Find the feel-good factor with lunchtime recitals, creative workshops and the ultimate in four-legged therapy…
It’s vital to focus on self-care from time to time, taking a moment to step away from the stresses of daily life. There are plenty of ways to release those all-important endorphins – from high-tempo workouts and mindful meditation to tension-soothing massages and escapism in music. Whatever makes you feel good, you’re bound to find it right here in Leeds city centre. Here are our picks when you need to show yourself a little love.
Dig into healthy food
You can well and truly eat the rainbow at Eat Your Greens. This city centre eatery focuses on farm-to-fork cuisine, serving up oh-so-fresh food for lunch and dinner, as well as selling a fantastic selection of groceries for you to take home. Dive into nutritious delights such as hassleback beets – a vibrant dish centred around superfood beetroot, accompanied by raita, celeriac and coriander chutney. Thirsty? A selection of carefully-crafted cocktails, natural wines, juices and kombuchas offers something for everyone.
Eat Your Greens, 42 New York Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DY.
Unleash your creativity
Feeling crafty? There are plenty of classes and workshops to get involved with at the wonderful Tetley. The old brewery has quickly become one of the most popular destinations for culture within the city, boasting contemporary art within stunning art deco surrounds. There are plenty of ways to get involved – drop into a painting or pottery workshop and you’ll be able to create your own mini-masterpiece or book a spot on their monthly Drink & Draw session and you can grab a bev in a sociable environment while discovering your inner artist.
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ.
Find zen while covered in puppies
If you hadn’t heard, yoga has received a furry upgrade. Yep, that’s right. Puppy Yoga has landed here in Leeds. This is a treat for mind, body and soul, blending all the benefits of regular yoga with added adorableness. Each session starts and finishes with dedicated puppy playtime, with a 45-minute yoga class in the middle. While you practice your downward dog, your new four-legged friends will have the run of the house. Events are announced via Instagram Story and are as popular as you’d expect, so keep an eye on their page.
Puppy Yoga Leeds, Quarry Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7BT.
Lose yourself in fiction
Whisper it quietly, Leeds Library is one of the city’s hidden gems. It’s not only aesthetically beautiful, it’s also steeped in history – founded in 1768, it’s the oldest surviving subscription library in the UK. Become a member and you’ll be able to hang out in this peaceful haven whenever you fancy, leafing through books ’til your heart’s content. There are also plenty of events to get involved with – from lunchtime lectures to comedy clubs, with a packed calendar of cultural happenings which are as informative as they are enjoyable.
The Leeds Library, 18 Commercial Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AL.
Discover joy in music
Opera North is putting wellness in the spotlight this March by running a weekend of unmissable events designed to make you feel good. Hosted within the inspiring surrounds of the Howard Assembly Room, this mini series of events features restorative yoga set to live music, informal singing workshops, family-friendly African dance workshops and dementia-friendly concerts. With an inclusive roster and pocket-friendly prices, it’s sure to be a popular weekend, so grab your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
Howard Assembly Room, 32 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
Work up a sweat
Exercise is a sure-fire way to release endorphins, so grab your water bottle and head to one of the world’s most in-vogue fitness classes – Barrecore. These ballet-based sessions blend low-impact, high-intensity moves with static stretches, helping you work all of the major muscle groups. There are plenty of different varieties to try out – from sculpt classes which incorporate resistance bands to sweat classes that make use of HIIT techniques. They even do private maternity classes, providing a safe and comfortable workout if you’re expecting.
Barrecore Leeds, Unit A, Spicemill, Wharf Approach, Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4EZ.
Learn a new skill
Nestled under Leeds Art Gallery you’ll find The Craft Centre – another hidden gem that’s an absolute must if you love getting artsy. Alongside their extensive gallery which showcases work from over 300 designers at any one time, they run regular workshops where you can learn everything from pottery to jewellery making. Join a class and you’ll be able to take home your creation after the session, as well as being able to pick up an item from new, emerging and established makers – everything in the gallery is for sale.
The Craft Centre & Design Gallery, Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AB.
Hang out with feel good felines
If you’re a cat-lover, there’s no better way to feel good than to grab a coffee and cosy up down at the Kitty Cafe. Park yourself in one of their many comfy chairs as the resident felines wander and play. There are plenty of wide open spaces, elevated platforms and toys, so you can be rest assured that the four-legged creatures are absolutely in their element. Order a bite to eat from the cafe’s extensive menu, which features the likes of pizza, panini and jacket potatoes, alongside scrumptious cakes. There’s even afternoon tea to really treat yourself.
Kitty Cafe, 8-9 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6BZ.
Soothe your aches and pains
You’ll find an oasis of calm at RMUK – a four-storey hair and beauty salon that also houses a luxurious day spa. There are plenty of ways to get your relaxation fix – from 30-minute Aveda facials based around your bespoke skincare needs to a 90-minute deep tissue full-body massage, clinically proven to reduce stress. It’s the perfect way to escape city life, as you drift away surrounded by sensual aromas and candle-lit lighting. Once you’re fully rejuvenated, it’s time to head up to the hidden roof terrace where you can enjoy a drink from the bar.
RMUK, 57 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BB.
Take a moment for mindfulness
Put your mind first with a guided meditation session at the Kadampa Centre, where the teachers use Modern Buddhist techniques to help you unwind your mind and sample inner peace. Meditation can help you reduce stress and overcome anxieties, amongst many other benefits. Their lunchtime sessions are free to join if you head down between 12:30pm and 12:45pm, or if you fancy making a night of it, check out their Meal & Meditation evenings, which pair a guided session with a tasty, home-cooked vegetarian meal.
Kadampa Centre, Waterloo House, Assembly St, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DE
Wander around a street food and art market
Belgrave’s monthly Feast events are hugely popular, as a rotating line-up of street food and art traders pull up to the iconic venue to showcase their wares. Explore three floors of food, drink, art and music, along with plenty for the kids to do. You can chow down on everything from deliciously wholesome vegan burgers and delicate dim su to homemade cakes and decadent donuts, whilst grabbing a pint from a whole host of brewers. If you’ve got little ones, be sure to make it down for 11am to catch the Dough Babies pizza making class.
Belgrave Music Hall, 1-1a Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
Pretend that you’re on Bake Off
Channel your inner Mary Berry at Ready Steady Bake It – a fun-filled 90-minute Bake Off experience. You and a partner will don aprons and take on rival teams as you strive to be the hottest baker in town. You don’t need to bring anything other than yourselves – simply turn up, pick a fully kitted-out cooking station and follow the instructions. When the timer goes, the judge will pick a winner, but everyone gets to take their yummy creation home. All of the challenges are designed to be fun and achievable, even for first-time bakers.
Ready Steady Bake It, Unit 2, Ground Floor, 8 St Paul’s Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2LE.
Experience the ultimate workout
TRIB3 isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it’s bound to leave you feeling energised and alive. Combining HIIT methods with neon lighting, loud music and heart rate monitors, the classes are designed to be quick but effective, cramming an ultra-effective workout into just 45 minutes. You’ll switch between running, resistance and cycling as you sweat your way to the finish line. It’s tough – real tough – but incredibly rewarding. Afterwards, head on over to the smoothie bar to refuel, where you can build your own post-workout shake.
TRIB3, 68A Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2EE.
Take a dose of the best medicine
If you want your funny bone tickled, grab your your pals and take a trip to Verve Bar for their weekly Comedy Cellar – a legendary evening of stand-up entertainment. The best part? It’s completely free. The iconic event has been running for years, showcasing everything from rookie comedians who are just learning the ropes to established stars using the gig to road-test their new material. There are even open mic nights if you fancy giving it a go yourself. Who knows, you might discover you’ve got a hidden talent.
Verve, 16 Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PQ.
Immerse yourself in a free lunchtime recital
Take a lunch break with a difference by watching a free concert at Leeds Conservatoire. These daily recitals make up the most extensive calendar of free live music events in the country, featuring everything from jazz and opera to classical and soprano. Set within stunning surrounds, these hour-long sessions provide a way to get away from it all, losing yourself in the music. It’s a great chance to discover new and emerging talent, but you could even catch a more-established artist. This is well and truly one of Leeds’ cultural gems.
Leeds Conservatoire, 3 Quarry Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PD.
Escape with a live show
There’s nothing quite like a trip to the theatre – it’s a surefire way to release endorphins whilst taking a well-deserved break from the real world. Leeds Grand Theatre has been wowing its audiences since the 1870s, today hosting a jam-packed calendar of live action shows for you to feast upon. From awe-inspiring ballet performances to rip-roaring, feel-good musicals, there’s bound to be something on the roster that suits your tastes. Grab a tub of Northern Bloc ice cream, take your seat and transport yourself into a new reality.
Leeds Grand Theatre, 46 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
Go back in time while sipping afternoon tea
Fancy an afternoon steeped in nostalgia? Step back in time at Just Grand! This vintage tearoom is nestled within Leeds’ Grand Arcade, offering up afternoon teas with all the trimmings within authentic surroundings. Expect mismatched patterned crockery, china cabinets full of trinkets and staff head-to-toe in 1940s garb. As for the afternoon teas – you can keep it traditional with finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and strawberries, or pick from an array of different styles, which include Caribbean, seafood and a Gent’s version.
Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom, Ground Floor, 8-9 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
Nourish your soul
Fuel up at Wolfox, where you’ll find a selection of nutrient-packed brunches that are as wholesome as they are Instagrammable. Pick yourself up with a freshly-made smoothie or dig into an açai bowl for a dose of superfoods. The mermaid bowl will definitely provide the feel-good factor – banana and blue spirulina creates a striking ocean blue base, which is then topped with homemade granola, fruit in the form of blackberries, blueberries and mango, then toasted coconut to finish. Pair with a matcha latte for the ultimate health-kick.
Wolfox, 66 Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2EE.
Find your voice
If you love nothing more than belting one out, you’re in luck – Opera North’s popular online singing workshop From Couch to Chorus is back. Taking place over the course of three evenings, you’ll be taken under the wing of an expert vocal coach who’ll teach you the ropes as you experience what it’s like to sing in a chorus. For your big finale, you’ll get the chance to sing along live with Opera North. It’s open to absolutely everyone, from novices right through to avid choir-goers. Time to grab your hairbrush and unleash your inner Pavarotti.
From Couch to Chorus: Sing into Spring begins on Wednesday 15th March 2023.Cover image credit: Khayam Shah