From Elland Road to the Royal Armouries: a rough guide to Leeds.
Situated in the heart of West Yorkshire, Leeds is the UK’s third largest city. With a population in excess of 700,000 it’s considerably bigger than the fourth city Glasgow (560,000) and its Yorkshire neighbours Sheffield and Bradford (512,00 and 467,000 respectively). As you might expect for such a large and bustling place, Leeds offers a host of attractions. Whether your interests are cultural, sporting, historical or gastronomic, there’s something for pretty much everyone.
It’s a long time since Leeds United’s late-60s and early-70s glory years, or the late-90s run that saw them reach the semi-final of both the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. Despite this, the club retain one of the biggest crowds outside the Premier League and the Elland Road stadium has roots that go back to 1897, when a pitch was built on a plot of land owned by Bentley’s Brewery. The city hosts prominent rugby teams in Leeds Rhinos (Rugby League) and Leeds Carnegie (Union) while the Headingley Stadium is also world renowned for both county and international cricket.
Away from sport, Leeds is the home to the Royal Armouries, a unique collection of historical arms and armour. As well as viewing weaponry from different historical periods, there are regular demonstrations including major jousting contests with seating for over 1,200 people. The Henry Moore Institute and Gallery is devoted to sculpture and the renowned sculptor Moore was himself born in the city.
For a different cultural experience, the Leeds Festival attracts tens of thousands of rock and contemporary music fans to its site at Bramham Park each year. Twinned with the Reading Festival, the event has hosted top names including Muse, Guns N’ Roses, Pulp and Oasis. The city also has a vibrant nightlife, with a wide range of pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes and venues.
Leeds is well known for its late Victorian shopping arcades off the main shopping streets of Headrow and Briggate. These offer a touch of historical glamour but there’s certainly nothing dated about the shopping experiences and amenities on offer in the town. Leeds homes put you in reach of all the top names in retail and leisure as well as a lot of superb independent boutiques. Also a regular fixture, Leeds Christkindelmarkt is one of the largest and most established traditional German Christmas fairs in the country.