Armed with three universities (Leeds Trinity, Leeds Beckett and the University of Leeds) it is a city naturally geared up to offering an energetic student experience. Awash with independent eateries, farmers markets, pop-up food festivals and a thriving street food scene you certainly won’t go hungry here! Leeds, the home of the well-known British band the Kaiser Chiefs, is also a springboard into the UK’s picturesque Yorkshire Dales.
Did you know?
1) That Leeds attracts more tourists and visitors than the seaside town of Brighton.
2) The board game Cluedo was first created in Leeds. Board games are a Great British pastime, especially around Christmas, and Cluedo is a classic, murder mystery style game. Challenge your friends to a game to see if any of you can work out who done it?
3) The tallest maypole can be found in Leeds. A maypole is a painted pole decorated with flowers that people traditionally dance around. The quintessential village of Barwick-in-Elmet are incredibly proud of the fact that theirs stands at a ginormous 86 feet. It has also been a source of rivalry for the neighbouring village of Aberfod who once tried to steal it.
4) Leeds is home to the longest running West Indian carnival in Europe. Forget Notting Hill, Leeds Carnival is an exciting, extravagant weekend party filled with delicious Caribbean street food.
5) The people of Leeds must have a sweet tooth as Dr Brian Boffrey invented the Jelly Tot whilst working for Rowntree. He then went on to work for NASA and you can read more about his other crazy inventions here.
What to do?
Just outside of Leeds is the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Stone-built villages are nestled amongst traditional farms and miles of wild-flower meadows. Famous for its wonderful scenery you can go walking, cycling or hiking around the Dales.
The famous Leeds artist, Henry Moore, built a breath-taking black-granite gallery dedicated to showcasing the art of sculpture. The Henry Moore Institution consists of four galleries presenting ground breaking art installations from across the globe.
Take a trip to the longest running music hall in the country. City Varieties Music Hall has seen everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Chuckle brothers graced the stage in its 151-year history.
Learn how to make the perfect cup of tea at Le Chalet tearooms with a team of expert brewers. They also do a delicious afternoon tea, so you can practice your tea-making skills alongside fluffy scones and local Yorkshire jam.
Hang out at Outlaws Yacht Club, a quirky concept shop with a record shop, hair salon and laid-back bar and coffee shop. With a large roster of creative events, including chin wags with authors such as Irvine Welch, guest DJ’s and live poetry events.
Where to eat?
You can’t come to the capital of Yorkshire without trying a Yorkshire pudding. The Yorkshire Wrap Company dishes up the tasty treat with lashings of gravy at their Kirkgate Market Food Hall. Kirkgate Market Food Hall is also the UK’s largest indoor food market. Loosen those top trouser buttons and try a bit of everything!
Crumpets are a savoury, Victorian cake often eaten at breakfast or with tea. Head to Sheaf St Cafeteria to try some scrumptious crumpets covered in melted butter.
Having started as a tiny basement deli, Friends of Ham has grown into one of Leeds most famous independent eateries, serving up the best British, French and Spanish charcuterie and cheeses.
Belgrave Music Hall is a quirky three-floor music venue with a rooftop terrace that offers expansive views across the city. Catch up with friends over a craft beer and grab a slice of pizza from Dough Boys NY-style kitchen. Make sure to check out their diverse music calendar as a wide range of acts from burlesque dancers to stand-up comedians performs here.
Where to shop?
Shopaholics will be pleased, as there are over five miles of shopping streets and one of the country’s largest pedestrian shopping areas in Leeds. If you are a lover of all vintage then head to the Corn Exchange. A Grade 1 Listed Victorian building with stunning wrought iron balconies and an array of independent boutiques.
Head to the elegant Victorian Quarter where designer boutique such as Louis Vuitton are housed under an elegant, ornate mosaic dome.
Foodies should pop into Millies deli to stock up on quality, Yorkshire produce such as Yorkshire tea, Yorkshire honey and Yorkshire bacon. It also stocks Leeds-based Roops sensational sourdough, which is a must-try!