Leeds is residing zone to a wealth of fascinating museums, galleries and architecture that offer an enticing blend of culture, heritage and history.
A must-visit is the Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills. Here you’ll find a collection of machinery from across the city’s industrial past.
Located two miles west of Leeds city centre, Armley Mills is a large former woollen mill that is now home to the impressive Leeds Industrial Museum. Housed inside this huge building are exhibits showcasing the development of industry in Leeds and the surrounding area.
A great place to spend a day with kids, Armley Mills offers an insight into the important industrial heritage of the textile industry in Leeds. The museum has galleries that tell the story of the different industries that have shaped the city, from recreated Victorian cottages to the waterwheel and more.
See the wool carding, spinning and weaving machinery that helped turn Leeds into an industrial city. There are also working machines that were used in the cotton industry, a steam engine and ancient cinema projectors.
Abbey House Museum
Abbey House Museum is a Leeds museum that offers a fun and educational experience for the entire family. It is home to a number of displays and exhibits that cover Toys and Hobbies, Archaeology, Social History and Costume and Textiles.
The museum features a detailed recreation of a Victorian street where visitors can wander through the re-created shops and houses. There are also three galleries: The Childhood Gallery, Community Galleries and a changing programme of exhibitions.
The museum is short-listed for the Guardian ‘Kids in Museum’ family friendly award and has a number of interactive displays that are suitable for children of all ages. One interesting display is the ‘deportment chair’, a straight-backed wooden chair invented by Sir Astley Paston Cooper to train children to sit upright.
Leeds Industrial Museum
Discover Leeds’ rich industrial heritage at this museum housed inside Armley Mills. The Grade II-listed site is home to a variety of displays that reveal the city’s connection with textiles and clothing, printing, cinematography, photography and engineering.
Explore machines once powered by the mill’s waterwheel, see how workers turned wool into cloth on looms and spinning mules, learn about tailoring and watch a film in one of the world’s smallest 1920s cinemas. Also on display is the restored Manager’s Cottage, which depicts what life would have been like in a Victorian mill manager’s house.
The museum has a Designated Collection of national importance and features galleries on Social History, Industry, Science and Technology and Film and Media. There is a range of exhibitions to choose from and many are free.
Trinity Kitchen is a unique setting for dining. It’s a vibrant, buzzing food hall with bespoke and special places including Tortilla, Chip + Fish, and Tikki’s Thai Kitchen.
It’s not the bog-standard shopping centre food court, but rather a destination that celebrates independent street food traders. The rotating lineup includes burgers from Wagyu Lookin’ At, street stalls serving south-east Asian eats from Jing Jing, and permanent ribs, pho, Mexican, and pizza vendors.
You won’t find a lot of traditional restaurants in this food hall, but it does have some great child-friendly options. The Cosy Club breakfasts are delicious, while the kids menu features cheesy mac and cheese and veggie stir-fry dishes for little ones to enjoy.
The Grand Theatre is one of the most popular theatres in Leeds, attracting audiences from all walks of life. It shows a wide variety of shows, from all-star casts to acclaimed stage sensations.
It opened in 1878 with a production of Much Ado About Nothing and has since been a major venue for performing arts. It is now home to Opera North, a touring company of professional actors.
The Grand Theatre is a popular destination for tourists, and it’s the perfect place to start if you want to experience the city’s rich cultural history. Other attractions to explore in the city’s Civic Quarter include the Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Art Gallery. It also features several historic shopping arcades that are worth a look.