Getting to Know Leeds

Visitor guides

There are numerous websites and visitor guides you can look at to discover all the attractions that Leeds has to offer, including Independent Leeds, Leeds List and Visit Leeds.

For now though, here's a round up of some of our main suggestions to try to get a taster of the city.

The City Centre

The historical Corn Exchange, once the centre of Leeds trade, is now a mini shopping centre with restaurants, cafes and boutiques. It's also home to a great print and poster shop if your room in halls needs some decorating.

The heart of retail in the city centre, Trinity is home to tons of chain outlets, including an Everyman cinema, an Apple store, clothes shops and restaurants - plus Trinity Kitchen on the top floor has plenty to offer if you're in town and need to stop for a bite to eat.

One of the largest indoor covered markets in Europe, Kirkgate Market is a thriving multicultural highlight of the Leeds Community where you can buy everything you'll need, with fresh fruit and veg at much cheaper prices than in supermarkets.

A trendy bar in the city centre with a roof garden and loads of outside seating, a selection of great beers on tap, and a roster of live music throughout the year.

Whitelocks is the oldest pub in the city centre, established 1715. In a quirky narrow alley off from Briggate, one of the main shopping streets, it provides a flavour of Leeds history with its stained glass and original copper bar, and the Sunday roast is legendary.

Or if you're looking for somewhere for food and drink a bit more old-fashioned and really close to campus, the Fenton is a classic pub in which you can find a friendly mix of both students and locals.

If you're into theatre and live performance, the Playhouse is one of the largest producing theatres in the North of England, and puts on exciting and challenging theatre all year round.

Conveniently located right on the Headrow that runs through the centre of town, the Gallery has the best in classic and contemporary art and sculpture and is a great way to spend a cultural afternoon.

Just outside the centre

Hyde Park is one of the most popular areas for students who move into houses in their second year, only 10-15 minutes walk from campus. The Picture House is a renowned vintage cinema that was built in 1914 and is still there today - it still retains its original gas lighting.
They regularly show mainstream and arthouse films and run plenty of worthwhile
film-related events and Q&As.

The Brudenell is also in Hyde Park and is one of the most celebrated gig venues in Leeds which has hosted many legendary artists and still pulls big names today. Even if you're not there for the live music, it's a great pub where you can get food, watch sport and play pool and snooker.

It might be worth rounding up your new flatmates for a trip to the massive Ikea in Batley to get a proper haul of homeware and other useful or stylish stuff for your flat or house. Here's the route if you're taking public transport.

...and further afield

As a Leeds student you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to day trips in the local area.
As well as a number of vibrant cities, Yorkshire is home to some of the country’s most beautiful countryside and even some lovely seaside towns. Leeds is also well connected to other cities in the north of England so you’ll never be stuck for something to do. Here are some of our top picks for places to visit.

One of the UK’s best preserved monastery ruins, founded 800 years ago, is right on our doorstep. Set in beautiful grounds and with a visitor centre and regular programme of events (in normal times). Admission is free, so why not take along a picnic and spend an afternoon taking in the history?

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture. Situated in the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire, the park features a year-round programme of world class temporary exhibitions, both open-air and across six indoor galleries.

Ilkley Moor lies above the picturesque spa town of Ilkley. A short train ride away from Leeds, this is a great option for a super scenic walk with views for miles, followed by a tasty pub lunch. Ilkley is also home to a branch of the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms where you can experience a traditional English afternoon tea.

Malham Cove is an imposing curved cliff formation topped with a striking limestone pavement where you can take in beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The cove has been the inspiration behind many works of art and literature, and has also served as a filming location for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Make sure to dress appropriately for the uphill walk, especially in wet weather.

Another short train ride from Leeds is Saltaire, a model village and UNESCO World Heritage Site perfect for a day out. Take in the village’s pretty architecture and scenery, and visit Salt’s Mill, a hub of shopping, dining and art, with a large collection of works by famed artist David Hockney.

Beyond Yorkshire

There’s a huge amount to do in Yorkshire, but if you fancy something different, other major UK cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and even London are all pretty quick to get to by train. If you haven’t got one already and are planning to take the train to different places around the UK, you can invest in a 16-25 or 26-30 railcard to save ⅓ on all your train tickets - and before you buy, check the NUS Totum website which sometimes has a discount code.

Emergency and health services

Your wellbeing is of the utmost importance, so it is imperative that all students are well informed and that they have taken the necessary steps to ensure their health and safety.

Emergencies and urgent care

All emergency services (police, fire service and ambulance for medical emergencies) can be reached by dialling 999 - as is the case across the UK.

If you need to call the police or medical professionals but it is not an emergency, do not call 999. Instead, for police call 101, or for medical help call 111. A list of medical situations deemed to require an emergency response is available here.

If you have an emergency life-threatening situation and are able to get to hospital yourself, there are two Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments in Leeds. These can be found at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital, but the full list is available here so do familiarise yourself with it.

Registering with a doctor

It’s also important that you register with a GP (General Practitioner doctor) when you arrive in Leeds so that you’re eligible for their services should you need them. If you’re living in University accommodation or private accommodation in the student areas of Leeds you’ll be eligible to join the Leeds Student Medical Practice, located close to the University campus. Register online or request a registration pack here, or find a local NHS doctor here.


You need to check you have the right vaccinations before you arrive in Leeds, specifically against meningitis ACWY and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). It’s likely you’ve already had some vaccinations when you were younger, but you should talk to your usual doctor to make sure you’ve had the full requirements. Alternatively, vaccinations are also available from the Leeds Student Medical Practice - please arrange to have these vaccinations as soon as possible after you arrive in Leeds.

Medication & repeat prescriptions

If you have medication on a repeat prescription, bring one month’s supply with you, as it can take a while for your notes to be transferred to your new GP.


We understand that you may be concerned about starting university and moving to a new city in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, especially when travelling internationally. We are taking your health and safety extremely seriously and adhering to all guidelines, and understand that this may be a stressful process for many students. Please take a look at the University's dedicated Coronavirus page to see what actions have been taken.

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