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  • judithbaker

Leeds' new life

Best known for its strong industrial history, the Yorkshire city of Leeds has a new vibrant energy. Lively concerts and festivals, tasty street food and elegant waterside restaurants sit happily alongside a grand Victorian heritage seen in its beautiful arcades and Gothic buildings. The regeneration of this city is considered to be one of the most successful in the UK. Leeds has a lot to offer for a quick visit or a break before heading off to Bronte country or the Yorkshire Moors.

A walk through the city centre takes us past some breath-taking architecture. Leeds Central Library is a Gothic masterpiece with impressive staircases, archways and mosaic tiling. The city is best known for its Victorian arcades, Queen’s Arcade, Thornton’s Arcade and the magnificent Victoria Quarter each with its own character and history. It’s difficult not to be distracted by the smart shops in the Victoria Quarter, but the stained glass ceiling here is not only the largest in Europe at 120 metres long it represents the transformation of one of the more rundown areas of the city.

And speaking of shopping, as well as the likes of Harvey Nichols and Luis Vuitton there are many opportunities for retail therapy at Kirkgate Market, one of Europe’s largest indoor markets. Don’t miss the replica of the Penny Bazaar as Leeds was the home of the first Marks & Spencer.


The city has some impressive art galleries such as the Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute, but public art spotted around Leeds give it a unique urban landscape. Sculptures and street art fill the city with colour including the UK’s tallest mural Athena Rising by artists Nomad Clan.

There is a dedicated street art trail to make sure you don’t miss any of the artworks.

Leeds is the only city outside London to have its own resident opera and ballet companies, with Opera North and Northern Ballet, as well as repertory theatre Leeds Playhouse offering a range of entertainment. And after dark the city springs to life with its exciting music scene and comedy venues. You can enjoy gigs at the O2 Academy and The Wardrobe as well as many smaller venues. Or time your visit to coincide with famous festivals including Leeds International Concert Season. The West Indian Carnival takes place in August and the Leeds Jazz Festival in May .Every summer Millennium Square buzzes with a calendar of music and screenings.


You can try street food at Kirkgate market where you find the award inning Manjits Kitchen or for a real local treat you can pick up a Yorkshire Pudding Wrap.

Relaxed waterside dining at Granary Wharf includes al fresco at The Lock and for views over the river Aire there are options including Ambiente or Stew & Oyster.,


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