Have you come to visit Leeds, but found yourself short of cash? Or do you live in Leeds and find yourself in between paydays? It happens sometimes, but don’t worry! We’ll help you find things to do and places to visit that are completely free in this beautiful Northern city!
1). Verve’s Comedy Cellar: on Tuesday nights head over to the Comedy Cellar for free entertainment. Here, you’ll find young comedians with new acts on the comedy circuit, gaining experience and testing out their acts. The cellar is located downstairs at the Verve Bar on Merrion Street. Free entry begins at 8:30 p.m.
2). Afternoon tea at the Left Bank Leeds: billed as the “pay as you feel” tea, this afternoon tea is held on the second Wednesday each month from 2-3:30 p.m. The whole idea behind this event is to bring people of the community together over a cup of tea and a lovely slice of cake. You’ll have the chance to meet new people and chat, including homemakers, students, freelancers, or even retirees. Just enjoy this little treat and have a good time with others. This is a pay what you will event, so if you’re short on cash, it’s OK not to pay. The event is funded by the Heritage Lottery fund.
3). Leeds Discovery Centre: here, you’ll find 4.8 billion years of history in a modern, state-of-the-art storage facility. There are literally millions of objects from the Leeds Museums and Galleries collections to be discovered. The site puts on free tours on Thursdays and they even offer exploratory workshops for you and/or the kids.
4). The Craft Center and Design Gallery: here you’ll find a wonderful, amazing display of works of art from over 300 British designers and artists. The center features all types of art work including mixed media, ceramics and even jewelry. Be forewarned—everything on exhibit is for sale, so if you’re short on cash, you may want to keep your hands in your pockets or leave your wallet at home. The center is located under the Leeds City Art Gallery.
5). The Living Room at St. Mark’s: you’ll find a wide variety of activities here, at the Living Room, in St. Mark’s church. The Living Room was set up as a weekly gathering place for international students who attend university in Leeds. The Living Room is held every Tuesday and lasts for about 90 minutes. You can meet people from Leeds and from around the world! The event also includes games, international foods nights and even classes, such as cake making. Just attend regularly to enjoy these varied, fun activities and meet some new people—all for free!
6). The Leeds Owl Trail: following the trail, you’ll visit 25 different locations across the City Centre, where you’ll be able to spot some unique owls. Travel through history as you follow the Owl Trail, where each owl tells a story about itself and details about events during its lifetime. You’ll find an Owl Trail map you can download, or you can buy one at the Leeds Visitors Centre (just below the Leeds Art Gallery). You’ll have to pay at the visitor’s centre, but the downloadable maps are free. It takes some talent and patience to spot some of the owls, as they’re not all placed in obvious places. Have fun, get some exercise and learn more about the history of the area on this free trail!
7). Leeds Country Way: if you enjoy hiking, then this may be a great activity for you! The Leeds Country Way is a 62 mile footpath (you read that correctly) around Leeds. The trail takes you through some beautiful countryside surrounding the city. The country way is split up into 4-6 mile sections, with each end linking to a bus or train route…just in case you’re tired out by that point. Each section takes about 2 and half hours to walk; here are the 4 sections:
- Golden Acre Park to Barwick-in-Elmet
- Barwick-in-Elmet to Carlton
- Carlton to Cockersdale
- Cockersdale to Golden Acre Park
This is a great way to schedule exercise into your week and enjoy some beautiful scenery at the same time!
8). Marks in Time: did you know Marks & Spencer was born in Leeds? Marks in Time is a company archive for Marks & Spencer that shares the company’s rich heritage. The archive preserves a unique collection of over 71,000 items dating from 1884 to the present, offering a historical view of the famous retailer. Here, you’ll find written, photographic and digital records about the company, as well as M&S historical artefacts. What a great way for you and the family to spend an afternoon! All for free!
9). Leeds Waterfront Trail: here’s another great way to enjoy the city and get some exercise—check out the city’s waterfront trail. It begins at Kirkstall Abbey and takes you through several locations in the city, including Wellington Palace, Granary Wharf, and more. You’ll enjoy the 4-mile walk along the River Aire along the Leeds waterfront. At any one point, you’ll be close to other attractions, including museums, great restaurants, museums, shops and more. There’s a free downloadable map available to help you stay on course, too!
10). Eccup Reservoir Circular Walk: here’s another place to ramble if you love to walk. The Eccup Reservoir Circular Walk begins in the woods north of Leeds, in the suburb of Alwoodley. You’ll find a sign for the path at the side of the road, just a little way along Alwoodley Lane, near map reference SE305408. The trek takes you across Sand Moor golf course for a walk in the lovely, quiet countryside along lanes arched with trees and more. The walk is generally timed at about 2 hours, but take your time to enjoy the peaceful scenery. This is a great choice if you need to get away from the city for a little while to recoup and enjoy the outdoors.
These are only a few of the free activities and events you can enjoy in Leeds when you’re short on cash or would just like to save a little money. We hope you enjoy these activities during your stay in Leeds!