Whether you’re in Leeds for a big event or just a spot of stylish shopping, you should make time to visit one of the city’s attractions while you’re here. From stately homes to one of Europe’s biggest city parks, there are just so many great things to do. But if touring historic buildings and gazing at gorgeous gardens doesn’t exactly float your boat, why not try some sports-mad sightseeing at Elland Road instead? We’ve rounded up our pick of Leeds’ attractions. And rest assured, there’ll be a Premier Inn hotel in Leeds that’s round the corner from each one, ready to get your big day out off to a great start.
Attractions in Leeds
With so many swanky new developments, the Leeds skyline is changing at a rapid pace - something that shows no signs of slowing down. In the midst of the building boom, it’s easy to forget that the city retains its rich architectural heritage. In fact, there are some truly stunning buildings you have to see while you’re here.
Eight miles north of Leeds city centre is Harewood House, a stunning 18th century stately home that’s great for a family day out. Tear yourself away from the magnificent state rooms and head downstairs to the kitchens for a glimpse of what life would have been like for servants in the Victorian era. If history’s not your thing, there’s an exotic bird garden with flamingos, parrots and penguins and over 100 acres of gardens to get lost in. Booking into the Premier Inn hotel near Harewood House makes it easy to spend the whole day here, too.
Travel back in time at Lotherton Hall, a charming Edwardian country estate where life for the ruling classes in pre-war Britain has been vividly brought back to life. There’s plenty to do in the stunning grounds too, with a bird garden full of owls and flamingos, two play areas (including one for older kids) and a herd of deer to spot while you’re having a picnic.
Kirkstall Abbey is a free-to-visit ruin close to our Leeds Headingley hotel. As one of the most complete examples of a medieval Cistercian abbey in Britain, it’s beautiful to look at, and there’s also a visitor centre where you can learn about the monks who made this their home. Great for children, they also have a gnome trail, where kids have to find the little figures hidden among the ruins.
Some 33 miles north of Leeds just outside Wakefield, Nostell Priory is a National Trust mansion set in a 300-acre park. Beautiful inside and out, it contains the largest fully documented collection of Chippendale furniture in the world, with many rare pieces. Outside there are secret gardens and a wildflower meadow to discover, and glorious lakeside walks.
Famous as the birthplace of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots, the Tudor Jacobean stately home Temple Newsam House is four miles east of the city centre. There’s a working rare breed farm and grounds designed by Capability Brown. But if that’s not enough, you can enjoy a round of golf at the Temple Newsam golf course.
Whether you want to wander through woodlands, explore pretty gardens or relax in vast open spaces, Leeds has a host of great parks for you to explore.
Head three miles north of the city centre and you’ll find Roundhay Park. You can’t miss it - it’s one of the largest city parks in Europe and a very popular Leeds tourist attraction. There are several cafes, plus two playgrounds to keep the kids entertained. On a summer’s day, all 700 acres of rolling parkland are perfect for picnics, but do you lay the blanket down by the lakes, in the woodlands or with a view of the formal gardens? Hmm, decisions…
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Golden Acre Park, a little haven of loveliness six miles north of the city centre, and close to our hotel near Leeds/Bradford airport. This 55-hectare out-of-town park has great tea rooms, ornamental gardens and a wildfowl lake that’s just made for feeding the ducks, so don’t forget to save them a crust from your breakfast!
One of the most popular Leeds attractions is just three miles from the city - but a world away in terms of climate and vegetation.
Situated in Roundhay Park, Tropical World houses the largest collection of tropical plants in the UK outside Kew Gardens. With each of the different glasshouses representing climates and ecosystems from around the world, you can explore jungle, desert, water and night-time zones. Kids and adults alike will be enthralled by the animals, with many reptiles even running free around your feet. Plus there are crocodiles, a butterfly house and a very popular meerkat enclosure.
Leeds was once the largest UK city without an arena. But all that changed in 2013 when the First Direct Arena opened its doors - and put the city firmly on the entertainment map.
Since its grand 2013 opening (with a gig by the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen) the First Direct Arena has attracted music stars and awards galore. With room for 13,000, this venue has hosted everything from the Tour De France Grand Depart and the Sports Personality of the Year to Strictly Come Dancing. Whatever you’re here to see, our Leeds Arena hotel is just a five-minute walk away.
Leeds is a great city for sports-lovers. While Leeds United may not be experiencing quite the same levels of success of some of their Northern neighbours, the city is also home to rugby legends the Leeds Rhinos as well as the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
One of the biggest clubs in UK football, Leeds United draws a massive crowd of passionate fans for their home games. But there’s more on offer at Elland Road than just match day tickets. With big-name concerts, conferences and history-packed stadium tours on offer here, you may be visiting Elland Road for reasons unassociated with the beautiful game. But whatever brings you to the hallowed turf, our Premier Inn hotel near Elland Roadis just a short dribble away.
Close to our Leeds Headingley hotel, a day spent watching a test match or cheering on the local rugby team at Headingley Carnegie really is something special. Home of both the Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the Leeds Rhinos, Headingley is a big draw for tourists - and a must-see for sports lovers. And if no one is playing when you visit, soak up the history on a stadium tour.