretations to bring to life different periods of British history. There are displays outside in the Tiltyard such as falconry or riding/jousting.

The Royal Armouries building

Suit of armour

Tudor horse riding display (in the Tiltyard)

- The easiest way to get to the Royal Armouries museum from the bus or train station is on foot. You can download a map showing the route from the Royal Armouries website. The walk takes about 15 minutes.

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Kirkstall is an area to the north-west of Leeds. Here you can find the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, the foundations of which were built in 1152. Plays and concerts are sometimes staged inside the ruins during the summer. Nearby is Abbey House Museum, which recreates life in 19th century England through a series of Victorian street scenes.

Kirkstall Brewery is now used as accommodation for students at Leeds Metropolitan University. Rooms are rented out to visitors during the summer months.

Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Brewery

- To get to Kirkstall Abbey / Abbey House Museum take bus 33 or 33A from the bus station, or from bus stop P1 on Park Row (near the train station). The journey takes about 15 minutes.
- To get to Kirkstall Brewery take bus 49 (towards Bramley) from bus stop G7 on Eastgate (near the bus/coach station) or from bus stop Y10 on The Headrow (opposite the art gallery - from the train station walk down Park Row and turn left at the end). Get off on Broadlea Terrace (just after you have passed the main entrance). The journey takes about 15 minutes.

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Leeds Industrial Museum is located inside Armley Mills. There have been mills on this site since the 16th century. Much of the early growth of Leeds was connected with the clothing and woollen trades, but these industries declined in the second half of the 20th century because of increased competition from abroad, the loss of former markets as the British Empire broke up, and the increased use of man-made fibres. Armley Mills closed in 1969 but was bought by Leeds City Council and re-opened as a museum in 1982.

Inside the museum you can learn about the industrial revolution and see a collection of machinery used in textile production and also for other local industries such as printing.

On one side of Armley Mills is the River Aire, and on the other is the Leeds and Liverpool canal, built between 1770 and 1816. This linked Leeds to the coast so that supplies could be brought in and finished products could be exported. To the south of Leeds is the Middleton Colliery Railway. This is the world's oldest working railway - it was used to bring coal and other raw materials into the city much more cheaply than before. Volunteer train enthusiasts still operate steam and diesel locomotives on a section of the track, mainly at weekends.

Armley Mills

Example of an old weaver's cottage

The original mills were powered by water wheels

100 horse-power steam engine built in 1887

Old textile machinery

Next to the museum is the Leeds-Liverpool Canal

- To get to Armley Mills take bus 5 from bus stop F7 on York Street (near the bus/coach station) or from bus stop S8 on New Station Street (near the train station). Get off on Canal Road (opposite the museum).

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Roundhay Park is located about 3 miles north of Leeds City Centre. It contains over 700 acres of rolling hills, lakes, woodlands and gardens. There is no charge to enter the park.

Tropical World is a visitor attraction (with an entrance charge) which recreates plant and animal life in a rainforest and desert on a tropical island. There are attractive walled gardens outside which are open to all.

The park contains two large lakes ...

... and wide open spaces, with gentle hills

Yorkshire Terrier
out for a walk

There is a castle "folly" in the park
(it used to be fashionable to build these structures)

Ring-tailed lemur (from Madagascar)
at Tropical World

- To get to Roundhay Park take bus 2 or 12 from bus stops V2 or V4 on New Market Street (opposite Kirkgate Market). Get off opposite the entrance to Tropical World.

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Temple Newsam is a large mansion about 4 miles to the east of Leeds city centre, and is surrounded by 1,500 acres of parkland. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086, and has had many different owners over the centuries. There is no temple here: the name comes from the fact that for many years it belonged to the medieval association called the Knights Templar. Since 1922 it has been under public ownership. It is now a museum, containing many fine paintings and works of art.

Temple Newsam House

Formal garden in front of the house

The neighbouring building (Home Farm) is a working farm with over 400 pigs, cattle, sheep, goats and poultry, including many rare breeds.

A ram at Home Farm

Blacksmith's workshop

Pig and piglet

The grounds include a hidden walled garden with herbaceous borders and a glasshouse. It is free to wander around the park and gardens. Concerts and other events often take place in the grounds during the summer.

- To get to Temple Newsam on a Sunday take bus 63A from bus stop P5 on Park Row (opposite the train station) or from bus stop F4 on York Street (near the bus/coach station) - this will take you directly outside the house.
- To get to Temple Newsam from Monday to Saturday take bus 18 or 18A - you will need to walk for about 15 minutes along Temple Newsam Road to get to the house.

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Watching sport is a popular activity in Leeds.

The Headingley stadium is home of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the England team sometimes play international test matches here. As well as the longer games (which can last for 5 days) there are also shorter one-day matches in which each team only bowl 20 or 40 overs.

A county cricket match at Headingley Stadium

Headingley stadium is also used by the Leeds Rhinos rugby league team and by Leeds Carnegie rugby union club (formerly known as Leeds Tykes). Rugby league is very popular in this part of north England.

The local football team is Leeds United. Its stadium is to the south of the city in Elland Road.

Leeds rugby teams: Rhinos (rugby
league) and Carnegie (rugby union)

Statue of Billy Bremner outside the
Leeds United stadium at Elland Road

Leeds United Football Club crest
(a white rose is a Yorkshire symbol)

- To get to Headingley Stadium take bus 18 or 56 from the town centre. The journey takes about 20 minutes. Alternatively catch a train (the journey takes less than 10 minutes).
- To get to Elland Road take bus 51 or 55 (towards Morley). The journey takes less than 15 minutes.

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Leeds contains several popular shopping centres. The most well-known is the Victoria Quarter (near Briggate), where Harvey Nichols opened its first store outside London in 1996.

Victoria Quarter

Harvey Nichols

Other retail locations include the Corn Exchange and Kirkgate Market, where Michael Marks first opened a stall called the Penny Bazaar in 1884: he became very successful and joined with Tom Spencer to create Marks & Spencer's. The clothes shop Burton's also originates from Leeds: Montague Burton was one of the earliest manufacturers of ready-to-wear clothes.

The Corn Exchange

Entrance gate to Kirkgate Market

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Leeds has a number of theatres, including the West Yorkshire Playhouse (opened in 1990), the Grand Theatre and Leeds Met Studio Theatre.
The writers Alan Bennett (author of "The History Boys") and Kay Mellor (author of "Band of Gold" and "Fat Friends") come from Leeds.

The Complete Talking Heads (DVD)
Author: Alan Bennett
Studio: 2 Entertain Video
Date: October 2005
The History Boys (book)
Band Of Gold - The Complete Series (6 DVDs)
Author: Kay Mellor
Studio: Network
Date: February 2006

There are lots of bars, pubs and clubs in the city, and a number of live music venues. Popular musicians/bands from Leeds include the Kaiser Chiefs (singers of "I predict a riot"), Corinne Bailey Rae ("Put your records on") and Mel B (one of the Spice Girls, known as "Scary" Spice). Two large outdoor rock festivals take place near Leeds each year: the Wireless Festival in June and the Leeds Festival at the end of August.

Employment (music CD)
Artist: Kaiser Chiefs
Label: B-Unique
Date: March 2005
Corinne Bailey Rae (music CD)
Artist: Corinne Bailey Rae
Label: Emi
Date: February 2006

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Leeds has a large student population of about 55,000. There are two universities: the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University. There are also many colleges in the city (for a list and links, see the "Further information" section below).

University of Leeds

Leeds Metropolitan University (Headingley Campus)

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Note that Leeds Castle is not in Leeds - it is in Kent in south-east England. See: Travel/Tours/England/LeedsCastle

* Visitor information

Tourist offices
- Leeds City Council:
- Tourist Information:
- Yorkshire Tourist Board:

- Leeds Art Gallery:
- Henry Moore Institute:
- Royal Armouries:
- Thackray's Medical Museum:
- Kirkstall Abbey:
- Abbey House Museum:
- Armley Mills (Leeds Industrial Museum):
- Middleston Railway:
- Roundhay Park (and other local parks):
- Tropical World:
- Temple Newsam:
- Yorkshire County Cricket Club:
- Leeds rugby:
- Leeds United Football Club:
- Leeds Met Studio Theatre:

Local area information
- Leeds Guide (publisher of guides to restaurants, shopping, student life):
- Itchy Guide to Leeds:
- BBC Leeds:
- Yorkshire Evening Post:

* Transportation
- The main train station is Leeds. For train timetables and to buy a ticket online, see: Shop/Company/TheTrainline.
- The coach station is in Dyer Street (map). For coach timetables and to buy a ticket online, see: Shop/Company/NationalExpress.
- The nearest airport is Leeds Bradford International Airport. For details of how to book flights, see: Travel/Transport/Air
- Ask for a free bus map for Leeds at the travel information centre in the train or bus station. For local timetables see the West Yorkshire Metro website:

* Student links


- University of Leeds:
- Leeds Metropolitan University:
- Leeds College of Art and Design:
- Leeds College of Building:
- Leeds College of Music:
- Leeds College of Technology:
- Park Lane College:

International student social events/organisations
- Tours from Leeds (for international students):
- International Students' Club: (*)
- Global Café: (*)
(*) These social groups are organised by Christian organisations, but non-Christians are welcomed

* Weather forecast for Leeds
- See:

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Bradford: Travel/Tours/England/Bradford
Saltaire: Travel/Tours/England/Saltaire
Otley: Travel/Tours/England/Otley
Harewood House: Travel/Tours/England/Harewood-House
Haworth: Travel/Tours/England/Haworth

York: Travel/Tours/England/York
Hull: Travel/Tours/England/Hull
Scarborough: Travel/Tours/England/Scarborough
East Riding of Yorkshire: Travel/Tours/England/EastYorkshire

University / language school courses: Course
Sport in the UK: Life/Sport

Home page: Home

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