Sat on the eastern side of the breathtaking Pennines, Leeds welcomes you to modern Yorkshire. Its recent transformation from a grimy post-industrial city to a glitzy cultural and economic centre has seen Leeds emerge as a future capital of the north.
Leeds is Yorkshire’s financial and commercial capital, and an energetic metropolis on the rise with plenty to see and do, both in and outside of the city. It has redesigned itself as a haven for shopping, with many luxury brands and – due to its large student population – fashion-conscious residents populating the high street and squares. After your retail frenzy, the city centre offers up some quality pubs, chic bars, cafes and excellent restaurants to cater for your every need. Ideal for a weekend break, there are lots of world-class museums and galleries, wonderful green spaces and a great friendly atmosphere – Leeds is worth visiting again and again.
Leeds is largely pedestrianised, making it a great place to have a relaxing stroll searching for landmarks and museums. And being a small city, you can see everything in a day. Stay at the grandiose The Queens Hotel, right in the centre to appreciate the Victorian splendour of Leeds. Head down Park Row towards the universities to get a feel of the modern city or see Leeds Cathedral and the Town Hall, both great examples of neo-classical architecture. You will also find the eagerly anticipated First Direct Arena in the centre.
Leeds is sometimes known as the ‘Knightsbridge of the North’ and when walking through the shopping district south of the centre it is easy to see why. The Victoria Quarter is an ornate glass-roofed arcade with high-end shops like Harvey Nichols and Louis Vuitton vying for your custom. The renovated Corn Exchange offers a more vintage experience, while Kirkgate Market houses an indoor smorgasbord of traditional stalls and fresh produce. Make sure you bring a comfy pair of shoes and a need for shopping.
Sitting east of the centre, surrounding the Leeds College of Music, you will find the cultural highlights of Leeds. The West Yorkshire Playhouse and Opera House Leeds are situated here, showing both classical and modern classics. The City Varieties Music Hall plays vaudevillian acts, and Charlie Chaplin once trod the boards. If you go south of the River Aire, you will stumble upon the fantastic Royal Armouries museum and also The Tetley. Housed in a former brewery, this contemporary art gallery develops Leeds’s future artists.
Just north of the centre you’ll find Headingly and Chapel Allerton. Headingly is a student-friendly area with plenty of bars and restaurants which cater for the younger crowd. That said, most will have a fun night out here. Whereas Chapel Allerton is popular with locals and the non-student crowd, away from the hustle and bustle. Known for its quality restaurants and chic bars, you will find something a bit more relaxed than central Leeds.
The affluent and appealing suburb of Roundhay contains one of the biggest public parks in Europe. Roundhay Park offers the ideal respite from city living, in all seasons, from the new life of spring to the multi-coloured kaleidoscope of autumn’s changing foliage. The rose gardens can be found in Canal Gardens, an offshoot of the park, and the wonderful menagerie of Tropical World will have children enthralled for hours. With an extensive collection of reptiles, tropical fish, birds and small mammals they are aiming to please.