Culture and leisure


Yorkshire has a distinctive and world class art and cultural offer. 

There’s nationally recognised art galleries, museums, theatres, music venues and opera houses; local cultural festivals; independent artists’ studios; literary trails; 4 museums honoured with the title ‘national’; 2 UNESCO designations; and one of the world’s leading sculpture parks.

Visual arts

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield is one of the leading destinations for outdoor sculpture in Europe, attracts over 200,000 visitors each year and showcases the work of well-known and up-and-coming names alike. The Hepworth Wakefield Gallery is one of the largest galleries outside London and showcases a previously unseen collection of sculptures by its namesake, Wakefield-born artist, Barbara Hepworth, and has a significant permanent art collection. 

Leeds’ City Art Gallery has one of the best collections of 20th century British art in the UK. Bradford has a strong association with the artist David Hockney (who was born in the city) and the Salt's Mill Gallery in Saltaire near Shipley, West Yorkshire features changing exhibitions of his work. Sheffield’s Millennium Galleries is an interesting partnership between the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) in London and Museums Sheffield, enabling V&A collections to be seen by a wider audience in the north. 

Performing arts and festivals

Yorkshire has a very strong performing arts scene. Leeds is the only city outside London with its own repertory theatre, opera house and ballet companies. There are also fantastic theatres across the region in Sheffield, Bradford, York, Harrogate, Wakefield, Hull, and Scarborough boasts Europe’s largest open air theatre. Sheffield Arena is well known for hosting big name concerts and sporting events in Sheffield. The Leeds Arena is the UK’s first purpose built ‘fan-shape’ arena and hosts over 140 events a year. 

There are vibrant independent artist communities and cultural festivals across Yorkshire. The Bradford Mela festival is an annual celebration of the art, craft, culture and community of Asian and global communities, both traditional and modern. It attracts thousands of visitors from across the UK each year and is believed to be one of the largest of its kind outside Asia.