With staycations expected to continue to soar in 2023 with fewer Brits travelling abroad, the destination management organisation for the city of Leeds is encouraging people to visit the city for what promises to be a jam-packed year of fun.
2023 is also the year of culture in Leeds, a year-long celebration of culture, creativity and community that’s filled with exciting events and workshops, so it’s definitely a good time to be visiting the city.
From visiting the city’s many free galleries and museums to experiencing world-class culture and performances, Visit Leeds has shared a round-up of six of the best happenings and events to enjoy this year. The only question is, what will you do first?
Attend the most glamorous party in town – with Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby at Leeds Grand Theatre
Enjoy a special night out at the theatre and be transported to the glitz and the glam of the Roaring 20s with Northern Ballet’s exquisite performance and innovative retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, ‘The Great Gatsby’. The party of the year will be held at Leeds Grand Theatre, an exquisite theatre in Leeds’ city centre, complete with crystal chandeliers and gold-plated decor. ‘The Great Gatsby’ will be performed by renowned theatre company Northern Ballet, one of the most successful dance companies in the UK and one of the only resident ballet companies outside of London and will be a beautiful retelling of the story like you’ve never seen before. Tickets are on sale now and the show’s opening night will be held on the 8th of March. You don’t want to miss this one, ‘old sport’!
Hear unique stories with Sinfonia (1001 Stories) at Leeds Playhouse
An exclusive brand new production and part of LEEDS 2023: City of Culture, a dynamic, multi-arts performance of music, dance, and storytelling called Sinfonia (1001 Stories), comes to the city in April. A part of the ‘1001 Stories’ as part of the city’s year of culture, Sinfonia puts the voices of older people on stage and is a unique celebration of lives lived to the fullest, telling unapologetic stories of love, loss, joy, heartbreak, humour and community. Running for nine days at Leeds Playhouse from 27th April, everyone is welcome to this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Reignite your love of reading at Leeds Lit Festival
Do you have a love of all things reading and literature? If so, then Leeds Lit Fest is certainly something you should add to your calendar. Leeds Lit Festival is the city’s acclaimed festival of words and thought and is back for a fifth year in 2023. The festival, which will take place in a variety of different venues around the city, such as the historic Carriageworks Theatre and the beautiful Leeds Library, will consist of a series of book readings, workshops, and discussions with some of the literary world’s very best talent, and gives guests the chance to delve into the mind of an author and learn a thing or two from them along the way. Standouts on the billing sheet include ‘In Conversation with Catriona Ward’, an award-winning modern horror author, on 25th February, and ‘Weirding Your Fiction’ with author Dan Coxon. Aspiring authors and literature lovers, this one’s for you.
Cast your eye on new talent at Leeds Art Gallery’s Leeds Artist Show
One of the best collections of 20th-century British art outside of London can be found at Leeds Art Gallery, the city’s flagship for contemporary art. There’s something for everyone at Leeds Art Gallery, from sculptures and paintings to new media installations and interesting exhibitions. But for one of the most exciting events at the gallery, visit Leeds’ Artists Show from February 15th. Part of LEEDS 2023, the Leeds Artists Show will be presented at the gallery for the first time in ten years, giving the city’s artists the opportunity to have their work seen as part of a major exhibition in one of Leeds’ best galleries. The show received hundreds of submissions, and the best of the best are being displayed, so take a trip down here to see some exciting new art talent!
Take a trip to one of the city’s best country houses and estates
Everyone loves a trip around a beautiful stately home, and Leeds has many to explore. Harewood House is a luxurious 18th-century house with over 100 acres of land and gardens, bird garden and deer park! Open for their Winter Weekends until March, a visit to the grand Harewood House is something you should definitely experience this year. Similarly, the Tudor-Jacobean Temple Newsam is bursting with treasures and tales to enjoy, and open throughout the year to stroll around the grounds or inside the house to discover how the other half used to live all those years ago. And you can’t forget about Lotherton Hall. Housing a museum, fashion galleries and bountiful grounds complete with a mediaeval chapel and a zoo, this Edwardian estate is not one to be missed.
Immerse yourself in Caribbean Culture at Leeds West Indian Carnival
This captivating celebration first occurred in 1966, when people rushed to the streets to celebrate Caribbean culture and partake in the carnival. Leeds West Indian Carnival, which takes place every year on the final Monday in August, is the ideal fusion of stunning costumes, captivating tropical rhythms, exquisite food, and entertainment for all ages. Celebrating Caribbean culture with amazing performers, the carnival infuses Leeds with incredible energy and unimaginable cultural excitement. Everyone is welcome at the Carnival, and if you want to try something different this year, consider volunteering for the parade. Let your creativity run wild and take part- It’s undoubtedly among the best things to do in Leeds!
Images courtesy of Visit Leeds
Top image: Unsplash