27th Feb, 2018
Leeds’ Best Cultural Institutions
Words by Joe Boyd
A look at the very best cultural institutions Leeds has to offer, from art galleries to music venues all across the city.
Leeds is a city with incredible cultural heritage, and visitors can see so much of it on display. From art to music to theatre, there is so much to see and do here that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Much of this comes from Leeds’ amazing cultural institutions, all of which have played an important role in making the city what it is today.
There are too many to list, but we’ve whittled them down to the best, most important establishments Leeds has to offer. If you haven’t visited them, you’re definitely missing out, so make sure you stop by next time you’re in the city.
Leeds Art Gallery
After an extensive period of refurbishment to fix the building’s Victorian roof, Leeds Art Gallery opened once again last year, complete with a stunning new mural from artist Lothar Götz. This is great news for fans of the visual arts, as inside you’ll find a stunning collection of fantastic works, from pre-Raphaelite paintings to modern sculptures.
This alone would make the gallery an important cultural institution for Leeds, but what elevates it to one of the best is its range of workshops and learning activities for students. Young artists can find their inspiration at an early age by coming along to the gallery and taking on one of the many workshops on offer.
The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AA
The Henry Moore Institute
Connected to the gallery is the Henry Moore Institute, which definitely deserves its own entry. This gallery is specifically dedicated to sculpture, with a mixture of permanent works and regularly changing exhibitions. Artists that have had works hosted here have included Jiro Takamatsu, D’Arcy Thompson and Dennis Oppenheim.
One of the reasons this gallery is so important is the work the Henry Moore Foundation does for sculpture all around Leeds. Many of the works in Leeds Art Gallery are there because of this institution’s work, as well as sculptures in Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall. The Institute also houses an extensive Archive of Sculptors’ Papers for serious students of the art.
74 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AH
Hyde Park Picture House
One of the most iconic cultural sites in Leeds is the Hyde Park Picture House. The cinema has barely changed since it opened in 1914, and over its century of use, it has metamorphosed into one of the most exciting places to view arthouse, indie and world cinema; as well as some of the more noteworthy films from major studios.
In addition to regular events, the Picture House plays a major role in the annual Leeds International Film Festival, hosting their regular all-night horror movie marathon Night of the Dead as well as other notable films. The building itself is an important landmark, with its early 20th-century aesthetic and gas-lit interior showcasing Leeds’ history.
73 Brudenell Rd, Leeds, LS6 1JD
Brudenell Social Club
Not far from Hyde Park Picture House is Brudenell Social Club, one of the city’s most active music venues. Leeds is the home of a range of bands and singers, and Brudenell showcases not only this local talent but also a range of acts from around the world. The venue is run by its community as a nonprofit, with excess proceeds going into attracting even more talent to perform.
The club – first opened in 1913 – has hosted secret gigs from huge bands like the Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand. However, no matter when you go there’ll almost certainly be something on, as the club hosts a gig most nights of the week, year-round.
33 Queen’s Rd, Leeds LS6 1NY
Leeds Grand Theatre
The Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, built in 1878, is the place to go for plays, comedy, dance and opera. From its first production of Much Ado About Nothing too modern shows like Northern Ballet’s wonderful version of Jane Eyre, there is always something new to see at this fantastic venue.
While it was initially created as a counter to music halls, which were seen as lower-class and uncouth, today the Grand showcases all sorts of shows for a range of audiences. From Puccini’s Madama Butterfly to musicals like Cats and regular visits from major comedians, the theatre is committed to showcasing something for everyone.
46 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NZ
Why You Must See The Refurbished Leeds Art Gallery
by Kathy Sharpe
The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe At The Leeds Playhouse In 15 Photos
How Leeds Became The Street-Art Capital Of The UK
by Kathy Sharpe
The Worlds Largest Disco Ball Suspended Above Leeds
by Duke Studios
We support, showcase and share the very best in Leeds. If you’d like to kept in the know just enter your email address above.
Welcome to Leeds is created by:Leeds BID