Leeds is a top city break destination with visitors from both the UK and abroad – and with what it’s got to offer it’s not hard to see why!
Outside of London, no other English city apart from Leeds can boast its very own opera house, repertory theatre and ballet companies. The Grand Theatre offers top quality ballet and opera performances all year round, and is home to the award winning Opera North and Northern Ballet Theatre. The West Yorkshire Playhouse, which has an international reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting theatres, shows superb adaptations of both classical and modern plays and novels, including those of Shakespeare. What is more it also has some fantastic pantomimes for young children.
For the more culturally inclined visitor Leeds Art Gallery has one of the UK’s best collections of contemporary British Art which includes work from artists based in the Yorkshire region such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Jacob Kramer. Leeds is also home to the Royal Armouries, which boasts a large part of the national collection of armour and arms as well as armour from around the world. For the family the Royal Armouries also offers falconry and horse shows that include real jousting with knights in full armour doing combat – a great spectacle to see.
Leeds has a remarkable range of buildings and structures that are included on the national list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Must see listed buildings include Kirkstall Abbey, Temple Newsam, Leeds Corn Exchange, and the Victoria Quarter. On the outskirts of Leeds is Harewood House, a listed building which is the home of one of the Queen’s cousins that has beautiful grounds and land to explore, an amazing children’s play area and a bird garden which is home to birds ranging from penguins to emus.
For shoppers Leeds is a must! It has over five miles of shopping streets most of which are pedestrianised – built only with the shopper in mind. The Victoria Quarter, a beautiful arcade of Victorian and Edwardian architecture with a dramatic stained glass roof and stunning mosaic floor panels, is a pleasure to wander through and is one of the most exclusive fashion destinations in the UK. It is home to several Leeds exclusive boutiques as well as over 70 top name brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Karen Millen, Gieves and Hawkes, Ted Baker, Jigsaw, Reiss, LK Bennett, Diesel and of course Harvey Nichols. Step outside the arcade and you’ll find all the high-street brands from River Island through to Top Shop. When you start to get tired of carrying all you shopping bags there is a large choice of cafés to enjoy a cappuccino and a bite to eat in – you will soon be refreshed and ready for more shopping!
As it starts to get dark Leeds stays buzzing with activity. There are numerous restaurants for you to choose from that offer cuisine from around the world including Thai, Italian, Japanese and Greece. Food is always of high quality and many restaurants place an emphasis on sourcing local produce and creating dishes with a bit of imagination and flare. After dinner you can head to one of many bars or clubs and enjoy a few cocktails or a dance. Whatever your taste in music there is a club or bar to cater for you any night of the week.
Sport fans can head to the world famous Headingley and Elland Road stadiums and enjoy a game of football, rugby or cricket. Golfers will be spoilt for choice with a large number of international standard golf courses dotted around the outskirts of the city. For the more adventurous there is an indoor climbing wall or you can even try your hand at archery or skateboarding!
Whether you’re visiting Leeds for a quick bite to eat, or a long weekend, it won’t take you long to realise why the cities’ motto is ‘LEEDS, LIVE IT, LOVE IT!’ You’ll leave always wanting to be back for more.