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We are planning some days out over the next couple of weeks, how about you? However, what do you do if money is tight? Well, here are some free things to do in Leeds.
Free Things To Do In Leeds
We are pretty lucky in Leeds to have a lot of free things to do. Whether you are after history, art, education or just good old fresh air, there is something for everyone.
Kirkstall Abbey can be found on one of the main routes to the west out of Leeds city centre. Founded in 1152, the Abbey is an imposing ruined remains of a Cistercian monastery on the banks of the River Aire.
A free car park is situated across the other side of the road from the Abbey. And entrance to the Abbey and grounds are free. There is lots of space to run and walk by the side of the river.
Find the Abbey website here.
(Furthermore, should you want to make a full day out, there is a chance to pay to go into the Abbey House Museum next to the car park, where there is a reconstructed Victorian street, and lots of exhibits from times past. Find a link to it’s website here.)
Leeds City Museum
Right in the heart of Leeds, just off Millennium Square behind the Town Hall is the Leeds City Museum.
This building has been home to many societies. Firstly it started life as the Mechanics Institute. However, in my childhood this building was home to the Civic Theatre and Leeds College of Music. And in 2008 it reopened as the newly renovated Leeds City Museum.
The museum has several galleries. In the lower ground floor is the natural history gallery. This has a large number of stuffed animals, the most famous of which being the ‘Leeds Tiger’. This Victorian exhibit has a curious history. Shot in 1860, it was used first as a rug, before being combined with other pelts and stuffed. Over the years it has sagged as it was not properly mounted, and it even survived the bombing of the original Leeds Museum in the 2nd World War. The people of Leeds have taken it to their hearts, and even though there have been plans to remount and stuff the tiger properly, these ideas have all been discarded.
On the top floor of the museum is the Ancient Worlds Gallery. There are lots of ancient Greek and Roman artefacts here. But the most interesting exhibit is a genuine Egyptian mummy, Nesyamun. He is 3000 years old.
In other galleries are a timeline of Leeds, and a showcase of different cultures and diversity in the city.
Find out all the information about the Leeds City Museum here.
(Should you wish to make more of your free day out in Leeds, just around the corner from the Leeds Museum is Leeds Art Gallery, which is also free to enter. Find out more about the gallery here.)
The Royal Armouries at Leeds
Leeds Royal Armouries opened in 1996 in a purpose built hall on the new Leeds Dock area of the city. The decision was made to display a vast and growing collection that had been in storage at the Tower of London, because there wasn’t the space to display it there.
The museum takes the form of warfare galleries from different ages and cultures. The galleries take you through the history and brutality of war through every age. Plus there are sections on hunting, policing and self defence.
Further to all this there is a calendar of live demonstrations and talks given every day by actors and experts. And outside and a short walk away from the museum there is a tilt yard where jousting and military skills are featured.
Some of the highlights of the galleries are a fully armoured elephant, the ‘Hall of Steel’ and a horned helmet from which the museum logo was derived.
Find details for the Leeds Armouries here.
(And should you wish to make more of a day of it, there is a free water taxi from the Leeds Dock to Granary Wharf further along the river. Here there are lots of bars and restaurants, and also the new South entrance to Leeds railway station.)
Love interactive museums? Why not catch a train from Leeds to Halifax nearby to visit Eureka! The Children’s Museum?
Leeds Liverpool Canal
To the North-East of Leeds, Roundhay Park is over 700 acres of parkland, lakes and gardens. The park has two lakes, a castle folly, a rotunda, and an arena that has been used for many concerts and events over the years, from Michael Jackson to Robbie Williams.
There are many wildlife walks, and gardens to discover. And lots of paths to run, ride a bike or just stroll.
See the park official website here.
(Over the other side of the busy road, should you plan to stay longer, there is a chance to pay to go into the Tropical World, a butterfly and bird house that also has meerkats, fish, insects and nocturnal animal sections. Find out more about the Tropical World here)
Temple Newsam is a Tudor-Jacobean house to the East of Leeds, which stands in a large woodland estate.
Parking is free (but don’t park near the house, where you have to pay. Instead, park on the fields and at the side of the tracks around the estate.)
There are lots of walks and trails around the grounds, and a play area for children.
You do need to pay to go into the hall itself and into the farm area. Both are really lovely places to visit, and are worth the fee, though the hall may not be suitable for smaller children. There is also a cafe in the grounds.
See the Temple Newsam website here.
Golden Acre Park
The final one of my free things to do in Leeds is Golden Acre Park, which is a large woodland area to the west of Leeds. On the road going out to Otley. This was once a pleasure park, with boat rides, a miniature railway, open air lido and zoo.
The main part of the park is a circular walk around the central lake. However, if you are feeling adventurous you can go off on onto different nature trails. There are lots of friends to be made on the way, including ducks and geese on the lake, squirrels in the trees and you may even get to have a bird eat out of your hand! Find the Golden Acre Park website here.
So as you can see, there are lots of free things to do in Leeds. I hope that something here takes your fancy. Tried one of these ideas? Why not let me know what you think by commenting below of telling in on my social media?
And why not pin this post for later?