Places to take your parents

University of Leeds
5 min readAug 17, 2022

Fourth-year advertising and design masters student El Craig shares her tips for places to take your parents when they visit.

You’ve settled into Leeds and your parents are coming to see you… great! You’ll want to show them around Leeds and introduce them to the most fabulous shops and eateries.

There’s something for everyone in Leeds, whether they enjoy cafes, fine dining, nature hikes, or shopping. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Shopping

If your parents enjoy shopping, there’s no better place to take them than Leeds City Centre, a shopaholic’s dream with hundreds of stores selling everything from handmade Yorkshire soap to designer apparel, vintage clothing, books and more!

Victoria Gate

Interior of Victoria Gate shopping centre.
Interior of Victoria Centre

Victoria Gate is a luxurious, modern shopping centre that has drawn plenty of well-known businesses to the city. Victoria Gate is a parent favourite for its more upscale shopping and the massive John Lewis flagship store in the north. It has four levels of homeware, technology, apparel and jewellery. The Victoria Arcade, a historic shopping arcade with stunning architecture, is just around the corner. Two parallel rows of shops under its distinctive stained glass canopy host some of Leeds’ top designer stores.

Trinity Centre

Interior of the Trinity Centre
Trinity Centre

The Trinity Centre has 120 shops, bars, and restaurants under one roof, including Victoria’s Secret, Apple, Primark, and other well-known brands. It also houses the Everyman Cinema, a great activity to do with your parents on a wet day. Kick back and relax on a comfy sofa while watching a movie and having your meal served to your seat. Trinity Kitchen is also located on the site. Trinity Kitchen is a funky modern food hall with a slew of street food vendors that change regularly, as well as some permanent fixtures.

Kirkgate Market

Interior and stalls at the Kirkgate Market.
Kirkgate Market.

Kirkgate Market, Europe’s largest covered market, is one of Leeds’ most well-known landmarks. In this market hall, you’ll find a variety of delicious eateries and fresh meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, and regional cuisine. There’s a vast variety of options, from jerk chicken to Yorkshire pudding wraps (a must-try). Did you know that M&S began as a modest stall in Kirkgate Market and grew into the massive chain it is today? (To read more about the history of this historic Leeds-based chain, go to the M&S Archives in the University of Leeds’ Business School building.)

The Arcades

Interior of the Victoria Quarter.
Victoria Quarter

Leeds’ historic arcades play an important role in the city’s allure, with stunning buildings, numerous original features, and a fantastic mix of local independents and nationally famous brands. In the Queen’s Arcade, you’ll find the legendary Aladdin’s Cave, a well-known vintage jewellery boutique. Then we have Yellow Sunrise, a trendy boutique stocked with trinkets and treasures from around the world, another favourite. They sell a variety of sustainable home furnishings and gifts, such as Himalayan salt lamps, healing crystals, and more. They can be found in the Central Arcade.

Corn Exchange

Corn Exchange interior.
Corn Exchange

The iconic and historic Corn Exchange sells all sorts of delightful products from local sellers. Shops, pop-up shops, exhibits and cafes are housed in the eye-catching dome-shaped structure. An eclectic variety of products is promised by the double circle of independent retailers, one on the ground floor and one on the first. Whether you’re looking for something vintage, handcrafted, or just something distinctive, you won’t be disappointed. The Plant Point, a haven for plant lovers, is a must-visit!

If you prefer nature to city life and want to escape the hustle and bustle, Leeds has some beautiful scenic areas not far from the city centre.

Woodhouse Ridge

This span of scenic scenery, which runs between Woodhouse, Hyde Park, and Headingley along a clifftop, is off the beaten path, making it ideal for exploration. It is very family-friendly because there are many wide and clear pathways to navigate. You can also stroll through Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, a 24-acre site with a lot to see and do. There are numerous animals to see, including chickens, cows, sheep, alpacas, and goats. But that’s not all. The grounds are also home to a diverse range of wildlife: birds, foxes, and badgers, as well as a beautiful forest and meadow.

Meanwood Valley Trail

This seven-mile trail is located just minutes from the city centre. You’ll enjoy the spectacular views from Woodhouse Ridge and come across a wealth of nature as you walk from Woodhouse Moor to Golden Acre Park. You don’t have to complete the entire thing, and it’s divided into chunks, so you may make it as challenging or relaxing as you want.

Roundhay Park

Pond in Roundhay Park
Pond in Roundhay Park

Roundhay Park is one of Europe’s largest urban parks, covering 700 acres. It’s twice the size of London’s Hyde Park and offers a wide range of activities. The extensive network of routes extends beyond the landscaped gardens into the woods, where you’ll find modest riverbank strolls, scenic gorge treks, and hikes with breathtaking views.

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