12 Free Things to Do in Leeds as a Student

So, you’re on the hunt for student things to do in Leeds but your wallet is looking a little thin. If you want to seek out a fun day or night without messing up your budget, you may be wondering what you can do in Leeds for free.

Well, don’t worry – the good news is that there are plenty of free things to do in Leeds, twelve of which we’ll run through below.

Our Top 12 Things to Do for Free in Leeds

Here’s our list of things to do in Leeds for free:

1. Leeds Art Gallery

If you’re an art lover, Leeds Art Gallery is a fantastic thing to do for free in Leeds. All housed within a stunning piece of architecture, you can find a substantial collection of 20th-century British art featuring masterpieces from Damien Hirst, Jacob Epstein, and other famous names. The gallery also hosts exciting temporary exhibitions and a convenient café to sit back and relax in after you’ve finished soaking up the sights.

2. Royal Armouries Museum

The Royal Armouries has over 4,500 displayed items spread over five large floors. Featuring arms and armour from different parts of history, summer jousting tournaments, and a fantastic gift shop, this museum provides hours of fun and a little education along the way! After visiting, walk along the canal to enjoy some fresh air.

3. Browsing shops

If you’d rather browse things other than history and art, you should take a shopping day around Leeds. Whether you want to discover new bestsellers in the best bookshops in Leeds, catch up with coursemates in Trinity Leeds, or discover local offerings in the Corn Exchange, there are plenty of inviting shops and arcades to try out. Leeds is one of the UK’s best charity shop destinations but remember – if you’re looking to save yourself some money, you don’t have to fork out for anything. You can always just window shop and have a fun day out with your friends.

4. Leeds City Museum

Leeds City Museum is free for all and will teach you about the history of the city as well as faraway worlds. From the Romans to the Egyptians, this place has it all. Since exhibitions are always changing and displaying new things, visiting more than once is worth your while.

4. Roundhay Park

If you like relaxing and surrounding yourself with nature, a trip to Roundhay Park is one of the best free things to do in Leeds. Here, you’ll find picture-perfect scenery spanning over 700 acres of land, plenty of spots to sunbathe by the lake, and countless cute dogs being taken for walks on the woodland paths. This activity is great to enjoy alone, with friends, or even with a date – if you’ve not already ruined your Valentine’s Day, of course. Roundhay is a little further out of Leeds, but you can still access this for free by cycling – after all, the University of Leeds is one of the best universities for cycling in the UK.

4. Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey is another fabulous destination for nature lovers. While you normally have to pay to enter the building, it’s completely free to walk around the outside, admire the ruins and enjoy nature. Grab a bench, catch up with a friend, or lay a picnic—the choice is yours!

5. Leeds Minster

Leeds Minster is an Anglican church in Leeds featuring incredible architecture and a whole lot of history. If you can appreciate this place’s liturgical significance, you’ll love that it’s absolutely free to enter. This landmark is so central that you can save some bus money by walking here; it’s accessible from plenty of properties near the University of Leeds.

6. Beckett Park

If you’re a student in Headingley or Kirkstall and don’t want to travel to Leeds city centre, you can always check out Beckett Park, one of Headingley’s best nature spots. This open grassland provides plenty of space to sunbathe or have a kickabout in the spring and summer, along with plenty of benches to admire the view or read a book. It sits next to Batcliffe Wood if you fancy a nature walk, as well as part of Leeds Beckett University’s campus. There are also free-access tennis courts and a skate park for sporty types.

7. Henry Moor Institute

As far as free things to do in Leeds city centre go, the Henry Moore Institute is one of the best for culture seekers. Dedicated to Henry Moore’s work, this institute champions historic and contemporary sculpture and other artists with a constantly changing programme of exhibitions. This place has its own academic research library, offering students an enriching educational experience as well as an engaging one.

8. Meanwood Valley Trail

Walkable from Headingley, the Meanwood Valley Trail is another fabulous thing to do for free in Leeds as a nature or hiking lover. This seven-mile trail is a fantastic way to discover the beauty of Meanwood Valley, finishing at Golden Acre Park, which provides more stunning nature views and rewarding café refreshments. But don’t worry – if you’re not a big walker, you can simply walk around Meanwood Park before turning back. It’s still a great place to unwind, get some fresh air, and improve your mental health.

9. Free live music

When it comes to what you can do in Leeds for free, enjoying some great music is definite. There are countless free music spots across the city, in local haunts like The Duck & Drake, Belgrave, and Brudenell Social Club. Check which events can be enjoyed without entry fees and attend when possible! Exploring new genres and bands can be a fantastic way to pass the time in this city – all without spending any money. One of our top making friends tips is to invite your new flatmates along and establish strong bonds.

10. Leeds Owl Trail

Go on a hunt around the city to spot hidden owls in the architecture of plenty of the central buildings. The Leeds Owl Trail provides a map to help you get started, with one trail offering ten owls to spot and the other offering a further 15. Not only is this a unique activity as far as free things to do in Leeds city centre go, but it also helps you get to know the place a little better.

Enjoying this northern city on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on fun. These 12 free things to do in Leeds city centre mean you don’t have to break the bank for a once-in-a-lifetime student experience.

And remember, if you want a little money to enjoy paid-for activities, you can also explore the best part-time student jobs in the city to give yourself a helping hand.

Now that you know how affordable this place is, check out our full range of student accommodation in Leeds to book your place, including flats near Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Trinity University. At Mystudenthalls.com, we’re committed to helping you make the most of your time exploring a new city.