The unofficial capital of Yorkshire, Leeds is a vibrant modern city full to the brim with history, culture, and natural beauty. Home to one of the UK's largest pedestrianised shopping areas, the UK's third busiest railway station, and the countries most Northerly vineyard, Leeds certainly gives its larger rivals a run for their money!
Read on to discover more about some of our favourite places to visit in Leeds...
For the ShopaholicLeeds is bursting with amazing places for shopping with the Trinity Mall, Kirkgate Market, and Leeds Corn Exchange featuring a mix of quirky independent retailers as well as all of your favourite high street brands. Our favourite shopping destination however, has to be the stunning Victoria Leeds which brings together the Victoria Quarter and Victoria Gate areas into an architecturally striking shopping and leisure centre. The centre features over 90 boutique retail stores, a selection of stylish restaurants, a casino, and the largest John Lewis department store outside of London. The Victoria Quarter's beautiful Victorian arcades are Grade II listed and house Europe's largest stained glass window, by artist Brian Clarke. The coloured roof is over 400 feet long, extending from one end of the street to the other making for a spectacular setting for a day of retail therapy. RANDOM FACT: The Victoria Quarter is also known as the 'Knightsbridge of the North'.
For the History BuffThere's plenty of history to be found in Leeds with a long list of spectacular Victorian architecture to discover including the glorious Leeds Town Hall. A Grade I listed building, Leeds Town Hall is considered Yorkshire's finest ceremony venue. Built between 1853 and 1858 and designed by architect Cuthbert Brodrick, it is one of the largest Town Hall's in the UK. The Hall's Victorian architecture is a reflection of the wealth, power and confidence of the time in which it was created and the building was opened by Queen Victoria herself in one of the city's most important celebrations in history. A multi-purpose building, the Town Hall now plays host to a variety of events including weddings, conferences, festivals, and concerts. RANDOM FACT: The Town Hall held the title of tallest building in Leeds for a record 108 years before being overtaken in 1966 by the Park Plaza Hotel.
For the Theatre LoverIf a night at the theatre is what you’re after then you'll need to head to Leeds' Grand Theatre & Opera House. The Grand Theatre is a 1,500 seat, Grade II listed theatre and opera house in the Briggate area of Leeds which first opened its doors in 1878. At it's opening, the theatre's grand Victorian Gothic style and decorative interiors were deemed to be ‘ahead of its time’. The theatre hosts acts from all areas of the arts including drama from The National Theatre, West End Musicals, and performances from its resident companies, Opera North and Northern Ballet. Famous faces to have graced the Grand Theatre stage include Julie Andrews, Laurence Olivier, and Sting. RANDOM FACT: The theatre's first show was a production of 'Much Ado About Nothing'.
For the CreativeIn every city we visit we love to hunt down the city's best art pieces and in Leeds you'll find them at the Leeds Art Gallery. The gallery is a Grade II listed space with a stunning glass roof where you can view works by both national and internationally renowned artists. The gallery's clock tower makes it one of the stand out figures in the city's skyline and it is also home to one of the most significant collections of 20th century British art in the country. The gallery forms part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, a group of spaces celebrating the world's greatest sculptures, and hosts a vast array of paintings and sculptures from award-winning artists to up and coming talent. RANDOM FACT: Leeds Art Gallery's entrance hall contains Leeds' oldest civic sculpture, a 1712 marble statue of Queen Anne.
For A Night of EntertainmentFor a great night out, see who's playing at the First Direct Arena during your trip. The Arena is Leeds' main entertainment venue and has played host to some of the world's biggest artists including Elton John, Cirque Du Soleil, and Bruce Springsteen. The Arena holds 13,500 spectators and is the first UK arena to have a fan-shaped orientation, allowing all seats to face towards the stage and reduce the viewing distances to create a more intimate space. RANDOM FACT: First Direct Arena has been recognised as one of the country's top five iconic buildings alongside the Gherkin, Sage, Etihad Stadium and Birmingham Library.
For Discovering more about LeedsFinally, if you want to know more about the history of this thriving Northern city you'll not want to miss Leeds City Museum. Located on Millenium Square in the city centre, Leeds City Museum is a free museum located in the former Mechanics Institute made up six different galleries including the Life on Earth Gallery, the Ancient Worlds Gallery, and the Leeds Story Gallery. The most loved of the Museum's exhibits is the 'Leeds Tiger', an Indian Tiger pelt stuffed with straw thought to originate from a tiger who had been shot for spending too much time near an Indian village. The Museum has an ever changing programme of events with regular interactive, family friendly exhibits, offering an educational and fun day out for visitors of all ages.
The iconic Leeds buildings which made it onto our glassware are:
- The Royal Armouries Museum
- Opal House (Silhouette)
- Tetley's Brewery Wharf
- Bridgewater Place (Silhouette)
- Victoria Leeds
- Granary Wharf (Candle Building)
- Kirkgate Market
- Trinity Mall Leeds
- Pinnacle (Silhouette)
- First Direct Arena
- Leeds Corn Exchange
- Leeds Grand Theatre
- Leeds Art Gallery
- Leeds City Museum
- Sky Plaza (Silhouette)
- Leeds Town Hall
- Civic Hall
- Parkinson Building (Leeds University Steps)