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What you need to know about Leeds

Leeds is the UK’s third largest city, with a compact city centre packed with vibrant nightlife, relaxed dining and stylish shopping, as well as world-class museums and galleries that offer a glimpse into the fascinating role Leeds played in the Industrial Revolution.

FACT FILE:Leeds

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Over 200 years on, Leeds now blends historic charm and culture with a cool, contemporary vibe, and is known as a relaxed, fun and friendly place to explore and enjoy. 

Food and drink

One of the best things about Leeds is that you’re only ever a few steps from a fantastic café, pub or restaurant, many of them located in stunning buildings that showcase Leeds’ historic past.

You can relax in one of the many cafes with a proper cuppa and a slice of cake, or pop into one of the many gastropubs to get stuck into a Yorkshire pudding. Traditionally it’s served as a starter with gravy, so don’t be surprised if it’s the only thing on your plate!

Shopping

You’ll find Leeds city centre packed with designer and high street stores, as well as charming markets and independent boutiques. The Victorian Quarter is a must, with stunning arcades housing designer brands like Paul Smith, Mulberry and Louis Vuitton, and high-end department stores like Harvey Nichols.

If you prefer independent stores, the Grand Arcade is indie heaven, with lots of great shops that you won’t find on the high street. 

Kirkgate Market is the largest covered market in Europe, with 800 stalls selling everything from fashion to fish and haberdashery to housewares. It attracts over 100,000 visitors a week, and was voted the best place to visit in Leeds in 2014. 

Local businesses

Leeds' economy is booming, with many businesses investing in the city. In recent years Leeds has shed its industrial past and reinvented itself as the largest financial, business and legal centre outside London, with over 30 national and international banks based in the city.  You’ll find the head offices of Asda Walmart, First Direct, Capita and Yorkshire bank all based in Leeds.

Getting around

Leeds is a doddle to get to by road, rail or air - it’s close to the M1, M62 and M621, and only two hours from London King’s Cross by train. It’s also only 8 miles from Leeds/Bradford airport, with good train and bus services from all the UK’s major cities.

The centre of Leeds is nicely compact so it’s easy to explore on foot, or you can catch one of the many buses that cover the region from outside your serviced apartment. There are plenty of metered taxis in Leeds too, and if you’re visiting on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you can take a free water taxi from Granary Wharf to Leeds dock, run by a couple of very cool guys from Amsterdam who just love ferrying people along the canal.

Things to watch out for

The Leeds West Indian Carnival is one of the longest-running in Europe – for over 50 years, thousands of people have taken to the streets of Chapeltown and Harehills in a celebration of music and dance. So if you’re in Leeds over the August Bank Holiday weekend, make sure you bring your dancing shoes! 

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Articles about Leeds