Leeds is commonly known as the unofficial capital of Yorkshire. The vibrant city is a hub of culture, with pretty much everything you need. Whether it’s street food, beautiful parks, historic buildings or lively music halls, Leeds is known for having something for everyone. With the Yorkshire Dales right on its doorstep, it’s the perfect location to mix a city break with a trip to the country. You can get outdoorsy in the day and indulge in extravagant restaurants and world-class theatre performances in the evening. We’ll talk you through some of our favourite experiences and things to do for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re buying an exciting birthday present for a Yorkshire-residing pal, or just looking for something different to do on the weekends, we can promise you Leeds will not disappoint.
How could we talk about Leeds and not mention the famous soap that’s been running for almost 50 years? Emmerdale first aired in 1972, and viewers have been hooked on the show ever since. Although the village of Emmerdale is fictional, the exterior scenes were originally filmed in the real village of Esholt and Otley, both of which are visited on this tour amongst others! The whole tour lasts 4 hours from start to finish, and with pick up and drop off right next to Leeds station, you don’t have to worry about a thing. Sit back, enjoy the gorgeous Yorkshire countryside, and imagine what life would be like for your favourite character within the hit TV show. You’ll get to visit the original Woolpack Pub and Home Farm, to name a few. A great day out for any fan of the show!
Insider tip: When the bus drops you back near the town centre, I highly recommend checking out Kirkgate Market’s street food. They’ve even got the highly Instagrammable (and delicious) Yorkshire pudding wrap. You’re in Yorkshire; it would be rude not to!
In Leeds, we love to take something that’s already great and then make it even better with pizza and cocktails. Escape rooms have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and it’s because they’re a great activity for all. This one has several different scenarios including a nuclear submarine, a sinister laboratory, and the Devil’s waiting room. Each choice has its own story and scenario, making for a truly immersive experience. Whether you’re looking to beat the record, or simply enjoy solving puzzles with friends, this escape room can accommodate everyone. Don’t worry, the pizza and cocktails won’t get in the way of your ability to solve the puzzles and discover the hidden clues - that part comes after. The perfect reward, and a great way to unwind after the adrenaline-inducing problem solving!
This immersive, boozy and delicious experience is also available in Sheffield, so any recipient would have a choice of where to redeem it.
If you’ve ever been to Leeds before, you’ll know that craft beer is a massive thing around here. Boasting a huge number of top local independent breweries, Leeds has a wide range of fantastic beers that you won’t be able to find in other parts of the country. You will be spoilt for choice with where to go, which is why this craft beer tour is a great activity to factor into your weekend. The tour guide will take it into their own hands to plan a route of the best microbrewers in the city. These include a grade 2 mill occupied by the Northern Monk Brew Company, where you’ll discover how the beer is made (we highly recommend the 9% imperial stout). The local breweries you’ll visit will include the North Brewing Company and their surprising selection of brews that like to say “no thanks” to the boring and ordinary, with fun and playful flavour combinations. Expect seasonal specials such as pineapple pale ales and coconut and coffee porters. This is one of the first ever craft beer bars in Britain, claiming to start the fashionable trend that can now be found across the country. Finally, you’ll visit the trendy Brewery Tap Leeds where you can indulge in their top ales, many of which are brewed on site. Each location is equipped with generous samples of the best beers the breweries have to offer. This experience is perfect for any beer lover, based in or around Leeds. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a good pint?
If you’re looking for another top-class pub to add to the list after the tours finished Bundobust has a wide selection of rotating beers as well as permanent taps from Kirkstall Brewery and North Brewing Co., not to mention amazing Indian Street food that pairs perfectly with a cold craft beer.
As I’m sure you know by now (because I’ve already mentioned it), Leeds is right next to the Yorkshire Dales, meaning there are loads of outdoorsy and adventure-based activities going on a little outside of the city. This Triple Shooting Experience is a great way to get into the fresh air and practice your aim! This experience has taken your standard target shooting activity and made it 3 times more exciting by adding zombies and fireworks. You’ll start the day with getting to test out some very powerful crossbows! This section will include three different games: ‘Shoot the Stag’ (not a real one), ‘Killer’, and ‘Destroy the Zombies.’ As violent as those sound, there’s undeniably a lot of satisfaction in hitting a plastic zombie head with a crossbow. You’ll then move on to the classic bow and arrow… except these ones are a lot more impressive than the ones Robin Hood and his merry men used to shoot bad guys with back in the day. You’ll even get a chance to try and shoot an arrow at a mannequin head. Finally, you’ll move on to the modern weapon of choice, the air rifle. You’ll use the telescopic sights to home in on further away and smaller targets. To finish, you’ll shoot the rifle at an exploding firework! This is the perfect experience for any adventurous types who can’t wait to get a little competitive.
20 Minute Pleasure Flight
Flying in a helicopter is an indescribable feeling that you’ll never forget, and when you’ve done it once, it’ll be your new-found favourite way to explore a new location. Taking off from Leeds Bradford, this pleasure flight will allow you to see the Yorkshire Dales like never before. Whether you’re only briefly visiting, or you’ve lived in Leeds your entire life, I can’t recommend this flight enough. This is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and it makes a great story. The rolling hills and breath-taking countryside are an incredible site to see from above. On top of the stunning sights, there is also the unique feeling of hovering 100ft in the sky, and don’t forget the adrenaline-inducing vertical take-off that helicopters are so famous for! Your friendly pilot will be on-hand to give commentary about any significant points of interest, and answer any of your questions throughout the flight. Why not gain a new perspective on this beautiful county?
This junior driving experience in Bradford is perfect for car-crazy kids! If your son or daughter has loved cars since they were babies and are keen to get behind the wheel, then this experience is perfect for them. Available for any children ages 9 – 16, you’re sure to impress any kid with this gift. All the rally cars are fitted with dual control and your child will be in the safe hands of a professional instructor. The experience takes place in a Ford KA, along a purpose-built junior rally circuit. In the two and a half hours, expect to learn basic driving skills, steering, changing gears and braking (before moving on to the fun stuff). The second part of the experience will introduce rally driving techniques including power slides and handbrake turns. Finally, they’ll enjoy a high-speed lap around the rally stage as the instructor helps take over the controls. This will be an unforgettable experience for any child under the age of 17.
This luxurious wine tasting experience is located at the elegant Radisson Blu Hotel in Leeds city centre. The grand art deco building will set you up for the extravagant afternoon ahead. The day will begin by learning all the techniques used by professional wine experts! You’ll finally discover the purpose behind swirling and sniffing and what to look out for. This experience involves a whole day of wine tasting with lunch. That means 5 white wines to start the day, 2 wine pairings served with each of your courses at lunch, and 6 red wines specifically selected for their fine deep flavours and fascinating history. It’s easy to see why wine is the nation’s favourite alcoholic drink, and this experience allows any wine lover to truly indulge in this luxurious tipple, while also learning along the way. This full day wine tasting in Leeds will leave you feeling pampered (not to mention a little tipsy).
If you’re from around Yorkshire, you’ll know that Hazlewood Castle is located in between Leeds city centre and York. It is a medieval moated castle from the 11th century, surrounded by over 77 acres of woodland. Luckily for you, this woodland is put to good use! This quad biking adventure allows participants to delve deep into the Hazlewood forest. The 30-minute experience will allow motor heads to go crazy on a purpose-built quad biking trail. Perfect for off-road driving, and especially made to accommodate the Yamaha or Eton quad bike you’ll be using. This experience is perfect for beginners, as you’ll always have an expert instructor on-hand to help talk you through the controls and handling of these powerful machines. Once you’re used to the vehicles, you’ll get to take on the challenging circuit, featuring extra obstacles such as hill descents, a balance beam and the intriguingly named Quad Bike Limbo. This experience is for two, but extra participants can be added, so grab your friends and get ready for an exhilarating half hour.
This luxury makeup experience in Leeds allows two lucky participants to a MAC deluxe makeover, applied by a professional (not to mention award winning!) makeup artist. Once you’re looking your best and feeling empowered, you and your guest will have a professional photoshoot. This voucher entitles you to much more than a simple makeover; it really is an experience. You’ll be welcomed with a glass of Prosecco upon arrival, with unlimited wine or soft drinks throughout the 4-hour experience. You’ll receive specialist makeup and hair tips from your very own personal image consultant. The makeover includes professional hair styling, MAC make up application, strip lashes and mini manicure. You’ll then have four outfit changes for the shoot, equipped with a range of props including glitter back drops, luxurious lounges, and Burlesque feather fans to name a few. If this wasn’t already enough, you’ll be treated to a relaxing facial after the experience. Next, comes the difficult decision of which image to choose for your two 7x5 retouched prints! If the choice is too hard, you get a £50 voucher included in the price to put towards more prints or image packages. At the jaw dropping discounted price of £25, it would be silly not to. Who knew Leeds could be so fancy for such a bargain price?
I’m sure everyone has a chocolate fanatic in their lives… it’s hard not to when chocolate is so delicious! The cocoa tree’s official name is Theobroma cacao, which translates to “food of the gods”. The tasty treat is scientifically proven to release endorphins in the brain and make you feel happier. Nature’s very own anti-depressant. This truffle making workshop close to Leeds central station encourages participants to get a little messy and have fun with their food. Truffle making is a nifty little skill to have and this workshop will make sure you’re a professional chocolatier by the end of your two-and-a-half-hour masterclass. Available for children 10 and above, this is a fun and interactive way to get your children off their iPads and into the kitchen. This experience can also be made vegan, making the perfect gift for the vegan in your life who’s always craving their chocolate fix. The experience will begin with a small discussion on the history of chocolate. You’ll then move on to tasting chocolate in several different shapes and forms. Then for the real fun; mixing, piping, rolling, cutting and dipping your truffles.
If you’re looking for some incredible chocolate in Leeds, Charbonnel et Walker are one of the oldest chocolatiers in the UK. They still sell the first chocolate they ever made (hazelnut and whisky), and I can’t recommend it enough. Plus, the packed shop counters alone will make you glad you took the time to head over to the County Arcade.
I hope this list has inspired you to try something new and get out into the vibrant city of Leeds. The diverse Yorkshire location has a lot to offer and we recommend getting out to see it! If you didn’t find what you were looking for, you can view all experiences available in Leeds here. We also have a diverse range of fun activities available across the country, and you can browse those here.