Leeds is the London of the North. Among cities in the UK, you will not find a more diverse economy, a faster growing infrastructure and the largest legal and financial sector outside the capital.
With major connections to and from Edinburgh, London and Manchester, Leeds is easy to get to from any direction. Visitors to Leeds can expect a diverse and cosmopolitan experience quite different from nearby Sheffield and York, which have a decidedly regional feel.
The name derives from the old Brythonic word Ladenses meaning “people of the fast-flowing river”, in reference to the River Aire that flows through the city. From its first borough charter in 1207, Leeds has enjoyed prominence as a trading city. First for wool and later for industry.
Leeds city centre is contained within the Leeds Inner Ring Road. The biggest shopping street, Briggate, is pedestrianised and Queen Victoria Street, a part of the Victoria Quarter, is protected by a typically Victorian glass roof.
Leeds is home to a number of natural landmarks, as well as man-made structure. Natural landmarks include the gritstone outcrop of Otley Chevin and the Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve.
The city’s parks at Roundhay and Temple Newsam have long been owned and maintained by the council for the benefit of the community. Roundhay Park is particularly impressive. At more than 700 acres, it is one of the largest city parks in Europe. It includes extensive parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens.
Leeds has one of the largest universities in the country, but its prominence allows it to stand above the mire of a “student city” label. The nightlife is clean, safe and very lively. Particularly in the LGBT+ community.
Predominantly located in the Freedom Quarter on Lower Briggate, Leeds has long been a supporter of LGBT+ communities and activities. The New Penny is one of the UK’s longest running LGBT+ venues, and Leeds oldest gay bar.
During the day, visitors can enjoy over 16 museums and a range of city-wide festivals. For example, the Leeds West Indian Carnival attracts around 100,000 people over 2 days to the streets of Chapeltown and Harehills.
Leeds will make you forget all your preconceived ideas of what a city in the north of England is like. It has a rich, metropolitan feel, a diverse and inviting community and friendly locals. So, if you find yourself in Yorkshire with nothing to do, go and visit Leeds.