Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England, lying on the River Aire. In 2001 Leeds’ main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247 and lies at the centre of the wider City of Leeds metropolitan borough, which has a population of 784,900 as of 2011.
Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial heart of the West Yorkshire Urban Area – which has a population with almost as many inhabitants as the whole federal state (Bundesland) Baden-Württemberg in Germany – and falls within the wider Leeds-Bradford metropolitan area with a population exceeding 3.5 million.
This means that Leeds is one of the core cities used by the United Kingdom government to measure the economic prosperity of the country, although it is now one of the least prosperous cities in Northern England.
The following are just some of the attractions to be found in Leeds:
1. The Victoria Gate Arcade
This modernly designed retail centre lies in the heart of Leeds, where shoppers can find all types of stores and restaurants. It features an atrium roof with spectacular views over the cityscape – See how it looks! The modern building was designed by ACME architectural practice for Seele Ltd., who also gave this 42000 square meter space a one-of option design feature.
2. Leeds Art Gallery
Attracting over 400,000 visitors per year (including over 50,000 children), Leeds Art Gallery holds an impressive permanent collection that includes works by Monet and Constable and touring exhibitions that have included retrospectives on Tamara de Lempicka and David Hockney. The gallery also has a popular café offering light refreshments and views of the neighbouring gardens.
3. Leeds Industrial Museum
One of the north’s largest industrial museums, Leeds Industrial Museum, traces through three centuries of industry in Yorkshire including a gallery dedicated to one of the region’s most famous inventions – The Spinning Jenny. The museum is housed in a former flax mill on an island site at the heart of Britain’s textile trade.
4. The Henry Moore Institute
Not far from other attractions such as The Tetley and Kirkstall Abbey, this established museum holds an extensive collection of sculptures by Henry Moore, one of England’s best-loved artists. Several other 20th century British sculptors are also featured in smaller collections held here – Barbara Hepworth and Kenneth Armitage among them.
5. Morley Town Hall
This fine Edwardian building was built in 1909-11 with an imposing clock tower and distinctive red brickwork. Now used as a civic centre, it is one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks – not least due to its use by David Hockney for the cover of his 1985 album “The Bigger Splash.”
6. Kirkstall Abbey
Founded in 1152 on land donated by William de Clairvaux, one of the most important examples of Cistercian architecture in Britain. The ruins are well cared for and are open to visitors. Still, many people will be more familiar with their appearance on screen – they have featured in numerous films, including ‘Elizabeth’ (1998) and ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001).
7. Leeds City Square
Perhaps the most iconic landmark in Leeds, the St Peters’ Quarter redevelopment of Leeds City Square was completed by 2001. The work cost £190 million and involved one of Europe’s most significantly built structures -The Trinity Shopping Centre. The modern development includes 1,000 offices as well as two hotels, bars and cafes.
8. The Round Foundry
Located just behind Leeds Station is this refurbished industrial building which now forms part of Junction 59, an urban regeneration project that has created business space for over 100 companies. One notable addition to the site is a bar housed inside a huge locomotive wheel that hangs above two small swimming pools.
9. Leeds Parish Church
Famous for housing the tomb of Anne Brontë, this large church also has an excellent high altar that dates back to 1515 and was designed by Robert Aske. Home to the largest congregation in the Anglican province of York, Leeds Parish Church sits opposite Victoria Gardens, which were laid out on land donated after the church’s construction in 1734.
10. The Tetley
A former tea factory that is now a popular arts Centre, The Tetley reopened in 2000 after a £35 million refurbishment project which included a new theatre and exhibition galleries. Visitors to the art spaces here enjoy regular exhibitions by up-and-coming artists and retrospective shows on established names like David Hockney. Opened in 1820 to serve the people of Leeds, The Tetley houses an extensive collection of paintings by William Etty, who also lived nearby before his death in 1849.
Spending time in Leeds is a great way to unwind. There are so many options when it comes to finding the perfect place in Leeds. You have your typical, run-of-the-mill locations like museums and galleries but there’s also outdoor space for when weather permits.