Leeds is a city with plenty on; there’s something to keep you occupied in every nook and cranny of this city. We’ve highlighted a few of our favourites for every month of 2019.
Meditation at Kirkstall Abbey
If the festive frivolities have left you brain-frazzled, an hour’s peace at the beautiful Kirkstall Abbey may be just what you need. Simple meditation sessions led by the Brahma Kumaris, practitioners will be walking in the footsteps of the Cistercian monks who once trod here, and drawing upon the history of spiritual calm which imbues Kirkstall. The sessions will be outside, weather permitting. Meet at the Visitor’s Centre.
2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th Jan, 10:15-11:15
Bus2Move, exhibition, Simeon Barclay, The Tetley
Catch the end of Simeon Barclay’s Bus2Move exhibition, which lasts until 3rd Feb. An exploratory exhibition into bodies in motion, witness the power of the construction of masculinity and the communal, and individual, experience of dance. Barclay’s capturing of a specific club movement in the hostile environment of late 80s Britain illustrates subversive routes to self-empowerment, using motion, display, competition and synchronicity as a strategy for resistance.
27th Oct 2018 – 3rd Feb
Brewdenell Beer & Ale Festival, Brudenell Social Club
Ditch the abstinence and opt for some feel-good Brudenell vibes on the weekend of Friday 11th – Sunday 13th Jan. Now in its seventh year, Brewdenell brings together some of the UK’s finest craft breweries, from Magic Rock to Thornbridge, and will see 80+ beers available. Come and go as you please, and enjoy live music come evening – a great choice for a happy, hoppy weekend.
Strictly Come Dancing Leeds
All the stars of the Beeb’s sixteenth season will be waltzing into the First Direct Arena for a sequin-spangled night of dance. 2017’s winner, Ore Oduba, will be hosting the tour for the second year in a row, and expect to see some of your favourites taking to the floor. With dance partner Aljaž Skorjanec, series winner Stacey Dooley will be throwing her moves, as well as Ashley Roberts, Dr Ranj Singh, Joe Sugg and plenty more.
24th and 25th Jan
Life Drawing with Tessa Houghton, East Street Arts
Kick off February with a creative commitment to yourself! This six week course will reignite those abandoned talents, and focus your mind on the human form. Fully tutored, you’ll emerge with an arsenal of new techniques and methods, and learn in a relaxed, friendly environment. Open to beginners, but all levels welcome.
Starting 7th Feb, 19:00, for 6 weeks
Kes, Leeds Playhouse
Kes is one of the dramas that has defined Yorkshire over the past few decades. The spectacular (and heart-rending) play will be taking to the stage from the end of January into February, telling the story of Billy and his kestrel, growing up in the 60s on a council estate.
25th Jan – 16th Feb
Professor Brian Cox live, First Direct Arena
If a romantic meal a deux is not on the cards this Valentine’s, why not contemplate the vastness of the universe courtesy of Brian Cox? Go to the edge of your understanding and back, all in one night (can’t often say that for a night out, can you?)
14th Feb, 19:00
Hamlet, Leeds Playhouse
Re-experience this theatrical classic through a new lens, as a modern retelling of this classic tragedy sees Hamlet, a young woman returning from university, consumed by grief and revenge at the murder of her father. Director Amy Leach and Designer Hayley Grindle will present a visceral and very much up-to-date version of a Shakespearean classic.
1-30th March, Leeds Playhouse
From Munitions to #MeToo: Women’s History Workshop
Enjoy this interactive workshop which will walk the audience through suffrage, and the fight for equality, as it has been experienced by Leeds women. Author Tina Jackson will share the details of women’s lives, coinciding with National Women’s Day (lucky us, getting one out of 365!)
Sat 9th March, 13:00-16:00, Leeds Central Library
#EatNorth at North Brewing Co
This weekly pop-up of ever-changing Leeds food and drinks vendors returns to North Brewing Co. in April, in Sheepscar, just North of the city centre, as the Spring hopefully sets in! From the people behind Leeds Indie Food and North Brewing Co., expect a great range of diverse foodie options (and keep an eye out for regular #VegNorth events, catering 100% to veggie and vegan foodies). Beer on tap from the fab North Brewing Co. Children, and dogs, welcome.
Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime in Stories
An insight into the life and work of the amazing author Michael Morpurgo (author of War Horse, amongst other novels) is a fab rainy day family activity for April. This exhibition, running through April, showcases original manuscripts as well as immersive activities around the author and his famous tales.
8th Feb – 18th May (Tue-Fri, 10am-5pm and Sat/Sun 11am-5pm), Leeds City Museum
No Stress Yoga at the Tetley
Ease out the stresses of the week with this Saturday slot with Lucyoga. She runs them monthly, with this one falling after that first week of April is out of the way. They’re brilliant for all abilities, and all shapes and sizes – the goal is just to destress and give your mind and body some energy in a busy, bustling world!
6th April, 10:00-11:30
A festival of theatre, pulling from both local and international talent, lands in Leeds, flowing through theatres, arts venues and outdoor spaces across the city. The full announcement of what this exciting, energetic and boundary-breaking theatre festival will offer will be online from 31st January.
26 Apr – 4 May
Leeds Digital Festival
The largest digital festival in the North returns this Spring, with a line-up sure to be heaving-full with the biggest names in digital innovation. Last year saw 170 tech events across the festival – more than in San Francisco!
23 Apr – 3rd May
Leeds International Festival, 2019
Experience this festival for new ideas and innovation, taking over central Leeds for the first fortnight of May. Leeds International Festival returns for its third installment this year, bringing a slightly different line-up, with the CORE and OFF programmes giving even more scope for fascinating, diverse and industry-leading events. Experience cross-industry expertise in the heart of Leeds, across fields as diverse as music, tech and fashion. Hear nationally and internationally known, informative and innovative speakers via workshops, conferences, exhibitions and premieres. Don’t forget that the amazing Metropolitan festival Live at Leeds now falls under the Leeds International Festival umbrella.
2nd-12th May, various venues
Leeds Indie Food festival 2019
Leeds Indie Food festival returns this May 9th-27th, for its fifth year. An opportunity to experience some great pop-ups, collaborations, supper clubs and altogether exciting and unique foodie events courtesy of Leeds’ independent scene.
Garden Party, Canal Mills
As a sunny May dawns, music in the open air will be a delight for the return of Garden Party. WIth three parties across three Bank Holiday weekends, it’s the perfect way to get into those sunny summertime spirits. With two in May and one in August, there’ll be more fab beats than you can shake a stick at.
Sun 26th Aug
Pub in the Park, Roundhay
Tom Kerridge’s Food Festival will return to Roundhay, with a fab weekend mixture of chef demos, live music and pop-up Michelin starred pubs! With various festival locations around the UK, they land in Roundhay at the end of May for a weekend of the best food, drink and musical revelry! Keep an eye on the site for more details as they emerge.
31 May – 2 Jun
Inner City Electronic Festival
The second installment of this celebration of the electronic soundscape returns in June, with a variety of talks, workshops, and musical performances celebrating electronic music and the culture around it, at venues across the city.
Hallé – Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius
Enjoy some classical music courtesy of the Hallé Orchestra, Leeds Philharmonic Choir and St Peter’s Singers, plus soloists, in the smart surroundings of Leeds Town Hall. This is widely considered Elgar’s finest choral work, and seeing the voices from Leeds Philharmonic Choir tackle its score is bound to make for a musical and cultured evening.
1st Jun, 19:30
Made in Leeds Festival
Time to get your Club on! Made in Leeds is a visual and musical extravaganza, taking place at Thwaite Mills again this summer. Djs come from the world over, plus bringing Leeds’ Fibre scene down – it’s sparkly, loud and you won’t stop dancing.
Cocoon in the Park, Temple Newsam
This techno/electronic music festival returns to the grounds of historic Temple Newsam in July, for a day of music from artists like Apollonia, Seth Troxler, Craig Richards and Tale of Us. Early Bird Tickets are available now.
Improv Comedy Jam
Head to LS6 for their monthly free comedy night in July, featuring games and sketches from some of Leeds’ best improv groups. Perfect for a bit of grassroots comedy; who knows, you might get rib-tickled by the next big thing! If you’re brave, there’s even their audience jam to get involved in. Pay what you feel at the end.
14 Jul, 19:00-21:45
Horsforth Food and Drink Festival
Head to this Leeds suburb for children’s cooking classes, live music and speciality bars, making for a fab July weekend. With a great selection of food vendors coming down, serving food from all over the world, the festival celebrates local producers and speciality bars but embraces foodie diversity! Live music from local bands and artists is the cherry on the top (and there’s plenty of entertainment to keep the kids entertained, including a fun fair and bouncy castle).
19 -21 Jul
Leeds Festival, Bramham Park
Leeds Festival is that massive heavy-hitter that comes back year on year, festooned with your favourite festival names. The 2019 installment sees headline slots from The 1975, Foo Fighters and Post Malone, with great slots before them including Bastille, YungBlud and Blossoms. So get ready for a weekend of letting it be loud!
Leeds’ West Indian Carnival has been taking place for a massive 52 years, making it the longest running carnival in the UK! Based in Chapeltown, its joy spills from the suburb every August Bank Holiday, where you’ll find the Bank Holiday Monday procession (a feast of feathers as floats and dancers wend through the streets) as well as a weekend of music and food, all based around the Potternewton Park hub.
Sat 28th Aug
Leeds Beer Week
Leeds Beer Week returns to celebrate all things hoppy this August, with a week of beer across multiple amazing Leeds venues (think Headrow House, Northern Monk, Turk’s Head, Bundobust…). Events typically include Tap Takeovers, Meet the Brewer sessions, Collaborations, and food and drink combos that will leave you very satisfied (if not positively merry)!
Thought Bubble 2019
This festival celebrates the prolific storytelling and design work behind comics. Showcasing the literacy and artistic skill in this medium, Thought Bubble promotes sequential storytelling as an important art-form, culturally, and celebrates the diversity of the art which comes under this header. Whether you’re passionate about comic art or a newby, the eye-popping artworks and captivating short stories on display are bound to wow.
22 – 23rd Sept
Leeds Beer Festival
Back for its seventh year, Leeds International Beer Festival returns this September for four days of craft beer celebration. Whether brewed in the UK or overseas, the festival celebrates the best and most diverse craft beers on the planet. The festival isn’t only about beer though, as a street food market and two stages of live music make sure it’s a real knees up.
Made Up Leeds 2019
The end of the month will see this all-inclusive festival of make-up come to the city, looking beyond beauty to cover make-up in all its forms, and for everyone. This two-day festival is full of free makeovers, demos, tutorials, speakers and offers across the city. What’s more, it’s free to attend!
It isn’t October without Oktoberfest! Leeds welcomes the return of this Germanic-inspired celebration of authentic German bier, cuisine and music for a weekend of traditional lederhosen, bratwurst and an oompah band. Get ready for a weekend of knee-slapping fun, stein in hand, at South Bank Depot, only minutes walk from the train station.
Cocktail Experience at The Great Escape
The Great Escape Game are kind of geared for Halloween. You’re already nervous to get out in a certain amount of time – why not add a little Halloween thrill (and a tipple)?! Last year, your job was to find a cure for a zombie virus, and the only way to do that was to rustle up several cocktails, to help you build the antidote. Which you get to drink (wouldn’t want you turning into a zombie, afterall!)
For a more child-friendly (but still spooktacular) take on Halloween, head to historic Temple Newsam for a family-friendly (recommended to children of 7+) tour of the Tudor-Jacobean house’s cellars and dark passageways. Listen to tales of horror and hauntings which have dotted the building’s history, and make your way around certain areas of the estate which aren’t usually open to visitors.
Contact Temple Newsam for tour details
Fireworks at Roundhay
When Bonfire Night comes round, Roundhay is the place to be. Around 70,000 people seem to think so, anyway! The bonfire is lit at 7.30, and an excellent fireworks display kicks off around 8pm. There’s plenty of other stuff going on too, including a small children’s funfair, and plenty of food and drinks vendors. It’s free to get in too. Once the cold is nipping at your fingers and you’ve had your fill of fireworks, cram into the Roundhay Fox for a milled wine, or nip over to North Bar’s Preston if you want a little more elbow room.
Josh Widdicombe Bit Much…, Leeds Town Hall
If all the Christmas spirit is getting on top of you, why not book in an evening of hilarious grumbling courtesy of Josh, most famous for being a host of The Last Leg, as well as starring in his own BBC sitcom, JOSH.
20:00, 11 Dec
Harewood House Christmas
Beautiful and historic Harewood House has opened its doors the last two Christmases
Christmas at Harewood will return for the 2019 Christmas period, and visitors can expect a marvellous festive Harewood experience across the house and gardens, including the popular Father Christmas experience, artisan food & craft markets, live music, festive afternoon teas, and more. The last two Christmasses have been themed, with the 1920s in 2018 and the Victorians in 2017. Follow Harewood online to be amongst the first to find out the big reveal for 2019.
23rd Nov – 5th Jan TBC
Mumford & Sons
Coming to First Direct Arena for one night only, these hit-producing heart throbs are a sure-fire way to get your December off to a tuneful start. Let these four West Londoners get you on the way to a Merry Christmas.
by Art Hostel
Home To One Of The UKs Most Prestigious Art Colleges
by The City Talking
Transform Festival 19
by Transform Festival
Thought Bubble Festival
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