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There are enough museums and galleries in the compact city of Leeds to keep visitors fascinated and entertained for days. If you ever find yourself in this historic and bustling city, here are the best places to learn about its past, present, and future. Most of them are even free to visit!

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover

10 Places

3 City Tips

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10 Places

Royal Armouries Museum

Speciality Museums

Kirkstall Abbey

Historic Sites, Sacred & Religious Sites

Abbey House Museum

Historic Sites

Leeds Art Gallery

Art Galleries, Art Museums

Leeds City Museum

Speciality Museums

Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills

Speciality Museums

Thackray Medical Museum

Historic Sites, Speciality Museums

Horsforth Village Museum

History Museums

Marks & Spencer: Marks in Time

Speciality Museums, History Museums

Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery

Art Galleries

Kirsty S's City Tips

  • If you’re lucky enough to experience good weather while in Leeds, a walking tour is a great way to appreciate and marvel at the city’s wonderful Victorian architecture.
  • The Leeds Visitor Centre provides a wealth of knowledge and travel tips for exploring Leeds and the extended Yorkshire area. Find it at The Headrow in the city centre.
  • Leeds is a small city and so easy to navigate on foot. Taxis and public buses are plentiful, and water taxis run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10am until 6pm.
  • Royal Armouries Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Kirsty S Says:

    With its swords, guns, and pikes, the Royal Armouries museum sounds brutal, but it is in fact a fascinating collection of combat history spanning some 3000 years, with pieces from all over the world. Wander past rare armour belonging to King Henry VIII and learn about subjects such as jousting and Indian elephant armour.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • To reach the Royal Armouries museum, walk east along the river from the Centenary Footbridge or, take the number 28 bus from Albion Street.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 160 things to do in Leeds
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Time well spent 15/10/2018
    • Great place to take the kids 15/10/2018
    • Royal Armouries Museum
    Address:
    Armouries Drive
    Leeds LS10 1LT
    England
    Phone:
    +44 113 220 1999
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Kirkstall Abbey
    Historic Sites, Sacred & Religious Sites
    See more photos
    Kirsty S Says:

    Kirkstall Abbey is Leeds' most revered and best-kept medieval structure. Dating back to the 1150s, it’s incredibly well preserved and is set in beautiful parkland along the banks of the River Aire. Its grounds are the ideal place to relax or take a leisurely stroll, and there’s a museum and cafe on-site too.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • To reach Kirkstall Abbey, take the number 33, 33a or 757 bus from the city centre to Kirkstall Road. The nearest train station is Headingley, which is a mile from the Abbey.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 160 things to do in Leeds
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great Place To Visit 04/10/2018
    • Gorgeous 02/10/2018
    • Kirkstall Abbey
    Address:
    Abbey Road
    Leeds LS5 3EH
    England
    Phone:
    +44 113 378 4079
    Other:
  • Abbey House Museum
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Kirsty S Says:

    The Abbey House Museum is an immersive experience that’s not to be missed, particularly if you have kids in tow. On the ground floor, visit the old Great Gate House and experience life during Victorian times with reconstructed shops and houses demonstrating meticulous attention to detail. On the first floor, check out the Childhood and Community Galleries and constantly changing exhibitions.

    Good for
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The Abbey House Museum is across the road from Kirkstall Abbey.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 160 things to do in Leeds
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice family day out 11/10/2018
    • Great museum 07/10/2018
    • Abbey House Museum
    Address:
    Abbey Walk
    Kirkstall
    Leeds LS5 3EH
    England
    Phone:
    +44 113 378 4079
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Tue - Fri
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Sat
    12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Leeds Art Gallery
    Art Galleries, Art Museums
    See more photos
    Kirsty S Says:

    Art lovers will be in their element at the Leeds Art Gallery. Right in the heart of the Cultural Quarter, it’s the sort of gallery that will capture your imagination, with a lively and dynamic feel to it, plus varied and ever-changing collections. The gallery features work by local Yorkshire and international artists, plus the best collection of 20th century British art outside London.

    Good for
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Leeds Art Gallery is located at The Headrow. It’s open from 10am until to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, and 12pm until 4pm on Sundays.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #39 of 160 things to do in Leeds
    • Amazing venue and extremely helpful 12/10/2018
    • A hidden gem. 08/10/2018
    • Leeds Art Gallery
    Address:
    The Headrow
    Leeds LS1 3AA
    England
    Phone:
    +44 113 378 5350
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    Tue - Sat
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Leeds City Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Kirsty S Says:

    Leeds City Museum offers six distinctly themed galleries and a constantly rotating programme of exhibitions. It has plenty of fun and interactive things for the kids to get involved with, and everyone should enjoy the Leeds Story Gallery, which takes you from the very first local archaeological findings right up to the present day.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The Leeds City Museum is located in Millennium Square. It’s open from 10am until 5pm on weekdays, and 11am until 5pm on weekends.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #33 of 160 things to do in Leeds
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Really interesting - great for young folk and enquiring minds of all ages. 08/10/2018
    • Afternoon at Leeds City Museum 02/10/2018
    • Leeds City Museum
    Address:
    Millennium Square
    Cookridge Street
    Leeds LS2 8BH
    England
    Phone:
    +44 113 378 5001
    Hours:
    Tue - Wed
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Thu
    10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Fri
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Sat - Sun
    11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Kirsty S Says:

    Leeds Industrial Museum was once one of the largest textile mills in the world. It’s now home to a museum dedicated to the industrial history that made Leeds wealthy and put it firmly on the map. From the production of clothing, to engineering and locomotives, the Leeds Industrial Museum is well worth a visit to learn about the city’s most important history.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The museum is situated approximately two miles from the city centre. Take the number 5 bus from the train station.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #21 of 160 things to do in Leeds
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Really interesting 14/10/2018
    • Finally went...glad we did! 16/09/2018
    • Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills
    Address:
    Armley Mills Canal Road
    Armley
    Leeds LS12 2QF
    England
    Phone:
    +44 113 263 7861
    Hours:
    Sun
    1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    Tue - Sat
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Thackray Medical Museum
    Historic Sites, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Kirsty S Says:

    The Thackray Medical Museum houses nine interactive galleries depicting the history of all things medical. Experience what it was like to walk the streets of Victorian Leeds, and learn about how operations were performed without anaesthetic. The fascinating exhibits here are well displayed and accompanied by clear and concise information.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The Thackray Medical Museum is next to St. James's Hospital, two miles from the city centre. There are numerous bus services that run from the city directly to the museum.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 160 things to do in Leeds
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Visited several times 12/10/2018
    • Medical Marvel 12/10/2018
    • Thackray Medical Museum
    Address:
    141 Beckett Street
    Leeds LS9 7LN
    England
    Phone:
    +44 113 244 4343
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Horsforth Village Museum
    History Museums
    Kirsty S Says:

    Located a little far from the city, but well worth the trip, the Horsforth Village Museum is home to some particularly interesting displays dedicated to World War I and II, ranging from German prisoner-of-war letters, to tools and costumes from these eras.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • Don’t expect a huge city museum; this is a quaint village museum and is only open at the weekends.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #102 of 160 things to do in Leeds
    • Asked to leave. 26/06/2018
    • Free, well kept and interesting 03/05/2018
    • Horsforth Village Museum
    Address:
    5 The Green
    Horsforth
    Leeds LS18 5JB
    England
    Phone:
    +44 113 281 9877
    Other:
  • Marks & Spencer: Marks in Time
    Speciality Museums, History Museums
    See more photos
    Kirsty S Says:

    Did you know that the giant retailer, Marks and Spencer was established in Leeds? This is a bit of a niche one, but it’s an interesting little museum to pop into to learn about the 130-year history of the M&S story. A joint venture with the University of Leeds, the Marks in Time museum showcases the M&S archive collection from the 1880s right up to the present day.

    Good for
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The M&S Marks in Time museum is situated within the Michael Marks Building at the University of Leeds. It’s open Monday to Friday, from 10am until 5pm.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #72 of 160 things to do in Leeds
    • Mildly interesting 10/09/2018
    • Limited interest 15/08/2018
    • Marks & Spencer: Marks in Time
    Address:
    M&S Company Archive
    Michael Marks Building
    Leeds LS2 9LP
    England
    Phone:
    +44 20 8718 2800
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery
    Art Galleries
    See more photos
    Kirsty S Says:

    Situated within the University of Leeds campus, the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery displays exhibits from the University Art Collection, along with a range of innovative and ever-changing exhibitions. It’s an extensive collection that includes European and British pieces, and work dating right back to the 17th century.

    Good for
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery is located in the Parkinson Building of the University of Leeds. It’s open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am until 5pm. Admission is free.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #74 of 160 things to do in Leeds
    • Good Art Collection in Fine University Building 24/04/2018
    • Great building and interesting exhibitions 28/03/2017
    • Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery
    Address:
    Parkinson Building Woodhouse Lane
    Woodhouse Lane
    Leeds LS2 9JT
    England
    Phone:
    +44 113 343 2778
    Other:
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