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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  City and Metropolitan Borough  —
City of Leeds
An impressive free-standing stone-built civic building on a sloping site with steps up to a colonnade. Above the parapet is a square clock-tower, also colonnaded, with an elongated lead-covered dome with concave sides and a cupola on top.
A shield, with three white stars on a black background at the top and, below, a suspended fleece on a light-blue background. Above the shield is a helmet with leaves above and behind and a small owl on top. To the left and right are two large owls wearing golden ducal coronets. They are perched on a scroll below the shield which reads "PRO LEGE ET REGE".
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): 'Capital of the North' 'Knightsbridge of the North'
Motto: "Pro Rege et Lege" "For King and the law"
A map of England coloured pink showing the administrative subdivisions of the country. The Leeds metropolitan borough area is coloured red.
Leeds shown within England
Coordinates: 53°47′59″N 1°32′57″W / 53.79972°N 1.54917°W / 53.79972; -1.54917
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Ceremonial county West Yorkshire
Admin HQ Leeds city centre
Borough Charter 1207
Town Charter 1626
City status 1893
City of Leeds Met. District created 1974
 - Type Metropolitan borough, City
 - Governing body Leeds City Council
 - Lord Mayor Cllr Judith Elliott (Morley Borough Indpts)
 - Leader of the Council[1] Cllr Andrew Carter (C)
 - Chief Executive Paul Rogerson
 - MPs: John Battle (L)
Hilary Benn (L)
Colin Burgon (L)
Colin Challen (L)
Fabian Hamilton (L)
George Mudie (L)
Greg Mulholland (LD)
Paul Truswell (L)
 - Total 213 sq mi (551.72 km2)
Highest elevation [2] 1,115 ft (340 m)
Lowest elevation [3] 33 ft (10 m)
Population (2008 est.)
 - Total 770,800 (Ranked 2nd)
 Density 3,574/sq mi (1,380/km2)
 - Ethnicity
(2001 census)[4]
89.1% White
5.4% Asian or Asian British
2.0% Black or Black British
1.7% Mixed Race
1.8% Chinese and other
 - Demonym Loiner
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
 - Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
Postcode LS,part of WF and also part of BD.
Area code(s) 0113 (urban core)
01924 (Wakefield nos)
01937 (Wetherby/ Boston Spa)
01943 (Guiseley/ Otley)
01977 (Pontefract nos)
ISO 3166-2 GB-LDS
ONS code 00DA
OS grid reference SE296338
Euro. Parlt. Const. Yorkshire & the Humber

Coordinates: 53°47′59″N 1°32′57″W / 53.79972°N 1.54917°W / 53.79972; -1.54917 Leeds (pronounced /ˈliːdz/ ( listen)) is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England.[5] In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247,[6] while the entire city had a population of 770,800 (2008 est.).[7] Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial heart of the wider West Yorkshire Urban Area,[8][9][10] which at the 2001 census had a population of 1.5 million,[11] and the Leeds city region, an economic area with Leeds at its core, had a population of 2.9 million.[12] Leeds is the UK's largest centre for business, legal, and financial services outside London,and according to the most recent Office for National Statistics estimates, Leeds is the fastest growing city in the UK.

Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Leeds can trace its recorded history to fifth century when the Kingdom of Elmet was covered by the forest of "Loidis", the origin of the name Leeds. The name has been applied to many administrative entities over the centuries. It changed from being the appellation of a small manorial borough, in the thirteenth century, through several reincarnations, to being the name attached to the present metropolitan borough. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Leeds became a major centre for the production and trading of wool. Then, during the Industrial Revolution, Leeds developed into a major industrial centre; wool was still the dominant industry but flax, engineering, iron foundries, printing and other industries were important.[13] From being a compact market town in the valley of the River Aire in the sixteenth century Leeds expanded and absorbed the surrounding villages to become a populous urban centre by the mid twentieth century.

The diverse array of landmarks, which includes rural open spaces and impressive buildings, reflects both its industrial past and its many current roles. The multicultural nature of the city is evidenced in the range of religious buildings and cultural festivals present. The city is a major centre of higher education, being the seat of the internationally acclaimed University of Leeds as well as Leeds Metropolitan University and Leeds Trinity University College. The student population has stimulated growth of the nightlife in the city and there are ample facilities for sporting and cultural activities, including classical and popular music festivals, and a varied collection of museums.

Public transport, rail and road communications networks in the region are focused on Leeds and there are a number of twinning arrangements with towns and cities in other countries. Its assigned role in the Leeds City Region partnership recognises the city's importance to regional economic development.





The name Leeds derives from "Loidis", the name given to a forest covering most of the kingdom of Elmet, which existed during the fifth century into the early seventh century.[14] Bede states in the fourteenth chapter of his Historia ecclesiastica, in a discussion of an altar surviving from a church erected by Edwin of Northumbria, that it is located in "...regione quae vocatur Loidis", the region known as Loidis. An inhabitant of Leeds is locally known as a Loiner, a word of uncertain origin.[15]

Economic development

The Leeds Corn Exchange opened in 1864.

Leeds developed as a market town in the Middle Ages as part of the local agricultural economy. Prior to the Industrial Revolution it had become a co-ordination centre for the making of woollen cloth; with white broadcloth being traded at the Leeds White Cloth Hall.[16] Leeds was handling one sixth of England's export trade in 1770.[17] Growth, initially in textiles, was accelerated by the building of the Aire and Calder Navigation in 1699 and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in 1816.[18] The railway network constructed around Leeds, starting with the Leeds and Selby Railway in 1834, provided improved communications with national markets and, significantly for its development, an east-west connection with Manchester and the ports of Liverpool and Hull giving improved access to international markets.[19] Alongside technological advances and industrial expansion, Leeds retained an interest in trading in agricultural commodities, with the Corn Exchange opening in 1864.

Marshall's Mill was one of the first of the many factories that were to be constructed in Leeds from around 1790.[20] In the early years the most significant of the factories were woollen finishing and flax mills; diversifying by 1914 to printing, engineering, chemicals and clothing manufacture.[21] Decline in manufacturing during the 1930s was temporarily reversed by a switch to producing military uniforms and munitions during World War II. However, by the 1970s the clothing industry was in irreversible decline, facing cheap foreign competition.[22] The contemporary economy of Leeds has been shaped by Leeds City Council having the vision of building a '24 hour European city' and a 'capital of the north'.[23] It has developed from the decay of the post-industrial era to become a telephone banking centre, connected to the electronic infrastructure of the modern global economy.[23] There has been growth in the corporate and legal sectors[24] and increased local affluence has led to an expanding retail sector, including the luxury goods market.[25]

Local government

Leeds (parish) population
1881 160,109
1891 177,523
1901 177,920
1911 259,394
1921 269,665
1931 482,809
1941 war #
1951 505,219
1961 510,676
# no census was held due to war
source: UK census[26]

Leeds was a manor and township in the large ancient parish of Leeds St Peter, in the Skyrack wapentake of the West Riding of Yorkshire.[27] The Borough of Leeds was created in 1207, when Maurice Paynel, lord of the manor, granted a charter to a small area within the manor, close to the river crossing, in what is now the city centre. Four centuries later, the inhabitants of Leeds petitioned Charles I for a charter of incorporation, which was granted in 1626. The new charter incorporated the entire parish, including all eleven townships, as the Borough of Leeds and withdrew the earlier charter. Improvement commissioners were set up in 1755 for paving, lighting, and cleansing of the main streets, including Briggate; with further powers added in 1790 to improve the water supply.[28]

The borough corporation was reformed under the provisions of Municipal Corporations Act 1835. Leeds Borough Police force was formed in 1836 and Leeds Town Hall was completed by the corporation in 1858. In 1866 Leeds, and each of the other townships in the borough, became a civil parish. The borough became a county borough in 1889, giving it independence from the newly formed West Riding County Council and it gained city status in 1893. In 1904 the Leeds parish absorbed Beeston, Chapel Allerton, Farnley, Headingley cum Burley and Potternewton from within the borough. In the twentieth century the county borough initiated a series of significant territorial expansions, growing from 21,593 acres (87.38 km2) in 1911 to 40,612 acres (164.35 km2) in 1961.[29] In 1912 the parish and county borough of Leeds absorbed Leeds Rural District, consisting of the parishes of Roundhay and Seacroft; and Shadwell, which had been part of Wetherby Rural District. On 1 April 1925 the parish of Leeds was expanded to cover the whole borough.[27]

The county borough was abolished on 1 April 1974 and its former area was combined with that of the municipal boroughs of Morley and Pudsey; the urban districts of Aireborough, Horsforth, Otley, Garforth and Rothwell; and parts of the rural districts of Tadcaster, Wetherby and Wharfedale.[30] This area was used to form a new metropolitan district in the county of West Yorkshire; it gained both borough and city status and is known as the City of Leeds. Initially, local government services were provided by Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire County Council. However, the county council was abolished in 1986 and the city council absorbed its functions, with some powers passing to organisations such as the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority. From 1988 two run-down and derelict areas close to the city centre were designated for regeneration and formed the area of responsibility of Leeds Development Corporation, outside the planning remit of the city council.[31] Planning powers were restored to the local authority in 1995 when the development corporation was wound up.

Suburban growth

This map shows central Leeds and (clockwise from top left) the developing suburbs of Hyde Park, Woodhouse, Sheepscar, New Leeds, Cross Green, Hunslet, Holbeck, Wortley, Armley and Burley.
1866 map of Leeds
A black-and-white photograph of part of a monumental seven-storey curved-fronted block of flats made of poured and pre-cast concrete with a prominent two-storey semicircular entrance arch. In the foreground is a pedestrian crossing with a Belisha Beacon.
Quarry Hill flats

In 1801, 42% of the population of Leeds lived outside the township, in the wider borough. Cholera outbreaks in 1832 and 1849 caused the borough authorities to address the problems of drainage, sanitation and water supply. Water was originally pumped from the River Wharfe, but by 1860 it was too heavily polluted to be usable. Following the Leeds Waterworks Act of 1867 three reservoirs were built at Lindley Wood, Swinsty and Fewston, to the north of Leeds.[32] Residential growth occurred in Holbeck and Hunslet from 1801 to 1851, but, as these townships became industrialised new areas were favoured for middle class housing.[33] Land to the south of the river was henceforth developed, primarily for industry and secondarily for back-to-back workers' dwellings. The Leeds Improvement Act 1866 sought to improve the quality of working class housing by restricting the number of homes that could be built in a single terrace.[34] Holbeck and Leeds formed a continuous built-up area by 1858, with Hunslet nearly meeting them.[35] In the latter half of the nineteenth century, population growth in Hunslet, Armley and Wortley outstripped that of Leeds itself. When pollution became a problem, the wealthier residents left the small industrial conurbation to live in the northerly villages of Headingley, Potternewton and Chapel Allerton; this led to a 50% increase in the population of Headingley and Burley from 1851 to 1861. The middle class flight from the industrial areas also led to development beyond the borough at Roundhay and Adel.[35] The introduction of the electric tramway led to intensification of development in Headingley and Potternewton and expansion outside the borough into Roundhay.[36]}

Two private gas supply companies were taken over by the corporation in 1870 and this new municipal supply was used to provide street lighting and cheaper gas to homes. From the early 1880s the Yorkshire House-to-House Electricity Company supplied electricity to Leeds until it was also purchased by Leeds Corporation and became a municipal supply.[37]

Slum clearance and rebuilding began in Leeds in the Inter-war period when over 18,000 houses were built by the council on 24 estates in places like Cross Gates, Middleton, Gipton, Belle Isle and Halton Moor. The slums of Quarry Hill were replaced by the innovative Quarry Hill flats, which were demolished in 1975. Another 36,000 houses were built by private sector builders, creating the suburbs of Gledhow, Moortown, Alwoodley, Roundhay, Colton, Whitkirk, Oakwood, Weetwood and Adel. After 1949 a further 30,000 sub-standard houses were demolished by the council to be replaced by a total of 151 medium-rise and high-rise blocks of council flats in estates like Seacroft, Armley Heights, Tinshill and Brackenwood.[38]


This map shows the locations of Leeds (coloured pink) and the other four metropolitan boroughs of West Yorkshire (clockwise from Leeds: Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale and Bradford). County and borough boundaries are black, urban areas grey, motorways blue with white stripe, rivers and bodies of water light blue. An inset shows a map of Great Britain with the location of West Yorkshire highlighted.
Map of Leeds in West Yorkshire
The canalised River Aire flows from the Dark Arches under Leeds's main railway station towards the bottom of the picture. To the left of the river is the lock which links the river with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. To the right is a riverside walk beneath modern buildings, and in the distance, beyond the railway viaduct and station, are more high-rise modern buildings located on the west side of the city centre.
River Aire in Leeds

At 53°47′59″N 1°32′57″W / 53.79972°N 1.54917°W / 53.79972; -1.54917 (53.799°, −1.549°), and 190 miles (310 km) north-northwest of central London, the central area of Leeds is located on the River Aire in a narrow section of the Aire Valley, which is in the eastern foothills of the Pennines. The city centre lies at about 206 feet (63 m) above sea level[39] while the district ranges from 1,115 feet (340 m) in the far west on the slopes of Ilkley Moor to about 33 feet (10 m) where the rivers Aire and Wharfe cross the eastern boundary. The centre of Leeds is part of a continuously built-up area extending to Pudsey, Bramley, Horsforth, Alwoodley, Seacroft, Middleton and Morley.[40] Leeds has the second highest population of any local authority district in the UK (after Birmingham), and the second greatest area of any English metropolitan district (after Doncaster), extending 15 miles (24 km) from east to west, and 13 miles (21 km) from north to south. The northern boundary follows the River Wharfe for several miles but crosses the river to include the section of Otley which lies north of the river. Over 65% of the Leeds district is green belt land and the city centre is less than twenty miles (32 km) from the Yorkshire Dales National Park,[41] which offers some of the most spectacular scenery and countryside in the UK.[42] Inner and southern areas of Leeds lie on a layer of coal measure sandstones. To the north parts are built on older sand and gritstones and to the east it extends into the magnesian limestone belt.[20][43] The land use in the central areas of Leeds is overwhelmingly urban.[40]

Attempts to define the exact geographic meaning of Leeds lead to a variety of concepts of its extent, varying by context; they include the area of the city centre, the urban sprawl, the administrative boundaries, and the functional region.[44]

Leeds is much more a generalised concept place name in inverted commas, it is the city, but it is also the commuter villages and the region as well.

—A History of Modern Leeds, Brian Thompson[44]

Leeds city centre is contained within the Leeds Inner Ring Road, formed from parts of the A58 road, A61 road, A64 road, A643 road and the M621 motorway. Briggate, the principal north-south shopping street, is pedestrianised and Queen Victoria Street, a part of the Victoria Quarter, is enclosed under a glass roof. Millennium Square is a significant urban focal point. The Leeds postcode area covers most of the City of Leeds[45] and is almost entirely made up of the Leeds post town.[46] Otley, Wetherby, Tadcaster, Pudsey and Ilkley are separate post towns within the postcode area.[46] Aside from the built up area of Leeds itself, there are a number of suburbs and exurbs within the district.

Weather data for Leeds is summarised as follows:

Climate data for Leeds
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high °C (°F) 5.8
Average low °C (°F) 0.3
Precipitation mm (inches) 61
Source: Met Office[47] 2008


Urban subdivision

Leeds compared
A map of West Yorkshire showing the Leeds urban subdivision of the West Yorkshire Urban Area coloured green and the rest of the Urban area coloured blue-grey
Leeds urban subdivision within
the West Yorkshire urban area
UK Census
Yorks UA
Population 443,247 715,402 1,499,465 49,138,831
White 88.4% 91.9% 85.5% 90.9%
Asian 6.4% 4.5% 11.2% 4.6%
Black 2.2% 1.4% 1.3% 2.3%
Source: Office for National Statistics[48][49]

At the time of the United Kingdom Census 2001, the Leeds urban subdivision occupied an area of 109 square kilometres (42 sq mi) and had a population of 443,247; making it the fourth most populous urban subdivision within England and the fifth largest within the United Kingdom. The population density was 4,066 /km2, slightly higher than the rest of the West Yorkshire Urban Area. It accounts for 20% of the area and 62% of the population of the City of Leeds. The population of the urban subdivision had a 100 to 93.1 female–male ratio.[50] Of those over 16 years old, 39.4% were single (never married) and 35.4% married for the first time.[51] The urban subdivision's 188,890 households included 35% one-person, 27.9% married couples living together, 8.8% were co-habiting couples, and 5.7% single parents with their children.[52] Of those aged 16–74, 32.6% had no academic qualifications, higher than average of England (28.9%).[53] Leeds is the largest component of the West Yorkshire Urban Area[40] and is counted by Eurostat as part of the Leeds-Bradford Larger Urban Zone. The Leeds travel to work area in 2001 included all of the City of Leeds, a northern strip of the City of Bradford, the eastern part of Kirklees, and a section of southern North Yorkshire; it occupies 751 square kilometres (290 sq mi).

Metropolitan district

As of the 2001 UK census, the district had a total population of 715,402.[54] Of the 301,614 households in Leeds, 33.3% were married couples living together, 31.6% were one-person households, 9.0% were co-habiting couples and 9.8% were lone parents, following a similar trend to the rest of England.[55] The population density was 1,967 inhabitants per square kilometre (5,094.5/sq mi)[55] and for every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. Of those aged 16–74, 30.9% had no academic qualifications, higher than the 28.9% in all of England.[56] Of the residents, 6.6% were born outside the United Kingdom, lower than the England average of 9.2%.[57]

The majority of people in Leeds identify themselves as Christian.[58] The proportion of Muslims is average for the country.[58] Leeds has the third-largest Jewish community in the United Kingdom, after those of London and Manchester. The areas of Alwoodley and Moortown contain sizeable Jewish populations.[59] 16.8% of Leeds residents in the 2001 census declared themselves as having "no religion", which is broadly in line with the figure for the whole of the UK (also 8.1% "religion not stated"). The crime rate in Leeds is well above the national average, like many other English major cities.[60][61] In July 2006, the think tank Reform calculated rates of crime for different offences and has related this to populations of major urban areas (defined as towns over 100,000 population). Leeds was 11th in this rating (excluding London boroughs, 23rd including London boroughs).[62] The table below details the population of the current area of the district since 1801, including the percentage change since the last available census data. Leeds is currently the fastest growing city in the UK.[63][64][65][66]

Population growth in City of Leeds since 1801
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population 94,421 108,459 137,476 183,015 222,189 249,992 311,197 372,402 433,607 503,493 552,479 606,250 625,854 646,119 668,667 692,003 715,260 739,401 696,732 716,760 715,404
 % change +14.87 +26.75 +33.13 +21.40 +12.51 +24.48 +19.67 +16.44 +16.12 +9.73 +9.73 +3.23 +3.24 +3.49 +3.49 +3.36 +3.38 −5.77 +2.87 −0.19
Source: Vision of Britain[67]


City of Leeds is the local government district covering Leeds and the local authority is Leeds City Council. The council is composed of 99 councillors, three for each of the city's wards. Elections are held three years out of four, on the first Thursday of May. One third of the councillors are elected, for a four year term, in each election. In 2004 all seats were up for election due to boundary changes. The council is currently under no overall control, and is run by a coalition of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Morley Borough Independents. The leaders of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats take turns to hold the office of Leader. West Yorkshire does not have a county council, so Leeds City Council is the primary provider of local government services for the city. The district is in the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England, and consists of an unparished area and 31 civil parishes. These are the lowest tier of local government[68] and absorb some limited functions from Leeds City Council in their areas. The councils of Horsforth, Morley, Otley and Wetherby are town councils.[69] There are 27 other civil parishes in the district.

The district is represented by eight MPs, for the constituencies of Elmet (Colin Burgon, Labour); Leeds Central (Hilary Benn, Labour); Leeds East (George Mudie, Labour); Leeds North East (Fabian Hamilton, Labour); Leeds North West (Greg Mulholland, Lib Dem); Leeds West (John Battle, Labour); Morley and Rothwell (Colin Challen, Labour); and Pudsey (Paul Truswell, Labour). Various boundary changes will be implemented for the 2010 General Election, when Leeds will be represented by members for seven constituencies and three-fifths of one: Elmet will be replaced by Elmet and Rothwell and Morley by Morley and Outwood (three Leeds wards and two Wakefield wards), and the boundaries of the other constituencies will be altered. Leeds is within the Yorkshire and the Humber European constituency, which is represented by two Conservative, one Labour, one UKIP, one Liberal Democrat and one BNP MEPs. The voting figures for Leeds in the European Parliament election in June 2009 were: Conservative 22.6%, Labour 21.4%, UKIP 15.9%, Lib Dem 13.8%, BNP 10.0%, Green 9.4%.[70]


A modern building with a 20-storey tower on top of a wider office-block. On the right of the services shaft, all the floors of the tower are semicircular, as are the top four floors to the left. Below the latter, the remaining floors diminish in size from bottom to top and their left sides form a slope.
Bridgewater Place also known as 'The Dalek' taken in September 2007

Leeds has a diverse economy with employment in the service sector now far exceeding that in the traditional manufacturing industries. In 2002, 401,000 employees were registered in the Leeds district. Of these 24.7% were in public administration, education and health, 23.9% were in banking finance and insurance and 21.4% were in distribution, hotels and restaurants. It is in the banking, finance and insurance sectors that Leeds differs most from the financial structure of the region and the nation.[71] The city is the location of one of the largest financial centres in England outside London.[72][73][74][75][76][77] Tertiary industries such as retail, call centres, offices and media have contributed to a high rate of economic growth. In 2006 GVA for city was recorded at £16.3 billion,[78] with the entire Leeds City Region generating an economy of £46 billion.[79]

The extensive retail area of Leeds is identified as the principal regional shopping centre for the whole of the Yorkshire and the Humber region and approximately 3.2 million people live within its catchment area.[80] There are a number of indoor shopping centres in the middle of the city, including the Merrion Centre, Leeds Shopping Plaza, St John’s Centre, Headrow Centre, the Victoria Quarter, The Light and the Corn Exchange. In total there are approximately 1,000 retail stores, with a combined floorspace of 2,264,100 square feet (210,340 m2).[80] Of the 40,000 people who work in retailing in Leeds 75% work in places which are not located in the city centre. There are additional shopping centres located in the many villages that became part of the county borough and in the towns that were incorporated in the City of Leeds in 1974.[81]

Office developments, also traditionally located in the inner area, have expanded south of the River Aire and total 11,000,000 square feet (1,000,000 m2) of space.[80] In the period from 1999 to 2008 £2.5bn of property development was undertaken in central Leeds; of which £711m has been offices, £265m retail, £389m leisure and £794m housing. Manufacturing and distribution uses accounts for £26m of new property development in the period. There are 130,100 jobs in the city centre, accounting for 31% of all jobs in the wider district. In 2007, 47,500 jobs were in finance and business, 42,300 in public services, and 19,500 in retail and distribution. 43% of finance sector jobs in the district are contained in Leeds city centre and 44% of those employed in the city centre live more than nine kilometres away.[80]


Leeds displays a variety of natural and built landmarks. Natural landmarks include such diverse sites as 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 ratepayers and among the open spaces in the centre of Leeds are Millennium Square, Leeds City Square, Park Square and Victoria Gardens. This last is the site of the central city war memorial: there are 42 other war memorials in the suburbs, towns and villages in the district.[82]

The built environment embraces edifices of civic pride like Morley Town Hall and the trio of buildings in Leeds, Leeds Town Hall, Corn Exchange and Leeds City Museum by the architect Cuthbert Brodrick. The two startlingly white buildings on the Leeds skyline are the Parkinson building of Leeds University and the Civic Hall, with golden owls adorning the tops of its twin spires.[83] Armley Mills, Tower Works, with its campanile-inspired towers, and the Egyptian-style Temple Works hark back to the city's industrial past, while the site and ruins of Kirkstall Abbey display the beauty and grandeur of Cistercian architecture. Notable churches are Leeds Parish Church, St George's Church and Leeds Cathedral, in the city centre, and the Church of St John the Baptist, Adel and Bardsey Parish Church in quieter locations.

The 110 metres (360 ft) tower of Bridgewater Place, also known as The Dalek, is part of a major office and residential development and the region's tallest building; it can be seen for miles around.[84] Among other tower blocks the 37-storey Sky Plaza to the north of the city centre stands on higher ground so that its 105 metres (344 ft) is higher than Bridgewater Place. With 37 floors it is reported to be the tallest student residential building in the world.[85]

Elland Road (football) and Headingley Stadium (cricket and rugby) are well known to sports enthusiasts and the White Rose Centre is a well known retail outlet.

A panoramic view of a number of mainly modern high-rise buildings, some not yet complete, with, in the background, rising ground with suburban buildings and parks. The towers of some older buildings can be made out in the left foreground.
The Leeds skyline viewed from the south


Leeds is the starting-point of the A62, A63, A64, A65 and A660 roads, and is also situated on the A58 and A61. The M1 and M62 intersect to its south and the A1(M) passes to the east. Leeds is one of the principal hubs of the northern motorway network. Additionally, there is an urban motorway network; the radial M621 takes traffic into Central Leeds from the M62 and M1. There is an Inner Ring Road with part motorway status and an Outer Ring Road. Part of the city centre[86] is pedestrianised, and is encircled by the clockwise-only Loop Road.

The interior of a large modern railway-station with a curved roof and skylights. An Inter-City train is at Platform 9c to the right and a local train is at one of the platforms on the far left. In between, three empty tracks with crossovers can be seen between the curved platforms 11 and 12, both of which have low modern buildings for passenger use and gantries for signals and overhead cables. A footbridge with escalators can be seen at the far end of the station, and some of the platforms extend further outside the overall roof.
Leeds railway station after the 2002 rebuild

Public transport in the Leeds area is coordinated and developed by West Yorkshire Metro,[87] with service information provided by Leeds City Council[88] and West Yorkshire Metro. The primary means of public transportation in Leeds are the bus services. The main provider is First Leeds and Arriva Yorkshire serves routes to the south of the city. Leeds also offers a free bus, the FreeCity Bus service. Leeds City bus station is at Dyer Street and is used by bus services to towns and cities in Yorkshire, plus a small number of local services. Adjacent to it is the coach station for National Express coach services. Buses out of the city are mainly provided by FirstBus and Arriva Yorkshire. Harrogate & District provides a service to Harrogate and Ripon. Keighley & District provides a service to Shipley, Bingley and Keighley. The Yorkshire Coastliner service runs from Leeds to Bridlington, Filey,Scarborough, and Whitby.Stagecoach provides a service to Hull via Goole.

From Leeds railway station at New Station Street, MetroTrains operated by Northern Rail run to Leeds' suburbs and onwards to all parts of Leeds City Region. The station is one of the busiest in England outside London, with over 900 trains and 50,000 passengers passing through every day.[89] It provides national and international connections as well as services to local and regional destinations. The station itself has 17 platforms, making it the largest in England outside London.[90]

Leeds Bradford International Airport is located in Yeadon, about 10 miles (16 km) to the north-west of the city centre, and has both charter and scheduled flights to destinations within Europe plus Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey. There are connections to the rest of the world via London Heathrow Airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.There is a direct rail service from Leeds to Manchester Airport. Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield is 40 miles (64 km) south-east of Leeds. Leeds has connections by road, rail and coach to Hull, only an hour away, from where it is possible to travel to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge by ferry services run by P&O Ferries.


A close-up view of a large wooden post with a pointed top. Affixed to this is a panel containing a yellow outline of an owl and the letters "LCW". Attached to the post are two rusty metal rails to the left and part of a wooden fence with barbed-wire to the right. In the background are several fields, with a low hill far left. To the right is a nearby tree and there is a larger one some distance behind it.
Leeds Country Way waymark

The Leeds Country Way is a waymarked circular walk of 62 miles (100 km) through the rural outskirts of the city, never more than 7 miles (11 km) from City Square. The Meanwood Valley Trail leads from Woodhouse Moor along Meanwood Beck to Golden Acre Park. The Leeds extension of the Dales Way follows the Meanwood Valley Trail before it branches off to head towards Ilkley and Windermere. Leeds is on the northern section of the Trans Pennine Trail for walkers and cyclists, and the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is another popular walking route. In addition, there are many parks and public footpaths in both the urban and rural parts of Leeds, and the Ramblers' Association, YHA and other walking organisations offer sociable walks. The Ramblers' Association publish various booklets of walks in and around Leeds.[91]



A road-junction with traffic-lights, traffic queuing uphill and lamp-standards with pairs of lights. In the foreground on the right is part of a flower-bed, and behind it, uphill in the distance, is a multi-storey car-park. On the left is a complex of four twentieth-century buildings flanked by a number of roadside trees: at the front is a three-storey building with bands of windows and some light brown stone cladding, while behind it to the right is a much taller end-on block in the same style; to the left of this block, an older building of the same height with alternate bands of concrete and windows; further up the road, a more recent lower-rise sleek white building.
Leeds Metropolitan University

At the time of the 2001 census Leeds had a population of 183,000 young people aged 0–19 of whom 110,000 were attending local authority schools.[92] In 2008 Education Leeds, a non-profit company owned by Leeds City Council, provided for 220 primary schools, 39 secondary schools and 6 special inclusive learning centres.[93] Under the government Building Schools for the Future initiative, Leeds secured £260m, to transform 13 secondary schools into high achieving, e-confident, inclusive schools. The first three of these schools at Allerton High School, Pudsey Grangefield School and Rodillian School, were opened in September 2008.[94] Because Leeds has a falling birth rate, the council have come under pressure in recent years to reduce the number of school places resulting in the merger and closure of some schools. The city's oldest and largest private school is The Grammar School at Leeds, which was legally re-created in 2005 following the merger of Leeds Grammar School, established 1552, and Leeds Girls' High School, established 1857. Other independent schools in Leeds include faith schools serving the Jewish[95] and Muslim [96] communities.

Further and Higher Education

A monumental twentieth-century neo-classical building of Portland stone stands on a main road with blue sky and clouds behind and above it. It has a basement and four floors, with a flight of steps leading up to a recessed portico and above it a tall clock-tower in four stages in Greek revival style. A lower addition extends out of the picture to the left. In front is an island flower-bed and on the other side of the road are a number of older brick buildings. A number of pedestrians, a bus and a taxi are also to be seen, as well as a left-pointing sign saying "Alternative hgv route to the University".
Parkinson Building, University of Leeds

Further education is provided by Leeds City College (formed by a merger in 2009 and having over 60,000 students), Leeds College of Building, Joseph Priestley College in Morley and Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College. The city has two universities: the University of Leeds received its charter in 1904 having developed from the Yorkshire College which was founded in 1874 and the Leeds School of Medicine of 1831, and Leeds Metropolitan University became a university in 1992 but can trace its roots to the Mechanics Institute of 1824. The University of Leeds has a total of about 31,000 students, of which 21,500 are full-time or sandwich undergraduate degree students,[97] Leeds Metropolitan University has a total of 52,000 students of which 12,000 are full time or sandwich undergraduate degree students and 2,100 full time or sandwich HND students.[98] Other higher education establishments are:Leeds Trinity University College with just under 3,000 students,[99] Leeds College of Art, Leeds College of Music and Northern School of Contemporary Dance. The city was voted the Best UK University Destination by a survey in The Independent newspaper.[100] The combined totals of learners give Leeds one of the largest student populations in the country with of over 250,000 students.[101]



A quirky modern five-storey building with a large sign saying "BBC Yorkshire" in black above the second-floor windows on the white-fronted facade of the lower four floors can be seen on the far side of a dual-carriageway road with a barrier along the central reservation. At right-angles to the right of the building is a tall blue slab with the letters "BBC" in white at the top. The left side of the building is mostly brick-red with a few windows, but above it is a light blue windowless section. The roof above this and the grey fifth floor of the frontage curves gently down to the rear. A lone car is driving from left to right along the road; between it and the building, temporary boards have been erected in front of a building to the left. In the top left-hand corner of the picture, part of a tall many-windowed building can be seen.
BBC Yorkshire studios

Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd, owned by Johnston Press plc, is based in the city, and produces a daily morning broadsheet, the Yorkshire Post, and an evening paper, the Yorkshire Evening Post (YEP). The YEP has a website which includes a series of community pages which focus on specific areas of the city.[102] The Wetherby News covers mainly areas within the north eastern sector of the district, and the Wharfedale & Airedale Observer, published in Ilkley, covers the north west, both appearing weekly. Both of the universities have student newspapers, the weekly Leeds Student from the University of Leeds and the monthly The Met from Leeds Metropolitan University. The Leeds Guide is a fortnightly listings magazine, established in 1997. Free publications include the Leeds Weekly News, produced by Yorkshire Post Newspapers in four geographic versions and distributed to households in the main urban area of the city,[103] and the regional version of Metro which is distributed on buses and at rail stations.

Regional television and radio stations have bases in the city; BBC Television and ITV both have regional studios and broadcasting centres in Leeds. ITV Yorkshire, formerly Yorkshire Television, broadcasts from The Leeds Studios on Kirkstall Road. There are a number of independent film production companies, including the not-for-profit cooperative Leeds Animation Workshop, founded in 1978; community video producers Vera Media and several small commercial production companies. BBC Radio Leeds, Radio Aire, Magic 828, Galaxy Yorkshire, Real Radio and Yorkshire Radio broadcast from the city., is based in Leeds University Union, and regularly hosts outside broadcasts around the city. Many communities within Leeds now have their own local radio stations, such as East Leeds FM and Tempo FM for Wetherby and the surrounding areas.


A new Leeds City Museum opened in 2008[104] in Millennium Square. Abbey House Museum is housed in the former gatehouse of Kirkstall Abbey, and includes walk-through Victorian streets and galleries describing the history of the abbey, childhood, and Victorian Leeds. Armley Mills Industrial Museum is housed in what was once the world's largest woollen mill,[105] and includes industrial machinery and railway locomotives. This museum also shows the first known moving pictures in the world which were taken in the city, by Louis Le Prince, of a Roundhay Garden Scene and of Leeds Bridge in 1888. Thwaite Mills Watermill Museum is a fully-restored 1820s water-powered mill on the river Aire to the east of the city centre. The Thackray Museum is a museum of the history of medicine, featuring topics such as Victorian public health, pre-anaesthesia surgery, and safety in childbirth. It is housed in a former workhouse next to St James's hospital. The Royal Armouries Museum opened in 1996 in a dramatic modern building when this part of the national collection was transferred from the Tower of London. Leeds Art Gallery reopened in June 2007 after a major renovation, and houses important collections of traditional and contemporary British art. Smaller museums in Leeds include Otley Museum, Horsforth Village Museum,[106] the University of Leeds Textile Archive (ULITA),[107] and the museum at Fulneck Moravian Settlement.

Music and theatre

Leeds has the Grand Theatre where Opera North is based, the City Varieties Music Hall, which hosted performances by Charlie Chaplin and Harry Houdini and was also the venue of the BBC television programme The Good Old Days, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse.[108][109][110] Leeds is currently the home of the Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance.[111]

Popular musical acts originating in Leeds include Soft Cell, Hadouken!, Kaiser Chiefs, Gang of Four, The Rhythm Sisters, and Melanie B, of the Spice Girls.[112][113][114][115][116][117]

Carnivals and festivals

Part of a West Indian carnival procession passes along a public road in front of trees (to the left) and red-brick houses (to the right). In front is a participant wearing a gold helmet and vestigial armour. Above and around her is an enormous shield-shaped yellow, gold and red contraption supported by spokes and with many large feathers. Behind her is another participant in a white dress with a similar-shaped feathered shield contraption in yellow, brown and purple worn the other way up.
Leeds carnival procession

Leeds Carnival is Western Europe's oldest West Indian Carnival, and the UK's second largest after Notting Hill Carnival.[118][119] It attracts around 100,000 people over 3 days to the streets of Chapeltown and Harehills. There is a large procession that finishes at Potternewton Park, where there are stalls, entertainment and refreshments. The Leeds Festival, featuring some of the biggest names in rock and indie music, takes place every year in Bramham Park. The Leeds Asian Festival, formerly the Leeds Mela, is held in Roundhay Park.[120] The Otley Folk Festival (patron: Nic Jones),[121] Walking Festival,[122], Carnival[123] and Victorian Christmas Fayre[124] are annual events. Light Night Leeds takes place each October,[125] and many venues in the city are open to the public for Heritage Open Days in September.[126] The Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, established in 1963 by Fanny Waterman and Marion Stein, has been held in the city every three years since 1963 and has launched the careers of many major concert pianists. The Leeds International Concert Season, which includes orchestral and choral concerts in Leeds Town Hall and other events, is the largest local authority music programme in the UK.[127]

The Leeds International Film Festival is the largest film festival in England outside London[128] and shows films from around the world. It incorporates the highly successful Leeds Young People's Film Festival, which features exciting and innovative films made both for and by children and young people.[129] Garforth is host to the fortnight long festival The Garforth Arts Festival which has been an annual event since 2005.


A night-time scene of a dock containing a number of moored canal-boats to left and right and railings around the edges. At the front is part of a lock gate and steps leading down to the water. Around most of the dock are multi-storey modern buildings, some with lighted ground-floors and seats and decorative objects outside. The most prominent of these, at the far end, is a twenty-storey building with curving facades.
Clarence Dock in Leeds has many new restaurants and bars.

Leeds has a very large student population, resulting in a large number of pubs, bars, nightclubs and restaurants, as well as a multitude of venues for live music. The full range of music tastes is catered for in Leeds. It includes the original home of the club nights Back 2 Basics and Speedqueen.[130] Morley was the location of techno club The Orbit.[131] Leeds has number of large 'super-clubs' and there is a selection of independent clubs.

Leeds has a well established gay nightlife scene. The Bridge Inn and The New Penny, both on Call Lane, have long been gay night spots.[132] Towards Millennium Square and the Civic or Northern Quarter, is a growing entertainment district providing for both students and weekend visitors. The square has many bars and restaurants and a large outdoor screen mounted on the side of the Civic Theatre. Millennium Square is a venue for large seasonal events such as a Christmas market, gigs and concerts, citywide parties and the Rhythms of the City Festival. It is adjacent to the Mandela Gardens, which were opened by Nelson Mandela in 2001. A number of public art features, fountains, a canal and greenery can be found here as an oasis amongst the city centre excitement.


The city has teams representing all the major national sports. Leeds United A.F.C. are the city's main football club. Leeds Rhinos (Rugby League), Leeds Carnegie (Rugby Union) and Yorkshire County Cricket Club are also based in the city. Leeds United was formed in 1919 and plays at the 40,000 capacity Elland Road in Beeston. The team play in the third tier of the English league.

Inside a stadium with grass in the foreground and rugby posts and a large three-storey roofed stand with clock at the far end. At ground-level there are steps and railings for standing patrons, and in front are a number of advertisements for the Leeds Building Society, PowerGen, Studio Jeff Banks, etc. The upper part of the stand has about fifteen rows of seats, most of them coloured blue but the others collectively spelling out the word "Carnegie". There are a small number of patrons in both sections and a few more on the top level in front of some windows at the rear. To the left of the stand is part of another three-storey building. In front of this, at the far left-hand end of the pitch, are a few drum-majorettes with pompoms.
The new Carnegie Stand at Headingley Stadium (rugby)

Leeds Rhinos are the most successful rugby league team in Leeds. In 2009 they became first club to be Super League champions three seasons running.[133] They play their home games at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium. Hunslet Hawks, based at the John Charles Centre for Sport play in Co-Operative Championship One. Bramley Buffaloes and Leeds Akkies are members of the Rugby League Conference. Leeds Carnegie, formerly known as Leeds Tykes, are the foremost rugby union team in Leeds and they play at Headingley Carnegie Stadium. They play in the Guinness Premiership, the top level of domestic rugby union in England. Otley R.U.F.C. are a rugby union club based to the north of the city and also compete in National Division One, whilst Morley R.F.C., located in Morley currently play in National Division Three North. Leeds Carnegie L.F.C. are the best-placed women's football team in Leeds, competing at the highest level in England, the FA Women's Premier League National Division.

Leeds City Athletics Club competes in the British Athletics League and UK Women's League as well as the Northern Athletics League. The city has a wealth of sports facilities including the Elland Road football stadium, a host stadium during the 1996 European Football Championship; the Headingley Carnegie Stadiums, adjacent stadia world famous for both cricket and rugby league and the John Charles Centre for Sport with an Olympic sized pool in its Aquatics Centre [134] and includes a multi-use stadium. Other facilities include the Leeds Wall (climbing) and Yeadon Tarn sailing centre. In 1929 the first Ryder Cup of Golf to be held on British soil was competed for at the Moortown Golf club in Leeds and Wetherby has a National Hunt racecourse.[135] In the period 1928 to 1939 speedway racing was staged in Leeds on a track at the greyhound stadium in Elland Road. The track entered a team in the 1931 Northern league.


A street sloping uphill from right to left. There are parked cars and pedestrians in the foreground, and the hoardings further up indicate that the road is temporarily closed. On the right of the road in the centre of the picture is one end of a large early twentieth-century stone-built church in the Arts and Crafts style which is apparently being restored, as there are portakabins and screens outside. It has an elaborate entrance on the street with a large recessed window above and another to the right. There is another, plainer, entrance on the minor street with a No Entry sign that runs alongside the side of the church. Alongside it are two small windows; above and behind this entrance and the windows are three large arches with, underneath each, a tall thin window. Beyond these, part of a transept can be seen. Above the church is a bell-tower with castellated columns at the corners and a pyramid roof. There are railings between the church and pavement. Beyond the church, some red-brick buildings can be seen, most notably a four-storey building with an elaborate corner tower. In the right foreground, across the side-street from the church, part of a four-storey 1920s neo-Georgian building can be seen behind a pair of telephone kiosks.
St Anne's Cathedral (Roman Catholic), Leeds

The majority of people in Leeds identify themselves as Christian.[58] Leeds does not have a Church of England Cathedral because Leeds is part of the Anglican Diocese of Ripon and Leeds and the Cathedral for this Diocese is in Ripon; the Bishop's residence has been in Leeds since 2008. The most important Anglican church is the Leeds Parish Church. Leeds has a Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds. Many other Christian denominations are established in Leeds, including Assembly of God, Baptist, Christian Scientist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("Mormons"), Community of Christ, Greek Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus Army, Lutheran, Methodist, Nazarene, Newfrontiers network, Pentecostal, Salvation Army, Seventh-Day Adventist, Society of Friends ("Quakers"), Unitarian, United Reformed, Vineyard, Wesleyan Church, an ecumenical Chinese church, and several independent churches.[136][137]

A large symmetrical two-storey building of yellow brick. The centre bay, incorporating the entrance, juts out. It has a large window with a semicircular top on the first floor and above is a golden onion dome on a blue base. At the ends of the frontage are hexagonal pilasters with small octagonal windowed pavilions and onion domes on top. Above the entrance is a white sign saying "The Sikh Temple" in blue. Each side has one two-storey and one one-storey window, and also yellow banners alongside the Temple's name. On each side of the entrance is a wooden seat, and strings of bunting are stretched across the scene.
Sikh Temple, Chapeltown Road
A striking modern building of two shades or red-brick with, on its left, two tall circular towers with minarets and a low entrance-building. The near end has two long thin windows with green panels and pointed tops to the right of the nearer tower. To the right of the windows is another, lower, tower with a small green dome. In the centre of the building, part of a larger dome can be seen. In the background are some trees and a red-brick Victorian terrace.
Leeds Jamia Mosque

The proportion of Muslims in Leeds is average for the country.[58] Mosques can be found throughout the city, serving Muslim communities in Chapeltown, Harehills, Hyde Park and parts of Beeston. The largest mosque is Leeds Grand Mosque in Hyde Park. The Sikh community is represented by Gurudwaras (Temples) spread across the city, the largest being in Chapeltown. There is also a colourful religious annual procession, called the Nagar Kirtan, into Millennium Square in the city centre around 13–14 April to celebrate Baisakhi — the Sikh New Year and the birth of the religion. It is estimated that around 3,000 Sikhs in Leeds take part in this annual event.

Leeds has the third-largest Jewish community in the United Kingdom, after those of London and Manchester. The areas of Alwoodley and Moortown contain sizeable Jewish populations.[59] There are eight active synagogues in Leeds.[138] The small Hindu community in Leeds has a temple (mandir) at Hyde Park.[139] The temple has all the major Hindu deities and is dedicated to the Lord Mahavira of the Jains.[140] Various Buddhist traditions are represented in Leeds,[141] including: FWBO, Soka Gakkai, Theravada, Tibetan and Zen. The Buddhist community (sangha) comes together to celebrate the major festival of Wesak in May. There is also a community of the Bahai Faith in Leeds.[142]

Public services

Water supply and sewerage in Leeds is provided by Yorkshire Water, part of the Kelda Group. Prior to 1973 it had been provided by the Leeds Corporation. Leeds City Council has a target of 11MW of renewable energy from onshore wind by 2010 and an aspirational target of 75MW by 2020. There are currently no operational wind farms in Leeds.[143]

A plain corner building of the 1930s on a main road. Traffic-lights, railings, bollards and pedestrian crossings with tactile paving can also be seen. The frontage of the building is mainly brick, but the lowest course, of Portland stone, extends as far as the sills of the eleven ground-floor windows (eight on the main road and three on the side road to the right). The wooden double entrance door set diagonally on the corner also has a stone surround. Above it is a long window with a projecting brick surround, and above this is a large sign in capital letters, originally reading SHEEPSCAR but now with the second "E" missing. The upper floor has smaller windows above all of the ground-floor ones except for the furthest one on the main road, where there is no upper floor. The building has a slate half-hipped roof.
West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds site

The area is policed by the West Yorkshire Police. The force has eight divisions, three of which cover Leeds: AA "North West Leeds Division" covering north and west Leeds with a station at Weetwood; BA "North East Leeds Division", covering north east Leeds with stations at Stainbeck near Chapel Allerton and Killingbeck; CA "City and Holbeck Division" covering central and south Leeds with stations at Millgarth (City Centre) and Holbeck. Fire and rescue services are provided by the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. The fire stations in Leeds are: Cookridge, Gipton, Hunslet, "Leeds" (near city centre, on Kirkstall Road) and Moortown.

Health services are provided by the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds Primary Care Trust[144] and Leeds Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust[145] which provides mental health services. Leeds General Infirmary is a listed building with more recent additions and is in the city centre. St James's University Hospital, Leeds, known as "Jimmy's", is to the north east of the city centre and is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe. Other NHS hospitals are Chapel Allerton Hospital, Seacroft Hospital, Wharfedale Hospital in Otley, and Leeds Dental Institute. The new NHS Leeds Website provides information on NHS services in Leeds.[146]

West Yorkshire Joint Services provides analytical, archaeological, archives, ecology, materials testing and trading standards services in Leeds and the other four districts of West Yorkshire. It was created following the abolition of the county council in 1986 and expanded in 1997, and is funded by the five district councils, pro rata to their population. The Leeds site of the archives service is in the former public library at Sheepscar, Leeds.[147]

Twin towns

The City has several twinning or partnership arrangements:

The city also has "strong contacts" with the following cities "for the purposes of ongoing projects":[150]

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  109. ^ "WYPlayhouse: About us". West Yorkshire Playhouse. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  110. ^ "Northern Ballet Theatre : History". Northern Ballet Theatre. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  111. ^ "The making of Soft Cell's Tainted Love". 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
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  114. ^ Chiu, David (2004-12-30). "Gang of Four Return". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
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  116. ^ "Biography « Melanie Brown". Melanie Brown. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
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  131. ^ "Leeds City Guide: Leeds Gay Scene". 
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  147. ^ "Leeds – Brno partnership". Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
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  152. ^ "Leeds – Durban partnership". Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
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  154. ^ "Leeds – Lille partnership". Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
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  156. ^ "Leeds – Siegen partnership". Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
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  • Fraser, Derek (1982). A History of Modern Leeds. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719007811. 
  • Unsworth and Stillwell (2004). Twenty-First Century Leeds: Geographies of a Regional City. Leeds: Leeds University Press. ISBN 0853162425. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Leeds [1], the largest city in the county of Yorkshire, in West Yorkshire is famed for its excellent shopping, vibrant nightlife, thriving universities and sports. Leeds is an extremely attractive city with wonderful Georgian, Victorian, 20th and 21st century architecture. There are many fantastic museums, cafés, restaurants and theatres to visit. It is located in the middle of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire Moors and Peak District, with easy access to the ancient city of York and historic Spa town of Harrogate.


Leeds (derived from the Celtic area Leodis) was voted UK's favourite city in Condé Nast's Readers' Traveller Awards 2003. It was a market town that became an industrial powerhouse and grew and developed into a service-based city economy with an attractive, smart centre.

Roman Leeds was an important strategic fort, ford and small settlement on the York-Chester road. Recorded in the Domesday book of 1086, it became a thriving market town in the Middle Ages, gaining its town charter from the King in 1207. The medieval city was based around Briggate, Kirkgate, Swinegate and The Calls. (The ending "-gate" came from the old Norse for 'street'.) It was a trading centre in the West Riding of Yorkshire for cloth and wool; from Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield to the port of Hull, east along the river Aire and the 1699 Aire & Calder Navigation canal. Whilst the town grew rapidly (population over 30,000 in the eighteenth century, when the gracious Georgian West End was built), it was for a long time economically overshadowed by nearby York.

The industrial revolution brought about massive change as it became a huge manufacturing centre of wool and textiles and a major trading centre (with over half the country's export passing through for a period). Leeds became known as the city of a thousand trades and by the middle of the nineteenth century the population had passed 200,000. Bolstered by the 1816 Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the Leeds-Selby railway in 1835 (The Middleton Railway was the world's first commercial railway, 1758 Railway Act, from The Middleton colliery to coal-staithes (sidings) at Meadow Lane just south of Leeds Bridge), the city continued to grow and prosper rapidly, with grandiose architectural manifestations of the Victorian city's wealth built in abundance, and expanding affluent suburbs to the north. Leeds University was created around the 1880s, bringing an intellectual dimension, and Leeds was served by one of the world's most extensive tram systems (sadly later replaced by buses). Leeds Bridge was the location of the world's first moving images, filmed in 1888 by Frenchman Louis le Prince (who later disappeared in mysterious circumstances), and Leeds was the first city in the world to have a modern traffic light system, the first of which were situated at the junction of Park Row and Bond Street. Leeds was granted city status in 1893.

By the twentieth century, Leeds's population was approaching 500,000. Whilst Leeds suffered far less than many other large UK cities from the WWII blitz, it was affected by the mass industrial decline of the country in the post-war period, and became characterised by unemployment and huge council estates. Versatility enabled it to survive and it began to prosper in the 1980s, when renovation of the centre and waterfront, and demolition of some of the worst estates began. By the 1990s the city was reborn with wealth based on service industries and commerce, the financial and legal centres making it the most important city in the UK in these areas outside London. With the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Royal Armouries, restoration of the Victoria Quarter and Corn Exchange, the clean up of major historical buildings, the new Harvey Nichols store and new bars, shops and restaurants - all in the mid 90s, the city was truly on the move. The most recent Census (2001) shows Leeds with a population of just over 715,000.

Today, Leeds is still one of the most cosmopolitan, fast-growing, innovative and prosperous cities in the UK with developments springing up by the week and new bars, boutiques, clubs and restaurants seemingly more often, the two universities adding to the vibrancy, and international eateries and shops. Today it is one of the most multicultural cities in the country, with people of many different origins almost totally in harmony.

Leeds Visitor Centre is at The Arcade, Leeds City Station. [2]

  • Central Leeds
    • Civic quarter - north of the railway station, focussed on Millennium Square. Many museums and galleries can be found in this area as well as two major educational institutions.
    • Central shopping district - north and north east of the railway station
    • Exchange quarter - east of the railway station, centred on the Corn Exchange. Home to many quirky independents, bars and cafes.
    • Gay Village - east of the railway station around Lower Briggate
    • Financial district - north west of the railway station. The attractive Georgian Park Square is at the centre
    • Riverside - south of the railway station. The converted granaries are now home to shops and restaurants, while new developments bring upmarket shopping to Leeds. The Royal Armouries museum can be found at Clarence Dock.
    • Holbeck - south of the railway station. Once the industrial heart of Leeds, this district has been regenerated into a creative industries quarter with trendy bars spilling into cosy public spaces.
  • Headingley - the lively student and sports district
  • Chapel Allerton - trendy north Leeds area bursting with al fresco bars and restaurants
  • Roundhay - attractive, leafy and well-heeled district of north Leeds, home to the vast and beautiful Roundhay Park, Tropical World, and a small selection of exclusive shops and eateries supplemented by those in nearby Oakwood.

There are various places of interest, shops, restaurants, historic sites, etc outside of the city centre and the above districts. These are listed geographically in the following guides: North East Leeds, North West Leeds, West Leeds, South Leeds and East Leeds.

  • Leeds-Bradford International Airport [3]. Leeds is very accessible by air. 10 miles north-west of the city centre. Budget airline Jet2 [4] offer a wide range of flights to and from Leeds, its main base. It is possible to fly direct from London (Gatwick) and Amsterdam amongst a wide range of other destinations. Direct flights to and from New York are being test-marketed this winter (2008) by Jet2. There is a regular bus service (the 757) into the city (journey time 40 minutes) and cabs are plentiful.
Car parks serving Leeds Bradford Airport
Address On/Off Airport Distance / Transfer Time Security Park Mark®
Additional Information
Long Stay Car Park
Leeds Bradford International Airport
LS19 7TU
0.7 miles / 5 minutes
Round-the-clock CCTV coverage, security fencing, entry/exit barriers and security patrols.
Maximum vehicle height is 2.5 metres.
Sentinel Security Car Park
Warren House Lane
West Yorkshire
LS19 7FT
0.8 miles / 3 minutes
CCTV, 24-hour security guards, barbed-wire security fencing and floodlighting.
Trailers are permitted, but will be charged for an extra space.
LBA Car Watch Parking
Coney Park
Harrogate Road
LS19 7XS
0.8 miles / 3 minutes
CCTV, floodlighting, security fencing and security patrols with guard dogs.
Trailers are permitted at no extra charge.
LCS Meet & Greet Parking [5]
Car park does not disclose address for security reasons.
Customer is met at terminal. No transfer required.
CCTV, security fencing and 24-hour on-site security.
Customer is met at the terminal upon departure and arrival.
  • Manchester Airport [6]. If you are coming from other continents then this is the nearest intercontinental airport. Come to Leeds by rail (24 hours a day service – hourly, at night every 2-3hr, journey time 1½ hrs).

By train

The busy, modern railway station [7] (occasionally called Leeds City Station), one of the biggest in the country with regular trains to a huge range of destinations all over the UK, is in the heart of the centre just off City Square.

By car

Leeds is possible the best connected UK city by road, lying in the centre of the country, halfway between London and Edinburgh and halfway between Liverpool (west coast) and Hull (east coast). The M1 motorway runs from London via Milton Keynes, Leicester, Nottingham, and Sheffield and passes about 2 miles east of Leeds, to join the A1(M) at Wetherby. The M62 trans-Pennine motorway, which runs from the outskirts of Liverpool to a few miles from Hull, passes about 3 miles to the south of Leeds. The M621 motorway loop just to the south of the city centre, and connects with the M1 and M62. The Scott Hall Road scheme features a park and ride site to the north of Leeds, opened in the 1990s and caters for 157 cars. For much of the journey into Leeds, buses run on a guided busway beside (or down the middle of) the main road and are given priority over cars. (See National Park and Ride Directory [11]. WhizzGo, a national car 'club' (i.e. car hire organisation which charges a £50 annual membership fee) has a branch in Leeds, and offers pay-by-the-hour car hire across the city. Cars are accessible via a smart card and PIN. [12]

  • Megabus [13] - to/from London.
  • National Express [14] - to/from London and other cities and towns.
  • Yorkshire Coastliner (bus) [15] - to/from York and the beautiful Yorkshire coast.

By boat

The ferry can be caught from mainland Europe; Zeebrugge, Belgium or Rotterdam, Holland to Kingston Upon Hull, which is approximately an hour from Leeds by car/train.

Get around

On foot

If you're just visiting the city centre, you might as well walk, as much of it is surprisingly compact. To orientate yourself, free maps [16] (quite simple but good for basic orientation) are available at the tourist information and a number of visitor attractions. There are some street maps dotted around the city centre, in guide books, street atlases, etc. Getting around Leeds is fairly easy. However, Leeds' central area is fairly compact with most of the major attractions and shops within walking distance of one another. There is also the FreeCityBus operational during the day, which you can hop on amd off for free as it loops the outer city centre (the main centre is pedestrianised)--see below.

Leeds walking directions can be planned online with the walking route planner [17].

By bus

Metro [18] (West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority) provides bus and train information on its website, and offers the innovative My Next Bus service of real-time bus information by text message or online. This real-time information is also displayed in certain bus shelters. First [19] runs most of the bus services within Leeds, and if travelling by bus, the best option is to buy a "day rider" for £3.70 (M-F before 9:30AM) / £2.70 (other times), which allows unlimited on First Bus within West Yorkshire all day. Public transport good--most major bus routes within the city are every 10 min or so. Useful bus routes for visitors include the following:

  • FreeCityBus [20] - loops around much of the city center every 6-7 minutes during the day.
  • 1 - Holt Park (North West Leeds) - Headingley - Universities - City centre - Beeston (south Leeds)
  • 2 - Roundhay Park - Moortown - Chapel Allerton - City Centre - Middleton (south Leeds)
  • 3/3A - White Rose Shopping Centre (South Leeds) - City Centre - Chapel Allerton - Gledhow
  • 4 ftr [21] - Whinmoor - Seacroft Shopping Centre - St James's University Hospital - City Centre - West Leeds - Pudsey (Watch out for ultra-modern purple and mauve bendy-buses.)
  • 12 & 13/13A - Middleton (south Leeds - City Centre - Harehills - Oakwood - Roundhay Park (12)/Gledhow (13/13A)
  • 16/16A - Seacroft Shopping Centre - City Centre - Armley - Bramley - Rodley - Pudsey Bus Station
  • 18/18A - Ireland Wood (north west Leeds) - Headingley (cricket ground) - City Centre - East Leeds - Selby Road - Garforth
  • 28 - Adel - Headingley - Universities - City Centre - Clarence Dock
  • 33/33A - City Centre - Kirkstall - Horsforth - Rawdon - Yeadon - Guiseley - Otley
  • 37/37A - City Centre - East Leeds
  • 40 Seacroft Shopping Centre - Cross Gates - City Centre
  • 42 - Old Farnley - Wortley - City Centre - Burmantofts - St James's University Hospital - Fearnville
  • 49 & 50/50A - East Leeds - St James' University Hopital - City Centre - Burley Road - Bramley (49) - Horsforth (50/50A)
  • 51/51A Morley (south of Leeds) - City Centre - Meanwood - Moor Allerton Shopping Centre
  • 56 - Whinmoor - East Leeds - City Centre - Tinshill (north west Leeds)
  • 71 - City Centre - Scott Hall Road - Park & Ride - Alwoodley (Primley Park)
  • 72 Leeds Bus Station - Leeds Headrow - Armley - Bramley - Stanningley - Thornbury - Bradford
  • 73 Leeds Bus Station - Leeds Train Station - Armley - Bramley - Stanningley - Pudsey
  • 95 & 96 - City Centre - Universities - Headingley - Otley Road - Lawnswood - Bodington Hall (95) or Cookridge (96)
  • 97 - City Centre - Headingley - West Park - Horsforth - Rawdon - Yeadon - Guiseley
  • 757 - City Centre - Kirkstall - Horsforth - Rawdon - Airport (- Otley)

By taxi

Taxis can be expensive, but the black and white ones are licensed and safer than private hire cabs. The black and white taxis can be flagged down but you must phone first for the others.

There is a very cheap taxi company called Amber (advanced booking only, 0113 231 1366)--you can get around the city centre for about £3-7.

By rail

There is a limited suburban train service which serves some tourist destinations such as Headingley Stadium, but plans are underway for a radical overhaul of the city's transport system since the proposed tram system has had its funding withdrawn by the government.

By boat

There is a shuttle boat between Granary Wharf (for Leeds City Station), Brewery Wharf and Clarence Dock (for the Royal Armouries Museum), operated by Leeds City Cruisers.

Town Hall
Town Hall

Although not considered a 'traditional' tourist destination, Leeds has plenty to occupy the visitor. As well as the main sights, museums, galleries, parks etc, wandering around the buzzing city centre to take in the atmosphere and admire the fantastic blend of architectural styles from the past few hundred years is a pleasure in itself. Within the city centre, the main districts are the civic quarter, central shopping district, exchange quarter and financial district.

  • Millennium Square. There is generally something going on! A great public space home to some gorgeous civic architecture, concerts, exhibitions, ice rinks, Christmas markets.  edit
  • St Anne's Cathedral, Cookridge Street, [22]. Small, but an extremely interesting example of an Arts and Crafts, 19th Century Catholic Cathedral - unique within the UK.  edit
  • St John's Church, New Briggate. Hidden away within peaceful gardens lies this true gem, built just before the English Civil War, it has beautiful ornate woodwork in its charming interior, and architecturally it is an extremely rare example of a 17th century double nave design.  edit
  • Town Hall, The Headrow, [23]. The city's symbol and pride and joy, one of the world's finest Victorian buildings, and home to a dazzling array of concerts, particularly during the city's popular and extensive International Concert Season [24]. The recently restored interior is stunning.  edit
  • Leeds Art Gallery and The Henry Moore Institute, The Headrow. The world of modern and classical art is at your disposal here in Leeds. It has a small but interesting range of exhibits, and is a great place to kill half an hour. Free.   edit
  • Oxford Place Chapel, Oxford Place. Lovely 19th Century, red-brick baroque church.  edit
  • Victoria Quarter including County Arcade, Briggate, [25]. When the Victorian civic authorities sought to improve the sights and foul smells of Briggate and the city centre, they demolished some of the city's dirtiest yards, alleyways, shambles and lanes and built covered shopping arcades filled with fine establishments. These catered for the refined tastes of the growing moneyed classes of Leeds. This rebuilding continued into Edwardian times and the legacy is some of Europe's finest, most elegant shopping locations. Today these arcades are home to some of the most exclusive designer shops in Great Britain (Vivienne Westwood, Hugo Boss, Luis Vuitton and Harvey Nichols to name a few).  edit
  • Kirkgate Market, Vicar Lane, [26]. This traditional British market is largest in Europe. Housed in an opulent late Victorian palace to commerce, it has both indoor and outdoor stalls. Marks and Spencer had their first establishment here, originally called, 'Marks Penny Bazaar'.  edit
  • Corn Exchange, Call Lane, [27]. Shopping in surroundings to rival any of Leeds' fine arcades. Located just to the south of Kirkgate markets on Vicar Lane. Designed by Cuthbert Broderick and architecturally based on the Paris corn exchange. A largely elliptical building, crowned with a great glass dome roof, that allows light to stream in even on the greyest Yorkshire winter mornings. (Broderick was also architect of Leeds town hall and the Leeds Mechanics' Institute, Millennium Square, Two shops designed by Broderick still survive opposite the Mechanics Institute on Cookridge Street, now converted into a cocktail bar.)  edit
  • Parish Church, Kirkgate, [28]. An attractive and fairly large neo-gothic church with a renowned choir and concerts from time to time. During the rebuilding of the Parish church in Victorian times, the original Saxon crosses where Leeds folk would have worshipped in the 8/9th centuries (well before the first church of Leeds had been founded) were unearthed in the medieval tower and is permanently on display inside.  edit
  • Holy Trinity Church, Boar Lane. An unassuming location and exterior hide an elegant baroque interior, built for the merchant class by subscription and donation so they could worship well away from the lower working classes of the city. The Iconic spire of Holy Trinity has dominated the skyline of the city for hundreds of years and was restored in 2006/7.  edit
  • Park Square. A lovely Georgian square reminiscent of Dublin, and is often an overlooked haven of tranquility in the city centre. (Hard to find without a map)  edit
  • Clarence Dock, river area, [29]. This interesting development of cafés, restaurants, shops and apartments was completed during 2008. Home to Royal Armouries Museum.  edit
  • The Royal Armouries Museum, Armouries Drive, river area (Clarence Dock), [30]. National museum of all things deadly, from swords and guns to armoury and pikes, now famous for its regular live jousting. Contains rare armour belonging to King Henry VIII and a diverse arsenal from the Royal collection, sourced from a-far a field as China, India and America. Features rare experimental pistols, and weaponry from many of the world's conflicts.  edit
  • Salem Chapel, Bridge End. Interesting and unique Unitarian chapel. Also the place where Leeds United football club was founded, replacing the old bankrupt Leeds City football club.  edit
  • Leeds Christmas Illuminations (Leeds Lights), [31]. The UK's biggest display, are an annual display from Nov-Jan comprising both big show lights and the subtle and beautiful across the city, and are even longer than the legendary Blackpool Illuminations.  edit

Civic Quarter

Home to the Town Hall, the fantastic Art Gallery, Henry Moore Institute and Millennium Square, this grand corner of the city is where many of the main tourist draws are to be found. The Light with its shops, restaurants, bars, hotel, cinema etc in a beautifully converted historic building is a major pull, but venture along the Headrow and experience some of the best cultural attractions on offer in the city. The Art Gallery has great rotating exhibitions and the best collection of 20th century British art outside London. Adjoining it are the Henry Moore Institute and the Central Lending Library with its beautiful Victorian interior. Across the road is the Town Hall (see above), a breathtaking demonstration of civic pride.

On Great George St is a small selection of shops, the 19th century entrance (with a lovely colonial-style entrance hallway and small gallery space up the stairs) of the Leeds General Infirmary, and the recently restored Electric Press which is now home to the Carriageworks Theatre and several bars and restaurants, providing a semi-al fresco eating environment for all weather conditions. Next door is the impressive and well-used public space of Millennium Square (see above) with its attractive Mandela Gardens (opened by Mandela himself, now a freeman of the city, they are a lovely spot especially in summer) abutting the Electric Press building. The square is crowned with the Portland Stone neo-classical Civic Hall and the new City Museum (opened in 2008). Down on Cookridge St is the city's small but unique Arts and Crafts St Anne's Cathedral.

Central Shopping District

The very centre of Leeds is a temple to consumerism. Bounded by the 'Public Transport Box', a rough half mile square between The Headrow, Vicar Lane, Boar Lane and Park Row gives Leeds one of the most compact, busy and diverse pedestrian shopping districts in the UK where the highest concentration of the city centre's stores are to be found.

The principal shopping street is the broad and bustling Briggate (recently attractively repaved), where many flagship stores such as Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser, Debenhams are to be found alongside high-end fashion (eg Louis Vuitton) and high street favourites (Topshop, Zara, H&M) etc. Briggate's attractive and eclectic architecture spans three centuries, and the grand shop fronts only add to the streets appeal.

Either side of the top end of Briggate are the city's famous arcades, splendidly palatial Victorian roofed-over shopping streets home to some of the city's most exclusive and interesting shops. The famous Victoria Quarter (Victoria St, County Arcade and Cross Arcade) has some of the most expensive clothes in Leeds. Queen's and Thornton's arcades are a little more affordable with more independent stores. Down from the arcades, several medieval yards (or "loins") run off almost hidden from between shopfronts on Briggate. Whilst some are little more than shop-backs and some are now closed off, some exude genuine historic atmosphere and a few are home to attractive pubs and bars, including The Angel Inn, The Ship, The Bay Horse, Queen's Court and three-hundred-year-old Whitelocks'.

Beyond Briggate, there are several other prominent shopping streets, including gorgeously symmetrical King Edward Street with its matching Victorian Burmantoft terracotta buildings. Commercial Street, Kirkgate, Lands Lane and Albion St are other principal streets in the area, continuing the mix of shops, cafés, lovely architecture. There are also several indoor shopping centres, and a central focal point is tiny but busy Central Square at the base of Lands Lane. Albion Place is a quieter street of elegant Georgian buildings (mainly offices) including the exclusive Leeds Club and the city's central private members library, running between the square and Albion St. Swan Street is a quiet and pretty little street between Briggate and Lands Lane with a few attractive little shops, cafés and bars and a laid-back vibe, as well as the internationally famous City Varieties theatre and music-hall, once home to Charlie Chaplin.

Exchange Quarter

Centred on the massive dome of the Corn Exchange, the Exchange Quarter is the centre of Leeds' bohemian life, with one-off boutiques, funky cafés and piercing parlours filling its pretty cobbled streets. It is becoming increasingly chic, however, with a plethora of upscale bars and stylish restaurants, particularly on Call Lane.

The Corn Exchange dominates the area, sitting squattly at the junction of several major roads. This grand Victorian building is one of the finest in the city, and was a functioning corn market for several decades, but was almost unused for much of the twentieth century, until its restoration to its present form in the 1980s. It now houses a myriad of little boutiques, a few cafés and market stalls. The goth and emo teenagers that hang around outside frequent many of the shops such as Grin and Exit, but there are also a range of fashion and artisan stores to please all, and the beautiful architecture (the shops fit into the retained 19th-century store-fronts, and the domed roof is spectacular from the interior) can be enjoyed by everyone.

Three sides of the Corn Exchange are bounded by semi-pedestrian cobbled streets lined by a hotch potch of attractive victorian buildings home to shops and restaurants from Blue Rinse (see below) to Pizza Express, housed in the beautiful Third White Cloth Hall, sadly sliced in half by the railway in the mid-nineteenth century, but retaining its lovely facade and clock-tower. Along the railway, the continental feel continues with bars and cafés that spill on to the pavement. Beautiful Assembly Street, a hub of nightlife, is lined with elegant and imposing eighteenth-century warehouses and has been recently repaved, and in the summer is a relaxing place to sip a coffee or cocktail and admire the buildings and atmosphere. Nearby Crown Street buildings are a fine example of modern architecture at its finest, sympathetic to the surrounding environment but adding a dash of vibrancy with bright use of colour above its restaurants and bars.

Call Lane, the area's main drag, is a hive of activity in the evenings, with several of the city's best and most stylish bars, all vying for attention. In the day-time however it is much quieter, with a few vintage and alternative clothes stores at the Kirkgate end, and musical instrument shops located at the Calls end. There is plenty of enjoyment to be had from wondering around the pretty and historic medieval yards that run between Call Lane and Lower Briggate (at night these too come alive and are full of revelers).

Kirkgate is currently a fairly downmarket shopping street with a few off-beat stores. However plans are afoot to refurbish the historic town-houses and bring life back into the street as a centre for independent shops, with the renovation of the dilapidated First White Cloth Hall along similar (if smaller) lines to the Corn Exchange. The east end of Kirkgate and New York Street also increasingly have a number of bars and clubs, including the celebrated Northern Light; there are also several new apartment buildings springing up. The end of Kirkgate is market by Leeds Parish Church, a grand (if not enormous) neo-gothic structure home to one of the country's most revered children's choirs. To the west, Central Road links Kirkgate to Duncan Street, and is home to some attractive Flemish-style buildings, a few off-beat shops and the acclaimed Little Tokyo restaurant and Leeds institution the HiFi Club. Duncan Street has a number of small shops.

The Calls was where riverside life restarted in Leeds, with its renovation from a derelict nowhere to the city's most desirable real estate in the 1980s. The apartments lining the waterfront may not be as exclusive or as rare today, but it is still an attractive and expensive area, home to some of Leeds' longest running high-end establishments including 42 The Calls hotel, Pool Court and the Calls Grill. Some of the waterfront and streets around here are surprisingly yet to be fully renovated, but it's unlikely to be long before developers get their claws into the remaining warehouses, railway arches and mill-cottages. Leeds Civic Trust's heritage centre and left-wing arts centre The Common Place fill the gap between the Calls and the railway line.

Financial District

Whilst the Financial District does not have the obvious draws of the Civic Quarter, it is nonetheless an interesting area that deserves at least a little of your time. Roughly bounded by the Headrow and Westgate to the North, the A58 motorway to the West, the River Aire to the South and Park Row to the East, this is the most expensive business real estate in the city. Many large companies have their offices here as well as innumerable lawyers, estate agents, etc.

Park Square is probably the number one attraction of the area. Situated just south-west of the Town Hall, this large and handsome Georgian Square has lovely formal gardens that fill up with workers at lunchtime in the warmer months. Whilst most of the square is bounded by rows of 18th century redbrick townhouses that made the square one of the city's most fashionable addresses 200 years ago, the South West corner is home to a little-known architectural highlight of Leeds, a converted warehouse (now offices) built in the 19th century as a replication of a Moorish Palace, complete with turrets and Islamic-style ornate design. The streets to the south of Park Square are a mixture of Georgian townhouses and more modern office buildings sitting cheek-by-jowl. Whilst not hugely diverting, there are several interesting buildings in this area. Wellington Street, a busy thoroughfare which marks the bottom of the Georgian area, has several restaurants and bars as well as being characterised by more modern business development.

Between East Parade and Park Row, two busy main routes through the area, are a series of parallel streets that are home to some of the city's top restaurants and bars, most famously Greek Street. There is a rich patchwork of architecture spanning the past two centuries in this small area, with fine Gothic buildings and sleek modern towers. Park Row itself boasts outstanding buildings such as the Leeds Permanent building, blending seamlessly into modern glass building-fronts.

The south-east corner of the Financial District is City Square, one of the most important hubs of city life. Recently cleaned up and repaved, the square is still home to bronze nymphs holding gas lights and the famous statue of the Black Prince. The old post office is now the swanky Restaurant Bar & Grill and Loch Fyne seafood restaurant. A rarely beautiful 1990s office block sits at No1 City Square, and the south side is taken up by the Art Deco facade of grand old dame of the Leeds Railway hotel trade, The Queens Hotel (L.N.E.R.).

  • Thackray Medical Museum, Beckett Street (next door to St James' Hospital), [32]. Award winning. The best of its kind in the country, with all manner of exhibits and the chance to experience the life of a Victorian child or mill-worker (and their often gruesome medical history). If you've got children, you'd be mad to miss it!  edit
  • Tropical World, Princes Avenue, Roundhay, [33]. Great for a rainy day as it's all indoors, this extensive menagerie has animals, birds, fish and insects from across the globe in thoughtfully themed zones.  edit
  • Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road (off Selby Road), [34]. One of the great historic estates in England. With over 1500 acres landscaped by Capability Brown in the 18th century, it is a large Tudor–Jacobean mansion housing a large collection of works of art. The garden has some excellent walks and houses a working Rare Breeds farm.  edit
  • Harewood House, Harewood Village, [35]. This huge estate, complete with extensive gardens, lake, lovely café and bird gardens, is owned by the Queen's cousin. The opulent roccoco house itself is well worth a look around.  edit
  • Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey Road, Kirkstall,, [36]. Largest abbey in the North of England - see below. One of the UK's biggest and best preserved abbeys, recently restored with a new visitor centre. It's 3 miles out of town but lovers of history and architecture, or those in search of a beautiful and peaceful spot in the city won't regret making the trip. Buses (33/33a) every 10 minutes from the city centre. Opposite is Abbey House Museum [37].  edit
  • Armley Mills, Canal Road, Armley,, [38]. Excellent museum of industry and Leeds' (major) role in the Industrial Revolution.  edit
  • Thwaite Mills, Thwaite Lane, Stourton, [39]. Rare example of a former stone-crushing mill, now an excellent working museum.  edit
  • Middleton Railway, Moor Road, Hunslet, [40]. The oldest working railway in the world. Situated in South Leeds between Middleton and Hunslet, it used to carry coal from the coal mines to the south of the city to the factories of Hunslet and central Leeds. You can now have a ride on the historic rolling stock.  edit
  • Church of St John the Baptist, Church Lane, Adel, [41]. Whilst a long way out of town, this leafy and extremely affluent suburb has some lovely houses, and is a world a way from the bustle of the city centre - nearby York Gate garden is beautiful and well worth a visit), this lovely and well-preserved early Norman church set in verdant grounds is a hidden treasure  edit
  • Bramham Park, Wetherby, [42]. Another such stately home to the north-east of Leeds with a long history and lovely gardens and grounds.  edit

Future attractions

N.B. under construction or planned for the future:

  • Holbeck Urban Village, [43]. The complete renovation and restoration of an entire city district. In the south-west of central Leeds, this historic area was key to the Industrial Revolution, and has many buildings and sites of interest, including the stunning Egyptian-style Temple Mill and Italianate Tower Works. The restoration and redevelopment has already begun with the Round Foundry, a new-age village of offices, flats, cafés and media centres complete with traditional paved streets and 200-year old buildings. A plethora of other developments promise that this area will become more and more of an exciting new destination.  edit
  • Lumiere, Wellington Street, [44]. Construction halted in July 2008.. Planned to be the tallest residential building in Europe, Lumiere also included a winter garden, numerous shops and restaurants. It was to be a dramatic new addition to the city's skyline (and at 52 stories the tallest UK building outside London). If construction starts again at a later date, it will no doubt grab the attention of visitors and residents alike.  edit



Leeds holds two annual film festivals: the increasingly prestigious Leeds International Film Festival [45] with its huge menu of different films and Leeds Young People's Film Festival [46]. Cinemas in surrounding areas include Odeon Leeds Bradford (Thornbury: 7 miles) [47]; Showcase (Birstall: 6 miles) [48]; Vue, Kirkstall (2 miles) [49] and Xscape Castleford (10 miles) [50].

  • Vue, The Light Shopping Center, The Headrow, city center, [51]. Modern, well located 13-screen multiplex with huge screens.  edit
  • Hyde Park Picture House, [52]. Another excellent independent cinema in the midst of the hot-bed of student habitation in the town. The cinema shows a mix of modern mainstream and art-cinema films as well as a formidable selection of classics. Lucky cinephiles may even experience the latter in conjunction with an introductory speech prepared for local film students. It retains many of its original features including gas lighting.  edit
  • Cottage Road Cinema, Headingley, [53]. Atmospheric old cinema near the centre of Headingley. Plenty to do afterwards as well.  edit
  • The Carriageworks, Millennium Square, [54]. Home to the city's impressive range of amateur dramatic and musical groups, including the acclaimed Leeds Youth Opera [55]  edit
  • Jongleurs, [56]. The Leeds branch of the national comedy club chain.  edit
  • City Varieties Music Hall, [57]. World famous and has even had Charlie Chaplin tread the boards. Home to a mix of shows.  edit
  • Grand Theatre, [58]. Major shows (often straight from the West End); also this is the home of the world famous (and extraordinarily good) Opera North who perform a wide repertoire of operas and operettas.  edit
  • Seven, Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, [59]. A new theatre and arts centre due to open soon on Harrogate Road in Chapel Allerton  edit
  • West Yorkshire Playhouse, [60]. More adventurous and often performs world premiers and encourages local talent - well worth a visit. Lucky travellers may arrive in time for one of the themed, almost festival-style programmes.  edit

Live music

The city's music scene is burgeoning at the moment, and Leeds is a great place to see up-and-coming talent, with recently successful bands such as Corinne Bailey Rae, Kaiser Chiefs and Sunshine Underground. Leeds is home to many live performances from big-name stars, mostly at outdoor concerts. Millennium Square in the city centre regularly has gigs with a 7,000 capacity. Leeds is planning to build an indoor concert arena of around (or possibly over) 14,000 seats. See also: Clubs, for example The Cockpit and HiFi.

  • Leeds Festival, [62]. Northern twin of the famous Reading festival. 3 days of live bands and stars from around the world play to 80,000 people every summer bank holiday weekend. You can camp over, or attend just one day.  edit
  • Leeds Irish Centre, York Road, East Leeds. Regular concerts from a variety of different types of musical acts.  edit
  • Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds Met), [63].  edit
  • Roundhay Park.  edit
  • Temple Newsam. Every year, Temple Newsam plays host to the UK's original Party in the Park pop extravaganza featuring big name chart stars of the minute. Opera in the Park is a massively popular outdoor festival of opera and songs from the shows, also at Temple Newsam.  edit
  • Leeds University Refectory. Hosts a huge number of concerts from medium-large bands across the year. It is famously where the Who recorded their seminal live album Live at Leeds.  edit
  • The Wardrobe, Quarry Hill. Famed for its diverse range of quality live music, including a strong jazz offer.  edit
  • Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, Leeds Town Hall, [64]. Every 3 years (2012). One of the world's most prestigious piano contests, held every 3 years in the magnificent Victorian Town Hall, this event attracts the world's best piano players. Next due to be held 2012. ===Sport=== There are plenty of leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools across the city, though unfortunately there won't be a public swimming pool in the city centre until the University one is completed. Major city centre fitness/leisure centres are deluxe Esporta, LA fitness and the ubiquitous Virgin Active. Some hotels have great leisure facilities or agreements with local centres for free access for guests. * John Charles Centre for Sport, South Leeds, [65]. International standard facilities for all four jumping disciplines: triple jump, long jump, high jump and pole vault. As well as an area for javelin throwing, an indoor throwing cage is available for discus and hammer. The centre also has its own specific weights area, designed specifically for use by athletes, dedicated to high performance and strength training. An eight lane all weather outdoor athletics track conforms to full International Association of Athletics Federations specifications. Six indoor tennis courts and six outdoor floodlit courts provide the ideal tennis environment either for the complete beginner or the established player. Leeds has a brand new (2007) 50 metre pool and diving centre.  edit  edit
  • Cricket (Yorkshire County Cricket Club), Headingley, [66]. April-September. Also a Test Match venue.  edit
  • Leeds United Football Club, [67]. August-May. Currently in League One (the third tier of English League football), but traditionally one of the largest English football clubs.  edit
  • Rugby League (Leeds Rhinos), Headingley, [68]. Best supported Rugby club in the UK (League or Union). World Champions 2005 & 2007, Superleague Champions 2004, 2007, 2008 & 2009.  edit
  • Ice Cube, Millennium Square, [69]. January-March. Outdoor ice skating.  edit
  • Pole Position Indoor Karting, [70].  edit
  • Rugby Union (Leeds Tykes), [71]. September-May. Currently in the Guinness Premiership (the top tier of English Rugby Union) - Powergen Cup Winner 2004.  edit
  • Xscape Castleford, Colorado Way, Castleford, [72]. Real snow indoor ski slopes (with designer outlet, cinema and nightlife). Indoor real snow skiing, Ice climbing wall, cinema and restaurants!  edit


Whilst hardly tropical, Leeds has an unusually mild and sunny climate for northern England, protected from the worst and wettest weather by the Pennine Hills to the west ... this gives more than ample opportunity to explore the fantastic parks of one of Europe's greenest cities (Leeds has the most green space in its city limits of any European city other than Vienna).

  • Roundhay Park, [73]. Huge picturesque park with 2 lakes, café, flower gardens and walks. Right next to Tropical World, and the lovely formal Canal Gardens, be sure to visit them all in one day.  edit
  • Golden Acre Park, North West Leeds, [74]. Gardens and café set around huge lake.  edit
  • Hall Park, Horsforth. Some distance from central Leeds, has lovely Japanese Gardens and is accessible by bus.  edit
  • The Hollies Arboretum, North West Leeds, [75]. Large botanical garden set in lush woodlands with a wonderful selection of plants.  edit
  • Lotherton Hall, [76]. Deer park, extensive and interesting bird garden, historic hall and café. Museum.  edit
  • Otley Chevin, Otley Village, North Leeds, [78].  edit
  • Temple Newsam, East Leeds, [79]. Country mansion, wonderful parkland and rare breeds visitor farm (excellent for kids) - all within the city boundary!  edit
  • Woodhouse Moor, Central/North Leeds. The closest big park to central Leeds, between Leeds University and Hyde Park Corner. In summer months it is packed to bursting with students and other young people sunbathing and playing sports. There are large fields, small formal gardens and a skate park.  edit
Leeds University, Parkinson Building
Leeds University, Parkinson Building

Leeds is one of the UK and Europe's foremost university cities, with a student population of over 100,000 (10%+ of the population!) concentrated on several higher educational facilities including the two main universities. This gives the city a young feel and lively buzz, and many bars, clubs and restaurants are geared towards students particularly in Headingley and North West Leeds, although if this isn't your scene the city has plenty to offer away from student life.

  • Leeds University [80] (30,000 students) - one of the most important and respected academic institutions in the UK, based around the city centre campus; also a major centre for research. One of the country's original 'redbrick' universities.
  • Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds Met) [81] (50,000 full and part-time students) - more modern and larger with two main campuses, at Headingley and in the Civic Quarter. Rapidly expanding and improving, with major redevelopment planned in the Civic Quarter.

Opening Times

City centre - Mon-Sat 09:00-20:00 Sun 10:00-17:00. Other areas - 09:00-17:00.

City centre shops number well over 1,000, made up of modern shopping centres, the lovely arcades and busy streets - principally Briggate, a wide and attractive pedestrian street with all the high street favourites and much more (from time to time there are markets and other events, and there are usually street performances of some kind). Much of the central shopping area is pleasantly pedestrianised, making retail therapy even easier. Leeds has myriad options for shopping including the beautiful Victorian-era shopping arcades, offering anything from the reasonably priced to the expensive items. In November and December, Millennium Square is turned into a Christmas wonderland of stalls, eateries and fairground-rides for Christkindelmarkt - the city's German Christmas market. There are also several outdoor markets held across the city more regularly, including occasional French markets on Briggate. Plans are also afoot for a massive extension of the main shopping district. City Centre Shopping Centres include all:

  • Victoria Quarter, Briggate, city centre, [82]. Home of Harvey Nichols [83], North Face, Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood [84] and much more, the upmarket (and architecturally stunning) jewel in the crown of Leeds' shopping district.  edit
  • Thornton's Arcade and Queen's Arcade, city center (opposite Victoria Quarter). Opposite the Victoria Quarter offer a range of interesting (if mainly fairly pricey) shops including some great boutiques and one-off places.  edit
  • Corn Exchange, city center, [85]. A stunning domed interior and a range of shops to please both label-lovers and teenagers, as well as stalls and cafés. There are occasional concerts, exhibitions, fetes and the Christmas decorations are lovely.  edit
  • Market, Kirkgate, city center, [86]. The biggest cover market/market on one site in Europe. Fascinating even just for the atmosphere of a traditional British market. Largest indoor market in Europe and also is a beautiful Victorian building and a landmark in Leeds it also has a outdoor market which sells everything from food to clothes to electronics and accessories.  edit
  • Granary Wharf, (literally under the railway station). By the canal, has a selection of interesting boutiques, restaurants, exhibition space, a small concert venue, street performers and more in a unique subterranean setting. There is also a regular market. The waterfront area is undergoing redevelopment but the range of shops on offer is set to only get bigger.  edit

The districts of Chapel Allerton, Headingley and Roundhay also offer a smaller (but worthwhile) range of boutiques and other shops. Crossgates in East Leeds has a medium sized shopping centre and many highstreet shops and cafés, and Horsforth in the North West offers a range of shops and eateries.


Of course, as with almost all of the UK today, supermarkets, M&S Simply Food and other chains dominate the food-shop market, but there are an increasing number of quality independent delicatessens, bakeries and other little food shops across the city. Many out-of-centre areas retain their local shops (though this cannot be said for everywhere) and the city centre has an impressive range on offer, including:

  • Chinese. There are a number of Chinese food shops around Vicar Lane and the Templar Street Chinatown Arcade - including a well-stocked oriental supermarket on Vicar Lane itself. The best restaurants around are Tong Palace on Vicar Lane, and Lucky Dragon on Templar Place  edit
  • Harvey Nichols Foodmarket, Briggate, city center, [87]. Small, squashed between Fourth Floor Restaurant and Yo Sushi, but it has lots of expensive goodies for that extra special something.  edit
  • Out of this World, city centre. Excellent, well stocked, fair-trade organic mini-market offering all the food you could want, but tastier, healthier, more ethically responsible and, admittedly, more expensive.p  edit
  • Pickles & Potter. Sandwich shop par excellence, this award winning little place just off Lands Lane gets mouths watering. The chocolate brownies are genuinely the best you will ever have. The roast beef sandwich is also highly recommended. Some of the most expensive Pork Pies ever encountered!!  edit
  • Salvo's Salumeria, Headingley. Range of fine authentic Italian produce.  edit
  • Simpson's, Dock Street, city centre. Exclusive but excellent deli-cum-mini market.  edit
  • Safran, Kirkgate, city centre. Fantastic authentic Iranian cuisine.  edit

The lively area of Harehills (bus no 12, 13, 49 or 50) in East Leeds has a bad reputation locally for crime and poverty, and whilst the visitor should be aware that it is maybe best not to flash expensive items or visit the area after dark, it is worth visiting for its fantastic range of food shops, cafés and restaurants from across the world. A true cultural melting pot, the area has everything from Jamaican grill-houses to Indian restaurants, Persian tea-shops to Eastern European supermarkets, and if you want to experience authentic international food or simply see another side of the city, it is an interesting place to go - and prices are far lower than in many other areas.

Books, CDs, DVDs

Leeds has all the major chains such as Borders, HMV, Waterstones, Virgin Megastore, WHSmith, etc and also a variety of smaller independent shops including Crash Records on The Headrow and Jumbo Records in the St. John's Centre, which hosts fairly regular instore performances (there's also lots of second hand places - including a massive, well-stocked Oxfam Books & Music in Headingley)

This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under £10
Mid-range £10-£20
Splurge Over £20

There are many restaurants in central Leeds that everyone can to find something to their taste and budget. There are all the usual chains (many of which have several branches in the city) and a huge variety of one-off places, including many award-winners. Headingley, Chapel Allerton, Roundhay and various other districts outside the centre also have a range of quality eateries (whilst a few places in these areas are mentioned below, fuller selections can be found on their respective guides). It is possible to have food delivered from a selection of top Leeds restaurants for a fee [88].

Café culture is thriving in Leeds, with a great number of places for a lunch or lighter meal, and there are also many fine curry houses in the city, due to the large South Asian population.

Leeds has a successful annual food and drink festival, held at the end of August, with many free events bookable in advance.

You can also check the hygiene standards assessed in the kitchens of any restaurant by checking this link: [89]

  • Aagrah, Quarry Hill, city centre, [90]. Is an expanding Bradford-based chain of quality curry houses.  edit
  • Akbars, Eastgate, city centre, [91]. A chain of excellent curry houses. Try the masala fish!  edit
  • Arti, 285 Roundhay Road, 0871 8115354, [92]. Simply stunning Indian restaurant with authentic and tasty food. Very popular with Asians and Indians; this can only be a good thing. Wonderful relaxed atmosphere; the rice is absolutely stupendous and must be tried - the owner also runs the post office next door!  edit
  • Arts Café, exchange quarter, [93]. One of the oldest establishments in the Exchange Quarter, with a friendly-relaxed vibe and food to die for at very reasonable prices (the desserts are especially delicious).  edit
  • Bibis, city centre, [94]. Wonderful Italian food served in a fantastic Art-Deco restaurant - packed with local regulars who know a good thing when they eat it!  edit
  • Café Guru, Brewery Wharf, river area, [95]. Design-lead swanky new Indian restaurant.  edit
  • Casa Mia, Casa Mia Grande and Casa Mia Millennium, Casa Mia and Casa Mia Grande: Chapel Allerton, North Leeds; Casa Mia Grande: Millennium Square, city centre. Locally famous for their top-notch Italian fare.   edit
  • The Clock Café, Hyde Park. This wikitraveller has found it difficult to fault this restaurant despite several visits. Anything on the menu is delicious and the service and beers (no weak fizzy lager here!) are outstanding, ranging from traditional English to renowned Czech produce. The setup is basic with benches and tables but the atmosphere is pitched just right for small groups and couples - recommended. If there were popularity contests for bar staff, this place would win.  edit
  • The Flying Pizza, Roundhay, [96]. North Leeds institution. In the centre of Roundhay, this fantastic Italian restaurant has been going for well over 30 years.  edit
  • Georgetown, [97]. Behind the striking clockmakers' facade lies a subtropical palace to colonial opulence, decked out in impeccable but tasteful old world grandeur and serving delicious Malay cuisine: an experience for all the senses.  edit
  • Hansa's, North Street. Acclaimed vegetarian Indian restaurant with curries to die for. Service can be extremely slow. On two midweek visits, we had a one-hour wait for the main course.  edit
  • Little Tokyo, Exchange Quarter. Multi-award winning Japanese place.  edit
  • Livebait, The Calls, city centre, [98]. Excellent seafood restaurant with simple, traditional style and decor and emphasis on quality food.  edit
  • The Mill Race, Kirkstall, West Leeds (5min walk from Kirkstall Abbey). Hearty organic fare in a beautiful building, this place often needs reservations but the food is breathtaking.  edit
  • L'Oranaise, Hyde Park, [99]. This Algerian restaurant offers authentic atmosphere and eating. The food is amongst the best this Wikitraveller has tasted in Leeds. Teas and coffees can be taken upstairs amongst the low tables and scatter cushions.  edit
  • The Red Chilli, Electric Press/The Carriageworks, Great George Street, city centre. Highly recommended Chinese restaurant. The most SNOBISH Chinese restaurant in Leeds.  edit
  • Restaurant Bar & Grill, City Square, city centre, [100]. Simply named, this restaurant sits in a stunning location in the Old Post Office conversion, and exudes style and elegance, offering a range of fantastic quality meals and drinks.  edit
  • Salvos, Headingley, [101]. Italian restaurant and salumeria/café two doors down. Both fantastic simple food, great atmosphere.  edit
  • Simply Heathcotes. Exclusive but incredibly good waterfront restaurant.  edit
  • SiSushi, Great George Street, city centre and Harrogate Road, North Leeds, [102]. Great sushi restaurant and takeaway.  edit
  • Tampopo, financial quarter. Ever-popular swanky noodle restaurant.  edit
  • Truffles, Kippax, [103]. A 20-minute journey out of town to this award winning restaurant, twice voted best restaurant in Leeds. Book now, waiting list of about 4 months. Serves the finest Traditional English as well as imaginative dishes to die for! A welcoming warm atmosphere with lashings of luxury!  edit
  • Viva Cuba, Queen Square, city centre and Kirkstall Road, West Leeds. Excellent, acclaimed Cuban Tapas restaurant.  edit


  • Brio, Great George Street and The Light Shopping Center, both city center, [104]. Popular Italian restaurant with generous portions and great pizzas.  edit
  • Cuban Heels, exchange quarter. Beautiful, relaxed little restaurant-café-bar with buckets of charm, great food and a lovely, intimate location in railway arches on a cobbled site street. Inexpensive with midweek offers.  edit
  • Lucky Dragon, Chinatown Arcade, Templar Street, city center. Authentic Chinese restaurant.  edit


  • Akbars, Eastgate, city center. Award-winning Indian food served in cosmopolitan surroundings - and at reasonable prices too! Focus is on portion size rather than taste, however, and although the interior is gorgeous, it is often simply too full - one always feels rushed here.  edit
  • Maxi's, The Light Shopping Center, city center. Renowned Chinese restaurant.  edit
  • Room, (near railway station). Surprisingly affordable stylish restaurant deservedly popular with the city's rich and famous, serving modern takes on traditional British food.  edit


  • Anthonys, city center, [105]. Michelin star rated. If you're willing to spend a little bit more for that extra-special meal then this is the place to go - but book ahead as this is the most popular restaurant in Leeds - highly recommended. There is also a popular branch in Flannels department store.  edit
  • Brasserie Blanc, [106]. New to the Leeds restaurant scene and owned by world famous chef Raymond Blanc.  edit
  • Fourth Floor at Harvey Nichols, Briggate, city center, [107]. Renowned Leeds branch restaurant has been going strong for years with an innovative menu tailored to the seasons. Despite the swanky location, it is surprisingly unpretentious and not ridiculously pricey.  edit
  • La Grillade, 27 Wellington St, [108]. French food with perhaps the best steaks in Leeds. Small menu that concentrates on meat, small wine list, the bottle we had was one of the best New Zealand sauvignons I have had, I would assume the rest are also well chosen. Fantastc cheese board, concentrating again on French, the Epoisse was very ripe. The staff were attentive without being fussy. The clientele it being a Wednesday appeared to be mainly business men. Not cheap but very tasty.  edit
  • Mio Modo, financial quarter. Plush Italian restaurant oozes style and whilst not cheap the excellent food easily makes it worth the prices.  edit
  • Sous Le Nez en Ville, financial quarter (near railway station). Fantastic dining experience below street level in this exclusive-but-well-worth-it restaurant. Does a very good value early bird menu, but you need to book in advance at the weekend.  edit

Cafés, coffees and light meals

As well as a plethora of fine restaurants, Leeds also has a huge range of cafés and places for a drink or light bite. Of course there are countless Starbucks, Caffe Neros, Costa Coffees, etc but there is also a strong showing from independent places. Many of the above restaurants will do smaller meals and lunch menus during the day but here are a pick of some Leeds cafés:

  • Bagel Nash, City Square; The Light Shopping Center, The Headrow and Swan Street, all city center. Rapidly expanding Leeds bagel chain, with a massive range of bagels and fillings, all extremely tasty.  edit
  • Citrus, Corn Exchange, city center and Headingley. Ever-popular café-bar.  edit
  • French Connection, County Arcade, Victoria Quarter, city center. Pleasant café.  edit
  • Harvey Nichols' Café, Briggate, city center, [109]. High quality treats that won't break the bank.  edit
  • Just Bean. More of a coffee stand, this nonetheless was titled best place for coffee in the city, with its organic drinks at reasonable prices.  edit
  • Philpotts, St Paul's Street, financial quarter, [110]. Top quality sandwich deli and juice bar.  edit
  • Roots & Fruits, Grand Arcade, city center. Quality vegetarian café with a relaxed atmosphere.  edit
  • Sahara, Eastgate, city center. All-day and all-night, it may look a tad grubby but you can't argue with the food (or the sheesha).  edit
  • Tiled Hall Café, The Headrow, city center. A magnificent tiled hall linking the city library and city art gallery next to the Town Hall. A must for any visitor, and pop in the gallery and library for a free look round.  edit
  • Wrappid, city center. Fajita/wrap café. Free Drink eg. coffee refills.  edit


Leeds' two large universities means there is a vibrant, diverse and thumping nightlife scene including many clubs as well as a huge range of fine drinking establishments from traditional pubs to ultra chic concept bars. It is estimated that there are over 180 city centre bars and pubs, and around 29 nightclubs with late licenses. Railway arches are increasingly popular as homes for bars and clubs across the length of the city centre. Leeds City Guide [111] is a good source of information, as is the comprehensive (and excellent) listings magazine the Leeds Guide. Leeds was voted Number one city for clubbing [112]. All areas (indeed, most streets) of central Leeds offer something in the way of nightlife, but the main areas are:

  • Call Lane in the Exchange Quarter (one of the city's main nightlife districts), offering a range of bars (which many would argue are the best in the city) from chic to bohemian. The area around the Calls and the Parish Church has overspill from Call Lane and some great waterfront bars and restaurants
  • The 'yards' off Briggate are home to both traditional pubs and modern bars and clubs. Boar Lane is for the most part made up of standard chain bars and more downmarket drinking establishments, but a few buck the trend. Architecturally lovely Assembly Street has a select number of swanky bars, clubs and restaurants. Greek Street is expensive, but in between the high-end exclusivity are tackier bars attracting a less desirable crowd at weekends. New York Street is becoming increasingly popular. The Northern Quarter, centered on New Briggate and spreading north (and down Grand Arcade) is home to several older Leeds institutions but is now up-and-coming with many hot new venues.
  • The Civic Quarter has everything: flashy bars in the Electric Press, traditional pubs, and loud, trendy bars and clubs above Millennium Square
  • The financial district has a number of dispersed, chic watering holes. Park Row continues along the same lines as Greek Street
  • Brewery Wharf on the south bank is growing as a drinking destination
  • Lower Briggate is the centre of Leeds' gay community, and a variety of establishments in the area reflect this, though most are welcoming (and many are popular with) the straight population

Out of the city centre, the districts of Headingley and Chapel Allerton are extremely popular for bars and restaurants. Exclusive Street Lane in Roundhay is also becoming increasingly popular. (See their respective guides for details on specific drinking spots in these areas)

Pubs and bars

Leeds Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) [113] offer free pub guides from their website. What follows is a selection of some of Leeds' highlights, but it is by no means definitive or all-inclusive!

  • The Adelphi, Dock Street, river area. Great selection of British beers, interesting decorative mix of Victorian pub architecture and 70s retro decor. A gem! Gay friendly. Good food too (including a few veggie options) at reasonable prices.  edit
  • Baby Jupiter, York Place. Ultra-stylish bar which exudes class and has beautiful interiors to match.  edit
  • Boutique, (off Call Lane), [114]. Fantastic range of cocktails.  edit
  • The Duck and Drake, (near market). A 'locals' pub.  edit
  • Epernay, Electric Press/The Carriggeworks, Great George Street, city center. High-quality champagne bar.  edit
  • Fab Café, (south of Leeds Metropolitan University). Great place to visit if you like your music away from the mainstream, and they actually have what seems to be an original 'Star Wars: The Trilogy' arcade cabinet!  edit
  • Ha! Ha! Bar & Canteen, Millennium Square, city center. Gay-friendly, trendy - a place to meet your date.  edit
  • Call Lane, city center, [115]. Thought of by many as having the best drinks in the city, and is on one of the city's busiest bar strips.
  • Norman, Call Lane, city center. Sexy and stylish, has bucket-loads of atmosphere and great drinks.  edit
  • Milo, Call Lane, city center. Bohemian, has bucket-loads of atmosphere and great drinks. DJs and often a bit of dancing too.  edit
  • Mojo Bar, northern quarter, city center, [116]. Old favourite still going strong with a wonderful, friendly atmosphere and drinks to die for.  edit
  • North Bar, 24 New Briggate, city center. Great beer selection! Recently named best place to drink in Britain by The Observer.  edit
  • The Oracle, Brewery Wharf, river area, [117]. Swanky new waterfront bar has a glittering reputation founded on its outstanding cocktail and champagne menu, exclusive members bar, ultra-cool interior design, gourmet burgers, chauffeur service and lovely riverside setting.  edit
  • The Palace, (near bus station).  edit
  • Prohibition, Greek Street, city center. If you like to flash the cash, Greek Street is the place for you - and Prohibition one of its best bars.  edit
  • The Reliance, North Street, city center. Laid back, loungy bar, also does great food.  edit
  • The Scarbrough Hotel, (near train station). Leeds CAMRA Pub of the Year 2003/4.  edit

*Strawberryfields[Strawbs bar]Not your usual brewery owned pub.This family run and owned continental style bar is very popular with students, pre drinkers to Halo, otley runners. Located on the main road between met and uni.

  • Victoria Family and Commercial Hotel, city center (behind Town Hall). A refurbished Victorian gem.  edit
  • Whitelocks, off Briggate, city center. A great historic pub, one of the most impressive (and oldest) in Leeds.  edit

Leeds' thriving gay village (the city's first annual Pride festival launched in 2006) has a number of venues, including the ever-popular old stalwart Queen's Court, Lower Briggate housed in a fine 17th century building, amongst notable others including Fibre, The Bridge Inn, Blayds Bar, The New Penny, The Viaduct and Religion to name a few.


Leeds was voted Best UK City for Clubbing, and certainly not for nothing! People flock to the city from all parts of the country for a bit of the action. It is not uncommon to meet clubbers from London on a night out. The city centre is packed to bursting with bars and clubs, ranging from cutting edge chic to indie and alternative, from cheesy tunes for the drunken masses to small select places for people who really like their music (house is still very much in vogue in Leeds, but whatever your musical taste you are guaranteed to find something). Here is a short list of some of the best and/or most popular places in the city at the moment:

  • Baja Beach Club. If you are drunk and want to hear Chesney Hawkes, it’s the place for you.  edit
  • Discotheque by Gatecrasher. Very popular Saturday nights. £10-£15 entry Sat. Night.  edit
  • Halo, city center. Studenty nightclub located near the university entrance, where you will find Voodoo and Skewed Circus events. Skewed Circus [119] is the pan-Northern funky alternative cabaret event run by theatre, comedy and musical promotions company Komedy Kollective [120] held monthly in Leeds, at the Halo nightclub. Similar high profile monthly events are held at Manchester and Bradford. Halo is not very close the the centre. Voodoo is also always packed and a great night. More mainstream dance.  edit
  • Hifi. Good range of live music, particularly jazz. Regularly voted the best club in the city, has a range of quality nights out with quality music in easy-going yet chic surroundings...everything from jazz to reggae to hip hop.  edit
  • Mint. Quality dance music nights. Much Ket.  edit
  • Mission. Very trendy. Ranging nights, from Glasshouse to Purrfect Electro this has it. It also has some Gay Nights.  edit
  • My House. (aka Stinky's Peephouse) - new home for one of the UK's biggest club nights: Back to Basics (Sa).  edit
  • Oceana. Huge, it has a million rooms, it’s overpriced (like all big nightclubs in Leeds), but it's still fun. 19+ Friday night, 21+ Sat night. Upstairs can be hired out for private do's until 10pm when it opens, however this is a cheap way to get friends (Or under 21's) in on a Sat night.  edit
  • Rehab, Assembly Street, city center. After a shaky period, this club is picking itself back up, having poached ever-popular nights Speedqueen and Fruity.  edit
  • The Space. Great Thursday nights (Habit) and great weekends sometimes too! Although, Fridays & Saturdays are to be avoided unless you know it will be busy, its not really a Fri-Sat-night place...  edit
  • Townhouse. Very trendy bar (and psedo-club) for the beautiful (and well-dressed) with a range of music and great drinks. Upstairs can be hired out for private do's.  edit
  • Wire. Quality indie, rock and alternative club.  edit

There are several gay nights (and fully gay venues) in clubs on and around Lower Briggate, including Mission, Fibre and Queen's Court.

The West Indian Centre on Chapeltown Road has a reputation for great fun nights of a less-mainstream kind, including ever-popular monthly Subdub. Whilst the venue itself is friendly and safe (or as safe as can be expected from a club), Chapeltown is infamous in Leeds and to avoid trouble go in fairly large groups and don't wonder around outside. There are regular buses from the city centre (2 miles to the south) or call a cab. Don't walk.



There are currently no Youth Hostels in Leeds except during the summer months when a temporary city centre hostel operates. However plans are afoot for a permanent hostel to open shortly. There are a number of B&Bs behind the university on Woodsley Rd, 20 minutes walk from the city centre and less than half an hour from the station. Cardigan Rd in Headingley also has a range of B&Bs, right next to the Cricket Ground, minutes from the shops, bars and restaurants of central Headingley and on the 18 & 56 bus routes into the city centre.

  • Etap Hotel Leeds Centre, 2 The Gateway North, Crown Point Road, +44 (0)8712 222288, [121]. From £36.  edit
  • Glengarth Hotel, 162 Woodsley Road (Take Free City Bus to Dental School, right on Hyde Terrace, left on Woodsley.), +44 113 245 7940, [122]. Nice location among University of Leeds buildings, free wi-fi, friendly staff. £45.  edit
  • Express by Holiday Inn Leeds Armouries, Armouries Drive, Clarence Dock, city center, +44 (0)870 8900455 (), [123]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. From about £50.  edit
  • Ibis Leeds Centre, Marlborough Street, city center, +44 (0)113 2204100, [124]. Pay WiFi. From about £49.  edit
  • Headingley Lodge, Headingley, [126]. Overlooking the world famous Headingley Cricket pitch.  edit
  • Merrion Hotel, Merrion Street, city center, [128].  edit
  • Leedslet, 26 La Salle, Chadwick Street South, Leeds, LS10 1NJ (Located just 2 minutes walk from the Royal Armouries), 0845 680 1063 (, fax: 0845 680 1062), [129]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. Luxury 2 bedroom apartment sleeping 4 and overlooking Clarence Dock. All mod cons and facilities including free WiFi and fully fitted kitchen. Just 10 minutes walk to to Leeds city centre but surrounded by designer shops and restaurants From £79.  edit
  • Roomzzz, [130]. Get your own swanky apartment with kitchen and washing machine etc. From £50.  edit
  • 42 The Calls, 42 The Calls, city center, [131]. Award winning establishment has now been going for years offering boutique luxury in a quiet waterfront setting only minutes from the bars and clubs of the Exchange Quarter and the city centre shops.  edit
  • Met (formerley Hotel Metropole). Exudes class and style.  edit
  • Malmaison, city center. Three minutes walk from the City Rail Station, located in the Swinegate area of the city.  edit
  • Park Plaza, city center (opposite railway station), [132]. Funky hotel in a prime location with great views on the upper floors.  edit
  • Quebecs, city center, [133]. Stunningly refurbished building housing one of Leeds' finest and most luxuriant hotels in a prime location.  edit
  • Queens Hotel, City Square, city center, [134]. One of Leeds' oldest hotels, its dramatic Art Deco facade and old world charm and style ensure it remains a favourite.  edit
  • Radisson SAS, The Light Shopping Center, The Headrow, city center, [135].  edit
  • Residence 6*, City Square, city center, [136]. Serviced apartments in The Old Post Office.  edit

Self Catering

A useful alternative to hotels can be to stay in self catering accommodation. There are a number of serviced apartment providers in Leeds, with many apartments in the city centre.

  • Citybase Leeds Apartments, Whitehall Road, Leeds, 0845 226 9831 (), [137]. Over 30 apartments available, in 9 individual apartment blocks. All apartments are in city centre locations, and all are en-suite. From £50 per night to £150 per night.  edit
  • One-UK Leeds Apartments, 2 Cherry Tree Walk, The Calls, Leeds, LS2 7EB, 0113 234 4111 (), [138]. Provide apartments in the city centre.  edit

Stay safe

Leeds is known as a friendly city, however - as with any European city - the usual tips about exercising a degree of common caution apply: don't leave valuables unattended, don't go to badly lit/obscure/unknown places by yourself or walk around alone at night, etc. There are some notorious areas of Leeds at night with seedy reputations, including much of East Leeds, the un-rejuvenated areas of Chapeltown (particularly Spencer Place red light district), Holbeck and Mabgate. Whilst by and large these places are safe by day, it is best to avoid risking trouble. It is also advisable to avoid displaying any memorabilia or clothing of football team Manchester United (the city's football rivals), particularly in the more sulubrious parts of town (though one can expect few problems around the city centre). If you do encounter any trouble, the emergency services (police, ambulance, fire) number is the same as for the rest of the country: 999, or the new European wide emergency number: 112.

If you do happen to fall ill in Leeds, there are of course NHS and private medical practices all across the city, with the first major healthcare centre in the city centre to be built as part of La Lumiere (see above). Leeds is also home to two of Europe's largest hospitals - Leeds General Infirmary (in the Civic Quarter) and rapidly expanding St James' (a couple of miles east of the City Centre and just south of Harehills), as well as numerous smaller hospital and PCTs across the wider city area. As with the rest of the UK, tap water is safe to drink, and you are unlikely to come across any major health risks other than speeding traffic and the effects of alcohol.


The main tourist information office for the city is in the railway station, but there are various other information points across the city (e.g. Central Lending Library, The Headrow). For foreign visitors Leeds has a range of consulates, including: Danish, 6-7 Park Place, city center; Dutch [139]; Finnish [140]; German [141] and Greek, 8 Street Lane, Roundhay.

Get out

Leeds is the railway hub of much of Northern England, and railways serve York, Harrogate, Knaresborough, most of West Yorkshire and parts of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. The Leeds-Settle-Carlisle railway is one of the most scenic routes in the country. By road, the A64 leads to York, the A61 to Harrogate and the A65 to the Dales - there are plentiful bus services to these destinations.

  • Bradford, [142] - including National Media Museum (formerly the National Museum of Film and Photography), [143].
  • Ilkley - attractive spa town is easily accessible by bus or train and lies on the edge of the Dales, with the beautiful Ilkley Moor above the town, incorporating the (climbable with equipment) Cow and Calf rock formations. The town itself is a small, genteel and attractive place with an outdoor lido (pool) popular in the summer months; Bronte Country [144] and Haworth.
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park, [146].
  • Harrogate. A lovely, affluent spa town with a range of upmarket and independent shops and restaurants in its elegant Victorian town centre ringed by lovely parks (including the lush and extensive Valley Gardens). Picturesque Knaresborough is a small medieval market town dramatically located on the side of a gorge dropping to the river Nidd. A castle, viaduct, cobbled streets, centuries-old buildings and thriving market only add to the charm. It is pleasantly under-visited by tourists and is easily reachable on the train from Leeds.
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park. Skipton, with its huge historic castle, bustling market and pretty, historic town centre, is another attractive day tripping destination on the edge of the Dales. Bolton Abbey occupies a captivating location by a river at the foot of the Dales hills, just outside Skipton, and is a great base for walks in the hills. Other popular spots easily accessible include Ingleborough, Pen y Ghent, Settle, Grassington and Beamsley Beacon. See also: North York Moors National Park.
  • Hebden Bridge. An attractive little town in a wooded valley amid the Pennine Moors. It is famed for its left-wing bohemian flavour and plethora of independent shops and cafés - no chain stores here!
  • York, [148]. The historic capital of Yorkshire is well worth a trip, being less than half an hour away.
  • Manchester, Once the home of the industrial revolution, it has now swapped its chimneys for skyscrapers, and mill workers for "yuppies" and urbanites. Well worth a visit and is easy to get to by train or coach/bus. Less than an hour away.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LEEDS, a city and municipal county and parliamentary borough in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, 185 m.

4 Harleian MSS. 2264, No. 239.

Boyer's Annals, 515.

N.N.W. from London. Pop. (1891) 3 6 7,5 0 5; (1901) 428,968. It is served by the Great Northern railway (Central station), the Midland (Wellington station), North-Eastern and London & North-Western (New station), and Great Central and Lancashire & Yorkshire railways (Central station). It lies nearly in the centre of the Riding, in the valley of the river Aire.

The plan of the city is in no way regular, and the numerous handsome public buildings are distributed among several streets, principally on the north side of the narrow river. The town hall is a fine building in Grecian style, well placed in a square between Park Lane and Great George Street. It is of oblong shape, with a handsome façade over which rises a domed clocktower. The principal apartment is the Victoria Ha11, a richly ornamented chamber measuring 161 ft. in length, 72 in breadth and 75 in height. It was opened in 1858 by Queen Victoria. Immediately adjacent to it are the municipal offices (1884) in Italian style. The Royal Exchange (1872) in Boar Lane is an excellent Perpendicular building. In ecclesiastical architecture Leeds is not rich. The church of St John, however, is an interesting example of the junction of Gothic traditions with Renaissance tendencies in architecture. It dates from 1634 and contains some fine contemporary woodwork. St Peter's parish church occupies an ancient site, and preserves a very early cross from the former building. The church was rebuilt in 1840 at the instance of the vicar, Dr Walter Farquhar Hook (1798-1875), afterwards dean of Chichester, whose work here in a poor and ill-educated parish brought him fame. The church of All Souls (1880) commemorates him. It may be noted that the vicarage of Leeds has in modern times commonly formed a step to the episcopal bench. There are numerous other modern churches and chapels, of which the Unitarian chapel in Park Row is noteworthy. Leeds is the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop, with a pro-cathedral dedicated to St Anne. There is a large free library in the municipal offices, and numerous branch libraries are maintained. The Leeds old library is a private institution founded in 1768 by Dr Priestley, who was then minister of the Unitarian chapel. It occupies a building in Commercial Street. The Philosophical and Literary Society, established in 1820, possesses a handsome building in Park Row, known as the Philosophical Hall, containing a laboratory, scientific library, lecture room, and museum, with excellent natural history, geological and archaeological collections. The City Art Gallery was completed in 1888, and contains a fine permanent collection, while exhibitions are also held. The University, incorporated in 1904, grew out of Yorkshire College, established in 1875 for the purpose of supplying instruction in the arts and sciences which are applicable to the manufactures, engineering, mining and agriculture of the county. In 1887 it became one of the constituent colleges of Victoria University, Manchester, and so remained until its separate incorporation. The existing building was completed in 1885, and contains a hall of residence, a central hall and library, and complete equipments in all departments of instruction. New departments have been opened in extension of the original scheme, such as the medical department (1894). A day training college is a branch of the institution. The Mechanics' Institute (1865) occupies a handsome Italian building in Cookridge Street near the town hall. It comprises a lecture room, library, reading and class rooms; and day and evening classes and an art school are maintained. The grammar school, occupying a Gothic building (1858) at Woodhouse Moor, dates its foundation from 1552. It is largely endowed, and possesses exhibitions tenable at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham universities. There is a large training college for the Wesleyan Methodist ministry in the suburb of Headingley. The Yorkshire Ladies' Council of Education has as its object the promotion of female education, and the instruction of girls and women of the artisan class in domestic economy, &c. The general infirmary in Great George Street is a Gothic building of brick with stone dressings with a highly ornamental exterior by Sir Gilbert Scott, of whose work this is by no means the only good example in Leeds. The city possesses further notable buildings in its markethalls, theatres, clubs, &c.

Among open spaces devoted by the corporation to public use that of Woodhouse Moor is the principal one within the city, but 3 m. N.E. of the centre is Roundhay Park, a tract of 70 beautifully laid out and containing a picturesque lake. In 1889 there came into the possession of the corporation the ground, lying 3 m. up the river from the centre of the city, containing the celebrated ruins of Kirkstall Abbey. The remains. of this great foundation, of the middle of the 12th century, are extensive, and so far typical of the usual arrangement of Cistercian houses as to be described under the heading Abbey. The ruins are carefully preserved, and form a remarkable contrast with the surrounding industrial district. Apart from Kirkstall there are few antiquarian remains in the locality. In Guildford Street, near the town hall, is the Red Hall, where Charles I. lay during " his enforced journey under the charge of the army in 1647.

For manufacturing and commercial purposes the situation of Leeds is highly advantageous. It occupies a central position in the railway system of England. It has communication with Liverpool by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and with Goole and the Humber by the Aire and Calder Navigation. It is moreover the centre of an important coal and iron district. Though regarded !as the capital of the great manufacturing district of the West Riding, Leeds is not in its centre but on its border. Eastward and northward the country is agricultural, but westward and southward lies a mass of manufacturing towns. The characteristic industry is the woollen manufacture. The industry is carried on in a great number of neighbouring townships, but the cloth is commonly finished or dressed in the city itself, this procedure differing from that of the wool manufacturers in Gloucestershire and the west of England, who carry out the entire process in one factory. Formerly much of the business between manufacturer and merchant was transacted in the cloth halls, which formed a kind of market, but merchants now order goods directly from the manufacturers. Artificial silk is important among the textile products. Subsidiary to these leading industries is the production of machine-made clothing, hats and caps. The leather trade of Leeds is the largest in England, though no sole leather is tanned. The supply comes chiefly from British India. Boots and shoes are extensively manufactured. The iron trade in its different branches rivals the woollen trade in wealth, including the casting of metal, and the manufacture of steam engines, steam wagons, steam ploughs, machinery, tools, nails, &c. Leeds was formerly famed for the production of artistic pottery, and specimens of old Leeds ware are highly prized. The industry lapsed about the end of the 18th century, but has been revived in modern times. Minor and less specialized industries are numerous.

The parliamentary borough is divided into five divisions (North, Central, South, East and West), each returning one member. The county borough was created in 1888. Leeds was raised to the rank of a city in 1893. The municipal borough is under a lord mayor (the title was conferred in 1897 on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee), 16 aldermen and 48 councillors. Area, 21,572 acres.

Leeds (Loidis, Ledes) is mentioned by Bede as the district where the Northumbrian kings had a royal vill in 627, and where Oswy, king of Northumbria, defeated Penda, king of the Mercians, in 665. Before the Norman Conquest seven thanes held it of Edward the Confessor as seven manors, but William the Conqueror granted the whole to Ilbert de Lacy, and at the time of the Domesday Survey it was held of him by Ralph Paganel, who is said to have raised Leeds castle, possibly on the site of an earlier fortification. In 1207 Maurice Paganel constituted the inhabitants of Leeds free burgesses, granting them the same liberties as Robert de Lacy had granted to Pontefract, including the right of selling burgher land to whom they pleased except to religious houses, and freedom from toll. He also appointed as the chief officer of the town a reeve who was to be chosen by the lord of the manor, the burgesses being " more eligible if only they would pay as much as others for the office." The town was incorporated by Charles I. in 1626 under the title of an alderman, 7 principal burgesses and 24 assistants. A second charter granted by Charles II. in 1661 appointed a mayor, 12 aldermen and 24 assistants, and is still the governing charter of the borough. The woollen manufacture is said to have been introduced into Leeds in the 14th century, and owing to the facilities for trade afforded by its position on the river Aire soon became an important industry. Camden, writing about 1590, says, " Leeds is rendered wealthy by its woollen manufactures," and the incorporation charter of 1626 recites that " the inhabitants have for a long time exercised the art of making cloth." The cloth was then, as it is now, made in the neighbouring villages and only finished and sold in the town. A successful attempt was made in the beginning of the 19th century by Mr William Hirst to introduce goods of a superior quality which were made and finished in his own factory. Other manufacturers followed his example. but their factories are now only used for the finishing process. The worsted trade which was formerly carried on to some extent has now almost disappeared. The spinning of flax by machinery was introduced early in the 19th century by 1VIr John Marshall, a Holbeck manufacturer, who was one of the first to apply Sir Richard Arkwright's water frame, invented for cotton manufacture, to the spinning of linen yarn. The burgesses were represented in parliament by one member during the Commonwealth, but not again until by the Reform Act of 1832 they were allowed to return two members. In 1867 they were granted an additional member.

See James Wardell, The Municipal History of the Borough of Leeds (1846); J. D. Whitaker, Loidis and Elmete: or an Attempt to illustrate the Districts described in these words by Bede (1816); D. H. Atkinson, Ralph Thoresby, the Topographer; his Town (Leeds) and Times (1885-1887).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Etymology 1

Old English Leodis (a Celtic kingdom) < Brythonic Lādenses (people living by the fast-flowing river).

Proper noun




  1. A city in West Yorkshire, England.


  • 2003, A. D. Mills, A Dictionary of British Place-Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198527586

Etymology 2

Old English Hledes, probably from a stream-name.

Proper noun




  1. A village in Kent, the site of Leeds Castle.
Related terms


  • Anagrams of deels
  • ledes

Simple English


Leeds Town Hall

Leeds shown within the United Kingdom
Population 443,247
OS grid reference SE297338
Metropolitan borough City of Leeds
Metropolitan county West Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEEDS
Postcode district LS1, LS2, LS3–LS29
Dialling code 0113
Ambulance Yorkshire
European Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
List of places: UKEngland
Coordinates: 53°47′59″N 1°32′54″W / 53.7998°N 1.5482°W / 53.7998; -1.5482

Leeds is a city in the county of West Yorkshire in the centre of England. It is one of the largest cities in the UK and about 443,247 people live here. Leeds has two universities: University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University. Leeds is on the River Aire.



In Roman times Leeds was called 'Loidis' which means 'People of the flowing river'.

Leeds grew into a large city, mainly during Victorian times, many factories were built in the city, producing cloth as well as other products. Most of these factories have now closed.

With the building of many of the factories and mills in Leeds, many canals and railways were built in the city as well.

Leeds used to have a tram system but this was removed in 1959. There has been plans to bring it back. Trolley buses have also been considered.

Marks and Spencers started with a market stall in Leeds Market, Marks and Spencers now have shops throughout the city with their largest one being on Briggate.

Much of Leeds was rebuilt in the 1960s and 1970s as the old Victorian buildings were mostly run down and unsuitable for modern use. Many new council houses and flats were built around the city.

In the 1970s the council used the moto 'Motorway City of the 1970s' to try promote the city. This is because the Leeds Inner Ring Road is a motorway.


[[File:|thumb|left||Bridgewater Place is a large skyscraper in Leeds.]] Today Leeds still has many factories and offices for large companies. The City Centre has attracted many shops, offices, pubs, restaurants and bars. Leeds now has some skyscrapers such as Bridgewater Place. Leeds and Manchester are the most important cities for business in the North of England. Many banks have their offices in Leeds.

Many flats have also been built in the city centre. Leeds has some expensive areas to live like Chapel Allerton, Headingley, Kirkstall, Horsforth, Roundhay and Alwoodley but it also has some cheap places to liver where crime is high like Harehills, Chapeltown, Seacroft and Beeston. There has been riots in Harehills and Chapeltown before.

Tetley's Bitter is made at a brewery in Leeds. This is sold in many pubs and shops in Britain. Tetley's also used to have many pubs in Yorkshire but have sold many, although Tetley's Bitter is still sold there.

ASDA is Britains second biggest supermarket and started in Leeds, it still has its headquarters in the city.


Leeds has a large railway station in the City Centre as well as many smaller ones in suburbs. There is also an airport near the city called Leeds Bradford International Airport. There are many motorways in and around the city as well. Leeds has a bus station with 26 stands and more stands for National Express services going to other cities, it is however too small to cope with internal buses and so they stop at bus stops along the streets. Leeds has an outer ring road and an inner ring road which is a motorway and goes through many tunnels to avoid buildings.


Leeds is famous for its sport too. It has a Rugby league team called Leeds Rhinos and a Rugby union team called Leeds Tykes. It also has a football team called Leeds United. Yorkshire Cricket play in Leeds too. The forth test of the 2009 Ashes was hoasted at the Headingley Stadium in Leeds.


Leeds City Council are the council for Leeds as well as other nearby towns that are part of the City of Leeds borough such as Wetherby, Otley, Yeadon, Garforth and Rothwell.


The Yorkshire Evening Post is the local newspaper for Leeds and is published every evening. BBC Yorkshire and Yorkshire Television both have their studios in Leeds. The Yorkshire Television studios are currently in the process of being downsized as ITV looks to reduce costs.

Areas of Leeds

See Also


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