“ Leeds is a major city in West Yorkshire, England, located on the River Aire and the urban core of the City of Leeds metropolitan borough. „
I didn't realise Leeds actually had their own little section on Ciao/Dooyoo - but I'm very glad it has! Those of you who don't really know Leeds, the city I have been born and bred in, I aim to show you the beauty of the city, and that their is so much more to it than you might think!
As you guys may know, I am dedicated to Leeds and love the bones of it. If you didn't know that, it will become clear in this review! Leeds has so much to offer, but I realise it may not all appeal to you. I have tried my best to set out this review as clearly as possible, so feel free to skip some of the sections that you are not interested in! Happy reading!
~~Leeds In The News~~
*Aah, um, not the best start to this review I suppose, but the thing you will have most probably heard of about Leeds in the news recently is this bin strike. I'm telling you, those of you who don't live in this neck of the woods, it's a blooming nightmare! Bins are overflowing, streets are smelling, eurgh! The sooner the council and the bin men sort out their differences (and the cash!) the better!!
*Aah, and another rather bad point (eek, no!) - the Tetley's brewery which has been in Leeds since, like, forever is closing down! A lot of people round here are very upset by this news because the brewery was one of the points Leeds was most well known for. Boo.
*A much, much more positive side to Leeds now...This information has only recently been released, and it is a fact that for the charity Action Aid (http://www.actionaid.org.uk) has more sponsors and donations from Leeds than anywhere else in the UK. It made me feel so happy and proud of my city when I heard this, especially as as soon as I have collected enough cash (yes, ALL the money I make from Ciao and Dooyoo included) I am also going to be joining the many other Loiner's who have sponsored the less fortunate across the world! :)
~~Hang On A Minute, Loiner's??? What The Heck??~~
My grandma told me I was a Loiner a long time ago, and I assumed it was a phrase as well known as a Scot or a Geordie or whatever. But apparently not! Loiner means a native of Leeds, and I am proud to be one!! Almost all my family have come from Leeds, so I am officially a Loiner!
~~How To Get In And Around Leeds~~
There is a rail link into the city centre I have used a couple of times, Northern Rail. The best way to find out more about this is to use the website, www.northernrail.org. There are a large selection of buses that enable you to travel all around Leeds. The best place to go to get the buses are to go to the bus station in the city centre. Leeds is accessible from the M62, the M1, the A1 North and the A65.
~~What's Leeds Known For?~~
I suppose Leeds is quite a big city. As I live here and have done all my life, I am not so sure about what you lot may think of Leeds (this may be a time to leave me a comment and tell me!) but as far as I can see, Leeds seems to be known for it's nightlife, shopping and industrialisation and exports. But I think Leeds is so much more than that, and I hope I can prove to you that it is!Aah, I can tell this is going to take quite a while, even though I know Leeds like the back of my hand (why do people say that?? I don't even know the back of my hand all that well...) So, off I go...
~~The Millennium Square And The City Centre~~
The Millennium Square is a primary feature of the centre of Leeds. It was built as a mark for the new millennium, and was funded by both the Leeds City Council and the Millennium Commission. It is a great attraction for Leeds, and it should be - it cost £12m to produce! The Millennium Square is surrounded by many other famous landmarks of the city such as the town hall, the civic hall, the new Leeds museum, the LGI (Leeds General Infirmary), the Leeds Academy and the Leeds College of Art. The square is a focal point for many of Leeds major events; it has hosted many outdoor theatre events, concerts by well-known bands, orchestral and operatic performances and street entertainment. There is a large TV screen powered by the BBC which shows sport events, latest news and more. Every year around October/November the German Market - Kristkindlmarkt - which pulls in huge crowds. I attend Kristkindlmarkt every year without fail and my Christmas just wouldn't be complete without it! I just adore the warm, vibrant atmosphere, the smell of the sausages, hot mulled wine and incense sticks, the cute, quirky stalls, the cute rides for the children...the list goes on, believe me! There is also an ice rink - The Ice Cube - which comes around late January/February. It's a shame it cannot come nearer Christmas, but it is still so much fun, and the prices are not bad either. I love skating, just for fun, and whipping around ice in the middle of Leeds listening to my favourite songs (courtesy of Leeds main local radio; 96.3 Radio Aire) with my friends is pure heaven! Many other smaller events happen in the Millennium Square, but the ones I have highlighted are the main ones. Ooh, just popped into the Carriageworks theatre in the Millennium Square today (picking up some Christmas Eve pantomime tickets - so excited!!) and the Ladyboy's Of Bangkok are touring and have stopped off in the Millennium Square at the moment!
Leeds City Centre in general has a very friendly atmosphere and I think it is friendly to people of all ages, races, cultures and sex. Obviously it is most well known for its shops, but there are many other points to it which I will explain further into the review...things classed as being in the 'city centre' will have a '#' next to it.
*City Centre Shopping #
I guess this is what you think of when you first think of Leeds City Centre! There are so many shops in Leeds, from well known high street stores to less well known or local businesses. There are over 1000 shops in the city centre (that's a lot, even for a shop-till-you-dropper like me!) and it has been dubbed the 'Knightsbridge of the North' and this is reflected more than anywhere else in the city's shops. Leeds was home to the first Harvey Nichol's outside London, and there are so many shopping centres in the centre of the city alone.
---The Corn Exchange
I love the Corn Exchange as it is a great starting point for independent businesses, particularly in the fashion industry. As a wannabe designer, I think this would be a great starting point! The layout is very stylish and modern, and I would recommend visiting this hidden gem in the city centre!
Leeds Kirkgate Market is the largest covered market in Europe and is a great place to search for textiles, jewellery, food and much, much more! The market first opened in 1822 and is now a Grade 1 listed building.
---The Victoria Quarter
The Victoria Quarter is a very prestigious, fairly small shopping centre in Leeds City Centre. It is full of gorgeous (expensive) shops, and the centre itself is extremely beautiful, with fountains and elegant flooring. The whole thing is just a divine shopping experience, when you can afford to splash the cash that is! Shops include Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood, Mulberry, All Saints, Paul Smith and many more. I also love Rose & Co., which is a small retro style bath product store which sells beautiful little bath cakes, soaps and other cosmetics. It is like Lush, but posher. And obviously not as good! But it does come close...
---The Merrion Centre
The Merrion Centre is one of the main shopping centres in Leeds, and it has well known stores such as Boots, Morrison's, Home Bargains (instead of good old Woolie's!), Peacocks, Thorntons, Gregg's, Costa Coffee, Sainsbury's Local, Ainsley's and many more... I love a quirky store called Hawkins Bazaar, it sells crazy stuff and it is amazing! Fabulous for joke presents or stocking fillers at Christmas!
---St. John's Centre
St John's centre consists of over thirty shops over two levels and has a small Topshop/TopMan, a Leeds Rhinos Souvenir shop, Dorothy Perkins, Clinton Cards, Poundland, Phones4U, Bodycare and others. There are little stalls and the centre has a good, simple, modern vibe to it.
---Leeds Shopping Plaza
The Leeds Shopping Plaza is being redeveloped and will reopen in 2010 with space of over 100 stores. At the moment some of the stores in the plaza are: H&M, George, JJB Sports, New Look, BHS, Boots, TKMaxx, Warehouse and H Samuel, amongst many others. Zen Delight is a cafe in the Plaza, and they do a great latte!
The Light is a modern, glass shopping centre which is mainly known for it's 13 screen Vue cinema. Shops include Exit, The Body Shop, Joy, Bank, Superdry and others. On the bottom floor there are great places to eat such as Nandos, Brios, Starbuck's, Bagel Nash, Gregg's, Juice and Brown's. On the second floor there is a great Chinese restaurant called Maxi's, which I thoroughly recommend. There is aso a gym and a car park.
---The Headrow/The Core
The Headrow has recently reopened and I am really annoyed because although I only visited the other day, I cannot remember what it's now called! Ooh, just remembered - it's The Core. I'm not too sure if the shops have stayed, but it used to consist of large retailers such as HMV and GAME, but also smaller businesses like The Gadget Shop and many others.
---Other Shops In The Centre
There are many other shops in Leeds which I love going around. All the main high street stores will be somewhere around, and it is a great place to shop with a vibrant atmosphere! And this may sound weird, but contrary to a lot of other people, I love doing my Christmas shopping there - with the lights, the buskers singing carols and the window displays - and I embrace the busyness too! As long as I don't have to queue for too long, I love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas shoppers - it all adds to the atmosphere. I understand why most of you hate it, though!
Psst - for a fabulous directory of all the shops in Leeds City Centre, visit http://www.shoppinginleeds.co.uk/
*Out Of The Centre
---White Rose Shopping Centre
White Rose is a major shopping centre in Morley which I visit regularly. On the bottom floor it is full with many major high street stores such as Debenhams, HMV, Topshop, The Body Shop, Clinton Cards and more. There are little independent stalls running through the middle of the bottom floor, and if you take time to look you can find gorgeous little knick knacks, and on the top floor there is a food court with (mainly unhealthy) 'favourites' such as Pizza Hut, McDonald's, KFC, BB's, a fish and chip shop and much, much more...
Cross Gates is situated in East Leeds and has almost 60 shops in the centre. It is filled with shops such as New Look, Bon Marche, Wilkinson, Tesco, Home Bargain's and more...and if I remember rightly it looks great at Christmas!! My little sister visited Santa there once and it was loads of fun!
There are many other places to visit for a little retail therapy in Leeds, but these are the main ones to head to! Visit small towns such as Ilkley for quirky, cute, independent shops, and for a little bit of peace and quiet.
Leeds is known for its vibrant social setting and you will forever see people out and about heading for a night on the town. Obviously the main bars and clubs are in the city centre, but you can find them dotted all over the place. Headingly is 'student land' and you will always see them dressed up in hilarious costumes on a Friday/Saturday night ready to go out. Some of Leeds main nightclubs are the Tiger Bar, Haha bar, Viva Cuba, Lounge Bar and Grill, Cocoon and @17 Lounge bar, Baja Beach Club and the ever popular Oceana.
Leeds is full of great restaurants and places to eat and drink, and here are some of my favourites...
---Cute And Quirky Cafes
*West Park Cafe
251 Otley Rd
Leeds, LS16 5LQ
0113 274 2222
*The Pink Teapot -See Review!!
Sorry, no contact information. It is in Otley!
City Centre, Leeds
0113 243 8802
*Shaky Jakes Milkshake Bar - See Review!!
Gateway House, 2
15 North Ln, Headingley, Leeds, LS6
0113 217 9156
1 the Crescent
Leeds LS6 2NW
0113 274 44 22
*Town House Coffee Shop #
39Great George Street
City Centre, Leeds
0113 245 9224
---Fancy (But Not Too Expensive) Restaurants
*Maxi's (Chinese) #
6 Bingley St
Leeds, LS3 1LX
0113 244 0589
*Casa Mia (Italian) - See Upcoming Review!! #
10-12 Stainbeck Ln, Leeds - 0870 444 5156
Great George Street, 6 Millennium Square, Leeds - 0113 245 4121
*The Olive Tree
74-76 Otley Road, LS6 4BA
~~Theatre And Cinema~~
I love visiting the theatres in Leeds; and every Christmas Eve me and the family go to a fun pantomime every year. Our favourite is the City Varieties, but it is closed this year, and last year, so I booked the Carriageworks as a last minute thing this year. We've visited this a few times and I think it will be fine! It's all just a bit of festive fun really, right?
Here are a list of all the theatres in Leeds:
*City Varieties #
A lovely theatre down in the heart of the city centre, my personal favourite. However it is closed for refurbishment at the moment, hopefully it will be back open soon!
*The Carriageworks #
A rather small theatre tucked away under the large BBC screen in the Millennium Square. The theatre rooms are extremely small, it's kind of like sitting in someone's living room, but nonetheless the shows are often entertaining.
*The Grand #
Also in the centre of Leeds, the Grand shows many fantastic shows and touring shows. I have seen the Joseph show here for the past two years and really enjoy it - plus they sell THE most gorgeous ice cream!!
*West Yorkshire Playhouse
Probably the most well known theatre in Leeds, and definitely the largest; the WYP has won awards for many things, from it's productions to it's customer service! It has gained a reputation locally, nationally and even internationally!
There are also a number of cinemas in Leeds, I mostly go to The Light as I spend most of my time in the city centre, although there are a few more...
*Vue Cinema - The Light #
This is Leeds largest cinema. It is a huge, modern multiplex cinema of high quality. Details of the films showing can be found at myvue.com
*Vue Cinema - Kirkstall Complex
Also in this complex is Hollywood Bowl and a selection of restaurants. The cinema itself is smaller than the one in The Light, but I still enjoy visiting.
*Cottage Road Cinema - Cottage Road!
This cinema is so small I don't bother visiting anymore. I have been a few times, but that was many years ago. It only shows around one or two films at a time and the screenings are limited.
*Hyde Park Picture House - Headingly
Have never been here and admittedly have never heard of it until I was doing a Google check that I'd got all the cinemas down in Leeds. It seems to be very small and showing limited films. I may check it out sometime...
~~Museums, Gardens And Days Out~~
Sorry I can't involve everything - there's just too much to say! I have picked up on the most well known or most interesting places to visit!
*Abbey House Museum/Kirkstall Abbey - Kirkstall
Connected to Kirkstall Abbey which is just across the road, Abbey House museum is the place to visit if you would like to find out more about the local area in the 1880's. When you step inside you literally step back onto the cobbles in a town centre - much different to Leeds town centre nowadays! I find this a great place to visit, and went here all the time when I was younger!
....Prices And Opening Times For Abbey House
- Opening Times:
Abbey House is open generally all year. It is closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. It is also closed on Mondays, apart from Bank Holidays (excluding the ones mentioned) when it is opened from 10AM-5PM. Tuesday to Saturday it is also open 10AM-5PM. Saturdays it is open 12AM-5PM and Sunday 10AM-5PM. Last admission is 4PM.
If you own a Leeds/Breeze card you could get a discount on these - already very reasonable - prices.
Adults - £3.50
Concessions - £2.50
Child - £1.50
Family - £5
Please note entrance to the actual abbey itself is completely free!
*The Royal Armouries
The Royal Armouries is a well developed, well set out museum which hosts the UK's national collection of arms and armour. Seeing as this is a genre which doesn't really appeal to me, the museum does a great job in showcasing the exhibits in an interesting and "fun" way. The Royal Armouries also works with organisations that help the youth of today and have launched there own campaign against knife crime and other violence.
....Opening Times And Prices Of The Royal Armouries
- Opening Times:
The Royal Armouries is open daily from 10AM to 5PM, but this excludes 24th-26th December, where it is closed.
I love the fact that this is a completely free museum (they probably just get their funds from the tempting cakes in the cafe!) However they understandably charge for some of their events.
*Leeds City Museum #
Leeds City Museum is in the Millennium Square and showcases the history of Yorkshire and Leeds. It includes the famous Leeds tiger, costumes for children to try on, objects and many exhibits. There is also a shop and cafe.
....Opening Times And Prices Of Leeds City
- Opening Times:
Closed Mondays - except bank holidays - then open 11am - 4pm.
Tue, We, Fri 11am - 6pm.
Thurs 11am - 8pm.
Sat and Sun 11am - 5pm.
Admission is free!
*Armley Mills Industrial Museum
Armley Mills was once the worlds largest woollen mill. It has exhibits dating back from the 18th and 19th century, and gives information about industrialisation and textiles, clothing, engines and much more. It has won many awards. I haven't been here in years, so I can't really remember it but I think if you are interested in this part of history it is well worth a look.
....Opening Times And Prices For Armley Mills
- Opening Times
Closed Mondays except bank holidays (10am - 5pm). Tue - Sat 10am - 5pm. Sunday 1pm - 5pm. Last admission 4pm
Adult: £3.00 (£2.40 with Leeds Card).
Concession: £1.50 (£1.20 with Leeds Card).
Child: £1.00 (80p with Leeds Card).
---Gardens And Houses
Probably the most well known house in Leeds, Harewood is home to the Earl and Countess of Harewood. It won 'England's Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, 2009.' I visit here loads (almost too much!) and I am drafting a review on Harewood very soon, so if this interests you check it out when it comes along. You can visit sections of the house, look round the beautiful gardens (I love going to the Himalyan Garden for some peace of mind) and it is great for kids too, with a massive adventure playground and a bird garden. There is also a shop and cafe.
- Opening Times
The Open Season runs from 3rd April to 1st November 2009. They are open daily.
State Rooms: 12.00pm - 4.00pm
Below Stairs & Terrace Gallery: 10.30am - 4.00pm
Terrace Cafe: 10.30am - 5.00pm
Gardens, Grounds and Adventure Playground: 10.00am - 6.00pm
Bird Garden: 10.00am - 5.30pm
Courtyard Café, Courtyard Shop & Toyshop: 10.00am - 5.30pm
Harewood is very pricey, so if you are local and plan on visiting lots I recommend you buy a Harewood card. We own one, and, although pricey at first, in the long run we have saved money. The details of the tickets vary and are very confusing, so I recommend you visit this link: http://www.harewood.org/tickets-times
Lotherton Hall is an Edwardian country house and is a great day out,. It shows off their collection of their arts, craft and music. You can explore the country home and the grounds which include a family play area, nature trails, cafe, red deer park and a bird garden.
- Opening Times
Open Tuesday to Sunday, March to December.
LeedsCard: 20% discount
Oakwell Hall is an Elizabethan manor and is famous for it's 'ghost', which is supposedly the ghost of a 25 year old man, William Batt. You can visit the manor's many rooms and its beautiful gardens.
- Opening Times
Oakwell Hall is open weekdays from 11am to 5pm, and Saturdays &
Sundays from 12pm to 5pm (Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing
Day and New Years Day).
There is a small admission charge 1 Mar - 31 Oct and visiting groups should
---Other Days Out
Linked to nearby Roundhay Park (free), Tropical World is a great place to go with the kids as it shows many tropical animals in a rainforest style environment. I love visiting here and we go here often.
- Opening Times
10am until 6pm (last admission at 5:30)
10am until 4pm (last admission at 3:30)
Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day
Children (aged 8 - 15yrs) £1.96
Under 5's free
Leeds/Breeze card holders free
*Leeds Art Gallery #
Leeds Art Gallery houses a fantastic collection of 20th century British art. It is situated in the town centre and there are events fun for all the family.
- Opening Times
Monday & Tuesday 10am - 5pm.
Wednesday 12pm - 5pm.
Thursday - Saturday 10am - 5pm.
Sunday 1pm - 5pm.
Closed on bank holidays.
There are many more fantastic days out in Leeds, but I find these to be the best!
Okay, so I'm definitely not a footie fan, but I know a little about Leeds United. They are currently doing very well in League 1 and are probably getting a promotion...I think! Leeds trademark football colours are blue and yellow, which is there current strip and their stadium is at Elland Road (near the White Rose).
Okay, so this is something I do know about! I used to be a huge Leeds Rhinos fan, with a season ticket in the South Stand and everything. I am not as big a fan as I used to be, but I come from a family of dedicated Rhinos supporters and I am always updated. I also watched the Leeds Vs Saints grand final this year on TV and enjoyed it. Leeds Rhinos are now top of the league, and they are the second club to win the grand final three times in a row!
There are events all around Leeds. I have mentioned most of them in the Millennium Square section, but there are also concerts every year, such as Party In The Park and Leeds Fest.
I hope this review of my hometown has shown you how much Leeds has to offer, and this is just a little taster! Leeds is a beautiful place to be and I am sure if you ever visit you will find something that you enjoy. There is much more to it than meets the eye, and I really do hope that this review has done it justice.Thank you so much for reading, if you have any tips for improvement please leave your comments below and I will adjust it to your liking!! xx
I have lived in Leeds all my life, studied here, and have now settled here post uni. I have lived in more rural areas, out of town suburbs, studentville, and even dabbled in some almost city living. It's one of those cities that has been experiencing a boom over the last twenty or so years, overtaking the other cities of West Yorkshire to become the largest, and arguably most successful. Traditionally it really began to develop as a municipality from the beginnings of the industrial revolution, being at the centre of the woollen industry, and has a long history with textiles. Just look at how Marks and Spencer began! Nowadays, it has hard to class Leeds as one thing in particular - different areas all function as independent towns whilst being part of the larger Leeds - and with most cities has it's share of division. It's not necessarily the first place you'd think of for a city break, or maybe you live here but don't yet realise what lies a little further afield, but, if you fancy visiting a city with a variety of things to do and see, I would highly recommend making the trip.
Getting to Leeds:
If it's the city centre you're after, then there is a large train station centrally located which is operated by Northern Rail. Its on the route for a fair few cross country trains as well as linking up any number of local and regional stations. There is also a bus station and coach station, with a variety of National Express coaches departing and arriving on a daily basis. Local buses link up with all the areas of Leeds, as well as some covering Ilkley, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Halifax and Keighley - and for those of you arriving by plane - with Leeds Bradford International airport.
The road network is also quite well linked, with both the M62 and M1 coming through Leeds, the A1 North being accessible, and the A65 that takes you most of the way to the Lake District. Parking in the city itself can be expensive - upwards of £2 an hour in some cases, and there is a rather intricate one way system through the city centre, so could be a little daunting for the more timid driver. However, a lot of the attractions are out in the burbs or further afield, so driving is more suitable and more comprehendible.
Things to do:
If it's an experience of Leeds past and present you are looking for, there are a variety of different museums and stately homes that may take your fancy. Leeds City Council operate nine different museums and galleries, all of which only charge modest entry fees, or free entry. I will briefly outline them below.
(Prices for standard adult tickets as of 10/2009 - concessions and children's rates will be cheaper):
Kirkstall Abbey: Free
Kirkstall Abbey dates back to 1152, and was originally home to Cistercian Monks. Considering its age, there is still quite a lot left standing, and had extensive repair work carried out a couple of years ago. It's not necessarily the best place to visit on a wet day as a lot of the Abbey is uncovered and has grass underfoot. There is a small visitor centre built on one of the outbuildings, looking at the history of the Abbey and the monks who lived there.
Abbey House Museum: £3.50
This is based in Kirkstall, across the road from Kirkstall Abbey. Abbey House has been set up to look at life in Victorian Leeds. It's a small museum with a Victorian street, that has a variety of shop fronts and shops to enter. It has other galleries looking at toys and games, and dealing with issues such as Victorian attitudes to weddings and mortality.
Armley Mills (Leeds Industrial Museum): £3.00
Based in Armley (just a couple of miles from the city centre, easily accessible by bus), on the site of Gotts Mill - one of the largest Victorian textile mills in the country. This museum, as the name suggests, deals with the industrial history of Leeds. In recent years, as with many places, Leeds has lost much of it's former industrial glory, but this museum offers a look at a variety of different aspects of the past. There is a small cinema and gallery dedicated to film, as Louis Le Prince, (father of the cinema) carried out some of his early work in Leeds. There is a selection of textile machinery, that can still operate for special occasions, a section with engines and trains and a water wheel that is in the final stages of restoration.
Discovery Centre: Free to enter - but you need to book to visit
The Discovery Centre has only been open for a year or two. Rather than being a museum as such, it is the storage facility for all artefacts and objects owned by Leeds City Council that are not currently on display in any of their other museums. This is a vast collection, covering pretty much anything you can imagine - natural history, art, machinery.
Leeds City Art Gallery: Free
The art gallery is situated slap bang in the city centre, housed in the same building as the central library, and next door to the iconic Victorian Town Hall. The gallery has certain permanent exhibitions with the usual
portraits of Victorian grandeur, and a nice selection of modern works. Much of the art focuses on Leeds and its communities. It also hosts a number of visiting exhibitions over the course of the year, and are due to host their third Northern Art Prize. They also offer talks and other events (see web links at the bottom). Linking the gallery to the library is the Tiled Hall, recently restored to its full Victorian glory, and offering a nice cup of tea and a cake. The library has several different departments, including a specialist art library and local history library. The buildings are worth visiting themselves just for the architectural interest.
Leeds City Museum: Free (but occasional special exhibitions will charge for entry)
This is based two minutes walk from the art gallery. It is currently the crowning glory of Leeds Museums, having only been open for around a year. It houses several galleries, and is an interesting and interactive place to visit with children or just grown ups. There is a gallery dedicated to the history of lives from pre-history and beyond up to the reign of bands such as the Kaiser Chiefs. There is a gallery dedicated to exhibiting world artefacts and offering an interesting look into other cultures. There is a fantastic natural history gallery, a look into ancient worlds and mummies, and much more.
Lotherton Hall: £2.93
Lotherton Hall is a stately home set in huge grounds about 9 miles from the city centre, and not far off the A1. It is an Edwardian country house with a collection of art and furniture, with exhibitions coming in from time to time. In the grounds is a bird garden, home to a huge variety of birds from England and around the world. There are nature trails around the estate, and, if you're lucky, you may just spot some Red Deer. There is also a play park and cafe.
Temple Newsam: £3.43 to visit the house, £3.18 to visit the farm, or £5.51 to visit both
Temple Newsam is a country House set about 4 miles from the city centre. The house is originally tudor, and has been added to, extended and altered over the last few hundred years. It is incredibly grand, and most of it is visitable by the public, displaying furniture and art works that fit with the house. It is set in large grounds, which also includes a farmyard with animals and exhibits, and a play park. I have been a huge fan of their rare breed pigs from being a small child!
Thwaite Mills: £3.00 (Tours to be booked in advance)
Thwaite Mills is 2 miles south of the city centre. It is working water mill situated on an island in what used to be one of the industrial centres of Leeds, between the River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation. The tour guide will show you around the watermill, explain how it works, look at the engineering workshops, take in the scenery of the wildlife on the river bank, and experience the 1940s at the mill.
(Most of the above sites are not open on certain days, to be sure the one you want to visit is open, please check the website for details)
Tropical World: £3.25
This is a tropical garden housed in two greenhouse type domes within Roundhay park (about 5-6 miles from the city centre). It is one of Leeds most popular attractions, and is home to a huge variety of plant and animal life.
There are numerous butterfiles roaming free, along with a variety of birds and Delia the iguana that all have the run of the place. There is a recently reinforced Meerkat enclosure, reptile exhibits, turtles and a nocturnal area housing bats and my beloved bush baby.
Royal Armouries Museum: Free entry ( but charges for horse and falconry shows and displays)
This is the home of one of the largest collections of Arms and Armour in Britain, being the Northern home to much that had previously been stored in the tower of London. It is roughly 10 minutes walk from the bus station and offers a full day out. The museum is laid out over a number of floors and galleries, looking at arms and armour through time, including the tudors, civil war period, an 'oriental' gallery looking at the early armours from Asia and Africa, and a very small gallery dedicated to looking at peace, which for me is always a highlight - offering such a contrast to the rest of the war and hunting based galleries.
Thackray Museum: £5.40
This a museum set up to look into the history of medicine, and is housed just outside the city centre in a former Victorian hospital building. As it is a medical museum, some of it is not for the faint-hearted, but is quite an
interesting trip. Exhibits include pain, pus and blood; fantastic plastic; and Hannah Dyson's Ordeal (an 1820's surgical procedure - amputation!).
As you may have guessed, I'm a bit of a culture vulture, but Leeds is also gaining a name for itself as one of the leading shopping capitals. For those looking for the high-end of fashion we have Harvey Nichols (the first outside London), and the Victoria Quarter, which houses shops including Agent Provocateur and Vivenne Westwood. There are the typical department stores and chains, including a huge M&S and Next, and there are a number of more individual shops. Leeds also has a booming retro trade particularly popular with the students. The city is filled with a mixture of streets and shopping centres. And, there is the legendary Kirkgate Market, which I could go on at length about.
Leeds has a fantastic range of restaurants and eating establishments. From the every day Macdonalds (I can think of at least 4 locations in the city centre itself), the ever breeding Starbucks coffee houses and Greggs bakeries to the chains such as Pizza Express or La Tasca. There is also a good selection of more independent restaurants if you are willing to keep your eyes peeled. Pubs and bars are plentiful - with several Wetherspoons to choose from if you fancy a cheap pint of ale. If you leave the city centre and venture out as far as places like Otley, there
are some fantastic traditional real ale pubs to be found.
I am aware that I'm starting to go on more than a little here, but it's hard to put the city into just a few words. However, it wouldn't be right of me not to mention perhaps the biggest perk of Leeds. As far as I can remember, it's got the most parks and public gardens of any city in England. Most suburbs have access to a reasonable sized park, woodland or moor. Otley has the chevin, which is a series of rocks formed from the Ice Age that have become the landscape, providing stunning views of the town below. There are bluebell woods in Shadwell and Horsforth, Bramhope has Golden Acre Park - which has a fantastic man-made lake in the middle with ducks and geese galore - and Roundhay has a boating lake.
Leeds, to me at least, is a beautiful city. It has something that will appeal to everyone. Just make sure you take the time to find what it is you really want to explore. Most people imagine it to be grim up north, but if you're willing to venture out the city, it's a green and pleasant land.
*This review is also posted on Ciao, username Nicolap*
Well I'm from Leeds born and bred. And I have to say fairly - not just because I come from here - that Leeds is better. Dont get me wrong I also spend a lot of time in Manchester which I always enjoy. And it's definately more cultural than Leeds. There seems to be a buzz around Manchester that Leeds doesn't have. It may even just be the trams round picadilly or something! On the other hand, Leeds is bigger/better for shopping with shops being much closer together and so many of them! Also, Leeds nightlife is better with more variety than manchester. Again the nightlife is always within easy walking distance. In terms of housing districts and people there really is nothing in it really. Same as any other city. In summary they are both fab cities with the biggest problem being the horrible M62 that divides us!
Leeds is one of the most popular university towns. It has become over the last few years the uni to be at. The halls are pretty good but the areas they are in a very dodgy. So much so in fact that there are great big spiked fences around most of them with access restricted to key card holders only.
The student scene is very big in Leeds as is the music scene though they both really seem to go hand in hand. Wax on started in Leeds and it is now a really popular dance night. There are some great little bars and clubs in Leeds but there are also a lot of super clubs and chain places.
There are excellent museums and exhibitions and everything is very cheap. Drinks, food and sunbeds are all dirt cheap. They have some great shops including Vivienne Westwood and a huge range of high street places. The best vintage shop is Blue Rinse.
I lived in Leeds until I was 14, and rate it very highly as a city. Had I not grown up there, I would have definitely applied to it as one of my university choices, as it''s a fantastic, vibrant city with lots of nightlife, and even more importantly, lots of great shops! It''s one of the biggest cities in the country (I think it claims to be the third biggest after London and Birmingham) and as such there''s always plenty of entertainment. In the large, and recently revamped main shopping streets, all the major high street shops are represented, and there are some brilliant arcades in and around the Victoria quarter, with more specialised boutiques, and plenty of designer shops. And if it''s designer shops you''re after, there''s an absolutely huge Harvey Nichols in the centre of town.
Although it''s not the most touristy of cities (try the nearby York, if you''re after beautiful architecture and sightseeing) there are some fairly good museums. The Royal Armouries is excellent, and well worth a visit - especially if you''ve got sons, as I''ve never met boy who grew up in the city and wasn''t a little fascinated by all the old weapons and armour and the fantastic displays of archery and jousting. For a more sedate day out, the art gallery is an attractive prospect, and the nearby Millennium Square often hosts big outdoor events, for example an ice rink in the winter, continental markets throughout the year, and a massive outdoor tv screen that''s put out for things like world cup football matches.
Okay, some backround, I am 24 years old, I am a self employed Estate Agent working out of my own branch with a small team of staff and I have recently moved to Leeds to develop my small company.
The reason I moved to Leeds was a concious one, I used to live in Chester and I had become extremely bored, I am not a small City kind of person, I find myself rumbling around with not an awful lot to do, and as such I wanted to move somewhere bigger and better.
This will be one of the few reviews I update, I have not lived here long enough to paint as much as a full picture as I would like. But believe me, if you are either looking for somewhere to go on a night out, or to go shopping, or to take in the sights. Leeds has it all.
I looked at some other cities that I could move to, and try and make a go of it, Liverpool was one as it was just on the doorstep, however, I cannot say I'm a fan. The Property market there isn't up to much either. I then looked further North, and here I came across Leeds.
As a City it was everything a young professional could possibly want. It has diversity, not as much as some surrounding towns, Bradford to name one; but it has people who has come from all over the Country, much in the same way as they have London to persue a bigger and better career.
In the City centre you will be hard pushed to find a yorkshire man, it is only when you frequent places on the outskirts that you begin to feel the true Yorkshire vibes shining through. This is not a criticism, although I have a horrible habbit of picking up an accent when I spend large periods of time surrounded by it, which I'm glad won't be happening here.
The shopping is fantastic, I go looking for a couple of new pieces of clothes maybe once a fortnight, I enjoy going out drinking even if it is just a couple, and I don't like to feel scruffy. I have never struggled to find a shop which suits either my needs or requirements. Whether that be strolling into Harvey Nichs, I have to admit my sum total of purchases there so far stands at one. Or to the Primarks, H&M's and TK Maxx's that are litered around various corners of the City.
I have never been to a more vibrant City in the evening, and once again, it shows the true diversity of the place. Their is no music type not catered for in Leeds, if you want to go off and listen to cheesy 70's music, or fancy something a little bit harder in the form of metal I can think of at least two or three places that pander to both.
The people here love their sport, obviously not many of them still talk about Leeds football club anymore, although I'm sure they still sneak off in their shirts on match day. But on the doorstep you have Leeds Rhinos, one of the biggest names in Rugby League across the land and also Yorkshire Cricket club situated right next door.
It is also steeped in Culture, you only need to look at the Town Hall, which has a huge array of gargoyles and figure heads protuding proudly to understand the great effort and cost that must have gone in to building such an impressive building.
Also not 100 yards away from my flat is the 'Royal Armouries', if you are anywhere close to Leeds I suggest this is a great day out for anyone, it shows the armouries used through the ages, it contains everything from Henry the Eights battle armour to at the moment the weaponry used in the Narnia and Lord of The Rings films. It is truly something you need to go and check out, especially as it is free.
Leeds is a truely great city! A northern city but don't let that put you off, despite being only 10 miles from Bradford, it will seem like another world. Modern, wealthy and buzzing, Leeds is a cosmopolitan and diverse city with lots to offer.
With the highest student population anywhere outside of London (around 80,000) the city has a very young and happening vibe to it. Crammed full of bars, clubs and restaurants you will never have to visit the same place twice. For those looking for culture they will find several excellent theatres, including the West Yorkshire Playhouse, commonly regarded as the best theatre house out of the West End.
For those who like to shop, Leeds is packed full of high street shops and high quality designers and boutiques in its many streets, quarters and victorian arcades. And further development, such as the new Eastgate Quarter is only likely to see this city gain an even greater reputation for its shopping (currently sitting at number 3 below London and Glasgow, although voted number 1 just a couple of years ago, and regularly voted Britain's favourite city (conde nast traveller etc.) and often referred to as the 'Knightsbridge of the North' ).
Leeds is a large city, home to just under a million people and a transit area of around 2.5million. It is very spread out and packed full of little rural retreats, and the city centre is quite compact (or at least the shopping areas is) plus it is heavily pedestrianised which is fantastic.
One thing Leeds does currently lack (which other cities in its class all have) is a large arena, but there are plans to build one in the not to distant future. Also, Leeds has been cited as being the largest city in Europe without a mass transit system (tram, underground etc), which in a city of its size really does need looking at. Also it could do with a few more family attractions.
On the whole, Leeds really is a fantastic city, with lots to offer. It is a city that really is best enjoyed with a lot of money (for shops, bars and restaurants) but its location near to cities like Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle and York (and indeed the Yorkshire Dales) make it a brilliant place to base yourself if you ever fancy a day out on the train.
Leeds, Live it, Love it!
Ok so I stole a song from New York. I'm sorry. I'm not quite sure why there's not more songs about Leeds (there's a few strange ones about the yorkshire dales but I don't really get what on earth they're on about, not being a "local"...). Maybe Yorkshire folk prefer to express themselves in more obscure ways, involving flat caps, whippets and Emmerdale. I couldn't possibly comment!
So why on earth is the girl whos heart lies just south of Watford writing a review about a city in Yorkshire (which, as I'm sure you're aware, lies quite a long way north of Watford)?
Well, I moved to Leeds for the same reason as approximately a third of the city's population - Higher Education. Leeds is very much a University city, with the University of Leeds (www.leeds.ac.uk), Leeds Metropolitan University (www.lmu.ac.uk), Leeds College of Art and Design (www.leeds-art.ac.uk) and Leeds College of Music (www.lcm.ac.uk) all offering Degree level courses, there's quite a few students to be found roaming the streets in term time.
The huge student population of Leeds makes for a pretty bustling nightlife. Leeds is known to be one of the best nights out in the UK, and during term times you're guaranteed a mad night out any night of the week in any one of the student-packed bars or clubs in the city centre.
If student-style drinking until you fall over and/or vomit in the street is what you're after, there's a few places I'd recommend:
BAR RISA - This shrine to student drinking seems to try its hardest to exude no class whatsoever. In its defence, it has a Jongleurs Comedy Club attached, but the comedy in here is generally of a lesser quality than other Comedy nights in Leeds. That said, if you want to get drunk, eye up students (Leeds students are regularly voted as the best looking in the UK (why, thank you!)), then you won't find anywhere better than Risa.
BAJA BEACH CLUB - Situated conveniently close to all the other terrible clubs in Leeds, Baja is actually a pretty good night out. With a beach theme to it, a "cheese and student anthems-only" music policy and a friendlier crowd than the Risa, it's a good place to meet students with a sense of humour!
BONDI BEACH CLUB - As beach-themed bars go, Bondi is certainly the better of those in Leeds (don't worry, there's only two!!). It has everything Baja boasts, but with a revolving dancefloor, a stage show, and a "bikinis only" dress code for the female staff, which always seems to appeal to the male population of Leeds. They also have an "all you can drink for £10" night on a Monday - carnage is the only possible way to describe it.
CREATION - Once student heaven, Creation now seems to struggle to tempt the student population into its gigantic club. With great mid-week nights, but awful weekend ones, Creation seems to have lost a little of its sparkle recently.
MAJESTYK - Leeds' former answer to the "superclub", Majestyk is very difficult to miss opposite the city train station. It's a big sweaty pit, with fantastic drinks offers and good mid-week nights. Those who are into their chart music stars will love this place - on Saturday nights they often play host to characters such as Girls Aloud (oh dear!) and Lemar.
HALO - A new club, near the University of Leeds, built in a church. Enough said.
"Enough of this student hell!" I hear you shout! What do I do if I want to go somewhere I'll actually enjoy!! I'm far too old to be drinking with the sole aim of making myself sick and groping a fresher! Well, if you, like me, have had enough of all this insane torture known as student drinking culture, there are some places for you in Leeds too!
THE HIFI CLUB - Hifi is still the club of all clubs in my eyes. With a strict "good music only" policy, it tends to draw a naicer crowd than most clubs in Leeds. With regular Northern Soul, Jazz, 60s and Funk nights, Hifi manages to appeal to a wider variety of people than most clubs in Leeds and is a great place to boogy all night as a result.
THE MINT CLUB - A tiddly little gem of a club, which manages to be cool whatever music they're playing. Host to Funky Wormhole on Thursday nights, which has a "cool" music policy, so "cool" they don't even try to describe it. Has a vague Polo mint theme, but manages to carry it off well, oddly enough.
OPORTO - One of the best bars in the whole wide world, Oporto is situated in the area of Leeds known as the Calls, home to classy restaurants, sexy city centre flats and oddly enough, some not-particularly-great bars. Oporto is the exception to this, with a really laid-back feel to it, a great wine and cocktail menu, and an amazing restaurant to boot. I could quite happily live here! It does get pretty busy on Fridays and Saturdays, so probably one to save for your mid-week visit. Another bonus is that it's practically next door to the Hifi club - what a perfect night out!
MOJO - Another great bar, hailed as one of the best in the UK, Mojo is situated right in the north of the city centre, hidden away from the beaten track. The cocktail menu is extensive, the bar staff very informative and professional, the music policy is fantastic and it always manages to be full! The atmosphere in here is great, with everyone out to enjoy themselves. A great break from the "cattle-market"s of the student clubs.
THE COCKPIT - If you like your nightlife a little rockier, the Cockpit is definitely the place for you. With an alternative music policy, you can find all your different types of rock in here. "The Garage" on a Saturday has an 80s rock room, a punk room and a metal room; "Slam Dunk" on a Tuesday has a metal/goth room and a punk/ska room. The atmosphere in here is fantastic and the music never fails. They also have a lot of live gigs of varying quality (!).
FIBRE - Although Fibre markets itself as "Gay-Friendly", what it really means is "Straight-Friendly", and it has always been very friendly to me! It's a fantastically decorated bar, with a predominantly dance music policy, and some good 2 for 1 drinks offers on weekdays. It's late opening and is just opposite...
QUEEN'S COURT - As the name suggests, this is also a predominantly gay bar. While not quite as classy as Fibre, they do do a fantastic Monday night, with £1 drinks all night being the main draw. The music is generally pretty varied, ranging from all brands of house, to RnB and the odd bit of cheese!
So what else has Leeds got to offer, apart from places to drink?
The other thing that Leeds is famed for is its fantastic shopping. With a compact city centre (and that doesn't mean small!), everything you could ask for is within easy reach and there's nothing between your favourite shop and your next favourite shop - apart from a few shops. We'll have none of those road things getting in the way here, thank you Manchester and London. Leeds is pure, unadulterated shopping bliss!
High points include:
HARVEY NICHOLS - Although a little too expensive for me (and very bad for my health if I venture in there on pay day - I have been known to exist on cupasoup for three weeks!), the Leeds branch of Harvey Nicks (as it is affectionately known to the posh crew) is my personal favourite. On four floors, it's very easy to find exactly what you're looking for, and the staff, being Yorkshire folk, are a lot more helpful and friendly than those in the other branches. The food department is fantastic (and actually the cheapest place in Leeds to buy Sushi rice - now you know!), the ground floor make-up department is great, and they wrap up anything you want for free in their own wrapping paper (looks very good when given as a present, I can tell you!), and the esspresso bar and the fourth floor cafe are a much nicer option than Starbucks or McDonalds for that mid-shop snack!
THE VICTORIA QUARTER - Home to Harvey Nichols, Kurt Geiger, Vivienne Westwood, Links of London and a few other big name designer stores, The Victoria Quarter is the classier end of Leeds city centre. It's a beautiful Victorian arcade, with an ornate ceiling, big plants, a pretty floor and a few cafes dotted within it.
THE CORN EXCHANGE - Every mini-mosher's favourite weekend hang-out, the Corn Exchange is Leeds' alternative shopping heaven. With little beauties such as "Grin", an alternative clothing shop, "Grin Home", a crazy homewares shop, "The Condom Shop", a predictably rude shop which sells joke toys, hen night accessories, cards and rude mugs amongst other things, and "The Bead Shop", which surprisingly sells beads, the Corn Exchange should definitely be your first stop if you're looking for an unusual gift.
ROSE & CO - A little gem of a shop, situated in one of the many arcades that run between the main streets of the city centre, Rose & Co caters for your every girly whim. They sell beautiful toiletries, bags, perfumes, make-up and vintage jewellry. Boys, if you need a present for your girlfriend don't even think about looking anywhere before you look in here!
OFFICE, DUNE, SCHUH, FAITH, SHELLEYS, JONES BOOTMAKERS, KURT GEIGER - Leeds has shoe shops to rival any city in the world. The above are just the beginning. Add to these your high street staples of Barratts, Clarks and the like, the shoe departments Harvey Nichols, all the department stores, the enormous Topshop and all the designer boutiques in the Victoria Quarter and you have shoe paradise! (Oh and you can get some cracking bags in all of the above too!)
BORDERS - Worth a special mention as this is a truly great shop. With a Starbucks and a Paperchase inside and three floors full of books, CDs and DVDs to suit all tastes this shop would be amazing anyway, but throw in the fact that it's open til 10pm every weeknight and we have one of the best shops in the North!
So you're not a shopper and you're not a clubber. Is it still worth visiting Leeds? Well, in short, YES!!
ART - With the Henry Moore Institute and the City Art Gallery, there's always an art exhibition in Leeds to whet your appetite. See www.henry-moore.co.uk and http://www.itchyleeds.co.uk/venues/414.html for more details.
MUSIC - The University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University both regularly play host to fantastic bands on tour. See the Universities websites (above) for further details. The Cockpit is another firm favourite on the music front, and other venues within Leeds such as The Vine pub and Joseph's Well are great places to catch some live music. The Hifi Club also have weekly live Jazz on Sundays, and the Wardrobe is an amazing Jazz bar almost next door to the Music College.
THEATRE - There are numerous theatres in Leeds, the most well known being the West Yorkshire Playhouse (www.wyplayhouse.com), a stopping point for a great number of touring companies and often host to great regional theatre productions.
OPERA - The Grand Theatre in Leeds is the home to the acclaimed company, Opera North. Their productions are without doubt amongst the best you will ever encounter. Their ability to stage anything from Britten, to Puccini, to Kurt Weil is quite astounding!
Ok, so you're convinced. But where are you going to stay when you come and visit? And what are you going to eat?
THE CALLS GRILL - Let's start with my favourite! A great restaurant, in the classy end of town, serving a range of fantastic steaks, cooked to perfection. Will also cater for those who don't enjoy steak as much as I do with their range of other grill-house specials.
LIVEBAIT - Situated opposite the Calls Grill, Livebait is a fish restaurant. No, not one of those seafront special fish restaurants that only serve fish and chips! This is a serious fish restaurant! They do serve fish and chips, but I'd definitely forgo that in favour of the Livebait platter!
OPORTO - Already mentioned earlier, Oporto's restaurant is fantastic! It operates on a Tapas-style "small dish" basis, and the food is so varied and interesting, fusing british, oriental and european influences in a way that really shouldn't work. Needless to say, it works!
HARD ROCK CAFE - Although you'd expect this place to be terrible - after all, with such a high "novelty" factor, it could still make a profit if it was - the food is good (although I'd recommend the fajitas and staying away from the disappointing burgers), the cocktails are great and varied, and the memorabilia is great (John Lennon's Jacket! Woo!!!)
TAMPOPO - A great oriental restaurant, with an extensive menu, an interesting "open-plan" layout, great lunch time and pre/post-theatre/cinema deals and most of all, great food!!
WHERE TO STAY
Although I'd love to put you all up in my flat, there's limited room, so why not try the following?
MALMAISON - This hotel is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! If you haven't already heard of these places, you simply have to take a look at them! It is a little pricey, not unreasonably so for a city centre hotel, but it is well worth it! The rooms are tastefully decorated in the extreme, the minibar is full of unusual and innovative drink and snack ideas, the bathrooms are so luxurious you almost feel mean using them and the beds are the biggest in the world! Take a look at www.malmaison.com for availability and prices. Also try www.lastminute.com as they sometimes have deals on the Mal.
JURY'S INN - A great hotel for those on a bit more of a budget. Newly built, the rooms are large and functional. The hotel is central enough without being subject to too much noise and they serve a great breakfast!
BEWLEY'S HOTEL - Another newly built hotel, they have a strict £59 per room per night policy, and I've heard nothing but praise so far (although I don't have personal experience of this one!).
NONE OF THE HOTELS IN HEADINGLEY! - Please, whatever you do, do not attempt to find a good hotel in Headingley. These hotels are B&B's, and bad ones at that. It really is not worth staying in these instead of a city centre hotel unless you are visiting people in Headingley (even then I wouldn't recommend it!). You will save yourself about £5, and all that will be spent on bus and taxi fares to the city anyway. Don't say you weren't warned!!
I'll see you in Leeds soon then, right?!
Charles Dickens once wrote “…it may be observed with delicacy that you must either like Leeds very much, or not at all”. Unfortunately, he settled on the latter view and when he was having trouble with trains a few years later, he worried that he might be forced to spend the night in Leeds “which I particularly detest as an odious place”. Hmmm. There goes my intention of opening with a quotation that would show what a great place Leeds is. Mind you, Dickens was writing over 100 years ago, and Leeds has come a long way since. I suppose I should come out and tell you right now that I am a Loiner. Although this may sound like an admission to some sort of dirty habit or sexual quirk, it actually means nothing more than that I am an inhabitant of Leeds. Or, rather, an ex-pat inhabitant of Leeds as I am currently living a fair few hundred miles away in Heidelberg, Germany. Being raised in Leeds and living there for 18 years until leaving for university has made me quite fond of the place and I probably lack the outside perspective needed to be critical about it. HISTORY Loidis first earns a mention in print in The Venerable Bede’s “Ecclesiastical History” of 730, so it has been around for a fair while. In 1086, the renamed village of Ledes is described in the Domesday Book as possessing “a priest, a church, a mill and 10 acres of meadow, 27 labourers, 4 freemen and 4 cottagers” – hardly the bustling metropolis we know today, but it’s a start I suppose. There was one more name change to Leedes before the modern-day spelling of Leeds was settled on some time around the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution can be seen as the birth of Leeds. It blossomed from a small town into a city in a remarkably short period of time and developments such as the Leeds-Liverpool Canal (1770) and the world’s first commercial railway, the Middleton Colliery Railway (17
58), helped fuel this growth. More recently, Leeds has tried to shrug off its industrial past and now claims to be the financial capital of the north of England. This has brought an influx of money that is probably most evident in the number of cafés, bars and restaurants to have sprung up in and around the financial district. Tourism is also starting to play a role and the recent relocation of the Royal Armouries from London to Leeds has helped place the city on the tourist map. Leeds is currently the third largest city in England, after London and Birmingham. It has a population of over 700,000 and something to offer for just about anyone wanting to live there, study or just visit for the day. SHOPPING The side of Leeds with which most visitors are acquainted is the central shopping area. This has been the focus of most of the redevelopment to have taken place since the mid-1980s and is now one of the best city centre shopping areas in England (in my humble opinion!). The quality of the shopping area was confirmed when Harvey Nichols decided to open its first venture outside of London in Leeds. This can be found in the renovated arcades of the Victoria Quarter, alongside other designer stores like Vivienne Westwood and Ted Baker. Just down the road you can find the Corn Exchange, also fully renovated and packed with smaller, independent shops selling slightly more quirky items (“The Condom Shop” anyone?). Likewise, there is the Granary Wharf, located in the Dark Arches tunnel complex beneath Leeds station, where stallholders sells handmade craft items and exotic Indian and African imports. Of course, there are also the usual HMVs, Waterstones, River Islands and all the rest – conveniently located in a large pedestrian precinct slap bang in the centre of town. Leeds city centre is built on a “block” basis, with plenty of arcades linking the streets as they form a criss-cross pattern
through town. Most shops have entrances and exits into a couple of different streets, which can lead to a little disorientation at times, but just wandering about and seeing what is around the next corner is all part of the Leeds shopping experience. FOOD AND DRINK Leeds certainly has its fair share of places to wine and dine. Since I’m not living there at the moment I might be a bit out of date, so I will stick to general comments rather than specifics. As I already mentioned, there are a lot of “posh” bars and restaurants in the financial district to the north of the city centre. If wine bars and French cuisine are your thing, this is probably the best place to start looking. If, however, you’re after a pint and some cheap grub, you’re probably better off looking somewhere else. Most of the pubs in town do some sort of food on a lunchtime (Rat and Parrot, Yates, Square on the Lane, Courtyard…) and there is a decent selection of cafes. My favourite café has to be “Pasta Romagna”, a small Italian place near WHSmith where you can be entertained by the owner (Gilda) belting out her own rendition of Italian opera songs at the top of her voice – as well as shouting quite a lot at the bemused staff and the occasional customer. There is a decent collection of restaurants around the Corn Exchange selling reasonably priced food (Italian, Mexican, French), and there are the obligatory Pizza Huts, McDonald’s and the rest in the town centre for those of you in need of a quick snack. If you’re just after a drink, the bars and pubs range from the incredibly pompous and expensive to the cheap and cheerful. The wine bars in the financial district will quite happily charge you double prices for drinks, but you do get to sit in civilised surroundings, surrounded by businessmen and the occasional “Emmerdale” actor. The middle part of the market is covered by &
#8220;trendy” bars like “Square on the Lane” or “The Courtyard”, although these tend to get full to bursting at the weekends and the constant loud dance music may not be to everybody’s taste. Those wanting a quieter life will want to check out more traditional (and cheaper) pubs like “The Horse and Trumpet” or “The Packhorse”. If you want to head away from the city centre, there is the famous Headingly district, which is especially popular with students. TOURISM AND THE ARTS Leeds is gradually building a reputation as a tourist destination and the visitor attractions are generally of a high quality. The Royal Armouries relocated to Leeds from London a couple of years ago and provides enough entertainment for a good day out. As well as the displays of weaponry through the ages, there are regular special exhibitions (I went to one on James Bond with original film props) and re-enactments of jousting tournaments and fencing competitions. Nearby, you can find Tetley’s Brewery Wharf. This is a working brewery that sometimes floods the whole city centre with the distinctive smell of hops. Visitors can go on guided tours around the brewery itself, or go to the visitor centre and be entertained by scenes of beer-making through the ages and actors who take you on a historic tour of Tetley’s. Leeds City Museum is also worth a look. This is situated next to the City Art Gallery (also good) in the centre of town and the displays have been reworked over recent years to make it more entertaining and informative. Leeds has its fair share of theatres. The West Yorkshire Playhouse is famous for its Shakespeare and other classic productions, as well as presenting more modern plays, and often attracts big-name actors. The Grand provides a number of operatic and ballet productions, while the City Varieties often has comedians and musical acts and is known for its annual
pantomimes. SPORT Leeds United is perhaps the most famous sporting team in the city. They play at Elland Road in the west of the city and the whole area around the stadium tends to ground to a halt whenever there is a match on. Not being a football fan, I have only ever been to Elland Road once, but the stadium seemed impressive enough and there was a very good atmosphere. Of course, Leeds is well known for the Headingly cricket ground where a number of matches are held over the summer months, and the Leeds Rhinos rugby team also plays in Headingly. For people wanting to actually participate in sport, there are a number of leisure centres scattered around the city and the swimming pool in the centre of town has an Olympic size pool and a range of diving boards for the more adventurous. PARKS Despite being an industrial city, Leeds has a large amount of parkland. Roundhay Park in east Leeds covers over 700 acres and has two large lakes. It is ideal for Sunday afternoon walks, feeding the ducks, fishing or just sitting around and watching the world go by. The park is adjoined by the Canal Gardens which is home to Tropical World, an indoor attraction with aquaria, a rainforest area, a desert area and a butterfly house, all crawling with living creatures and filled with exotic plants. Also in east Leeds, there is Temple Newsam house and gardens, covering 1,000 acres. The house, a Tudor Jacobean mansion, looks out over much of the parkland, a lake and a farm open to visitors. As a city boy, I was often thrilled to be taken there as a child to look at the pigs and sheep. In summer, the grounds are used for music festivals ranging from opera to rock and pop. The Reading/Leeds festival has been held here for a number of years now and I have been lucky to see bands like Blur, Pulp, Beck, Limp Bizkit, Ash, Foo Fighters, Stereophonics, Oasis and many more. If you explore further, you will discover Golde
n Acre Park, Lotherton Hall with its collection of exotic birds, and many other green areas dotted around the city. AND FINALLY… Well, I think I’ve gone on for long enough. There is still quite a lot to write about Leeds (the universities, things to do in the suburbs…), but I think I have said enough for the overview I wanted to give you. Leeds is a great place (despite what Dickens may have said!) and for such a large city it manages to retain a sense of being one whole entity, unlike Manchester, as well as having lots of quiet and green areas to escape to. If you haven’t been, I recommend you give it a go at some point, I’m sure you’ll like the place.
What does Leeds evoke for you? Perhaps just the Yorkshire accent, a music festival or TV programmes like 'Emmerdale' or 'At Home With The Braithwaites' or Mel B. Well for me, it makes me nostalgic of the time I had at uni! I went to university in Leeds for 3 years, graduating a year ago. I am now back in Brum. Quite a few of my friends stayed up there though, so every now and again I go up visiting for a boozy weekend. What made me choose Leeds? Well I wanted to go to a northern university, in a city not quite as big as Birmingham, with good nightlife and shops. I went up for the open day and as soon as we drove into Leeds I knew this was the place for me – it had such a cool atmosphere. I really wanted to post this in the Campus section as I had an excellent time at Leeds University and would like to encourage others to go there. But seeing as this op is about the city in general, thought I’d better do it properly! Leeds is pretty easy to get to. If going by car, you can reach the city via the M1 or M62. Trains and coaches often go there directly. Obviously ticket prices vary from where you’re travelling. However, from Birmingham a return ticket on the coach costs about £22 and on the train £33. I don’t pay that though, as the main train line is a Virgin one and if I book a week or so in advance I can normally get a Virgin Value ticket for about £11! Leeds is about 35 miles north from Sheffield. It is surrounded by beautiful Yorkshire countryside, but is also close to a number of smaller villages, towns and cities that are well worth visiting (particularly Ilkley and Knaresborough). Nearby towns and cities include Bradford, Ilkley, Skipton, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Wetherby, York, Tadcaster, Selby, Castleford, Pontefract, Wakefield, Barnsley, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, and Halifax (listed clockwise from Bradford). I know many Northerners probably know thi
s already, but when I went to uni there I didn’t have a clue, as my geography is pretty rubbish!! ~~~~ Leeds City Centre ~~~~ ~The Loop Road – beware! The route around Leeds city centre runs in a clock-wise loop around the main shopping areas - there are many one-way streets. The council website states that it takes as little as 7 minutes to go round the loop road, but obviously it can get congested with rush hour traffic. I am not a car driver, but as a passenger I have heard many people moan about this system being very awkward and not very well signposted. Buses are frequent to areas inside the city, the fares are pretty cheap and the bus drivers give change – fantastic particularly if you're used to West Midlands Travel buses! Night buses are also available to most areas. There are several hotels in the city centre, such as The Marriott, Hyatt, Malmaison and The Calls. However, these are pretty expensive. There are a number of cheaper B&B’s and hotels in Headingley, especially on Cardigan Road. ~Shopping~ Some relatives of mine often travel to Leeds for shopping sprees. This is mainly for the good range of shops. But the beauty of Leeds is that the shopping area is mostly pedestrianised. It is central and compact, and roads/walkways criss-cross in a sort of network pattern - so you don’t have to walk miles to reach a particular shop and there is always a short cut. There are quite a few arcades and malls, like the Merrion Centre, Headrow and St John’s Centre. Dotted around the centre are all the usual high street shops like M&S, Debenhams, Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Bay Trading Company, Boots, TK MAXX, Oasis, Warehouse, Next, H & M, New Look, Virgin, HMV, Dorothy Perkins, Body Shop, Ann Summers, La Senza, The Gadget Shop, Allders, Argos, WHSmith, Habitat… to name but a few. There is also a Harvey Nichols
store (sweetie darling!) - I have only ever bought some Jelly Beans from there though as it is sooooo expensive! There are a few body piercing and tattoo parlours near the market area. What distinguishes Leeds from other shopping centres though, is the Corn Exchange and the Victoria Quarter. The Corn Exchange is on Call Lane, very near to Kirkgate Market (large indoor and outdoor market on Vicar Lane). It is a very old building and looks a bit like an amphitheatre (apparently it is a Grade 1 listed building!). It has a polished wooden interior, with curvy staircases and a domed glazed roof. From inside, it looks a bit like an upside down ship! There are 3 floors full of interesting, original shops with names like Grin and Hippypottermouse, selling things such as gemstones and jewellery, bonsai trees, funky cards and gifts, clothes (from designer fashion to rock/metal street-wear to second-hand 1970s retro gear), art & crafts, second-hand records and CDs, posters, aromatherapy oils and incense. There is also The Condom Shop on the top floor, which sells, err condoms – but also cheeky cards and prezzies! The Corn Exchange is open 7 days a week and occasionally has lovely craft fairs, one year I bought practically all my Christmas presents from there! The Victoria Quarter is a lovely ornate arcade with a stained glass roof and a couple of fountains slap bang in the middle of the central shopping area, in between Briggate and Vicar Lane. It is very close to Harvey Nicks. It is full of arty shops, cafes, hairdressers and stylish clothes shops, including Karen Millen, Ted Baker, Jigsaw & Kookai as well as designer shops like Vivienne Westwood. *Personal shopping fave: The Corn Exchange ~Drinkin’~ Being a student when I lived in Leeds, a LOT of my time was spent boozing! There are tons of pubs, bars and clubs in Leeds, which change constantly. There are always new ones being opened or r
efurbished in the city centre to try out! If you're a star-spotter - some of the younger members of the 'Emmerdale' cast are seen about town and Liv Tyler has been spotted in Safeway's in Headingley! ~Pubs~ Pubs-wise, there are the usual chain pubs like Edwards, Yates', O’Neills and a couple of Firkin pubs. The Rat & Parrot, opposite Morrison's, is massive (supposedly the biggest pub in Britain!); you can always find a seat in there even on Saturday nights! There is also The Dry Dock (an ‘It’s a scream’ pub), which is a converted barge situated in the middle of a dual carriageway opposite the main Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU) site near the city centre. There are loads of pubs in the student area of Headingley, which is where the Cricket Ground and the Leeds Rhino’s rugby ground are. Headingley is a couple of miles from the city centre. Most of the pubs are on the Otley Road/Headingley Lane: The Original Oak, The Skyrack, Headingley Taps (just off the main road near Safeway’s) are all good, quite large and very popular. There are several pubs, including those mentioned above, along the main road leading from Headingley, through Hyde Park, past the University into Leeds City Centre. Many a student has at least spent one night, in fancy dress or three-legged, doing the ‘Otley Run’ - a major pub crawl from Woodie's in Headingley, down a few yards to O’Hagan’s, a short walk to the Headingley taps, then on to the Skyrack, the Original Oak, further up the road to The Hyde Park, The Fenton, The Packhorse, The Eldon, and so on until they eventually collapse from alcohol poisoning or make it into town (or both)!! *Personal boozer faves: Rat & Parrot as it's so huge, central and does nice well-priced food & The Original Oak cos of it's large beer garden and student environment ~Bars~ Bars a
nd clubs dominate the city centre rather than traditional pubs. They are mainly on the outskirts of the shopping areas. There are loads to choose from, bars I’d recommend are Quid Pro Quo (which has a Buy One Get One Free happy hour on Saturday nights), The Elbow Rooms (casual snooker & pool hall with diner, club & bar playing funky tunes), The Old Monk, Café Inseine, Milo’s, MOJO, Norman’s, Tequila! Tequila!, North Bar, The Townhouse, Pitcher & Piano, Po Na Na and others behind the Corn Exchange near the canal (otherwise known as the Exchange Quarter - beware of the queues to bars in this area on a Friday or Saturday night as most are open until 2am)…… There are quite a few bars near the town hall and art gallery, such as Carpe Diem, The Courtyard and Brown's - near the millenium square. *Personal wine bar fave: Quid Pro Quo because I'm a sucker for B.O.G.O.F. especially if it involves booze - it also has sophisticated decor and nice fairly dim lighting. ~Clubs~ Nightclubs range from being cheesy to rock. Whatever music you’re into you will find somewhere to suit your tastes. Majestyk, Bondi Beach (formerly Planet Earth), Uropa, The Observatory, Heaven & Hell, Creation (formerly the Town & Country club), Evolution (out of city centre in Kirkstall not far from Headingley) are all clubs which predominantly play chart, pop and cheesy dance music. If you're on the pull, these are places to go! For those of you that prefer ‘more serious’ dance music, you could go to Space, The Mint Club, Think Tank, Fuse (formerly Casa Loco) house music in the Chinese Quarter, The Orbit - trance and techno night on Saturdays at The After Dark (in Morley roughly 10 miles out of the city centre), Speed Queen (gay friendly club night at The Warehouse on Saturday nights). Trendier smaller clubs, which play a range of funk, soul, jazz, latin, and
hip-hop sounds are The Fruit Cupboard, The HiFi Club (formerly Liquid), The Atrium, and The Wardrobe. There are also salsa nights and classes at bars/clubs like Po Na Na and The Wardrobe. There are a few clubs that have alternative/indie/metal nights including Bar Phono (in the Merrion Centre), The Basement and The Cockpit as well as club nights within the student unions. There is also a thriving gay scene, with gay bars/clubs such as Queen’s Court, Fibre and Bar Metz. If you fancy doing something a bit different, there is also a casino and a couple of bowling alleys in the city centre. *Personal clubbing fave: The Hifi Club - it's small, yet funky ~Live Music~ Bands often play at The Cockpit, The Wardrobe, The Irish Centre, Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University as well as Joseph’s Well (near the university campus), the New Roscoe (a pub about 10 minutes walk from The West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Termite Club (metal/alternative gigs at various venues such as The Royal Park Pub in Hyde Park, in between Headingley and the City Centre). For those who enjoy a bit of classical music, the town hall is the place to go. ~Eating Out~ Rather than heading for Burger King or McDonalds for lunch or a snack, pubs and bars in Headingley and the City Centre (mentioned above) offer reasonably priced and tasty hot and cold food during the day. There are also some lovely cafes, particularly in Hyde Park and Headingley (the student areas). The Clock Café in Hyde Park, close to the university, offers cheap yet very filling authentic ciabatta or baguette sandwiches, as well as a range of home-made cakes. A similar café exists in Headingley – the Dare café – according to a magazine I read ages ago it is part owned by Gaynor Faye (Judy Mallett from Coronation Street) and her partner. It offers similar food to the Clock Café, baguet
tes and ciabatta with a large range of fillings such as Prawn, mayo and avocado; all day breakfasts; pastries; salads; and fantastic dutch fries (potato wedges covered with melted cheese, served with a garlic dip). Prices are amazingly cheap - e.g. £1.90 for a prawn marie rose baguette to eat in. There are a range of restaurants in Leeds, whether you fancy Fish n Chips (try Bryan’s in Headingley opposite the Headingley Taps pub), French (Brasserie 44 for example), Indian… There are fewer Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Mexican restaurants, but they do exist in and around the city centre. I highly recommend the Italian restaurants, especially Dino’s, Est Est Est and BiBi’s. *Personal 'stuff your face with gorgeous food' fave: Dino's - fantastic gourmet Italian restaurant kinda underneath the train station. It's central, most of the waiters are Italian, the food sends me into orbit every time (and I've dined there A LOT on special occasions)! It is quite expensive though. ~Arts~ Leeds is home to the West Yorkshire Playhouse (for ‘serious theatre’), City Varieties (for comedy nights, live music), The Civic Theatre (for amateur and semi-professional productions) and the Grand Theatre (for West End shows and operatic and musical performances), which are situated around the city centre. The student unions of both uni’s also put on a number of performances which are generally extremely good, such as The Wiz and Carmen. There is also the City Art Gallery and Henry Moore Institute in central Leeds, on The Headrow, near the Town Hall. The Art Gallery displays mainly classical paintings, whereas the Henry Moore Institute focuses on modern and contemporary sculptures and paintings. There are a lot of museums and touristy places to visit, such as the Royal Armouries, Kirkstall Abbey, Lotherton Hall, Temple Newsam (where the Carling festival
is held) and Middleton Railway. I can’t remember much of Lotherton Hall except that it has vast grounds, it’s quite far away from the city centre and it’s where my graduation ball was held – say no more! Tropical World is also quite a good place to visit, near Roundhay Park - it has lovely gardens, a number of insects and tropical animals, including bats, birds and butterflies. Can’t say I was too keen on the butterfly farm, but it was a nice place to visit and really interesting – kids love it too! Obviously you can tell that I love the city of Leeds - forever the place of my student days! Of course, there are bad points to any city, there are bad areas, such as Chapeltown and Seacroft. And one thing that does annoy me, is the constant building work in the city, but if you want an entertaining place to go to university or a city-break, I'd definitely recommend it for a great time!!! Good websites to check out for further information are: www.leeds.gov.uk (council website, with very good tourism page) www.leeds.ac.uk (University of Leeds website) www.lmu.ac.uk (Leeds Metropolitan University website) www.bbc.co.uk/leeds (BBC Leeds page) www.thisisleeds.co.uk (excellent entertainment and restaurant guide) www.leeds-today.com (Local guide) www.dinedirect.net (Entertainment guide)
How I found Leeds. Having a long distance relationship obviously means travelling and this is how I fell upon the City Of Leeds. Now being a true “Manc” or for those of you who are not so familiar with northern lingo being a person who comes from Manchester, you may be wondering why I writing an opinion about Leeds. To be truthful I spend more time here now than I do at home and I have spent more time in the centre of Leeds in the last eight months than I have ever spent in the centre of Manchester in my whole life and for one simple reason. In my opinion Leeds is far better than Manchester. Train, car or bus? So lets start with getting here, being the student type I obviously can’t afford a car so it’s the bus or train to make the journey. Now my advice is to take the train. You can get into Leeds quite easily from most places and from Manchester its only £13.00 return and even better about £9 with one of those magic student discount cards on the Trans Pennine trains. From Manchester it’s only about an hours journey at the most, so its fast and even better comfortable. So you arrive at Leeds City station, admittedly it does look a bit of a state at the moment due to repair works but it is easy to find your way around and they have made good arrangements for any disruptions to the trains. There are also places to eat and drink in the station if you do get delayed and if your new to the area I recommend a visit to the tourist information shop which is inside the main railway station as a good place to start. Shop till you drop! So one you are in Leeds then what do you do? Well in the daytime my main past time is to shop, and Leeds is an excellent place to do so. There are so many shops even the best shoppers wouldn’t be able to get round in one day. There is a good selection of shops, ranging from the good old pound shops right up to the ridiculously priced Harvey Nichols. One thing you will never be s
tuck for in this busy town is a card, there seems to be a “Clintons” card shop everywhere you look. The town centre in my opinion is extremely well set out. Most of the shops are outside but there are some in undercover shopping centres of which there are four, which is great when you go shopping in the good old English weather. There is also a good selection of what I would call “one of shops” these being the type where there is only one of them in the country and these shops have a good choice of the more unusual things that the larger stores fail to sell. In the town centre there also seem to quite a few what you might call “Street traders” selling things like jewellery, mobile phone covers and posters. Whether they are supposed to be there or not is another question but they come in handy for the student type who generally cannot afford the more expensive shops. Of course you can’t visit Leeds without going to the Corn Exchange. This is a more unusual shopping centre with the more unusual things to buy in it. Most of the shops are independent and I would say that they are aimed at the younger shopper and students but its worth a look anyway as you never know what you might find. Hungry in Leeds? Eating in Leeds is something I have never found difficult to do, of course like in any city centre there are quite a few fast food restaurants which like any other tend to get really busy around lunch time so in my opinion its best to go early or avoid them completely as there is also a good selection of alternatives. One of the shopping centres has a food court built into it, which has a selection of different types of food available. There is plenty of other food serving places around and you can even get a full meal in some of the bigger bars, which open, through the day at a reasonable price. It all depends what you prefer to eat but in Leeds its hard not to find somewhere to eat that doesn’t serve so
mething you like. Leeds entertains On the entertainment value there are a few places in Leeds you can go to during the day. There are plenty of places to sit and relax in the main shopping area and in the summer time small concerts or band performances are often put on which are free to watch. There is a cinema in the town centre, but I can’t comment on it, as I have never been (We usually go to another one I will tell you about later). In the main shopping area there are some Internet cafes, which are quite big and open through out the day, which are worth a visit especially when the rain sets in. When the sun goes down at night then Leeds certainly does become more entertaining. As it’s a big city centre there are lots and lots of places to go at night. I haven’t been out in Leeds that much at night but I know there are plenty of clubs and bars and once again there is something for everyone. Of course the most famous club in Leeds has to be Majestics but it has to be said again its worth going early as I have never been past without seeing the biggest queue in town to get in. Another point to going out in Leeds is that there never seems to be enough taxis and if it gets late you can be charged a lot of money for going only a short distance. So be warned! However the buses and trains run till late which is in my opinion a better alternative to the taxi rank and also much cheaper. And not just in the town centre If a busy town centre is not your cup of tea for a night out then Leeds is still the place to be. Some of the surrounding towns have got some great places to go, One being a leisure complex just out of town in Kirkstall that has a cinema (the one we go to) This is a multi screen place which shows all the latest films and offers some great discounts for certain groups. There is also a bowling ally, which has an amusement arcade inside, a traditional pub, a more modern bar, and a nightclub, two restaurants both t
hat have excellent food and some fast food restaurants. This is the place where we usually go out and I enjoy it ever time. Just a not though If you need to get a taxi late at night its probably best to book one as most of the taxis prefer to go into the town centre as its busier. Another excellent place to go just out of the town centre is a snooker and pool centre called “Northern” the best thing about this place is it doesn’t shut until 7am and therefore proves to be the best place to get a cup of tea after a night out in Leeds at four o clock in the morning. There are a good number of pool and snooker tables in there which cost about four pounds an hour to play on and there are some fruit machines which pay out a good jackpot. A downside to this place is you have to be a member but the good thing is that it only costs about three pounds to do so. If you a fan of the fruit machines or just trying your look at gambling then there is a good casino just outside the town centre which in my opinion can offer a great night out in general or even better for a special occasion. Come and visit So there you have it, as you can probably tell I think Leeds is the place to be what ever your interests and whatever your needs. Of course there are lots more places to see other than the ones I have mentioned but all in all Leeds has a lot to offer and it’s better than Manchester in my opinion. So whether you want to have a busy day shopping or a busy night clubbing or you just want a quiet afternoon walk in the country, of which there is plenty. Then I think Leeds is the place for you, even if you come on a one day visit or you spend a lot of time here like I do then its hard to get bored. Now I know these sounds like a promotional plug for a city centre but what I say is my opinion and I think Leeds is great. I know there will be people out there who think differently to me and that’s fine, but Leeds is still better than Manchester!!! <
I lived the first seventeen years of my life in Leeds and I allways found it to be a vast multi-cultural hive of thriving life and commerce not to mention its industries.A city that has great sporting teams and great individual achievers.Shopping is among the best in the world with the world renowned Leeds market & chain stores and almost any item can be purchased,it also has a bustling nightlife with attractions to suit everyage.Leeds is well served with public transport and has a ever improving road network.Events like the Lord mayors parade and the West Indian carnival are both enjoyable and not to be missed and many a great perfomer(s) have been to Roundhay park and delighted people with their talents. Leeds leads and others follow.
I know I am a Bradfordian and Bradfordians and Loiners don't really go together, but I really can not get over how much people like Leeds! Any loiners on here, or anyone who does like the city, I just want you to know thats fine by me, personal choice and all that, but my opinion needs to be expressed also. Admittedly, credit where credit's due, Leeds is extremely good for shopping. The centre is about five times as big as Bradford with about 2/3 of that being used for the main shopping area. That 2/3 is absolutely fine, there are specialist shops, "oddity" shops in the arcades, selective shops, bargain shops and your common-a-garden high-street shops. Apart from the arcades, the vast majority of the stores are contained within "Arndale" type shopping centres with only a few shops out on the street. The Merrion Centre is West Yorkshires first multi-storey car park (watch someone correct me on that one now...). All in all though, Leeds Centre accounts for very pleasant shoppping. The bit I don't like though, is the remaining 1/3 and the areas as you move out of the city centre. Walk towards where the Granary Wharf is. Over that way is loads of rough ground used as makeshift car parks, grotty railway tunnels and the "widely acclaimed" Granary Wharf. The rough ground and all that is just a waste of perfect;y good ground that could be used very well for more shopping places, which would be a welcome addition. The shops round that area are grotty and unwelcoming, and I wouldn't go in for fear of catching something. I The railway tunnel(s) - I cant remember whether theres one or two, are the worst place in the world for getting mugged in my humble opinion. They are not just tunnels, they have little doors in the side contained within little alcoves, which rapists, murderers or muggers could contain themselves within. The biggest atrocity of them all, however, is the Granary Wharf. never before in my life have I seen such a wel
l-spoken-of shite hole. The brochure shows it as a sunny, bright plaza bustling with people and shops. In reality, this is what it is: You walk into the railway tunnel, which I don't like anyway and take a stab at which off-shoot tunnel will lead you to the GW. You then try various tunnels until you reach the darkest ,pokiest (and the one that looks most dangerous) of them, and continue through darkness for the best part of a quarter mile. You then get there. You see a few doors and go through them. You see empty units and one unit selling incense. OK so theres a bit more than that, including some very nice chess sets (at about one and a half ton each!!!!!) and computer shops and that, but you think never mind as you see a sign for the "Waterfront" and think you might like it there. You follow these signs and end up at a small glass window overlooking the river going under a bridge with graffiti on the wall. How nice. This is now going to sound really awful, but the worst thing about Leeds has got to be, The loiners. Told you it would sound really horrible, but let me explain. Not ALL loiners are like this, I know quite a few and are friendly with a few, but most loiners seem to think that they are a cut above everyone else. They have a "snobbish" air about them like they are in some way better than us Bradfordians. I don't think I am better than a loiner, I don't think taht way. Maybe its just how they are and they can't help it. I know I've babbled on for a bit and I'm going to stop in one moment, but there is one more thing I would like to say about Leeds and peoples attitudes towards it. People seem to think that Leeds is a "better town" than Bradford. Opinions are fine, I have nothing against those people but let me just give you an example. The worst part of Bradford is arguably Ravenscliffe and the worst part of Leeds is proba
bly Chapeltown (no offense to anyone living in these areas). I know which I would rather live in, and that happens to be in Bradford. Thanks for listening to my babblings on. Its OK to say you hate a place, as long as you give reasons for it. Thats why I have thought about it and I do hate Leeds. I thought about it before I wrote it down instead of just saying I hate the place. At least I give reasons.
Forget London. If you want a cosmopolitan centre with every conceivable entertainment or shopping facility, visit us up here in Leeds. The city centre caters for every shopper with designer boutiques down to 'cheap shops' such as Bon March or C and A. We also have Harvey Nichols of course too, the only HN store outside of the capital. We cater for the sports fans with Elland Road (football) and Headingley (cricket) and there are just an absolute plethora of wine bars, clubs, pubs and dives sprinkled across the city. The people are friendly, the beer's cheap, the cost of living so much less than in the South. Born and Bred here, I would never consider moving to another part of the country - Leeds is too wonderful.
Leeds is the commercial capital of Yorkshire, and it is a busy industrial town, traditionally a centre of the textile trade. If you do go there be sure to see the Town Hall, it is said to be one of the best civic centres in the north. They have a city art gallery which shows a lot of nineteenth and twentieth century paintings and sculptures. It is best known for it's collection of English watercolours, prints and drawings. The adjoining City Museum has collections of geology, natural history, and archaeology including Egyptian Mummies, Greek and Roman marbles and local finds, they also have a very good display of old coins and medals.