A lot of families want to explore the best Yorkshire has to offer but without a car… so we thought at Yorkshire Families that we would start to share some of our favourite days out using public transport… beginning with Leeds, West Yorkshire.
I myself (Sophie Mei Lan) have a driver’s licence but no vehicle and I am determined to do what I can using public transport or by walking. Not only can it save money but it is better for the environment too and at times, I have found, it is less stressful than driving a car (YES I have been stuck on Leeds Ring Road a number of times!). So what is there to do in Leeds via public transport?
There are so many but here are some of the recent places we have visited and loved in Leeds City Centre!
As we live in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, we often get the train into Leeds if I have the energy to face the busyness of Leeds Train Station (that said the kids love it and it looks super pretty after its recent makeover). The train station itself is equipped with a few shops and lots of eateries from coffee shops to McDonald’s (the children’s favourite along with Subway), Pret a Manger (great for an affordable filter coffee), Wetherspoons (cheeps and cheerful but not child-friendly), Leon (my absolute favourite) and a Sainsbury’s (perfect if you forget picnics and snacks like I always do).
From Leeds Train Station main entrance you can easily access the city centre shops and Trinity Leeds and it is just a 10 minute walk to Millennium Square where you will find the brilliant Leeds City Museum (such a great free day out for little ones) as well as Leeds Art Gallery. Nearby there is also The Core Shopping Centre where we like to grab a slightly quieter bite to eat, The Merrion Centre and for a treat we love The Light Leeds.
Or if you come out of Leeds Train Station’s South Entrance you can easily access the city’s waterfront (River Aire).
The entrance has two escalators up to the concourse which provides access to either side of the river for passengers to get to Granary Wharf and Little Neville Street, or Holbeck.
Granary Wharf has lots of places to eat but the children’s favourite are Leeds Water Taxis. The boats (called Twee and Drie) ferry passengers from Granary Wharf to Leeds Dock. At Leeds Dock you will find Royal Armouries Museum which is well worth a visit.
My favourite way to get to Leeds is via bus although it does take a lot longer this way (approximately one hour on the 110 Arriva bus from where we live in Wakefield to Leeds City Bus Station, which is only 20-30 minutes on the train).
Once arriving in Leeds City Bus station, there are lots of places to visit locally.
The bus station itself is nothing to shout about but at least it is quieter that Leeds Train Station and it has a Greggs and corner shop as well as vending machines.
Leeds City Bus station is literally next door to Leeds Kirkgate Market which has a huge array of fruit and vegetable stalls as well as an accessible food court with lots of independent food and drink vendors (you can get delicious fresh food cooked for you at an affordable price).
The bus station is also across the road from Victoria Leeds which is home to John Lewis and some higher end shops and eateries. It’s great with a pushchair or with older children.
Not only that, Leeds Playhouse theatre is also across the road with a new city facing entrance which makes it even more accessible (previously West Yorkshire Playhouse). We love going to the theatre to see family friendly shows such as The Bear which was on during half-term.
Yorkshire Families review of The Bear at Leeds Playhouse:
“Charming and captivating! My 5 & 8 year old daughters were so engrossed, they forgot to ask for the sweets I’d brought them. I’m not sure I could give higher praise!?
This production is everything children’s theatre should be: beautifully made, witty, charming and light-hearted.
The Bear is adapted from the picture book by Raymond Briggs, the same writer behind The Snowman. Here, a relatable and enchanting little girl, Tilly is delighted when a polar bear climbs through her bedroom window. Despite the bear making trouble, in every toon in the house, her parents remain blissfully unaware and assume the ‘bear’ Tilly constantly charters about is part of her imagination. Which my girls found hilarious, as the bear is huge!
We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the experience, from the welcome at Leeds playhouse, the wonderful acting on show, the seamless scene changes to the perfect duration and atmosphere for my girls. I’d thoroughly recommend for a family trip!”
Also nearby you have Yorkshire Dance and Northern Ballet who both run classes for children and adults. We recently attended a free family festival at Yorkshire Dance where we did a Bollywood Dance Workshop.