Tips for Leeds mini-bus and coach tourism

Useful tips for Leeds bus groups with ‘what to see’ and ‘what to do’ items and  ‘bus- friendly’ or must see tourist sites in Leeds. Check our list of attractions before planning your bus tour with a stop or departure in Leeds. Let us know if your favourite attraction or ‘bus-stop’ is not there and you think we should add it to our list of Leeds highlights.

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Tours in the West Yorkshire region

West Yorkshire mixes culture and nature. You can see stunning hills and forests as well as traditional industrial cities. Furthermore, it has 1500 years of history to explore, and some of the stately homes are the best in the country. Your tour with a rented minibus or coach with driver around West Yorkshire can start or end at one of the below mentioned paces:

The Lion and the Unicorn, Halifax Magistrates Court

The Lion and the Unicorn, Halifax Magistrates Court credit: Tim Green CC BY 2.0

Leeds

This is the largest city in West Yorkshire and made its name through the wool industry. It is now the leading city in the UK outside London for technology and is one of the fastest growing business cities in the UK. Walk around the city centre and admire the late 19th century architecture in places like the Corn Exchange or Victoria Arcade. Many of the buildings have an old grandeur and these strangely mix with some very modern shopping centres and mini skyscrapers. For a real local experience visit the 100 year old Leeds Market. This is where you'll still see locals wearing flat caps and rows of butchers and bakers shouting out their offers. Get out of the city and visit the stunning stately homes of Harewood House, complete with perfectly manicured hedges and gardens.

Harewood House from the terrace gardens

Harewood House from the terrace gardens credit: JD554 CC BY-SA 2.0

Bradford

Bradford was once on the world's most prosperous cities but it has gone into decline since the collapse of industry in the 1970s. Many shops have disappeared and in the centre the only thing you'll find is a huge collection of charity shops selling second hand wooly jumpers and broken DVDs. Also check out the huge hole. The local government tore down a huge area of buildings in the city centre to build a new shopping centre, but then ran out of money before construction began. In 2011 the government decided to build a manmade lake elsewhere in the centre, to which the locals started a petition arguing that when it rains they already had a manmade lake.

But there is more to Bradford. It's the first city to be certified a City of Film by UNESCO, and is home to the national film museum. Bradford had the largest mill buildings in the world and places like Lister Mill still stand proud in the city. At the Salts Mill there is also a whole complex of terrace housing which was built for the workers. There's a simple and breathtaking grandeur to these buildings. Finally, Bradford has a huge Yorkshire Pakistani community and has some of the most authentic curry houses outside of Asia.

City Park, Bradford

City Park, Bradford credit: Tim Green CC BY 2.0

Huddersfield

Huddersfield has one attraction that can't be missed. You will find pubs everywhere, but the oldest pub in England is in Huddersfield. The Parish has been operational since 1702. Don't order a half pint or a drink like gin and tonic if you are male, it's sure to get you kicked out. In these old pubs traditions still rule, and stereotypes about male and female behaviour remain intact. So order a pint of bitter instead.

Huddersfield railway station by night

Huddersfield railway station by night credit: Mtaylor848 CC BY-SA 3.0

Wakefield

The main building in this city is Wakefield Cathedral, which has the highest tower of Yorkshire. The city offers beautiful old architecture, all mixed with the modern scars of post-industrialization. One of the most charming sights is the rows of traditional terrace housing. Built from red brick they snake up and down the hills and are famous across the world.

Wakefield Cathedral Choir

Wakefield Cathedral Choir credit: Michael D Beckwith CC BY 2.0

Other West Yorkshire Regions

West Yorkshire is a traditional county and most locals don't agree with dividing the region into geographical areas. Locals will say they are from Yorkshire not West Yorkshire. If you're in West Yorkshire you've got a great opportunity to visit the regions. For example, the cultural city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, the quaint villages of North Yorkshire, or the seaside towns of East Yorkshire.

Travel by Plane

West Yorkshire has good access to foreign destinations through Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBA). It is located in Leeds and is also the largest airport in whole Yorkshire. From Leeds you can fly to the cities in Europe, as well as New York and Islamabad in Pakistan. Airlines operating are KLM, Flybe, British Airways, Thomson, Ryanair, EasyJet, Monarch, Jet2, PIA, Manx2.com and Eastern Airways. The airport is inconveniently located as it sits in a Leeds suburb that does not have motorway or highway connections. There is also no train station. At the airport there is a bus station where you will find the lines 737 and 747, which connect the airport to the central bus stations in Bradford and Leeds. Leeds Bradford Airport is one of the cheapest in the country and you'll be able to eat lunch for £2, or if you want to be like a local, order a pint of beer with your £5 fried breakfast.

Leeds/Bradford Airport

Leeds/Bradford Airport credit: Ian Gratton CC BY 2.0

Travel by road

The A1 and M1 are large national highways connecting the north and south of the United Kingdom. Both pass through West Yorkshire as well as the M62 which connects east and west England. With its location you are never more than a few hours from anywhere in the United Kingdom, making West Yorkshire an ideal base for a holiday that takes in various destinations. A good local network of roads connects elsewhere in the county but rush hour traffic can be very bad. Most cities and towns are old and were designed during a time when people travelled by horse and carriage, and for some reason the roads remain the same width as 200 years ago. Don't get frustrated, just do what the locals do; complain bitterly about the situation and then argue that there is no better place than Yorkshire.

Carols Travel

Coach 53 seats from Carols Travel

Business Travel and Tourism

When you visit West Yorkshire for a conference or other business purpose there are many options. The region has more than enough hotels and conference rooms that have experience facilitating business conferences. There are both city centre hotels in places like Leeds, Bradford, and Wakefield, as well as country hotels that have an elegant grandeur. For example try The Met Hotel in Leeds, Bagden Hall Hotel in Wakefield, Britania Hotel in Leeds, and Cedar Court Hotel in Bradford For some different try Headingley Cricket Club in Leeds which has rooms overlooking one of the world's most famous cricket grounds.

Golf Travel and Tourism

If you are looking for golf courses in West Yorkshire then you will find enough choice. Alwoodley Golf Club offers 18 holes and it's possible to rent or buy golf clubs if you don't have your own. Other renowned golf courses in West Yorkshire are: Acanthus Golf Centre in Leeds, Bracken Ghyll Golf Club in Ilkley, Dewsbury District Golf Club in Mirfield and The Manor Golf Club in Bradford.

City tours in Leeds

You can rent a bus in Leeds for tours in the city or in West Yorkshire County. Leeds is a vivid multicultural city that offers a little bit of everything. It's famous for being a traditional northern city, and if your only experience of the UK is London or South England you'll find that Leeds feels like it's in a completely different country. The people talk very differently and the buildings have a unique charm, particularly the rows of terrace houses.

Call Lane, Leeds

Call Lane, Leeds credit: Tim Green CC BY 2.0

Transportation to and from the airport

Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) has an inconvenient location as it is in the centre of a suburb with poor road connections. You can take a public bus from the airport to the centre of Leeds or Bradford but these services take a long time. Pre booking airport transport is the cheapest private transfer method and there are companies that specialize in this.

You can reserve or request coach with driver in the city of Leeds, where you can choose from multiple specialized companies, and you can request a size or specific type of bus. We recommend that you request a quote for example from Airline Connect in Leeds, or Diamond Executive Chauffeur Transport. The later is a little more expensive but gives you a wider choice of vehicle. If you have a group arriving in Leeds Bradford Airport it will be cheaper to use private transport. These taxi companies have vehicles up to 16 seaters, and coach companies can also be used for larger groups.

Queens Arcade, Leeds

Queens Arcade, Leeds credit: Tim Green CC BY 2.0

Old Leeds

Walk through Leeds city centre and marvel at the late 19th century architecture. There is some very elegant buildings here, like the Corn Exchange and the Victoria Arcade, both of which have their original interiors. Also check out Leeds market, where nothing seems to have changed for a century, including the local traders who still wear traditional flat caps. Outside the centre stately homes like Harewood House date back to the 17th century and look like something straight out of Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice.

Walking tours in Leeds

Experience Leeds is a recognized company that organizes many activities for tourists in Leeds City or West Yorkshire County. The walking tours in Leeds are their most popular tour because Leeds can be easily explored on foot and it has a lot of hidden history. You'll discover little facts about the city and go past retro shops that sell stuff from the past 100 years.

Horse sculpture in the Trinity Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Horse sculpture in the Trinity Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire. credit: Tim Green CC BY 2.0

Nightlife

Leeds has long been one of the hubs for the UK entertainment industry. Its home to bands like the Kaiser Chiefs, and in the 80's and 90’s it was responsible for much of the UK's music. You can still see bands in places like the Cockpit or the 02 Academy, or visit some of the city's iconic clubs like Wire located on Kirkgate or My House – that's not a house, it's a nightclub. If you would prefer a quiet drink in the city there are many cozy traditional pubs in Leeds like The Angel and The Pack Horse on Briggate. If you really want to see different old pubs then try the Otley Run. Along a 5 mile stretch of Otley Road there are 15 pubs, each with their own character. It's custom to get dressed up before attempting this challenge, and anyone who can make it past the first 9 is doing very well indeed.

Leeds West Indian Carnival

Leeds West Indian Carnival credit: Bryan Ledgard CC BY 2.0

What to see during your tour in Leeds with a hired minibus

Tropical world

 In this particular zoo you will find many exotic species. Tropical World offers seven different types of zones that imitate tropical conditions and you can find the native animals that live there. Good for a cozy half day trip, Tropical World is situated in Roundhay Park. This large park thrives in summer, and in winter you will find a couple of traditional pubs nearby where you can eat a Sunday dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

Close-up of a terrapin in Tropical World at Roundhay Park, Leeds

Close-up of a terrapin in Tropical World at Roundhay Park, Leeds credit: William Warby CC BY 2.0

Leeds City Museum

This museum shows different facets of the city both past and present and the exhibits of the museum change each quarter. The collections are never the same and that makes it fun. Access to the museum is free; however it is possible that some exhibits ask for a small fee. For a thought provoking journey into the city's past this is an excellent first stop.

Main Wood Valley Urban Farm

At this farm of more than 56,000 m2 you can enjoy pure nature. Enjoy the animals on the farm, eat a nice picnic, and buy biological products derived from animals on this farm. This farm is located just outside Leeds city center. It is open daily and the accessible entrance fees are just £ 1 for adults and 50 pence for a child.

Leeds Town Hall

This building dominates the center of Leeds and is a grade 1 listed building. It was built in 1851 by Rick Cuthbert Board and opened by Queen Victoria, which goes to show just how important Leeds was in the 19th century. When you visit Leeds Town Hall, you will enter a building with beautiful architecture and art. It is open daily and admission is free.

Harewood House

This huge building was formerly occupied by Count and Countess Harewood, relatives of the Royal Family. Now it's especially known for its beautiful architecture, stunning interiors, a large Chippendale furniture collection, and a beautiful art collection. You can see, hear and talk about all of whom formerly lived here and what they did. This beautiful home also offers more than 50 acres of gardens where you can enjoy the nature. One added bonus is that Harewood House also has a collection of penguins. We're not sure when these Arctic creatures found a home in Leeds but they seem to enjoy swimming around the pool in the garden.

Harewood House Leeds (2)

Harewood House Leeds (2) credit: Gary Bembridge CC BY 2.0

West Yorkshire Playhouse

The West Yorkshire Playhouse produces and presents its own theater shows. There are theater shows which have stories about the multicultural communities of the city. They also offer performances from new musicians, artists and musical / theater participants. It's a beautiful building and offers great shows every week at a competitive price.

Rivers Meet

This local pub / restaurant serve homemade dishes, drinks, pastries, and pies.

If you are interested in making dishes, drinks and pastries, they offer nice cooking courses for both beginners and advanced players too. Discover the authentic cuisine of Leeds here. For example, Yorkshire Puddings, which is not a desert, but a round bowl made from pancake mixture and baked in the oven. It used to be given to children as a starter to fill them up so the adults could eat all the meat at a traditional Sunday dinner. Or try making a meat filled pie.

Sunday traditions, Yorkshire pudding

Sunday traditions, Yorkshire pudding credit: Mikey CC BY 2.0

Leeds Market

100 years old and still going strong the Leeds Market is a stunning building that still has most of its original interior. Many of the stores have been in the same family throughout the market's history and this makes it a very traditional and atmospheric place. Sample the different cold pork pies, listen to the shouts of the different butchers, and try and talk in the local dialect as this gives you cheaper prices.

Victoria's Quarter

This is one of the city centre's most beautiful buildings and is home to many fashion brands, like Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry. There are over 75 shops as well as a charming cafe in the centre, and even if you hate shopping it's worth visiting for the elegant interiors.

County Arcade Victoria Quarter Leeds

County Arcade Victoria Quarter Leeds credit: Michael D Beckwith CC BY 2.0

More about Leeds

Would you like to organize a bus tour to see all these beautiful highlights? Request quotes and compare the different bus and coach hire companies:

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