Free Things to do in Leeds

One of the gems of Yorkshire, Leeds has a lot going for it (despite some opinions on their football team). So we thought we'd save you some cash and tell you some of the best free things to do in the city. Scroll down and take a look!

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 6th Jul 2022

Loud and proud, Leeds is the place to be in West Yorkshire and should be on anyone's list for a trip up north. Whilst prices can be high and money tight at the minute, we didn't want to let that ruin any potential visit so we've got a list of awesome free things to do in the city.

From art galleries in beer breweries, to free live music, to ancient Victorian abbeys, the home of the Whites is a place you won't wanna miss out on. Scroll down and have a look at all the great free things to do in Leeds!



Have a hoot on the Leeds Owl Trail

Image: Leeds Owl Trail on Facebook

When: Whenever you want

Where: All across the city (Just download the map and get walking)

You may not be aware but owls are Leed's unofficial mascot, and statutes of the solemn bird are dotted throughout a number of offbeat places in the city. You can download a map and discover all 25 of the owls, found in a range of statues, mosaics and emblems. Despite featuring in the city's coat of arms, many are unaware of the frequency they appear around Leeds, and whilst this trail is fun for the family, it is also a great way to acclimatise yourself with the West Yorkshire surroundings.



Window shop in the Victoria Quarter

Image: Leeds Victoria on Facebook

When: Opening times vary by shop

Where: Victoria Quarter Queen, Victoria St, Leeds LS1 6BE

This picturesque area of town may not be what you first expect to find on your visit to Leeds, but it is sure worth a visit. These stunning Victorian arcades ar home to a whole host of designer shops, boutiques and places to eat, but, as you can see from the image above, the architecture is where it's at.

That being said, whilst just strolling around is a great free thing to do in Leeds, you're going to have to be vigilant not to buy anything!



Laugh your bittersweet socks off at Verve Bar

Image: Verve Bar on Facebook

When: Free comedy every Tuesday night

Where: 16 Merrion St, Leeds LS1 6PQ

Who doesn't like a good giggle? Better yet, who doesn't like a good FREE giggle? Well, Verve bar in Leeds has you covered on that front, the popular west Yorkshire haunt puts on Leeds Comedy Cellar in its basement every Tuesday, and the night has garnered quite an audience. Now, it is one of the best free nights of comedy that the city has to offer, and when you're looking for free things to do in Leeds, this is one of the best on offer.

So get yourself down and enjoy the best of the local talent, you can even give it a go yourself if you're brave enough!



Step Back in time to Kirkstall Abbey

Image: Kirkstall Abbey on Facebook

When: 10am - 4:30pm everyday except Monday

Where: Abbey Rd, Kirkstall, Leeds LS5 3EH

It's hard not to see why this ancient ruined Cistercian monastery is so frequently visited by locals and tourists alike. Whether you just want some stunning views on your afternoon walk, or you are intrigued by the history of the abbey, this site is worth a visit when looking for free things to do in Leeds. 

Disestablhsed by Henry VIII over 800 years ago, the ruins of the abbey stand just outside the city centre and the way it stands amongst the natural delight of the surrounding parks make it a breathtaking sight.



Sculpt yourself a good time at the Henry Moore Institute

Image: The Henry Moore Insititute on Facebook

When: 10am - 5pm everyday except Monday

Where: 74 The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AH

Inside the walls of this city centre gallery is the collective work of one of Yorkshire's most celebrated sculpture artists, Henry Moore, alongside a revolving door of some of the best sculpting talent the world has to offer. It's a hell of a treat for the eyes and basks in the weird and the wonderful. You should also keep an eye out for the programme of events that they hold throughout the year. In terms of free things to do in Leeds, this one ranks high if you're after something a bit different.



Test your aim at the Royal Armouries

Image: Royal Armouries on Facebook

When: 10am - 5pm Wednesday to Sunday

Where: Armouries Dr, Leeds LS10 1LT

Across five floors of displays that would give some Americans goosebumps, this impressive collection is a chronicle of the progression of weaponry, from the hall of steel to 16th-century elephant armour to the actual pulse rifle from 1986s Aliens, it's one hell of a walk around. You can also test your skills on the crossbow or watch live combat demonstrations if you come at the right time.

So if you're feeling like you may want to visit then stick to your guns and head on down and take advantage of one of the best free things to do in Leeds.



Satisfy your live music appetite at the Duck and Drake

Image: Duck and Drake on Facebook

When: Free live music every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

Where: 43 Kirkgate, Leeds LS2 7DR

Now we all love a bit of live music here, but, especially with rising costs, it can cost a fair bit to see it nowadays. So, if this rings true with you, the Duck and Drake have you covered. Three nights a week they put on a host of local acts that range from cover bands to upcoming talent that always delivers. Whilst you will probably want a pint when you're in there, it's a small price to pay for free live music, and we think that the Duck and Drake is the best place in Leeds for it.



Go behind the scenes of history at Leeds Discovery Centre

Image: Leeds Discovery Centre on Facebook

When: Free tours arranged by appointment (see website for more details)

Where: Carlisle Rd, Leeds LS10 1LB

This treasure trove of historical delights is one of the coolest days out you're likely to go on. Leeds Discovery Centre is the city museums purpose-built storage and conservation facility, and if you book a tour 9all for free) you too can explore the vast collections of artefacts on show. From Toucans to meteorites these plentiful shelves are an educational marvel and well worth a visit to explore. Whilst you do have to book, it should definitely be on the list of looking for free things to do in Leeds.



Brew up a pint of culture at The Tetley

Image: The Tetley on Facebook

When: 10am - 5pm Wednesday to Sunday

Where: Hunslet Rd, Leeds LS10 1JQ

Who'd have thought that the once home of a smooth pint of Tetley could now be home to one of the best contemporary art galleries in Yorkshire, well The Tetley is here to prove us all wrong. Inside one of the city's most iconic buildings, the pieces on show is spectacular, and you will struggle to find anywhere else up north with as much on offer. Not only can you see this all for free, but there are also free workshops, occasional open days where you can explore the building's hidden nooks, and a place where you can still enjoy a pint of Tetleys in its original home. 



Jazz up your night at The Domino

Image: The Domino Club on Facebook

When: Free music every night

Where: 7 Grand Arcade, Leeds LS1 6PG

Wanna sway and boogie to some jazzy vibes, well the domino is the place to be. hosting free music every single night, the dimly lit basement hosts a range of the city's best jazz layers as well as others from around the UK and beyond. It's the perfect place for a cheap date, or just a relaxing night with your friends, and whilst we know that you probably won't be able to do the night for free, it is worth the price of a few drinks to see some outstanding talent on stage. We would highly recommend it.




To find even more events happening around Leeds in 2022, click or tap - HERE



Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.