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Best Historic Locations in Leeds

By: Cityseeker
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Town Hall

A stunning hybrid of classical Greek and baroque styles, this mid 19th-century public building is perhaps Leeds' most well-known landmark. Built by Charles Broderick between 1853 and 1858, it features a facade of giant columns supporting an elaborate domed tower. The richly decorated interior is equally spectacular, with statues by Matthew Noble sitting beneath ornate plaster ceilings. As well as being of great historical and architectural interest, the Town Hall is one of the city's premier music venues, hosting events including Lunchtime Organ Music and the International Concert Season.

The Headrow, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS1 3AD
Park Square

At the end of the 18th Century this elegant square was the most fashionable and salubrious residential area of Leeds. Typically late Georgian in style and character, its secluded garden and surrounding terraces of red-brick houses remain largely unspoiled by later development, making it a popular lunchtime spot for local office workers. It is especially lovely in the spring and summer when the attractive flower beds burst into a riot of color and fragrance.

Off St Paul's Street, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS1 2JG
Middleton Railway

While it may not quite be a train-spotting heaven, Middleton Railway is home to an impressive range of steam and diesel locomotives, some of which date from the 19th Century. The world's first commercial railway, the Middleton line was built to service the city's developing coal industry. It has since been restored by local enthusiasts to offer a regular service between Moor Road and Middleton Park. The regular Thomas the Tank Engine and Postman Pat events are a big hit with children whilst older passengers enjoy the trip down memory lane. Dates and times of services vary.

Moor Road, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS10 2JQ
Thwaite Mills

Leeds' industrial past is brought vividly to life at the heritage of Thwaite Mills; nestled on the banks of the River Aire. The two fully operational waterwheels are amazing to behold but it's the history of the mill, its owners and workforce that really fascinates. The museum and restored workers' cottages offer an interesting and often poignant glimpse into what life was really like in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. It's an especially pleasant place to visit in summer when you can have a riverside picnic.

Thwaite Lane, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS10 1RP
Kirkstall Abbey

Settled along the banks of River Aire, Kirkstall Abbey is a marvelous amalgamation of scenic greens and historic architecture. One of Leeds's key historical landmarks, this sprawling abbey remains remarkably well preserved despite the ravages of history. Situated in an area of open parkland west of the city center, Kirkstall Abbey still stands to its original height, lending a true sense of its former scale and spiritual resonance. Its ruins are a muse to many artists, whispering secrets of its storied past through the high arches and narrow alleys. A moving relic of the 12th Century, the abbey bears many more spectacular architectural elements like vaulted cellars, ancient quarters and an idyllic cloister. A soulful embodiment of the Cistercian design, Kirkstall Abbey is an insightful nod to the glory of Henry de Lacy, its master, and the monks who flourished in its fabric.

Abbey Road, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS5 3EH
Roundhay Park

Ever since its opening in 1872, the Roundhay Park has served as a spectacular venue for music and cultural festivals in the summer, while also offering wooded walks, horticultural displays and sports facilities. Boasting a stunning tapestry of woodlands, parkland, lakes and charming gardens, this gigantic park is spread across acres and acres, frequented by about a million people each year. Hemmed by the Roundhay suburb, the park is one of the most favored in Leeds, not just for its unbridled natural beauty and magnificence, but also because it has plenty to offer to its patrons. 'Tropical World' is a canvas of wilderness, which shelters exotic tropical plants, and a marvelous nexus of glasshouses, aquariums, a desert house and a butterfly house. Interspersed with winding and wooded alleyways, the Roundhay Park also shelters a tracery of delightful gardens like the Monet Garden, Alhambra Garden and the splendid Canal Gardens which harbor aged trees and carpets of flowers. Other attractions in the park include a grandiose Mansion House, the magnificent, bird-laden Waterloo lake and the Arena studded on the rolling Hill 60, making it an idyllic, undisturbed oasis in the heart of the city.

Mansion Lane, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS8 1DF
Temple Newsam

Proudly sitting on rolling, landscaped grounds, the stately Temple Newsam is steeped deep in history. Having been under the ownership of several notable personalities and organizations including the Knights Templar, this house is today under the watchful eye of the Leeds City Council. The house bears incredible influences of Tudor and Jacobean styles of architecture and is home to dense drapes of woodland, farms, charming open spaces and a walkway lined with blooming rhododendrons. Part of what makes the site so absorbing is the wealth of artworks and cultural pieces which are wonderful remnants of its artistic phase, including decorative artifacts by the Department of Culture and stirring exhibits by the Chippendale Society. The estate comprises large acres of parkland which is used in the summer as a venue for high-profile pop and opera concerts. An exuberant representation of the English countryside, Temple Newsam is a timeless edifice portraying rich cultural nuances stringed together with an indelible history.

Temple Newsam Road, off Selbay Road, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS15 0AE
Harewood House

Fringed by rambling green lawns on all four sides, the stately Harewood House exudes unbounded architectural splendour coupled with enigmatic historic nuances. With interiors by Robert Adam and landscaped grounds by Capability Brown, this 18th-century Palladian-style country house is a treasure trove of classical design, fine art and opulent furnishings. Nestled in the heart of Yorkshire, the house is one of the four Treasure Houses of England, boasting ornate furniture by Chippendale, and the finest Chinese and Sèvres porcelain and paintings by Gainsborough and Turner. The very presence of Harewood House is further accentuated by a lake, antiquated stables and the subtle, yet exquisite Harewood cascades. Within its wonderfully-landscaped gardens, there is a bird sanctuary and an adventure playground of truly gargantuan proportions. The Stables Courtyard offers a variety of refreshments and handcrafted gifts. With a plethora of stories left unearthed in its fabric, the Harewood House is indeed a canvas of history waiting to be explored.

High Weardley Lane, Harewood House Estate, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS17 9LG

As soon as you step into Lotherton, you will be reminded of the elegance of a bygone age. Teeming with paintings, 19th-century furniture and silverware, the house is particularly famous for its collection of historical costumes. Communities of red and fallow deer live on the lovely grounds, which incorporate an Edwardian walled garden and bird sanctuary. There is a small cafe as well, where you can get refreshments.

Lotherton Lane, Aberford, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS25 3EB
Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey is the Yorkshire estate of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. This fascinating spot blends natural beauty with rich history. Test some of the 75 miles of footpaths, which circle the estate on both low and high ground, or walk through the Strid Wood. The fearsome Strid, a wound carved in the rock face by furious white water is a wonderful sight but tread with care on the slippery rocks. Alternatively, visit the centuries-old Priory, the Barden Tower and the fabled Money Tree to witness some of the wondrous offerings of the estate.

Off B6160, Yorkshire Dales National Park, Skipton, United Kingdom, BD23 6EX
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