I’m proud to be a Leeds Blogger. I’ve lived in Leeds and the surrounding areas all my life. A fantastic hub of history, entertainment and activity. Leeds makes for the perfect city escape, which is why I’ve put together a super frugal list of five free things to do in Leeds.
Just because the following five things to do are free doesn’t mean they’re not fun, entertaining, and educational. In fact, they are all that and more.
1. Royal Armouries
The Royal Armouries is both an educational and entertaining day out for the entire family. It’s no surprise that it’s my number one on my list of free things to do in Leeds.
Open daily,from 10am – 5pm (except the 24th, 25th and 26th December) the Royal Armouries is situated south of Leeds city centre at Leeds Dock.
Make your way through the six themed galleries to the centrepiece of the museum. Admire over 8,500 items from the National Collection of Arms and Armour before heading to The Hall of Steel. The Hall of Steel features over 2,500 different pieces making it the largest display of arms since the 19th century.
If you thought the Royal Armouries was going to be boring, then think again. There are plenty of hands-on experiences to be had with everything from learning how to fire a crossbow to live outdoor shows.
The Royal Armouries also plays host to plenty of events such as exhibitions and experiences this is particularly seasonal.
2. Kirkstall Abbey
Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined monastery, set in parkland along the banks of the River Aire. Founded in c.1152 it was disestablished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under the command of Henry VIII.
The abbey is now a Grade I listed building, and after a £5.5 million renovation project became a great free attraction of Leeds. The visitor centre set on the grounds tells you more about the lives of the 12th-century monks and includes a catalogue of images of the abbey from the 18th century to the present day.
3. Marks in Time
To celebrate the 100th Birthday of Marks and Spencers in 1984, the company began collecting many historical items from all over the country t0 create the Marks and Spencers Company Archive.
Marks and Spencer started in Leeds Kirkgate Market and grew to what is now the most well-known department store in the country. It’s therefore, no surprise that the Marks in Time exhibition at the Marks and Spencers Company Archive is number three on my list of free things to do in Leeds.
Since the Marks and Spencers Company Archive started the archive team have worked hard to collect and catalogue all kinds of records of the companies past.
Today the archive contains more than 70,000 items from 1884 to the present day including; Documents, reports, letters, speeches, employee magazines, annual reports, photographs, films, clothing, food packaging and other merchandise.
4. Roundhay Park
Being Leeds premier park it was only right that Roundhay Park made it onto my list of free things to do in Leeds. Spanning 700 acres and featuring lakes, woodland, specialist gardens and a mansion house. No visit to Leeds is complete without coming here.
Roundhay Park is steeped in history. During the 11th century, William the Conqueror granted the lands to Ilbert De Lacy a knight from Normandy for his support during the 1069 – 1070 Harrying of the North. The land was passed through knights and kings until 1871 when the park was put up for sale. It was purchased for £139,000 by a group including the Mayor of Leeds at the time John Barran. Through an Act of Parliament Leeds City Council came to own the park agreeing to pay the same price that it had been purchased for previously and gave the estate to the people of Leeds as a public park.
The park offers a multitude of opportunities for recreation including walking and running routes, tennis courts, a golf course, football and cricket pitches, bowling greens, a skate park and a playground. Pack yourself a picnic and you could find yourself spending an entire day here.
5. The Tetley
The Tetley Brewery headquarters is an amazing Art Deco building constructed in 1931 as the Main Office Block for an ever-expanding business. Although it has undergone numerous refurbishments over the years, the building still boasts many of its original features.
If all that wasn’t enough. The Tetley also hosts a large number of events and exhibitions, both as one off’s and as reoccurring classes.
Located just a 7-minute walk away from either the Leeds city centre bus or train station The Tetley makes for a perfect free day out in Leeds.
If you’re looking for other places to visit, and frugal things to do either in Leeds, the UK or the rest of the world. Then be sure to check out my dedicated travel section of the blog.