Located in the west of the historic Yorkshire region, in the north of England, Leeds is an old industrial capital converted into a large and important cultural centre. Considered one of the fastest-growing cities in the country during the last decades, Leeds has gone from being a manufacturing city to a leading and visionary capital of the 21st century. Discover with us some essential tips to help on your first visit to the city of Leeds.
How to travel to Leeds?
Leeds Bradford International Airport is 16km from the city. It has regular flights to different European, African, Asian and North American capitals. The urban bus line that connects to the centre is 757. The journey costs £ 3.60 and takes about 25min. There is also the option of taxis, for about £ 25, among other transportation proposals.
Manchester airport is another option, as Leeds offers direct trains and buses to this city. Humberside Airport, 113km from Leeds, is also an option. More economical but less comfortable.
The bus station is located in the city centre and offers many destinations. In addition, the bus option is the cheapest. Companies like the National Express can take you to the big British cities.
Its train station is the largest and busiest after London. It has 17 platforms and national and international connections, as well as local and regional destinations.
To arrive by car you should know that Leeds is at the crossroads of the M62, which connects with Liverpool or Manchester, and the M1, which connects with London. The M621 reaches the city centre. This tip will prove especially useful if you rent a car in Leeds, as it will help you familiarise yourself with the roads you’re visiting for the first time.
The centre of Leeds is a good place for sightseeing and is reachable on foot. This route is designed for it. Starting at Leeds Station and heading south on Globe Road to the Tower Work Offices & Studios. The building is inspired by the Italian style. In fact, each of its towers reminds us of specific Italian towers. The largest, of the Giotto Bell Tower of Florence. The little one, of the Lamberti Tower in Verona. The other may be based on a tower in Tuscany.
Leeds was a very important industrial city, which for a time made it an ugly city. However, the remodelling of the historic centre and the renovations to its well-done surroundings have turned it into a modern jewel.
We go down Water Lane to Marshall Street and at the crossroads, with Leodis Ct, we find another point of interest, the Temple Works. It is an old linen factory whose architecture resembles an Egyptian temple. It’s surprising to find this building in the middle of this industrial zone. Walking along Leodis St towards St Francis, we will reach the Victorian Road and Great George St, where we will visit the Royal Armouries Museum.
This museum has a permanent exhibition of medieval weapons, armour, helmets and other war material. There are also falcon hunting exhibitions, tournaments, interactive exhibits. It is the second most important museum in the city.
Crossing the Aire River, we will head to West Yorkshire Playhouse, about 20 minutes from downtown. This modern and imposing building is one of the most recognized theatres in the country. It is a good place to relax a little, walking around the adjacent square and Centenary Square.
Shopping in Leeds Centre
Through the curious City Centre Loop and George Street, we will arrive at Leeds Kirkgate Market: the most commercial area of Leeds. It is one of the largest covered markets in the European continent and is the cradle of some international chains such as Marks & Spencer. The gigantic place, in fact, occupies practically a whole block.
Next, we will go to the Victoria Quarter. It is a set of commercial galleries that is in a beautiful old Victorian building of the late nineteenth century. Two minutes away is the incredible Thornton’s Arcade. It is the oldest building in the city. It has been rehabilitated and converted into another commercial area where anyone can go for a walk and melt the credit card.
Following up Briggate and turning left on The Headrow, you will reach another large shopping centre, The Light. A little further on, at the corner of The Headrow and Cookridge Street, is the Henry Moore Institute. They always have an exhibition or event that will be worth taking advantage of.
Advancing through The Headrow you reach the Leeds Art Gallery, the city’s quintessential museum. The permanent collection of painting, sculpture and drawings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are essential. In this area, it is best to stroll as much as possible. Here are the City Hall, Park Square and St. George House. And from here you will return to the Henry Moore Institute and through Calverley St, we will reach Millennium Square.
This square enjoys a great atmosphere and a lot of life. Markets, live performances, street musicians. It is a focus of constant activity of the city where you can shop. Nearby is the cathedral of Leeds, completed in 1904, after being demolished in the late nineteenth century.
Obviously this is just one of the many examples of a route that you can follow in the city.
Stops to Eat in Leeds
On the route, you will pass through the most important shopping centres in the city. Keep it in mind for your eating schedules, because you can take advantage of the offers of these places. The Victoria Quarter or Millenium Square areas also offer multiple possibilities.
Accommodation in Leeds
B&Bs are family businesses that offer a warm stay in Leeds. They are perfect places to experience the hospitality of the Yorkshire region, interact with local residents and receive advice from the city. All this while enjoying a delicious homemade meal and a glass of wine.
And the hotel offer is prepared for all tastes and budgets. Hotels recognized as Hilton, Marriott, Best Western PLUS or Park Plaza are some options. With affordable prices they are:
- Express by Holiday Inn Leeds Armouries (Armouries Drive, Clarence Dock, City Centre)
- Glengath Hotel (162 Woodsley Road)
- Ibis Leeds Centre (Malborough Street, City Centre)
Another option that many people choose is to rent an apartment through Airbnb.