Guest Blog: Culture in Leeds

James Dawson is a playwright and journalist, born in Leeds. After being Manchester-based for a several years, we asked him to cast an eye over his city of birth, and tell us why he has been drawn back to the city. Space Property is based in the heart of Leeds, so we wanted to give you a personal insight into why you should live in this city.  

Leeds town hall

Experience the culture of Leeds

Alongside being the largest city in Yorkshire, Leeds also serves as the county’s cultural heart. With a wide variety of spaces and centres for the arts, residents like myself are never left wanting for way to entertain themselves during their free time.


Leeds Art Gallery is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city centre, has a fascinating collection of 20th Century British artworks. With galleries displaying Henry Moore and other British greats, Leeds Art Gallery is recognised throughout the UK as one of the most important and inspiring galleries outside of London. There are various other collections on display, with frequent rotation of exhibitions keeping the space fresh. As the gallery is free, I believe it’s a day trip everyone should take at least once.


You may be new to the city, or you may have lived here all your life. Either way, I recommend you visit the Leeds City Museum. The museum provides visitors with a history of the city from its routes as a group of small villages in the Middle Ages, through its role as a driving force of the Industrial Revolution, to its evolution into the cosmopolitan city of present. Elsewhere, The Royal Armouries’ collection of weaponry allows its visitors to explore the dynamics and tools of war. Another museum which brings up memories of days-out is The Thackray Medical Museum, where you can gain an insight into the history of medicine in a way which is enjoyable to children or adults.


I am a music lover and have visited nearly every venue in the city, as well as attending the well-known Leeds Festival come rain or shine. Leeds has a large, varied independent music scene, with international acts such as the Kaisers Chiefs and Wild Beasts having originated in the city. Leeds is renowned for its gig venues: the Cockpit famously plays a pivotal role in the development of UK bands as one of the circuit clubs toured by bands during the early stages of their career, whilst the opening of Leeds’ First Direct Arena in July 2013 has seen superstars such as Bruce Springsteen and Elton John host concerts in the city.  Record Store Day is one of the highlights of Leeds’ music calendar, with independent record stores Jumbo Records and Crash Records hosting a variety of events to celebrate the occasion, showing how musical the city is.


I myself am an avid fan of theatre and a writer. I’m proud to say Leeds has a strong theatrical tradition, whether in the radical history of the Leeds-based Red Ladder Theatre Company, or through the work of playwrights such as Alan Bennett and Keith Waterhouse. The West Yorkshire Playhouse is one of the country’s foremost theatres, committed to producing both new plays and reinterpretations of older works, whilst the Leeds Grand Theatre hosts a variety of musicals, opera and ballet all year round.

As I am heavily involved in the arts and theatre, the culture of Leeds is what brings me back to the city every time. In my opinion Leeds is one of the best examples of a rich, mixed heritage which creates the exciting metropolitan city it is today.

Space Property based in Leeds as are many of our houses and apartments. If you’re thinking about relocating, visit us now and start your property search today in one of the most exciting cities to live in.


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