Travel: 48 hours in Leeds

ROBIN McKelvie spends a weekend in Leeds and experiences the city's industrial past and its new creative energy

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds
Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Friday, midday

Check into the slick Park Plaza (doubles from £65,, which towers above the city. Book a room on the 20th floor for a bird’s eye view of Leeds.


Leeds Art Gallery ( features works by the likes of Turner and Constable, right through to Antony Gormley. Their Tiled Hall Café is on hand, too, for a coffee and a cake.


Leeds is renowned for its shopping. Retail addicts should pick up the free Make the Most out of Leeds guide from the tourist office. Trinity Leeds offers the high street stores, while Leeds Corn Exchange and the Grand Arcade are more upmarket.


Hide Ad


Handily, the Park Plaza boasts an award-winning restaurant, Chino Latino, which offers a fusion of the cuisines of China, South East Asia 
and Japan, as well as tempting cocktails.

Saturday, 10am

The Henry Moore Institute ( is a superb sculpture gallery set in an old warehouse, which links it to the city’s industrial past. The collection focuses primarily on the 20th century.


Mrs Atha’s ( is a must for coffee lovers. This independent retro coffee house also serves decent sandwiches and does excellent cakes.


Hide Ad


Kirkstall Abbey (Abbey Road), an old Cistercian Abbey, is arguably the city’s finest ecclesiastical building. It dates to the 12th century and its medieval design is a complete contrast to the rest of Leeds.


The Everyman ( lets you enjoy a meal and a glass of wine to go along with your movie.


Leeds bustles with a rich bevy of boisterous bars. For something classier, head to Epernay ( As it sounds, this chic oasis specialises in champagne of all hues.


Hide Ad

Sunday, 10am

Take a stroll around the banks of the River Aire. The old industrial heart of the city has been reborn in recent years with a sprinkling of bars, restaurants and cafes.

• East Coast ( run regular train services from various Scottish destinations to Leeds.