Leeds City Centre Area Guide
History of Leeds City Centre
Leeds traces its recorded history back to the 5th Century when the Kingdom of Elmet was covered by the forest of “Leodis”, the origin of the word for Leeds. The City became a major production and trading centre for the wool industry in the 17th and 18th Century. Later, during the Industrial Revolution, Leeds expanded further with flax, engineering, chemicals, and printing all playing major roles within its industries.
Industry was aided by the construction of the Leeds Liverpool canal, the Aire and Calderdale Navigation, and later the railway network. It was this expansion that saw Leeds grow from a compact and modest market town to become the large urban populous we know today.
Amenities in Leeds City Centre
Leeds’ industrial past has been replaced by the largest banking, telecommunications, corporate, and legal services centre in the UK oustide of London.
Leeds is the only UK city aside from the capital with its own opera house, ballet companies and repertory theatre . There are 4 renowned theatres – the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds Grand & Opera House, Leeds City Varieties, and The Carriage Works.
The City is also home to the Royal Armouries which houses the National collection of arms and armour.
Leeds is also notable for its large amount of listed buildings including The Victoria Quarter, Leeds Corn Exchange centrally and Harewood House on the edge of the city.
There are over 5 miles of shopping streets with over 1000 shops, making Leeds a shopper’s paradise. From budget to designer labels, the City's unrivalled shopping facilities cater for every possible taste.
Since Harvey Nichols opened their first out-of-London store in Leeds, the City has seen a host of eager designers, retailers and boutiques open wonderful stores across the High Street. Leeds takes shopping seriously and deserves its 'Knightsbridge of the North' reputation extended by the Lonely Planet Leeds.
Shoppers in Leeds have lots of areas to explore; there is the ornate and funky Victoria Quarter with its elegant grade two listed buildings as its home, to the major high end consumer brands found in the Trinty Centre.
The Corn Exchange is a magnificent domed structure well worth a look, with a large number of unique and independent boutiques inside.
Kirkgate Market houses over 800 specialist traders in the recently renovated Edwardian Buildings, the huge open air market is the largest in the country.
Briggate, which runs gently downhill, is lined with independent stores, high street staples and some of the City's best shopping arcades.
The Light is both a retail and leisure destination with fashion and designer stores, cafes, restaurants, bars, a 13 screen multiplex cinemas along with a health and fitness club and 4-star Hotel.
The City has a great sporting traditions and a rich heritage in cricket, rugby and football, with the historic stadiums at Headingley and Elland Road and Leeds proudly has more university applications than any other City in the UK with 2 major Universities attracting a student population in excess of 50,000.
Entertaining and eating out in Leeds City Centre
Leeds has a thriving nightlife scene with hundreds of restaurants and bars and nightclubs lining the City’s streets.
The cuisine is excellent and truly global, you can find everything from Thai to Italian, Persian to Far Eastern.
When planning a night out you can visit one of the three main drinking districts in the City. The first can be found along Call Lane and around the Corn Exchange. Secondly, on the western side of the City Greek Street boasts a number of wine bars and and finally to the north east of the City you can find a rock and soul vibe.
There is also the O2 Academy for big name acts and events, as well as the newly opened First Direct Area.
As Germany’s City of Dortmund is twinned with Leeds (check out “The Barrel Man” in Dortmund Sqaure), during the winter months be sure to visit the German Markets and ice rink, positioned in Millenium Square. Here you will find fair ground attractions and traditional German beer, food and craft stalls.
Housing in Leeds City Centre
If you're looking to buy property in Leeds you'll be pleased to know there has been an enormous amount of investment in the City Centre, creating apartment living, whic is now dominating the city skyline.
Developers first began converting old industrial warehouses aligning the Aire River in the 1980s to smart riverside apartments. The majority of the development has taken place around the waterfront and to the South of the City.
There is a strong rental market in Leeds City Centre which makes it such a great place to buy investment property in Leeds.
How to get to Leeds City Centre
Bus: The 28-stand bus station on Dyer Street serves the whole of the Leeds region and is served by First Leeds, Arriva Yorkshire, Yorkshire Coastliner, National Express, Keighley & District, and Harrogate & District.
Train: Leeds has the third busiest railway station in the UK with approximately 40 million people using the station each year. It provides the main hub connecting Leeds to London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Nottingham, Birmingham, Newcastle, York, Manchester, and Liverpool.
Car: There is an excellent motor way network surrounding the City with the M1 and M62 passing right past Hunslet to the south of the City.
Plane: Leeds-Bradford airport, located in Yeadon to the North West of Leeds, opened in 1931, and serves the Leeds and the Yorkshire region flying to many of the major cities around the world.
Leeds is the commercial, financial, and cultural heart of West Yorkshire. With a prestigious “World City” status, in recent years the City has been referred to as the ‘Capital of the North’, a ‘Sky Scraper’ and a ‘24 Hour European City’.
Today the City region has a population of approximately 715,000. A vibrant destination, apartments to rent in Leeds are always very popular.
With excellent entertainment, shopping, night life, education and cultural events, Leeds is a thoroughly modern and welcoming City.
*Area guide images are from Wikipedia and can be used under the Creative Commons Licence.