iQ in the city: Leeds

City guide Student life Leeds Social life

Leeds is home to two iQ sites: Marsden House and iQ Leeds. Marsden House is located to the south of the city centre, just down the road from where they film Emmerdale (among other things), while iQ Leeds is further north, with the University of Leeds, Leeds Arts University and the expansive green spaces of Woodhouse Moor within a 15-minute walk.

If you've recently arrived in the city, or are planning on studying there next year, you may not know Leeds well yet, but never fear. We’ve chosen some of our local favourites so you can make the most of your leisure time in Leeds.


The iQ city guide to Leeds



Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen – 20-25 min walk

As the name suggests, this multifunctional space is a place to eat as well as be entertained (always a good combo). Two bars, two kitchens, and a 300-capacity space which hosts a packed calendar of live music, film, comedy and art events, ensure the good times roll all year-round (try the pizzas too, by local pizza kings, Dough Boys).


The Wardrobe – 30 min walk

Offering a similarly eclectic mix of shows, The Wardrobe celebrates 20 years of entertainment in 2019 – and it’s just across the road from Leeds College of Music. Over the years, George Ezra, First Aid Kit and Amy Winehouse have all played their tunes at The Wardrobe, and there’s regular comedy from the likes of Abandoman and Andrew Maxwell. Craig Charles has also been known to appear.


O2 Academy – 15-20 min walk

When the big names are in town, there’s a good chance they will be playing the O2 Academy. Its city centre location, particularly handy for Leeds Beckett students, is easy to reach, and the venue is bound to have something to your taste coming up, whatever era or genre does it for you. At time of writing, Daughtry, Editors, Jessie J and All Saints are all on the horizon (and The Dreamboys, if you like that sort of thing).


Everyman Cinema – 25-35 min walk

There are plenty of places to catch a film in Leeds, but not all can match the delicious menu of burgers and sundaes (and general level of glamorousness) that our local Everyman adds to the movie-going experience. Located in the Trinity centre, it’s the ideal place to catch a screening after a hard day’s shopping, with a pleasing mix of blockbusters and more niche films on the playlist. Seats are super-comfy.


Food and drink

The Alchemist – 25-30 min walk

Open until at least midnight seven days a week, this smart city centre bar is the perfect place for a night out when you’re feeling a little bit fancy. As well as some of the city’s most creative cocktails, there are great sharing platters stacked with nom-worthy treats like crispy squid, nachos and pork steamed buns. The view from the second floor of Trinity makes it a great place to people-watch during the day too.


La Bottega Milanese – 15-30 min walk

If you find yourself in need of a caffeine hit, you can do it in serious style at La Bottega Milanese. A far cry from your standard chain coffee shop, LBM is a Leeds original which does coffee properly, and its store on The Headrow opens well into the evening (handy if you’re planning on a late one). Its high-quality reputation has led to a second branch being opened at Bond Court too – and both supplement the joe with an array of tasty (and authentic) Italian street food.


Humpit Hummus & Pita Bar – 25-35 min walk

From the humble beginnings of ‘a borrowed gazebo and a small fryer from Argos’, this vegan and veggie-friendly eatery at the Corn Exchange has become something of a Leeds institution in recent years, even winning a Virgin Start Up award from Sir Richard Branson. With a yummy menu full of falafel, salads, hummus and filled pitas, it’s no wonder Dickie was impressed. University of Leeds students were too – and now they have their own on-campus branch (lucky them!)


Global Tribe Café – 20-30 min walk

Feeling spiritual? Tired of being judged? This comforting café is the place to go for nibbles without prejudice, located as it is above a crystal shop on Swan Street. With a 100% vegetarian menu, designed to feed mind, body and soul, you can get everything from a vegan Full English breakfast to a Raw Vegan Cheesecake or celebration sponge… not forgetting that essential avocado on toast, of course.



Kirkgate Market – 20-30 min walk

Claiming the accolade of Europe’s biggest indoor market, and the original home of M&S, Kirkgate is a real Leeds landmark. Full of independent traders and international influences, you can get everything from food to flowers and fashion there. A recent addition is Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, where you can learn to cook cuisines of all kinds – a lot of fun and a useful life skill all in one. Boom!


Trinity – 20-30 min walk

We’ve mentioned it a couple of times already, so you’ll have already got the idea that Trinity is a bit of a hub of activity in Leeds. As well as more than 40 bars and restaurants, it packs in a mighty 120+ stores, including many of the best-known High Street fashion brands. Primark, New Look and Topshop line up alongside Mango, Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters and dozens more… Happily, there are more than a few places to stop for a break too.


Corn Exchange – 25-35 min walk

Home to some of the city’s most interesting independents, the Corn Exchange is the place to go to find that special gift or something a little different for yourself. There’s a great selection of hand-crafted jewellery and home accessories, a vintage camera shop, a couple of specialist music stores and a place to buy your prom dress or designer menswear – all under one very impressive roof.


Jumbo Records – 20-25 min walk

Leeds is blessed with more than its fair share of record stores, but none has been on the scene as long as Jumbo, which has served the city’s vinyl needs since 1971. It has moved around a bit but you’ll currently find it just inside the Merrion Centre on Merrion Street, covering all genres from rock and indie to jazz, soul and soundtracks. Coffee, gig tickets and in-store live performances all add to the magic – you’ll find yourself returning to rummage the crates again and again.




You can get around most of Leeds on foot, but if you want to take it a bit easier, there are various bus routes running close to both iQ locations. The main bus station is just behind Kirkgate Market, with the coach station (for National Express coaches around the country) next door.

The main train station is around 20 minutes’ walk from Marsden House, and about 30 minutes from iQ Leeds, on New Station Street.

For more information on public transport in the city, have a look at


Your iQ team will be happy to help you get to know Leeds better, so please ask at Reception if you need any help. And if you find somewhere in town that you think everyone else should know about, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #MyiQLife


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