The bank holidays are coming thick and fast right now, so with the Easter weekend finally coming to a close, it’s time to look ahead to the next bank holiday in just a few weeks time. The first Monday of May will bring around another day off work and school, giving way to a long weekend waiting to be filled with plans and events both in and around Leeds.
There’s plenty going down all across the city, from live music and outdoor festivals to food markets showcasing some of the best produce Leeds has to offer. To make the task of planning your weekend that bit easier, we’ve rounded up some of the best events and activities from across the city this May bank holiday.
Better Days Festival – Sunday
Taking over the Beaverworks complex for a huge day of live music, street food, and dancing, Better Days Festival returns to Leeds this bank holiday weekend. With multiple stages and arenas to explore, all decked out with immersive artworks and performers, the line-up promises to deliver some of the most exciting artists from across the dance spectrum. With tickets selling quickly, this promises to be one of the biggest events in the city this bank holiday, so don’t wait to book your spot.
The Garden Party – Saturday & Sunday
One of the most popular festivals in the Leeds calendar, this year’s Garden Party promises to be bigger and better than ever after moving to a brand-new city centre venue. With two jam-packed days of music spread across two stages, this year’s line-up is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any electronic music fan. Featuring sets from huge names such as Denis Sulta, Maribou State, Jon Hopkins, and many more, this festival is set to take the city by storm this bank holiday. So grab your sunnies and bucket hats – it’s time to welcome the beginning of summer with a huge weekend of music.
Gold Sounds Festival – Saturday
Gold Sounds is bringing some of the best emerging indie and alternative artists to Leeds this bank holiday weekend, and they’ll be taking over not one, but two iconic venues in the city. Head down to Stylus (Leeds University Union) and Brudenell Social Club to catch some incredible new music and kick off the start of this year’s festival season. With a massive line-up split across three stages, Gold Sounds welcomes big names such as Squid, The Big Moon, and Goat Girl, as well as a plethora of new talent from the world of post-punk, garage rock, and indie. Grab your tickets now to catch some amazing live music, and maybe even a pint or two, in some of the city’s best venues.
The Otley Run
Something of a bank holiday staple, the Otley Run is something that needs no introduction. This famous pub crawl weaves its way from the Headingley suburbs all the way into the city centre, stopping at a grand total of fourteen – yes fourteen! – pubs and bars along the way. So dig out your best fancy dress and catch the bus out to Headingley, starting your journey from Woodies Craft Ale House, before hopping your way between some famous Leeds’ institutions including Skyrack, Hyde Park, and finally stumbling into Dry Dock thirteen drinks later.
After a long winter in hibernation, Leeds’ famous street food market has sprung back into life for the summer season. The team behind Chow Down have transformed Temple Arches once again, and this year’s market is bound to be one of their biggest and best. This spring sees the market open up with a fresh summer makeover and three brand-new spaces to explore, as well as a whole host of new street food stalls and a jam-packed calendar of events. This bank holiday, Chow Down will play host to some incredible vendors including Middle Eastern small plates from MorMor, fresh pasta from Sarto, and a number of incredible guests – all soundtracked by a specially curated line-up of music and entertainment.
Local Food & Drink Markets
Throughout the bank holiday weekend, there are plenty of opportunities to sample some of the incredible food and drink our city has to offer, with artisan and food markets popping up all over the city. Throughout the weekend, Kirkstall Abbey will be hosting their monthly weekend market, featuring a wide range of local businesses, from Yorkshire-based cheesemongers and bakeries, to local makers and creatives. On Sunday, head down to Left Bank to explore the food and arts on offer at the Bite of Leeds Market, dedicated to fundraising for the charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK. Or if you find yourself in the city centre, check out the ethical traders at the Kirkgate Vegan Market, including craft brewers, small-batch soapers, and plenty of incredible street food.
Days Out & Activities
If you’re searching for something a little different to the events and markets above, then fear not, you’re never short of things to do in Leeds. For an outdoors adventure, head out to Temple Newsam and explore the tree tops with Go Ape, featuring adrenaline-pumping high ropes and zip lines. For something calmer, pack yourself a picnic and find a sunny spot in Roundhay Park to while away the day surrounded by nature. Or if the weather lets us down, spend an afternoon uncovering history at the Royal Armouries, or admiring the creative works on display at Leeds Art Gallery.
Images: Beaverworks, Garden Party, Chow Down, Chow Down, Dry Dock