Situated in the middle of the beautiful Yorkshire Moors, the Dales and the Peak District, Leeds is the largest city in West Yorkshire. A rich combination of historical and modern architecture, fabulous restaurants, cafes, museums, theatres, green spaces and great opportunities for some serious retail therapy make this city a ‘must visit’. It has over 1,000 shops, 180 pubs, 29 nightclubs and 21 major hotels. Infact, it’s now dubbed the Knightsbridge of the North!
During the Industrial Revolution, Leeds became the major manufacturing hub for the wool and textile industries and, as a result, its wealth and population continued to grow. The first University was built in the 1880’s along with many of the fine Victorian buildings that still stand today. Today it’s a major research centre and over 80,000 students inhabiting the city with another 150 or so attending the language school.
Heavily bombed during WW11, the city was heavily affected by the industrial decline that hit post-war Britain and by the 1960’s the city was extremely rundown. The area became known for its mass unemployment figures and vast swathes of council estates. But during the 1980’s a huge re-generation programme began and by the mid 1990’s the city was reborn. New investment poured in as commerce, legal and financial companies relocated there making it the most important city in the UK outside of London. Just two miles from the M1 motorway and boasting an international airport (Leeds-Bradford International) it is now one of the most multi-cultural cities in the country with a population of around 715,000.
Today Leeds has 4.3 million square feet of retail space within five miles of shopping streets, including five indoor shopping centres, one of the country’s largest pedestrianised shopping areas and a whole range of speciality shopping attractions. Dubbed the Knightsbridge of the North, that’s exactly what it is. A fashion emporium with the likes of Harvey Nicks, Gieves & Hawkes, Louis Vuitton etc and cutting-edge British designers like Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Space NK, Karen Millen and Jo Malone who all have stores in the handsome Victoria Quarter.
In addition to all of the above, Leeds is home to the amazing Henry Moore Institute, which is well worth a visit. All in all, a really happenin’ city.