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Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Leeds

19th December 2018

Leeds, the capital of the north, is the perfect place for a city break in the UK. Even for those who may struggle with their mobility and use aids like a home stair lift will be able to enjoy a carefree time in the city. Leeds is an old city with a young soul, and it’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in northern pride. With friendly people, amazing attractions and a beautiful city centre, it’s bound to keep just about anyone entertained.

Leeds is the epitome on northern hospitality, and it offers its residents and visitors a friendly and exciting experience. The laid-back atmosphere and happy disposition will mean anyone will fall in love with it. This article looks at how to get to Leeds and how someone who struggles with mobility can spend their time there.  

How to get to Leeds

Leeds is an incredibly easy city to get to, so you won’t need to worry about complicated connections or stressful journeys. Below are some of the easiest ways to get to Leeds.

Travelling to Leeds by rail

Leeds railway station is the third busiest in the UK, so although that can mean there are a lot of people going through it every day, there are also a lot of services that run there directly. For anyone who prefers to preplan their journey precisely, there is a full station map available. You can also find out the full Leeds station accessibility information online.

Travelling to Leeds by road

Travelling to Leeds by road is incredibly easy. There are many coach and bus services that run there from all over the UK. It’s also conveniently located at the crossroads of the M62 and M1 so is easily accessible from all over the country.

Travelling to Leeds by air

Leeds Bradford airport is situated only eight miles outside of the city centre and serves more than 75 destinations across Europe. Getting from the airport into the city is straightforward, with plenty of car hire services, taxis and buses available.

What to do in Leeds

With so much to see and do it can be hard to know what everyone should tick off in Leeds. We’ve found places that are definite crowd-pleasers and would be a great addition to anyone’s trip to the city.

Nathan Popple is the editor of Accessible Leeds. Nathan is 18 years old and has cerebral palsy. He is a wheelchair user and started the website as a way to help others who suffer with mobility issues in Leeds. On his site he reviews shops, places to eat and entertainment venues in the city in the hopes of making it easier for others with limited mobility to enjoy what this thriving city has to offer. Nathan explained why he started the site: “Back in 2011 I wanted to go bowling with my friends at AMF Bowling, but I could not get in. There are lots of stairs. I felt sad and angry.” It’s days like this Nathan wants to help people avoid, and his site is a great resource for anyone travelling to Leeds who may be worried about the accessibility of certain venues.

Emmerdale Studio Experience

Love Emmerdale? Journey to Leeds to see the Emmerdale Studio Experience. Choose the Studio Experience Tour where you can see exact set reconstructions, authentic costumes and even try your hand at lighting or editing. Or, take the Village Tour where you can follow in the footsteps of Yorkshire’s best-loved soap-stars and explore the village whilst the cameras aren’t rolling. 


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Emmerdale Studio Experience, Leeds accessibility information: The Emmerdale Studio Experience and village experience are both accessible with wheelchairs. Mobility vehicles can be used on the village tour. Assistance dogs are allowed on both tours. For guests who are hard of hearing, have visual impairments or need British Sign Language tours there are measures in place to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, including touch opportunities and a BSL interpreter. Find all of the accessibility information here

Leeds Observation Wheel

If your ideal activity in Leeds means getting the best view of the city, then the Leeds Observation Wheel is perfect. Located in the city centre, the wheel allows you to soar 60m in the sky and get a beautiful view over this majestic city.

Leeds Observation Wheel accessibility information: Leeds Observation wheel has 1 disabled access pod, at a width of 74cm. To contact them for more information you can email them at

Royal Armouries Museum

There are three Royal Armouries Museums across the UK with the custom-built Royal Armouries Museum situated in Leeds. This building is unique enough as it is, but once you walk inside, you’ll find fascinating knowledge, facts and artefacts. Explore galleries like Swords of Middle Earth, with five heroic swords based on prop weapons used in ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ as well as the Hall of Steel, the largest mass display of arms and armour created since the 19th century.


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Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds accessibility information: The Royal Armouries Museum provides excellent facilities, including well-trained staff and wheelchairs available to use on site. Find all of their accessibility information here.

First Direct Arena

If you are looking to watch a big show, the First Direct Arena is the perfect place to catch chart-topping singers and amazing shows. Watch some of the biggest names in the world live here, from singers to comedians and everything in between. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime night that you’ll never forget, First Direct Arena is the perfect venue.

First Direct Arena, Leeds accessibility information: First Direct Arena ensure all of their low-mobility and special needs guests are well catered for with designed seating, personal assistants/companions, lifts, hearing loop system and more. Find all of their accessibility information here.

Nathan marked the First Direct Arena 10/10 for accessibility, he said: “it is huge and can hold 13,500 people, however, I did not expect there to be as many spaces for wheelchairs (and for carers) as there are. I couldn't count them, however, there is an entire row of the arena dedicated to these spaces... and that is a lot! The accessible areas offer amazing views and generous comfort with easy access to the disabled toilets.

“The arena offers a free ticket for a carer/support worker which is really good! There are plenty of nearby disabled parking spaces to the arena, however, these can get taken quickly for a big event. Staff are friendly and well trained to assist people with accessibility needs.”

Opera North

If Opera is your thing, Opera North creates incredible productions which fuse traditional opera values with modern day themes. Their shows are an extraordinary experience, and you’ll spend the night riveted by what they put on. As well as operas, you can also watch live music shows, take part in events or watched amazing concerts play. Opera North’s homes are the Leeds Grand Theatre and Howard Assembly Room, however, you can catch them in action all across the UK. 


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The team there spoke in more depth about what Opera North provides: “Opera North puts on operas, musicals, and orchestral concerts in Leeds Grand Theatre and Leeds Town Hall, and programmes a varied selection of music (world, jazz, classical), spoken word and film in the beautifully refurbished Howard Assembly Room which is a venue inside Leeds Grand Theatre.

The team spoke in more depth about what they can do to help those with low-mobility: “We have friendly box office staff to help book your tickets and inform you of the relevant discounts you may be eligible for, plus they can assist you in choosing the best seats either for a view of the subtitled screens or nearest to the exit etc. We can provide you with any of our brochures and information in accessible formats such as large print, audio or Braille should you need them. And we also offer various accessible performances of our productions. For example, our exciting new production of The Magic Flute which opens in January 2019 will have two captioned performances in Leeds, one audio-described, and one sign-interpreted. All of the operas sung in another language have English surtitles displayed in large screens either side of the stage which are visible from anywhere in the theatre, and some operas sung in English are titled too.”

For more information, you can talk to the Opera North box office team on 0844 848 2720, or email

Opera North, Leeds accessibility information: Opera North have gone a long way to make themselves as accessible as possible. At Leeds Grand Theatre, as well as having wheelchair lifts, wheelchair spaces, accessible toilets and more, they offer accessible performances including captioned performances, audio-described performances and signed performances. Find all of their accessibility information and show times for their accessible performances here.

Leeds Playhouse

Leeds Playhouse (formally known as the West Yorkshire Playhouse) is a fantastic place to catch a show when in the city. Filled with passionate performances and an incredible atmosphere, this is a great way to enjoy some theatre on your weekend away. The playhouse was originally opened in September 1970 and since then it has grown immeasurably into a solid institution of the arts. 


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Leeds Playhouse accessibility information: Leeds Playhouse offers lift access to the auditorium, 13 spaces for wheelchair users across three levels and accessible toilets. They also have an infra-red system in operation for deaf or hearing-impaired patrons. They also offer accessible performances including BSL, captioned, audio-described and dementia-friendly performances. As well as all that, they are also part of Ramps On The Moon, a programme that aims to get more representation for disabled performers and practitioners in theatre. Find all of their accessibility information, more information about Ramps On The Moon and more about their accessible performance here.

Nathan marked The West Yorkshire Playhouse 10/10 for accessibility, he said: “The Playhouse has an amazing Changing Places room which is great. There is loads of room along with a H-Frame hoist, changing bed, shower and properly adapted toilet. The Playhouse is a brilliant venue for anyone with any kind of disability and it is top of my list of places to go in Leeds.”

Yorkshire County Cricket Club

The Yorkshire County Cricket Club is one of the best in the country, and for sports lovers it’s a great day out. Based at Emerald Headingley, this is a fantastic place to watch cricket played to one of the highest standards in the world. 


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The team at Yorkshire County Cricket Club spoke about why the club is worth visiting: “The world-renowned Emerald Headingley is a fantastic place to watch cricket, hosting a range of high-profile fixtures throughout the summer months. The home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Emerald Headingley is known for showcasing some of the world’s greatest talent, with an incredible heritage for nurturing some of the greatest players to have played the game. Matchdays in Leeds vary, dependent on the format of the game but a friendly, and often partisan, atmosphere can be expected.”

They also discussed what they have done to make the stadium as accessible as possible: “Yorkshire County Cricket Club have worked hard to ensure the stadium is accessible to all supporters and continue to strive for better. The ground has a good amount of accessible seating, both indoors and outdoors, as well as covered seating in several locations. Disabled toilets are located around the ground and in the Emerald Stand, which will open in May 2019, will have a changing places facility.”

Yorkshire County Cricket Club accessibility information: Yorkshire County Cricket club have put a lot of measures in place to make themselves accessible. Carers can be permitted entry free of charge, there are disabled parking spots available and more. If you would like to view the full disabled policy then you can request a copy from:

The Operations Manager
The Yorkshire County Cricket Club
Headingley Cricket Ground

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.