2024-02-22T17:35:00Z By Keeley Rodgers
From eclectic shopping areas and historical sites to top museum and group tours, the city of Leeds is full of amazing outings to tempt you into a visit.
Leeds Corn Exchange
The city centre attraction is home to a collection of vendors who sell their crafts inside a living landmark, reimagined for a new purpose. Clothing, records, delicious food, books and furniture are just some of things to be found inside Leeds Corn Exchange, with each shop brightly coloured to match the products being sold. It’s known to locals as one of the quirkiest places to shop in the city and is well worth adding to your group itinerary.
Founded more than 800 years ago, Kirkstall Abbey is one of the best preserved Cistercian monasteries in the country. Groups can tour the historic ruins at their own pace while learning about its history in the on-site visitor centre which houses plenty of artefacts. Other highlights include the park in which the Abbey sits which boasts scenic riverside walks or the outdoor market which features unique makers and producers from the city and surrounding areas on selected weekends.
Thackray Museum of Medicine
Following its £4 million redevelopment, Thackray Museum of Medicine has plenty of new galleries to explore. Groups can follow the story of medicine, wandering through the grimy streets of Victorian Leeds, watch gruesome operations in the 19th century operating theatre and discover medical innovations that changed the world. Interactive displays educate guests on the a range of topics, while groups of ten or more people can book an additional talk from one of the experts on a range of topics like bones, bodies, drugs and many more.
Head just outside of the city centre to explore Tudor/Jacobean history at Temple Newsam. Set within a Capability Brown landscape surrounded by beautiful parkland which includes a working rare breeds farm, the house is well-known as the birthplace of Lord Darnley, notorious husband of Mary Queen of Scots. More than 40 restored rooms await, with plenty of treasures hidden inside like silver, ceramics, fine art and Chippendale furniture. There are a range of pre-bookable packages for groups of 15 or more which can include specialist talks, guided tours and catering options.
One of the jewels in the city’s history, Leeds Minster is home to a wealth of religious artefacts with groups able to explore at their own pace on a visit. Keep an eye out for the Leeds Cross which dates back to the 10th century and is probably the oldest surviving object in the whole city. You’ll also see intricate mosaics which surround the altar, colourful stained-glass windows depicting classic scenes from the Bible and much more.
Those venturing even further out of the city centre into rural Yorkshire can head for Harewood House. With rolling ‘Capability’ Brown landscapes, an impressive art collection including works by JMW Turner & El Greco, renaissance masterpieces, exquisite Thomas Chippendale furniture and fabulous Robert Adam interiors, all combined with 100 acres of award-winning Gardens, Harewood really does offer something for every group. Those of 12 or more benefit from reduced rates, plus dedicated coach parking and free entry for the coach driver and refreshment voucher.
With plenty of exotic animals to see, groups can immerse themselves in the jungle lifestyle at Tropical World to the north of the city centre. Walk through the Butterfly House to get up-close to colourful species, journey below the surface of the water, from the mangroves to the swamps and meet the creatures that live there or bask in the heat with its snakes, lizards and invertebrates. There is plenty of on-site coach parking for pre-booked groups, and there’s also a stylish conservatory which overlooks the beautiful Canal Gardens to enjoy.
For more inspiration and ideas for group visits to Leeds, head to www.visitleeds.co.uk.