Choosing what to do on a date is never easy. Whether it’s your first, fifth or fiftieth, it can be hard to find inspiration when it comes to finding something romantic to do or somewhere romantic to go. But if you’re planning your next date in Leeds, you’re in luck! In and round the city centre, loved-up Leeds is full of thrilling things to do for couples, with its quirky and artistic venues to visit, adventurous afternoon activities and glamorous and fancy evenings out. For those looking to make a stellar first impression or for those wanting to break the routine and do something different with their significant other, Leeds is a city brimming with great date ideas. Discover 10 of the best with our handpicked selection below.
For something fun and spirited…
Have a wild and wet adventure date
It might be missing a beach, but Leeds has a great choice of watersport activities located at the Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre in Yeadon Tarn. Canoeing, windsurfing, sailing, rafting and kayaking are just some of the fun things to do there – and a great way to get the adrenaline and endorphins flowing. It’s also ideal for showing off how exciting you are to your date, and you won’t be stuck for awkward things to talk about if it’s the first one! If you’ve been together a while – doing something you wouldn’t normally do can help you reconnect and create fresh memories – and maybe even a new hobby for the two of you. Experts also say that sharing a canoe or kayak can help bickering couples get back on track through practising coordination, cooperation and communication in rowing together, proving watersports is a winning choice for any kind of date and any kind of couple.
Navigate your way through Tropical World
Escape with your date to the exotic and aptly named ‘Tropical World’. Home to numerous species of plants and animals, you can find meerkats, snakes, crocodiles, butterflies, monkeys, octopus and much more. Take your partner by the hand as you meander through the Aztec aquarium and under the lush, rainforest waterfall. The centre is also situated in the romantic Roundhay Park, with woodlands, landscaped gardens, open spaces and lakes for a picnic or private walk afterwards. It’s one of the largest urban parks in Europe, with plenty of exploring to be done to keep you and your partner busy all day. You can also watch big artists perform there – with Ed Sheeran playing this summer!
One of Leeds’ top places to go for a night out; the working men’s club-turned-live music venue is a landmark among the city’s vibrant nightlife. Famed for hosting a cluster of secret gigs featuring Franz Ferdinand and local heroes Kaiser Chiefs, the Club is known for its low-key, underground appeal. Today, it generally hosts gig nights most days of the week, making it easy to plan a date there at any time. It’s a fairly intimate venue, at only 400 max capacity, so it’s perfect for getting up close and personal to a great artist while getting up close and personal to your date too. There’s nothing more energetic and youthful than grabbing a few drinks and listening to live music, so check out who’s performing next and lock it in for your next date.
For something a little different…
Enjoy festival vibes at Belgrave Feast
On the second Saturday of every month, the stunning 1930’s building transforms into an urban festival in the heart of Leeds’ Northern Quarter. Across the three floors of the Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen, some of the most delicious street vendors around set up shop and dish out a range of tasty grub. There’s also craft ale on sale, records stalls and an art market for you to spend the day soaking up creativity, culture and cuisine. Beyond its chilled out, festival-like atmosphere, there’s also a stunning rooftop for gazing over the city with your special someone.
Cosy up at a quirky and unique cinema
Leeds is home to the world’s last gas-lit cinema; the Hyde Park Picture House is a Grade II-listed building with ornate plasterwork and two tiers or red, plush-velvet seating. The venue itself is like something scene in classic Hollywood films, which vamps up the date from just your average cinema trip. Alternatively, the Everyman cinema seems like it was made for dates, with sofas for two and side tables for placing glasses of bubbly on. Despite their heritage and history, both cinemas guarantee entertainment with the latest blockbusters hitting their screens.
If you want to indulge in street food, listen to live music, dance your socks off, drink supreme beers, or observe Leeds’ Victoria Quarter from above, Headrow House is your go-to spot. The venue houses the Michelin-recommended Ox Club restaurant where you can find anything from tasty vegan Bavarian sharing fries to classic steak and chips. The Ox Club is located in the House’s beer hall, selling over 60+ beers to accompany your meal. Wandering upstairs to its terraces; Redondo Beach or Kennedy Meadows, you’ll encounter more options to enjoy a cocktail or two alongside sky-high views. And if you need more to wow your date, Headrow also has a great lineup to keep you busy in the way of live music playing almost nightly.
Chuckle, chortle and crack up together at a comedy show
As they all say, “Couples who laugh together stay together”, and we couldn’t agree more. Laughter is scientifically proven to release happy hormones throughout your body, so this is a great option for those whose relationship has been ever so slightly on the rocks. It’s also perfect for first dates, where laughing together is the key to forming close and intimate relationships according to research. Leeds has numerous haunts to catch comic talents try their best to leave your sides aching, with regular shows at the City Varieties Music Hall, the HiFi Club and Seven Arts, or big performers at First Direct Arena and the O2 Academy – the likes of Bill Bailey, Russell Howard and Eddie Izzard are all heading to Leeds in 2019.
For something a little special…
Go swanky with a private booth at the theatre
The theatre is a classic, romantic date that has an air of sophistication and glamour to it. If it’s a date to say I love you, a date to say I’m sorry, or simply a date to do something fancy together, a trip to one of Leeds’ outstanding theatres is ideal. To really make the most of it, a private booth at Leeds Grand Theatre is ultra-romantic, unforgettable and super impressive (scoring you massive brownie points to redeem in the future!). The city’s ever-evolving cultural scene means that the top shows from the West End usually stop at Leeds while on tour – including The Full Monty, Kinky Boots, The Rocky Horror Show and We Will Rock You this year, while there’s also plenty of options to watch locally-produced productions too.
Make time for wine with tastings or excursions
Forget California, New Zealand or Italy, Yorkshire is secretly the hotspot for vineyards and wine tasting. Ok this might not be true, but Leeds is actually home to vineyards that produce some award-winning wine. Just outside the city in the rural village of Leventhorpe, you can observe the production of local wines like Madeleine Angevin, Yorkshire Brut and Seyval and purchase any to take back home. Leventhorpe Vineyard is located a couple of miles from the M1, but for those wanting to stay local, the Lazy Lounge is your next best stop. The city centre venue offers wine, whisky and gin tastings in a vintage-inspired setting complete with candlelit chandeliers, retro, comfy armchairs and a quirky piano bar. What more could you ask for?
Scale up and indulge on a rooftop bar
Leeds is surprisingly beautiful from up above, creating a cityscape to rival major cities like London or New York. So it makes perfect sense to whisk your date up to one of its many rooftop terrace restaurants or bars. There’s something extra special about being sky-high, whether it’s the romance, the adrenaline rush or the altitude pressure, you’re guaranteed to stun your date. Complete with DJs in summer and heat lamps in winter, the Angelica offers all-day dining. It sits atop the Trinity Leeds with a wraparound terrace that overlooks landmarks such as Holy Trinity Church or Leeds Corn Exchange. Or consider the tucked away RMUK, the horseshoe-shaped The Alchemist or the dazzling and exquisite Sky Bar.