How to Do the UK Like a Local: The Top 10 Hotspots in Leeds


Leeds is the Portland of the UK. Full disclosure: I have never been to Portland, but I’ve heard it’s full of hipsters and gentrified spaces, so I stand by my statement.

If you’re planning a trip up to the Yorkshire capital, are looking for a UK destination that isn’t just London or Edinburgh (no shade, all love), or have never even heard of Leeds, discover 10 of the coolest hotspots Leeds has to offer, so you can UK like a local.

1. Headrow House

A bar, a restaurant, a music venue: Headrow House is tucked away on the Headrow, one of Leeds’ main streets full of shops, pubs and restaurants. This venue is a huge favourite amongst the student population and locals alike thanks to its ~aesthetic~ hipster vibes and promise of great live events, such as gigs and art exhibitions.

Leeds Headrow House
Franc Moody at Headrow House Leeds
2. The Tetley

Formerly the brewery for the Yorkshire beer of the same name, The Tetley has undergone a major revamp and is now a super cool art gallery near the city docks. As it’s just outside of the city centre, only art-buffs and Leeds locals know to make the venture to The Tetley for some history, art and pints!

The Tetley art gallery former brewery in Leeds
Photo by Cooper Morrison
3. Temple Coffee & Donuts

Hidden away next door to a hardware store and behind a petrol station, this place really is a “if you know, you know” type situation. Selling an ever-changing selection of all-vegan donuts (sidenote: I didn’t even realise they were vegan, they were THAT good) and a range of delish drinks (baby pink hot chocolate and charcoal black coffee), Temple Coffee & Donuts is a must-visit in Leeds for your sugar cravings, caffeine fix, and dose of urban aesthetics.

And I think the pics say the rest.

Temple Coffee & Donuts in Leeds
Flat whites and Boston cream donut
Homemade lemonade and raspberry ripple donut
4. Wharf Chambers

So you’re in Leeds and in search of a night-out that’s not your usual club night (which Leeds also has plenty of). Wharf Chambers is your guy! A members-only cooperative (membership is a mere quid), this spot puts on a variety of DJs, bands, comedians, talks, karaoke events and plenty more, with a huge emphasis on a collective atmosphere and safe space for all.

Gig at Wharf Chambers Leeds
Photo by Sarah Oglesby
5. Beaverworks

After something heavier? Beaverworks comprises six or so rooms in an old warehouse, in the middle of an industrial district, that transforms into the setting for loads of cool events on the regs. This venue is a hotspot for students who are after the biggest DJ names on the scene, playing everything from techno and drum and bass to funk and disco. Prepare yourself for crazy decor, an outdoor fairground, circus performers and drag queens all night long.

Warehouse rave
Photo by Alexander Popov
6. Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen

Linked with Headrow House, the Belgrave is another bar/music venue/ food hall/ everything in-between that is constantly drawing people in with its laid-back atmosphere, huge range of local craft beers, constant calendar of events and great food (hit up the pizza stand). I’ve been there for gigs, free movie screenings, and just for a bev. Oh, and they do free yoga classes every Thursday.

Double oh, they have a roof terrace, making it an even hotter spot in the summer.

Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen in Leeds
Photo by Cooper Morrison
7. LS6

One of the most popular places with students, without a doubt. In the heart of the student postcode, LS6 is an always-busy café that transforms from your favourite brunch spot by day to a cinema/bar/music venue/open mic platform by night. Pop in on any night of the week, there’ll be something different going on. And then go back the morning after for your halloumi, eggs and coffee.

Brunch in Leeds
Photo by Lolly Cross
8. Blue Rinse Vintage

An edgy Northern city with a huge student population just wouldn’t be an edgy Northern city with a huge student population without vintage stores. There are vintage kilo sales going on almost every week in Leeds, but Blue Rinse is where you wanna head for a proper browse at some more interesting vintage pieces.

9. The Brudenell Social Club

Only real ones appreciate the majesty of the Brude. Nestled next to an Asian supermarket in Hyde Park, the student neighbourhood, this social club is a bar and music venue which stays true to the most important of all British values: cheap pints.

This social club is a bar and music venue which stays true to the most important of all British values: cheap pints.

Go there to see tribute bands, the unsigned, and the intimate acoustic gigs of some of your faves, while drinking in one of the contributors to Yorkshire’s status as the home of the cheapest beer in Britain.

Gig at the Brudenell Social Club Leeds
Photo by Sarah Oglesby
10. Church

Yes, it really is a church. No, you don’t go there to worship, unless your deity of choice is the God of Techno. This is a club INSIDE A CHURCH. Wild, I know. Right next door to the university, this is where we congregate for big beats and smooth grooves as we bask in the lights coming off the stained glass windows.

The Sherlocks gig at Church Leeds
Photo by Sarah Oglesby

Have you ever been to Leeds, or have I just convinced you?

Check out these photographers!

Cooper Morrison

Charisse Kenion

Sarah Oglesby

Lolly Cross

Alexander Popov

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