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Best Free Sites in Leeds

By: Cityseeker
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Millennium Square

Leeds finally has its own version of Trafalgar Square. It hit the headlines thanks to Nelson Mandela, who came to Leeds to open the city landmark in 2001. Flanked by the Civic Hall, the Civic Theatre and the Leeds General Infirmary the Millennium Square can hold up to 20,000 people. The Nelson Mandela Gardens opposite the Felon & Firkin, are a welcome splash of greenery, but if you want to get away from the traffic head for the top of the square where you can sit under the rowan trees and watch the world rush by.

Calverley Street, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS1 3HE
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
City Square

Constructed to celebrate the town's elevation to city status in 1893, this public space is home to one of the city's most formidable landmarks, the statue of Edward and the Black Prince. The square is flanked by impressive buildings including the Italianate Post Office building to the north, the 1930s Queen's Hotel to the south and the City Square, a striking high-tech commercial building at the edge of the city's financial center. The hub of the city, this is a great place to sit on a bench and watch the world go by as long as you don't mind the traffic fumes.

Infirmary Street, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS1 2ES
Leeds Waterfront

It's hard to believe that this used to be one of the most rundown areas in the city. Now, thanks to an innovative redevelopment scheme, the waterfront has been given a whole new lease of life. Long-forgotten mills have been transformed into smart offices and trendy apartments, giving the area a vibrant, exciting feel. The Royal Armouries is nearby and there's also a host of enticing shops, restaurants and bars. Granary Wharf, another of its key attractions, is an atmospheric market place in converted vaults beneath Leeds City Rail Station. Towpaths - forming part of the Waterfront Heritage Trail - give walkers access to the waterfront's canalside attractions, as well as to those in the city center.

Great Wilson Street, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS11 5AD
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
Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is well worth a visit even though it is a 30 minute bus or taxi ride from Sheffield city center. It is set in the beautiful grounds of 18th-century Bretton Hall and includes some of the finest works of art in Britain. The rolling green parkland is home to a collection of mostly contemporary sculptures from Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and other younger and regional artists. Especially suitable for children is the Sculpture Trail, with its many smaller-scale sculptures of plants, animals, birds and insects. The Sculpture Park also offers many easy-going walks in the country park, as well as indoor galleries, a craft shop and cafe.

Beaumont Drive, West Bretton, Bretton Country Park, Wakefield, United Kingdom, WF4 4LG
Valley Gardens

With 17 acres (7 hectares) of Grade II listed gardens, Valley Gardens is a beautiful oasis in the city. With lovingly designed shelters, multiple mineral springs, a play area for children, a café and concerts on summer Sunday afternoons, it is the ideal place to relax. Admission is free, but expect plenty of people whenever the weather is good.

Cornwall Road, Harrogate, United Kingdom, HG1 2AA
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