When planning a UK city break, many people instantly think of London, and maybe Edinburgh. However, these polar ends of the country leave a lot overlooked in between.
Leeds in Yorkshire has now been my home for seven years and I think many travellers are missing a trick by passing the city by.
Here are six surprising things you might not know about Leeds, that might just make you consider paying the city a visit.
The average price of a pint of beer in London is £5.33. In Leeds, it is £4.00. But it’s not just the beer that is cheaper, the average living cost in Leeds is an impressive 21.74% cheaper than England’s capital. This is great news for tourists, as your precious vacation money will stretch much further!
From hotel rooms to public transport, to restaurant meals, a trip to the north of England comes at quite the bargain!
And as if cheap wasn’t enough, many of the main attractions in Leeds are free to enter! Museums such as the Royal Armouries and Leeds City Museum, plus Leeds Art Gallery are just some of the free attractions in the city. It makes Leeds an ideal budget trip destination!
You’d be surprised how easy it is to get to Leeds. Direct trains are available from both London and Edinburgh in just two to three hours, so you can tag a Yorkshire day trip on to your UK itinerary easily.
Leeds Bradford International Airport is just a 30-minute drive from the city centre if you are travelling here directly. Also, the extensive local bus network makes getting around Leeds and the surrounding areas super easy. Day trip to the Yorkshire Dales, anyone?
Many people know Leeds as an industrial city. The surrounding area is dotted with many old mills, which are remnants of the once thriving textile industry. The industry may have declined, but Leeds is a city proud of its industrial past.
Throughout Leeds you will find reminders of the industry that once boomed. Just one example is in Leeds Trinity Shopping Centre. Perched upon a towering pillar is a sculpture of a packhorse carrying its load. A small nod to the industrial roots of this now cosmopolitan city.
And while Leeds might be known for its industry, you would be surprised by just how green the modern city is. Leeds has some of the largest inner-city parks in Europe, including the best known, Roundhay Park.
So, while a visit to Leeds is a city break, you don’t have to go far to unwind in nature. A short bus ride transports you to more than 700 acres of parkland, lakes, and woodland. Roundhay Park is also home to the UK's largest tropical plant and animal collection outside of Kew Gardens at Tropical World, a sham castle, and a lost summer house.
Northerners have a reputation for being a little rough around the edges. We’re straight-talking, no-nonsense folk who say it as it is. But don’t be deceived by that Northern grit. Being a Northerner myself, I was already aware of our friendly disposition, but I wasn’t prepared for the city of Leeds to welcome me with open arms.
Whenever you enter a shop or attraction in Leeds, you should assume your visit will take twice as long as you expect. Simply because you’re about to become best friends with the assistant. This is particularly true for small businesses, where owners will share their passions, background, and dreams with everyone who walks through the door. The friendliness of Leeds is hard to explain, but you’ll feel it when you arrive. Oh, and in true English style, most of the conversation will likely be about the weather!
Last Updated 25 May 2023