Leeds is by far, one of, if not, the best city in England which is bustling with fun (and often free) things to do, especially in summer. As a Loiner myself, and somebody who has lived in Leeds their entire life, I have built a list of the top ten things you can do more or less any day this summer in Leeds. Try something new and discover something super, because it’s out there waiting for you!
10. Pack a picnic at one of the many green spaces
One of my favourite things about Leeds is the amount of wonderful, nature filled green spaces dotted all over the city. Whether you want to fall head over heels in love with the flower beds further afield at Golden Acre park, play a spot of tennis round the corner at Hyde or Burley Park, or just chill out in the city centre’s serene Park Square with the view of the town hall in the background, there’s a bench sitting under a tree waiting for you.
9. Watch a movie under the summer night’s starry sky
Keeping it green and close to Golden Acre Park, is the Luna Cinema at Harewood House which runs throughout summer until mid-October. They showcase cult classics to more recent releases more or less everyday at great prices! Plus, insider tip, if you fancy spending a few more £££, you can get yourself a premium seat in a prime position director’s chair with priority access to the bar and a complimentary drink!
Keep your eyes peeled in the city centre though, because this year Luna Cinema comes to Millennium Square!
8. Get your groove on at Millennium Square’s Summer Series
Speaking of Millennium Square, throughout summer they also host an entire month of events with artists from all genres in music. I recently went to a 70’s themed ‘Love Train’ disco and then to The Vamps all within 24 hours! Check out what tickets are available for today’s acts here
7. Sip a cocktail on one of Leeds’ many Rooftop bars
Whether it’s after a Luna Cinema screening or any other point during the day, a few good cocktails can get us Loiners cheery. I love to soak up the sun at Doubletree’s Sky Lounge by Hilton (who have an amazing bottomless Prosecco afternoon tea) with phenomenal panoramic views of the city, situated in Granary Wharf. Alternatively, you’ve got the New York loft themed bar, East 59th, or the Japanese infused restaurant and bar Issho at your fingertips at the new and glamorous Victoria Gate centre. What’s more, if you like your D&D London bars, they have two more on Trinity’s rooftop as well.
6. Ride the water taxi and chill out by the dock
Looking for a new way to travel to Sky Lounge from Victoria Gate? Walk to Leeds Dock and whistle the Water Taxi to boat down the River Aire with scenic views of the newly emerging South Bank and Calls Landing.
5. Discover a historical wonder at Kirkstall Abbey
Further upstream is Kirkstall Abbey, one of Leeds’ huge historical relics all the way from the Tudor era. Stroll through the derelict abbey, chill out in one of the cafes or checkout their museum. Or, if history isn’t your thing you can still hang out anywhere across the acres of grassland by the river.
P.S You can’t get there by the water taxi but a bus ride will get you there in 10 minutes if you’re travelling from The Glassworks.
4. Go strawberry picking
Now, if you’re into your British traditions as much as I am you’re going to love this, but just so you know, the picking season is usually over by mid-July. There’s acres and acres of strawberry fields in Leeds where you can just swing by, grab a basket and pay for the weight of it by the end. It’s cheap, it’s easy and there’s a great site just a 20 minute drive down the A65 in Horsforth called ‘Pick Your Own’.
3. Grab a beer at one of Leeds’ famous pubs (canal walk)
Needing something stronger than strawberries? Something Leeds has aplenty is local bars and pubs where you can pick up a pint of beer you’ve never tried before. You can find several hidden gems with great prices such as ‘The Hop’ after a sunny walk along the Leeds-Liverpool canal or ‘Ye Olde English’ or places within Leeds City Centre footpath network, such as Whitelock’s Ale House (warning - low ceiling!). Fancy something a little more indie or unique? Try Headrow House or Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen Bar - they both have rooftop beer gardens and Belgrave has great pizza!
2. Hike or bike through Otley Chevin
If you’re looking for adventure then you need to head down to Otley Chevin. Chevin Forest Park is located just outside Otley market town and offers magnificent views of the Wharfe Valley. The whole park was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1989 in recognition of its wealth of wildlife including the Green Hairstreak Butterfly and the Woodcock. You can mountain bike, rock climb, walk your dog, have a picnic with the teddy bears or take a long leafy walk.
1. Visit one of Leeds’ special event days
I’ve left the best 'till last here. Leeds is world-famous when it comes to the special events it hosts. Some highlights have got to be Leeds Pride and the West Indian Carnival - the streets sparkle with colour and I guarantee they'll make you feel good!
And that’s 10! I hope you choose to give one of these a go and if you do, I’d love to hear what you thought! Remember, if you and your IconInc friends are out and about, snap a picture and use #Iconinc for a chance to win a free Roomzzz stay!
For now, bon voyage!