Culture and Nightlife
Culture vultures will love Leeds. You can enjoy a show, head for one of our galleries or museums, or laugh the night away at a comedy club. There's also a huge selection of cinemas to choose from, and our very own International Film Festival. Watch musicals, theatre productions and comedy shows at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Grand Theatre, Civic Theatre and City Varieties, the longest-running music hall in the UK, dating back to 1865.
Art lovers can enjoy exhibitions at Leeds City Art Gallery, the Henry Moore Institute and a range of smaller, independent galleries. Nearby Bradford is the home of the National Media Museum, which incorporates Britain's first IMAX cinema. Leeds is also host to top international performing companies such as the internationally-acclaimed Opera North, Northern Ballet Theatre and the Phoenix Dance Theatre.
The city offers an exciting live music scene and now boasts the 13,000-capacity First Direct Arena as well as the O2 Academy and numerous smaller, more intimate venues. Leeds also hosts a number of annual festivals which our staff and students are involved with, including the Leeds/Reading Music Festival (held here since 1999), Leeds International Film Festival, Leeds Pride, Leeds West Indian Carnival, Live at Leeds and more.
Our city comes to life at night – we have restaurants, bars, clubs and pubs to suit all genres and budgets. In fact, Leeds is one of the UK's best cities for nightlife.
For foodies, there's a lot more on offer than Yorkshire puddings and Black Sheep ale. You can travel the world, all within the city limits, from Morocco to New Mexico and Thailand to Brazil, there are hundreds of food outlets to choose from. And, if that isn't enough, we've also got an annual food festival. Fancy travelling further afield for some traditional fare; our region is vibrant with markets, farm shops and award-winning restaurants.
There's plenty to keep the family occupied in Leeds and Yorkshire, from history on display at the Leeds City Museum and the award-winning Royal Armouries to the thrilling rides at Light Water Valley and Flamingo Land. If you love animals, hang out with the meerkats at Tropical World, take a trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park or discover the underwater world at The Deep in Hull.
For something completely different, visit The Thackray Medical Museum or explore The Forbidden Corner and its labyrinth of tunnels in the Yorkshire Dales.
If you love shopping, you're in the right place. Since the opening of the first Harvey Nichols outside London, Leeds is hard to beat when it comes to shopping, with over 80 designer boutiques located in the exquisite Victoria Quarter and a wide range of high street stores across the city centre. With historic arcades, the Corn Exchange and Trinity Leeds rubbing alongside unique design and retro shops and the historic Kirkgate Market, the largest indoor market in Europe, Leeds truly is a shoppers' paradise.
Host city for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2014, Leeds has plenty to offer sports fans. West Yorkshire is the birthplace of rugby league and is home to the rugby league's 2014 Challenge Cup winners the Leeds Rhinos and the RFU Championship side Leeds Carnegie, both of which play at Headingley Carnegie Stadium. Yorkshire County Cricket Club, which hosts test matches and one day internationals, is also based at the Stadium, where our University also has teaching, office and conferencing facilities. Elland Road is home to Leeds United Football Club.
Discover all that’s great about our fantastic county. From the scenic Yorkshire Dales and the region's glorious coastline, to wildlife, World Heritage Sites and thrilling days out, there's plenty to enjoy if you want to get out and about.
Yorkshire isn't just the biggest county in the UK, it’s the best. That's not just our view; it was announced winner of "Europe's Leading Destination" in the World Travel Awards 2013 and also named the third best region in the world to visit in 2014 by Lonely Planet.
Breath-taking scenery is just short car, bus or train ride away from Leeds city centre, as are the historical cobbled streets of York, the historic spa town of Harrogate (where a trip to the famous Betty’s Tea Shop is mandatory) and traditional seaside favourites, Scarborough, Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay.
If you like the great outdoors, Yorkshire will keep you busy. Walking, caving, mountain biking, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing, rock climbing – the list goes on. The spectacular Yorkshire Dales National Park has some of the finest scenery in the world, with over a thousand square kilometres of natural wonders and charming market towns to explore.
Support for International Colleagues
We welcome colleagues and students from almost 100 different countries around the globe, contributing to our vision to be an excellent, accessible and globally engaged university. The support for international colleagues page provides information to support international colleagues on immigration matters, with some additional information about life in the UK.