September is here, folks, and among a very many other things, that means it’s nearly Heritage Open Day season.
From September 8-11 a whole host of Leeds’s finest buildings will be swinging their doors open to the public – including some that you probably won’t ever have ventured into before.
Let’s take a look at just 13 of the beautiful Leeds locations you can make the most of this September.
Without doubt one of our most stunning buildings, the Minster – proudly overlooking much of the city – is no secret around Leeds. Thanks to Heritage Open Days, you’ll get the opportunity to take a better look at the Grade I listed building’s beautiful interiors, which include Salvati mosaics and a rare Elizabethan temple tomb.
Adel Quaker Meeting House
Ever wondered what goes on in a Quaker meeting place? No secret handshake is necessary this month, as they open their doors to the public. The charming meeting house was built around 1870 and has simple furnishings – typical of a Quaker place of worship. The adjacent burial ground has been used since 1868, although weekly meetings only began in 1940.
The Railway Roundhouse
An architectural triumph of its time, and one that went a long way to making Leeds the city it is today, Leeds and Thirsk Railway Roundhouse was completed in 1847. Designed by revered architect Thomas Grainger and resident engineer John Bourne, the building remained in use only until 1906. It’s Grade II listed and still structurally complete.
High Royds Asylum
Based a short trip outside of the city in Guiseley, High Royds Asylum is one of the most controversial mental asylums in history, with a history guaranteed to send a shiver up the spine of even the most ardent ghost hunter. Many myths will be confirmed or denied as a guided tour takes interested patrons around its grounds. Almost certainly not one for the faint of heart.
Gotts Park Mansion
Gotts Park Mansion was the home of Benjamin Gott, owner of Armley Mills and a leading figure in the Industrial Revolution. The mansion is set in stunning parkland and is now the clubhouse for a golf course, making it a members-only area most of the year.
Yorkshire Penny Bank (now Aspire)
This grand former bank headquarters has been lovingly restored, retaining a huge number of the original features. Visitors will be able to see the beautiful oak paneled Director’s Office where the former Presidents of the Bank had their names inscribed in gold. The dramatic Banking Hall where people once paid in their pennies is now called Aspire, a space hosting black tie dinners and beautiful weddings.
St Aidan’s Church
This late Victorian brick-built basilica stands high above the main A58 road out of Leeds, in Harehills. It’s fair to say that externally the church looks nothing out of the ordinary, but inside it’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Highlights include a magnificent mosaic in the eastern apse, a great organ by Binns of Bramley, an ornate pulpit and many other stunning delights.
Beckett Street Cemetery
Beckett Street Cemetery is the second oldest public cemetery in the country, and holds some of the most fascinating Victorian history you’re likely to come across anywhere (let alone Leeds) inside its gates.
The Hindu Mandir Temple
Explore the inner workings of this stunning Hindu temple, while learning about the fascinating culture of Hinduism and celebrating the multiculturalism that makes Leeds one of the finest cities in the north.
Stank Hall Barn
This September sees Loiners offered a rare opportunity to see inside the 15th century timber framed Stank Hall Barn. The Friends of Stank Hall Barn are working with Leeds City Council to find a future use for this amazing architectural and historic gem.
Church of the Epiphany
Curated by NF Cachmaille-Day, this Grade I listed 20th century memorial church is one of Leeds’s true hidden gems, featuring beautiful Christopher Webb stained glass and a stunning labyrinth in the Lady Chapel. Members of the church will be available to guide you around.
Gledhow Valley Bath House
Few know about this stunning listed bath house, which dates back to as far as 1671. Originally part of the Gledhow Estate, it has a pool fed from a spring, offering a unique experience harking back to the spa heritage of many Leeds suburbs.
The Corn Exchange
Wiki / CC
Sure, we’ve all set foot inside the Corn Exchange a million times, but this time it’ll be a visit with a difference. Forget shopping and turn your attention towards the heritage of one of the most inspiring buildings our city has to offer.
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Main image: Wiki / CC