Unbelievably Awesome Leeds Experiences For Every Budget

· Andrew Porter-Emery · Culture

Whether you’re flush or feeling the pinch, there’s something in Leeds for you.

The Lost & Found, bottomless brunch

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Making the most of Leeds doesn’t have to cost the earth. And with some simple budgeting, you can really go to town.

Leeds is packed with amazing, unmissable experiences, and they don’t all come with a huge bill at the end. Whether you’re looking for something that costs next-to-nothing or you’re planning a blowout, it’s all about operating within a budget. Everyone is feeling the squeeze, but everyone deserves a good time too, so here are a bunch of ways to make the most of the city without leaving yourself skint.

Have some fun for free

The Royal Armouries

Credit: Gavin Forster

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but in Leeds there are tons of things to do that don’t involve you dipping into your pocket. In fact, some of the city’s best attractions are completely gratis. Exploring the atmospheric grounds of Kirkstall Abbey or wandering the incredible historical galleries of The Royal Armouries costs precisely zero – and that’s just a taste of free Leeds experiences, all of which you can do again and again.

Give the kids a grounding in art at The Tetley, showcasing amazing contemporary works, or let them get up close with animals at Hope Pastures, where horses, ponies and donkeys are rehabilitated. Looking for something more grown-up to do? Head to Verve Bar on Tuesdays for their free Comedy Cellar stand-up evenings, or catch up-and-coming musicians live at free gigs hosted by Brudenell Social Club, Sela Bar, Seven Arts and more.

Guarantee good times for £10

Street Scene, Opera North

With a tenner in your pocket, the numerous cheap eats of Leeds are open to you. The Thali Box at Manjit’s Kitchen is an absolute bargain, and you’ll have change from £10. At nearby Dave’s Pies & Ales, you can enjoy exemplary examples of both for less than your budget. Thai Aroy Dee has a legendary deal every day between noon and 5pm – two courses of freshly prepared Southeast Asian cuisine for £7.95? It’s an absolute steal.

There’s nothing to stop you getting creative with your £10 either. You can paint your own pottery at Jackrabbits, with pieces starting at just £7, which leaves enough for one of their tempting homemade cakes. Are you aged from 16 to 29? If so, sign up for free to Opera North’s Under 30s Scheme and you can bag tickets for just £10. It also gives you exclusive event nights, food and drink offers and discounts for Howard Assembly Room events.

Enjoy brunch, sushi or sketching for £30

Fleur Cafe Pancakes

Credit: Bobby Geetha

Even if times are tight, £30 can get you a helluva time in Leeds. It’s taking you firmly into bottomless brunch territory, and you’re truly spoiled for choice. Gorgeous scran and free pour drinks can be had at the likes of The Lost & Found for £28 and Fleur Cafe for £27.95. The latter gets you the likes of BBQ beef brisket and egg on sourdough or a Belgian Sweet Waffle, with bottomless Prosecco, Fruit Punch or Raspberry Sherbet.

A great way to save money in the long run is to get a new skill – and you can head to Yo! Sushi to learn how to prep the perfect maki and nigiri. For a budget-adjacent £29.95, you’ll get two hours of tutoring in knife-cutting skills and rolling before you get to taste your handiwork. If you’d rather express your creativity in another way, you can join the Drink & Draw events at The Bowery. For £25 you’ll get tutor-led informal drawing sessions with all materials provided – it’s also BYOB.

Kick off with karaoke and karting for £50

team sport go karting

Credit: TeamSport Karting

You don’t have to have the voice of an angel to enjoy karaoke – belting out the hits with your besties is one of life’s great pleasures. You can actually hire a room at Hello Karaoke, tucked away upstairs at House of Fu, for £40 an hour, so it’ll fit into a cheaper experience if you want. But if you and three mates chip in £50 each, you can have two-hour hire with their mixed drinks package. Prosecco, pilsner and passionfruit spritz definitely add to the fun.

£50 also lets you get into occasion dining, such as the brilliant all you can eat offer at Blue Sakura. While there are cheaper options, the weekend evening deal of £41.95 gives you 90 minutes of sashimi, nigiri, maki, grilled skewers and oh-so-much more. If adrenaline is more your thing, you can join the Open Grand Prix or 50-lap races at TeamSport GoKarting for around £50. Come in the top three of the latter battle and you’ll even take home a trophy.

Tackle tasting menus and spa days for £100

Crafthouse Refurb 2022

A £100 day or night-out might be at the top end of your budget – or it might require a bit of saving up – so best to choose something that will live long in the memory. Treating yourself to a spa day is never a bad idea, and you can head off to Chevin Country Park Hotel & Spa for a day of relaxation and pampering for less than £100. Their Chevin Tranquility package gives you a 50-minute treatment, use of their pool and thermal suites, plus afternoon tea and Prosecco. Proper.

If you’ve got a taste for the finer things in life but can’t afford them regularly, make the most of a special occasion by going for a tasting menu. The 5-course menu at Crafthouse is £55, with a wine pairing taking it up to £100 exactly. We’re talking Hereford fillet of beef with pastrami short rib and a salted caramel tart with cornflake ice cream – a dessert you’ll be dreaming about until you can go again.

Push the boat out for £150

liquor studio gin school

Credit: Crop45

We don’t want to be Kirstie Allsopp about it, but saying goodbye to your morning takeaway coffee for a month or two will soon give you enough money for a blowout. That means you can try the weird and frequently wonderful cuisine of Michael O’Hare at The Man Behind the Curtain. The 12-course ‘Permanent Collection’ starts at £145 per head – prepare to be dazzled by both the taste and presentation.

If you and your significant other want to do something together, how about heading off to gin school? £149 will get two of you into Hotham’s Leeds Gin School & Distillery so you can learn how to make mother’s ruin. Choose your botanicals and distil your very own gin, before tasting, bottling and labelling. You’ll not only graduate gin school, you’ll get to take your bespoke bottle home with you. That’s got to be worth saving up for.