Introducing Leeds

A photo of Thwaite Mills


A major shopping destination in northern-England, Leeds is known as the ‘Knightsbridge of the North’. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and oozes urban chic with waterfront apartments, Victorian shopping arcades and bus routes assigned colours such as mauve, peach and turquoise. You will soon discover that Leeds is more than just a shopping mecca though, and there are numerous accessible museums and attractions to keep the curious traveller interested.

Drop off your bags

The New Ellington Hotel, Gin Garden and Restaurant can be found in a nest of Georgian buildings in Leeds city centre. The hotel features accessible rooms with walk in showers, and there is ramped access to the main entrance.

If you want to feel even more at home in Leeds, 5 star rated Roomzzz offers various luxury apartments close to the train station. One reviewer said there was ‘plenty of room in the wet room, including for a hoist’.

Explore the city

There are lots of places to go in Leeds that have great disabled access! Tropical World was rated 4.5 stars by one reviewer who told us that ‘all the viewing windows were low down enough for wheelchair users’. Tropical World features enclosures such as the Amazon Tank, Butterfly House, Desert House and more.

Catch a glimpse of the former mill town that Leeds once was with a visit to Thwaite Mills Watermill. This attraction has various access features including large print and easy read materials, an induction loop, accessible parking and accessible toilets for guests.

Photo of Kirkstall Abbey.

For those who enjoy a bit of history, Kirkstall Abbey is a medieval Cistercian abbey located on the banks of the River Aire. Kirsktall Abbey and its visitor centre are all on ground level and there is also an audio description of the tour of the Abbey available online which you can download to your phone. If you’ve still got energy to explore, Abbey House Museum is just a five minute walk away and is another attraction which lets you step back in time. There is an induction loop in the entrance foyer and carers can enter the museum free of charge.

Leeds is packed full of museums, including Euan’s Guide listed venues such as the Leeds Industrial Museum and Middleton Railway. Thackray Medical Museum shares the fascinating story of medicine and health through its interactive galleries which all have hearing loops. Alternatively, Leeds City Museum offers large print exhibition guides for most of its galleries, and there are lots of tactile, audio and visual exhibits throughout.

Photo of a skeleton.

Art enthusiasts might like to explore Leeds Art Gallery in the city centre. The gallery has constantly changing displays and activities year round. Leeds Art Gallery can also offer tailored sensory sessions for groups.

If you’re visiting during winter, Leeds opens up its wheelchair accessible ice rink, Ice Cube. This ice rink has been rated 5 star, and one reviewer said the ‘disabled access was fantastic’.

Experience shopping in Leeds

There are countless shops in Leeds to get lost in! Trinity is the city’s largest shopping centre with over one hundred shops, bars and restaurants. One reviewer gave the centre 4 stars saying, ‘the centre has ramps, lifts and automatic doors in place to make access easier for disabled users’.

Food and drink scene

Leeds is a great city for socialising and meeting up for a bite to eat or something to drink. Peachy Keens Live BBQ & Bar is a fun restaurant that lets you barbeque your own food at your table. The restaurant has accessible toilets and includes a lift to lower levels.

The Arch Café is ‘a café with a social conscience’ that serves tea, sandwiches and home baked cakes. One reviewer gave it 4.5 stars saying, ‘this independent café is a gem for any foodie or if you want to escape the busy city centre’. The café has step-free access and wide doorways.

Photo of Peachy Keens.

Leeds Electric Press is a Revolution bar overlooking the Millennium Square. One reviewer told us that this venue had worked hard to overcome the limitations of the building, and that the friendly attitude of the staff in particular make is a great place to go and eat food with friends.

If you’re on a small budget, Stick or Twist is a 4 star rated venue with one reviewer saying it’s ‘wheelchair accessible, has friendly staff and affordable food and drink’.

Catch a show

You won’t be short for things to do in the evening in Leeds! The West Yorkshire Playhouse has a 4 star review and has a ‘top notch disabled loo with masses of space’ according to one visitor. If you simply want to catch a movie, Vue Cinema also has a 4 star rating with ‘plenty areas for wheelchair users to watch films’.

Music lovers might be interested in seeing a concert at First Direct Arena which was rated 5 stars by one person who says it is the ‘best place to watch concerts’. Stewards will meet you outside and offer assistance to your seats.

Have you been to Leeds?

If you know Leeds well or have visited before, why not send us your pictures and reviews? We’d love to hear more about disabled access in this great city!

Last Updated - February 2016