As a young professional, your budget can be tight while you save your hard-earned money for various big purchases. However, that doesn’t mean you need to stay in every weekend for the next five years! Whether you live in Headingley or Huddersfield, Horsforth or Halifax, there are plenty of free things across Leeds for you to do alone, as a couple, with friends, or with your family. Explore a variety of fascinating museums, take a walk through stunning parkland, cycle along miles of glorious towpath, check out some top artwork, and enjoy some fantastic live music.
Learn about the history of your local area at Leeds City Museum; visit the room full of taxidermy animals from around the world too, and meet the Leeds mummy upstairs. For a taste of past battles, explore the National Collection of Arms and Armour at Royal Armouries Museum — visit in the school holidays for exciting events such as re-enactments and jousting. Discover more about life in and around Horsforth over the years at the Horsforth Village Museum. Interested in fashion or Marks and Spencer, which started out in our city? Check out the official M&S exhibition, Marks in Time, at the University of Leeds.
In Leeds we have are lucky enough to have a wealth of large, beautiful parks to enjoy year-round. Visit in spring to see the new signs of life pushing through the soil, in summer for gorgeous blooms and wildlife, in autumn to crunch through the colourful leaves, and in winter for frost-encrusted landscapes.
Popular parks include Roundhay Park, Middleton Park, Kirkstall Abbey, Middleton Park, Otley Chevin Forest Park and Golden Acre Park. All of these parks are dog-friendly, so the whole family can go for walkies. If you fancy a walk or bike ride with Golden Acre Park as the final destination, try the Meanwood Valley Trail which starts off in Leeds city centre.
If you fancy walking or cycling along a towpath instead of around a park, the Leeds and Liverpool canal is a great stretch of waterway to explore at any time of the year, featuring colourful barges, wildlife, and lovely picnic spots en route.
If you like a purpose to your walks, why not try out Leeds Owl Trail? This scavenger hunt takes you around the city centre via 25 owls, and you can learn about the history of each location as you go.
If you are into art galleries and exhibitions, then Leeds won’t leave you wanting — whether you’re into classical art, modern pieces, paintings or sculpture. There are several free art galleries in and around Leeds, including Leeds City Art Gallery, The Tetley, the Henry Moore Institute, The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, and The Gallery at 164. Also, if sculpture is more your thing, it might be worth venturing just outside of Leeds to Yorkshire Sculpture Park — which is also free to visit! How lucky are we?
Home to the famous annual summer festival, Leeds is well-known for its thriving music scene. Not only has Leeds produced some excellent bands such as Kaiser Chiefs, Soft Cell and The Sisters of Mercy, its wealth of venues pull in a wide variety of talent from all over the world. While you probably can’t see chart-toppers for free, it is certainly worth looking out for free gigs at Brudenell Social Club and Headrow House to discover up-and-coming talent.
If you’ve not used the free water taxi on the canal in Leeds city centre yet, what have you been doing?! The pick-up/drop-off points are at Granary Wharf and Leeds Dock, and the taxis run every 20 minutes. Just turn up, climb on board and enjoy the trip!
Do you know of any other free activities in Leeds? Let us know in the comments below. Want some free activities in Yorkshire? Check out some ideas, here.