Pull out the big guns next time your pals make their way to Leeds for a visit.
Want to show your friends what they’re missing by not living in Leeds? Need to prove that the capital isn’t the be all and end all? Then you’re in luck, because we’ve put together a list of frankly outstanding things to do with your friends when they come to visit. From pub crawls (not the one you’re thinking) to secret cocktail bars and immersive film experiences – it’s time for Leeds to shine.
Go on a special tap to tap crawl
If you want to show your friends why Leeds is the beer capital of the North, our tap to tap pub crawl will do just the job. You’ll visit two of the most respected independent breweries in Leeds, Northern Monk and North Brewing Co, stopping at some of the city’s best craft beer bars in between. There are ten stops in total, so it’s not for the faint-hearted, but you’ll get to try amazing Belgian beers at The Head of Steam, hard-to-find American craft beers at Belgrave and just about anything you could ever want at North Bar.
Check out our Tap to Tap Pub Crawl.
Escape an inescapable room
Escape games are the latest craze to hit the nation – and Leeds does them particularly well. Take your friends to try The Great Escape Game in Atlas House, where you’ll find six different rooms to break out of, from King Arthur’s Secret to Submerged, The Devil’s Playground and The Underworld. Each promises a range of challenging tasks – and you’ll have to complete them all within an hour to get out. Even if you don’t escape, it’s such a fun way to spend a day, your friends will want to come back for another go.
The Great Escape Game, Atlas House, 31 King Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HL.
Discover the world of sculpture
One of the things that sets Leeds apart from the rest is the Henry Moore Institute, so why not add a dose of culture to your next reunion? There’s nothing else quite like it, anywhere in the world, with an ever-changing exhibition space that hosts the world’s leading lights in sculpture. With a mix of historical, modern and contemporary artists, it really is one of the best art galleries in the North.
Henry Moore Institute, 74 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AH.
Go on tree-top adventures
You’ll find Go Ape tucked away in the Menagerie Woods at Temple Newsam and it’s a great way to bring your mates together for a day of adrenaline-fuelled fun. You can take on a vertigo-inducing obstacle course complete with stepping stones, Tarzan swings, log-balances and zip wires high in the treetops. Feeling brave? Try their Level 3 challenge, which will see you tackle their toughest loops 15 metres above the ground.
Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AE.
Ride the water taxi to a fascinating museum
It’s not just adults that are in for a treat when they visit Leeds – you can impress the little ones too. Jump on the water taxi for a unique ride up the River Aire and head to the Royal Armouries. It’s home to the National Collection of Arms and Armour, with more than 8,500 exhibits on display across six galleries. They put on daily talks and live jousting shows too, as well as a range of kid-friendly activities.
The Royal Armouries, Armouries Drive, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1LT.
Try out our experimental tasting menus
Got foodie friends? There’s no better way to explore the city’s food and drink scene than by delving into our inventive tasting menus. The Michelin-starred The Man Behind the Curtain is the biggest name, but you’ll have a long wait for a table, so why not try one of the city’s highly respected indies? Enjoy the ‘nose to tail, roots to shoots’ philosophy of The Swine That Dines, the refined brilliance of Vice and Virtue and the inventive wares of Shears Yard, among others.
Check out our list of experimental tasting menus.
Play a boozy round of crazy golf at Junkyard
Junkyard is crazy golf like you’ve never seen it before. Enter this bonkers world of neon lights and throwback 90s tunes to show your mates who’s the real Tiger Woods. From a polluted jungle to an abandoned circus and a disco-themed garage, there are three golf courses for you to play and you can sup one of their equally barmy cocktails as you make your way around.
Junkyard Golf Club, The Light, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8TL.
Explore one of the biggest urban parks in Europe
Roundhay Park is huge. In fact, it’s bigger than Hyde Park, so even Londoners will be impressed. But that’s just one of the reasons to visit. It has two beautiful lakes, a grade-II listed Mansion and acres of stunning woodland, complete with natural wonders like Roundhay Gorge and Great Head’s Beck. If you’re bringing kids, you can keep them entertained all day long with football pitches and tennis courts, not to mention Tropical World, which promises the biggest tropical plant and animal collection outside of Kew Gardens. Afterwards, head to nearby Oakwood, where you can grab a beer at Preston or a bite to eat at Grön.
Roundhay Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 1ER.
Get stuck into a day of street food
Leeds has played a big role in the street food revolution that’s taken over the UK in the past few years, and you can give your mates a taste of it at Belgrave Feast on the second Saturday of every month. It’s sure to impress those foodie friends with three floors of the North’s finest street food vendors, serving up everything from bao buns to burritos. You’ll also find an arts market on the first floor, with craft beer behind the bar and DJs on all day.
Belgrave Music Hall, 1-1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
Enter a world of vintage video games
If your group loves old school video games, there’s only one place to take them – Arcade Club. It’s a two-floor haven of vintage arcade machines and games consoles that you can lose hours in. It’s £16 entry, then you can stay as long as you like and play on whatever you like – have a go on an original 1972 Pong machine, see if you’ve still got it on Pac-Man or try out one of the dance machines imported from Japan as you sup a drink or two.
Arcade Club, Unit 3, Abbey Retail Park, Savins Mill Way, Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3RP.
Drink in the views from the rooftops
When the sun’s shining, the stunning views from the city’s rooftop bars are guaranteed to earn you brownie points with your pals, especially if they’re rather partial to cocktails. From The Alchemist to Angelica and SkyLounge, you’ll be able to devour all manner of delicious concoctions while you look out over the city. And if you’re after beer, sister venues Headrow House and Belgrave Music Hall have brilliant roof gardens too.
Check out our list of the best rooftop bars in Leeds.
Feast on the city’s vegan eats
Leeds is a vegan friendly city, so why not take your mates on a gastro-tour of Leeds without the meat and dairy? Gorge on vegan junk food at Knave’s Kitchen in Oporto, wrap your mouth around the juicy burgers at Cantina and tuck into delicious Indian street food at Bundobust. Got a sweet tooth? It’s worth heading out of town to try the vegan donuts at Temple.
Check out where to get the best vegan food in Leeds.
See a film like never before
Sneaky Experience turn the city’s finest attractions into cinemas with their utterly immersive events. Take your friends to Kirkstall Abbey or Leeds Town Hall to see them bring the movies to life. As well as showing some of your favourite movies on the big screen, they have a host of fantastic activities for you to get involved in, from potion making to bird shows, and you’re sure to meet a few characters from the film while you’re there. It’s a fantastic alternative to the norm, in a unique location, and your friends won’t have experienced anything quite like it.
Sneaky Experience screenings take place regularly at Kirkstall Abbey in the summer and at various Leeds venues the rest of the year.
Seek out a secret cocktail den
In a city like Leeds, it’s tough to keep things a secret for long, but your mates don’t know what you know, so impress them with a trip to these hidden gems. Head underground to try experiential cocktails at Below Stairs, slip down the back stairs in Lords Barbering to find an old school jazz bar at The Domino Club or go back in time with a trip to Blind Tyger’s pre-Prohibition era drinking den.
Check out the city’s secret cocktail bars.Cover image credit McFade Photography.