You’ll find an abundance of free things to do in Leeds.
From exploring the city’s parks to hitting its galleries and taking on one of its many trails, you’ll find loads of free things to do in Leeds, to keep you busy when you don’t have a penny to spend.
1. Roundhay Park
There are over 700 acres of green space to explore at Roundhay Park, with two beautiful lakes at the centre of it all. The city’s biggest park is a stunning setting for a cheap day out in Leeds, so pack up a picnic, take the kids to the playground or just have a wander around and enjoy the picturesque surroundings. It’s got everything from old follies to landscaped gardens for you to hunt out, if you’ve got time.
Roundhay Park, Princes Avenue, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 1DF.
2. Kirkstall Abbey
Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3AH.
3. The Meanwood Valley Trail
The Meanwood Valley Trail starts opposite The Library Pub, 229 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AP.
‘What the heck is Geocaching?’ we hear you cry. Well, it’s basically an orienteering treasure hunt and it’s one of the most intriguing free things to do in Leeds. You’ll find a set of coordinates on the website, search the spot to find a container (AKA a geocache) hidden with an object inside. You can leave it there, or take it with you as long as you replace it with something of the same or greater value, and the game carries on.
5. Woodhouse Moor Skate Park
Unlike other skate parks, the one on Woodhouse Moor is completely free, so whether you’re into rollerblading, BMX-ing or skateboarding, you can feed all your extreme sports urges without putting your hand in your pocket. On summer days there’s a real community forged out of this corner of the park, with people flipping tricks and learning new skills, so why not join in?
Woodhouse Moor Skate Park, Hyde Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2NW.
6. The Tetley
You can while away the hours wandering around the three art-filled floors of The Tetley for free, but that’s not all they have to offer. Their approach to art is all inclusive and they run free family-friendly workshops, from fun-packed sessions for older kids to specially tailored activities for toddlers, as well as open days that reveal more of the historic building than you usually get to see.
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ.
7. Yeadon Tarn
Yeadon Tarn, Cemetery Road, Yeadon, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS19 7BB.
8. The Hop Pub Quiz
Tucked away under the Dark Arches on Granary Wharf, The Hop is a cracking venue for a pub quiz. Entry is free, as is a hearty supper – and a gallon of Ossett Brewery ale can be won every Tuesday from 8pm. It’s perfect if you’re looking for free things to do in Leeds, although you will, of course, have to pay for your drinks.
The Hop, The Dark Arches, Granary Wharf, Dark Neville Street, Neville Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BR.
9. Leeds City Museum
Leeds City Museum, Millennium Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BH.
10. Nature Reserves
11. Royal Armouries
Home to over 8,500 items from the National Collection of Arms and Armour, you won’t be short of things to see at Royal Armouries. The Hall of Steel is the centrepiece, with over 2,500 different pieces making up the largest single display of arms since the 19th century. It’s an entertaining and educational day out that folk of all ages will enjoy – and best of all, it’s free to visit.
Royal Armouries, Armouries Drive, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1LT.
12. The Henry Moore Institute
The Henry Moore Institute, 74 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AH.
13. Free Tickets to See Opera North
14. Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery
One of the newest museums to open in Leeds, The Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery is one of the best free things to do in the city. Tucked away within the University of Leeds, you can cast your gaze upon some real finds here, from the Kelmscott Press’ books of William Morris to original material written by the Brontës.
Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT.
15. The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery
Another free art gallery that you simply have to seek out is The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery. It sits within the grounds of The University of Leeds, so it’s easily missed, but they have a constant flow of exhibitions for you to explore – and they’re all free. They also have a free sketch club, so you can go and work on your own art, and they run their own artistic workshops.
Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, Parkinson Building, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT.
16. Free Gigs
From the hallowed ground of Brudenell Social Club to city centre bars like Oporto, Headrow House and Smokestack, you won’t struggle to find free gigs in Leeds. With up and coming talent taking to the stages all over the city, you can have a great night out and see a band or two before they hit the big time.
17. Leeds Art Gallery
Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AA.
18. Golden Acre Park
Golden Acre Park, Off Arthington Road, Bramhope, Leeds, LS16 8BQ.
19. Games in Victoria Gardens
Whether you’re a whizz at chess or a dab hand at table tennis, you should head down to Victoria Gardens as they have two of the coolest free things to do in Leeds. There are two giant chess boards paved into the ground, with giant pieces to move around which you can use until 4.30pm every day, and the same is true of the table tennis.
Victoria Gardens, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AA.
20. Civic Trust Blue Plaque Trail
Kick off your trail at the Louis Le Prince blue plaque at Leeds Bridge, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HJ.
21. The Leeds Welcome Art Trail
22. Pay-as-you-feel theatre
The HUB is one of the most exciting theatres in Leeds – they put on an array of intriguing shows, but what makes it stand out is the fact that the majority of their events are run on a pay-as-you-feel basis. It opens up their offering to everyone, whatever your budget, and you can see everything from one-man shows to immersive theatre.
The HUB, 67-71 Bath Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 9UA.
23. Leeds Waterfront Heritage Trail
Starting off at Kirkstall Abbey, spend a perfect day in the Leeds sunshine by taking on the Leeds Waterfront Heritage Trail. It passes through Wellington Place, Holbeck Urban Village, Granary Wharf, The Calls and Brewery Wharf, showing off the city’s industrial development, all while you enjoy a picturesque 4-mile walk down the River Aire.
24. The Gallery at 164
Tucked away within Munro House is one of Leeds’ secret treasures. The Gallery at 164 is perfect for cheap days out in Leeds, highlighting the inventive work going on in the fields of photography, illustration and fine art with exhibitions changing on a two and four weekly basis. There’s plenty to see and all for free – oh, and Cafe 164 is next door if you fancy a cuppa.
The Gallery at 164, Duke Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 8AG.
25. Marks In Time
Want to know the story of one of the UK’s most iconic retail brands? The free Marks in Time exhibition at the M&S Company Archive is perfect if you’re looking for free days out. It will show you how Marks and Spencer grew from a small bazaar at Leeds Kirkgate Market into one of the most well-known department stores in the country – it’s a story that might well surprise you.
Marks In Time, Michael Marks Building, University of Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT.
26. Leeds Minster
Leeds Minster, Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
27. Leeds Country Way
Start the Leeds Country Way at Golden Acre Park, Off Arthington Road, Bramhope, Leeds, LS16 8BQ.
28. The Academic & Civic Art Trail
Leeds is a city filled with art and you can see it for free by following our Academic & Civic Art Trail. It will take you through the grounds of the University of Leeds, where you’ll find the work of critically acclaimed artists and their own academics, before heading into the city centre, where even more public art awaits.
29. The city’s historic arcades
Why not spend the day exploring Leeds’ historic shopping arcades? They’ll give you a stunning glimpse into the city’s past and you’ll see all manner of landmarks along the way. Start at Grand Arcade, where you can watch the iconic Potts Clock strike the hour, before you weave your way between Thornton’s Arcade and Queen’s Arcade. The Victoria Quarter is next, and it’s arguably the best of them all with its stunning stained glass roof (the biggest in Great Britain).
30. Leeds Central Library
Of course, it’s free, but if you’ve not yet been to Leeds Central Library (and we know there are plenty of you out there who haven’t), then you should change that pronto. It’s a stunning building, inside and out, filled with thousands of books, but that’s not all that can be found there. Whether you’re starting your own business or entertaining the kids, you’ll find loads of computers, classes and workshops to help you do it.
Leeds Central Library, Calverley Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AB.
31. Horsforth Village Museum
Formerly the biggest village in West Yorkshire, Horsforth was gobbled up by Leeds’ expansion long ago. Horsforth Village Museum offers an intriguing insight into the village over the last 200 years. From its humble beginnings through to its role in the World Wars and its place in modern Leeds, there’s an interesting story behind this Leeds suburb and this is where it’s being told.
Horsforth Village Museum, 5 The Green, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 5JB.
32. Crowd of Favours Cinema Club
Okay, so you might want to pick up a beer at the bar before you settle into the comfy sofas, but if you want a cinema experience for nothing, head to Crowd of Favours on Mondays. They stick on a cult film every week, so you can watch flicks like The School of Rock, Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Graduate for absolutely nothing.
Crowd of Favours, Harper Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EA.
33. Cycle Trails
Why not get on your bike? Whether you’re following the route the athletes took on the Grand Départ, heading out to Saltaire along the Aire Valley Towpath or exploring one of the city’s many many nature trails and bridleways, it’s a great way to get active and see the city.
34. None Go Bye Farm
Although it’s highly regarded for its farm shop produce, None Go Bye Farm is also a great day out for the whole family. You’re free to explore the farm itself, which means the kids can see everything from alpacas and prairie dogs to goats and rheas – you can even pick up a bag of animal feed, although you will have to put your hand in your pocket for that.
None Go Bye Farm, Otley Old Road, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 5HZ.
35. The Waterfront Art Trail
36. Bond Court Petanque
Did you know that Leeds has its own petanque court? It’s the French version of boules and you’ll find it in Bond Court. You can pick up the balls from nearby Costa Coffee and it’s absolutely free, making this one of the coolest ways to while away an hour. Here’s how it works – you throw the small wooden ball down the court, then everyone has to try get their silver balls as close to it as possible. It’ll cost you nothing, and if you win, you’ll get a unique set of bragging rights.
Bond Court, Wine Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2JZ.
37. Leeds Owl Trail
You probably know that owls are synonymous with Leeds, appearing on the city’s coat of arms. But if you’re looking for free things to do in the city, you’d do well to take on the Leeds Owl Trail. 25 different owls pop up in all kinds of places and on all kinds of buildings, from the Leeds Tapestry to Leeds Minster, educating you about the city’s history along the way.
38. Free tennis courts
Fancy yourself as the next Andy Murray or Johanna Konta? Leeds has plenty of places where you can enjoy a game of tennis. The outdoor courts at Roundhay Park and Springfield Park are both free, with classes every Saturday. There are also a number of leisure centres that have them too, including Kirkstall, Morley, Fearnville, Middleton, Pudsey and the John Charles Centre for Sport.
39. The Living Room at St Mark’s Church
It might surprise you to learn that St Mark’s Church offers one of the best free things to do in Leeds. The Living Room takes place every Wednesday and it promises a 90 minute window where folk can meet new people and get to know more about Leeds in a friendly environment. There are also board games, international food nights and even a cake making class if you go regularly enough.
The Living Room is at St Mark’s Church, St Mark’s Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9AF.
40. White Cloth Gallery
White Cloth Gallery is one of the city’s lesser-known art destinations, but it’s well worth seeking out, as they host an intriguing calendar of exhibitions, all of which are free. Their events span film, TV, music and photography, with recent favourites including special showcases on Tom Martin, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix.
White Cloth Gallery, 24 Aire Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4HT.
Credit: Leeds List