12 things to do in Leeds that will put a smile back on your face

If you’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps lately, you’re not alone. Luckily, Leeds is a lovely city, and cheering yourself up here isn’t much of a task.

If duvet days and Netflix just aren’t putting a smile on your face like they used to, we’ve got twelve things that will, and they’re waiting right on your doorstep.

Have a drink in a land-locked ship

A photo posted by Maaike Pull (@mipull) on

It’s the simple things. You can feel swashbuckling without the need for any sea legs on the firmly beached Dry Dock bar, which – as you probably already know – is actually a refurbed boat. If sipping rum and pretending to be a pirate on a fairy light adorned boat doesn’t put a smile on your face, we don’t know what will.

Woodhouse Lane, LS2 3AX – more info

Chow down on cheese and chilli

An odd combination? Maybe. Bloody tasty? You’re gosh darn right they are. The good news is that this mini-festival featuring all types of cheeses and chillies (and cleverly dubbed Fromage & Fire) is at Kirkgate Market, so it’s easily accessible. The bad news? There is no bad news.

Fri 1 – Sat 2 Jul, free, 34 George Street, LS2 7HY – more info

Attend a show guaranteed to make you happy

This one’s all in the name. One of Britain’s most loved and respected comedians, Ken Dodd, takes the stage next week with his encouragingly named ‘Happiness Show’. Look forward to stand-up and songs celebrating over 50 years in entertainment, strap in for one of Dodd’s signature long sets and get ready to feel happy.

Sat 2 Jul, from £24.50, City Varieties Music Hall, Swan Street, LS1 6LW – more info

Celebrate glorious gin

It might be known as ‘mother’s ruin’, but – speaking purely for ourselves – gin (and the drinking of it) tends to make things a lot better in our book. The UK’s biggest touring gin festival is coming back to Leeds, with more than 100 different gins available to try, as well as interactive talks and workshops for gin worshippers.

Fri 1 – Sun 3 Jul, £7.50, Town Hall, The Headrow, LS1 3AD – more info

Eat your feelings

A photo posted by Trinity Leeds (@trinityleeds) on

If, like us, you’re a comfort eater, don’t waste time with paltry takeaway pizzas and sad chippies. For a real cheering up, you need to get your fill at street food haven, Trinity Kitchen. Their ever changing repertoire always has a great mix of cultures and cuisines for every craving, and the fun atmosphere here is uplifting too.

27 Albion Street, LS1 5ER – more info

Get stuck in the mud

If you’re a serious hiker, or a misfortunate commuter, the concept of being voluntarily splashed in mud might not sound too pleasant. On the contrary, though, 45 minutes in Hazlewood Castle’s calming mud chamber will leave you feeling totally relaxed and content.

1 Paradise Lane, LS24 9NJ – more info

Inject some Colour into your life

You can’t feel sad when singing and bouncing along to classics like ‘The Riverboat Song’ and ‘The Day We Caught The Train’, performed by Britpop legends Ocean Colour Scene. Catch them live in Millenium Square and soak up the happy vibes – instant mood booster.

Sat 23 Jul, £42.50, Millennium Square, LS2 3AD – more info

Look at the stars

Simple, but effective. Kicking back and looking up at the sky is a great way to relax and remind yourself that your problems aren’t as enormous as they might seem. The Leeds Astronomical Society host regular public viewing sessions, weather permitting of course. Alternatively, you can arrange your own expedition and stargaze at the nearby Brimham Rocks, Sutton Bank or other secluded spots.

The New Inn, Eccup Lane, LS16 8AU – more info

Toast to the entire city

A photo posted by Sam Owens (@el_samo_32) on

The Double Tree by Hilton’s rooftop SkyLounge bar and balcony uncovers the skyline of Leeds, sparkling in little gold flecks as the ceiling to floor windows give you an unspoiled view. It might not be perfect all the time, but taking in your city by day or night with a cocktail in hand here is guaranteed to make your heart soar, and remind you that there’s always beauty in the world.

2 Wharf Approach, LS1 4BR – more info

Treat yourself to an eating experience

The Japanese style of Teppanyaki of cooking relies on an iron griddle pan to cook the likes of steak and shrimp. At this restaurant, the cooking is performed before your eyes, with customers seated communally around the chefs. Infinitely better than staying in to watch Eastenders on your tod and sure to raise a smile even from the most downhearted of diners.

Belgrave Hall, Belgrave Street, LS2 8DD – more info

Get ‘Greasy’

In this instance, Grease isn’t just the word, but also the cure to your melancholy mood. Grab some mates and head down to Millennium Square’s temporary outdoor cinema. Whether you’ve never seen this feelgood musical flick, or you know it off by heart, you won’t be able to ignore its infectious energy. Go on, join in with the sing-a-longs – you know you want to.

Wed 27 Jul, £10, Millennium Square, LS2 3AD – more info

Go independent

Not in the mood for a chilly outdoor film screening? Not a problem. Between the Hyde Park Picture House and Headingley’s Cottage Road Cinema, we really do have two of the very best independent cinemas in the country. Avoid the multiplex, save some cash and cheer yourself up with a fantastic film or two.

How are you cheering yourself up in Leeds this week? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter

Like this? Try these:

30 scorching events to enjoy in Leeds this July
50 Leeds secrets only a local will know
14 reasons to have a staycation in Leeds this summer

Main image: Instagram / @el_samo_32