Less famous abroad than Liverpool or Manchester – maybe it has to do with football – Leeds is nonetheless one of the largest cities in England. It is very typical of the industrial North, with a dynamic city centre, grand Victorian buildings, and countless red-brick terraces spreading on rolling and leafy hills.
Leeds is an ancient place as it already existed in the Middle Ages. It was already a trading place, albeit small. It grew in the 18th century to become one of England’s main trading centre for cloth and it later prospered thanks to its mills. Leeds was also renown for its engineers who designed many new industrial machines and tools. Now that the factories have closed, Leeds is establishing itself as a financial centre. It is one of the best places in the North for shopping, as it has several large shopping centres and a lively pedestrian area. Leeds has no less than three universities, which mean that it has a large student population.
See the Visit Leeds page.
MUSEUMS IN LEEDS
See the Museums in Leeds page.
Public transport is quite of a black spot in Leeds. The city is often congested and there are no trams or underground, only buses which get caught in traffic jams. The bus network is mostly managed by First but there are some Stagecoach lines. Bus tickets are very expensive and it is much better to buy a day-ticket if you plan to make two journeys or more in a day. Tickets are a littlle cheaper when bought on the First app. There are weekly and monthly passes that can be bought at the bus station and that can be used on buses from any company. On weekends, group tickets that can be used by up to 5 people are available from First – they are great value when visiting the city with friends or family.
Leeds train station is located right in the centre of the city. The bus station is located on the other side of the city centre and there is a 10-min walk between the two stations. Leeds-Bradford Airport is connected to the centre by the 757 bus, while Manchester Airport can be reached by train.
Leeds does not have a cycle hire scheme but it is possible to hire a bike from Bike&Go, a shop located right in front of the train station.
If you want to see Leeds from another angle, and enjoy a pleasant trip on the Aire, do not miss the Water-Taxi that links the train station to the Royal Armouries Museum. It is free and it runs every 15 min from each stop. It is free so there may be a waiting queue on weekends.
Just like any big city, Leeds has its share of cultural events through the year. Leeds Festival, which is one of the largest music festival in the UK, does not take place in Leeds proper, but in Bramham Park, an estate located 12mi from the city. It is held every summer. Live at Leeds, which bears the name of an album by the Whos, takes place around the 1st of May. In September, the grand Town Hall hosts a large Beer Festival. The Town Hall is also the main venue in Leeds for classical music, with concerts being held throughout the year.
Leeds has its own International Film Festival, which takes place in November. In October, Leeds Light Night is an event which takes place during one night – on this occasion, many venues are open to visitors and there are light displays around the centre. In August, there is a large West Indian Carnival which takes place in the northern suburb of Chapeltown.