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The City of Leeds

Leeds' rich local history, exceptional parks and green spaces, world class sports venues, excellent shopping centres and diverse programme of year-round entertainment are just some of the many things that make Leeds such a great place to visit. With a population of over 700,000 and home to people of 75 nationalities, Leeds is a cosmopolitan city, where international visitors will find a great atmosphere, lots to see and do and a warm Yorkshire welcome.

Arts and History

Owl, Leeds symbolMany industries have contributed to the wealth of Leeds, particularly the clothing trade, for which the city is famous. Several famous names are associated with the city, Thomas Chippendale began creating furniture here, and Michael Marks opened his first Penny Bazaar in 1884. Montague Burton opened the largest clothing factory in Europe, and Waddingtons the makers of the famous board game 'Monopoly' was founded in Leeds.

Leeds has undergone a transformation in recent years. Gone are the blackened buildings of the past, now restored to their original Victorian splendour. Most prominent is Leeds Town Hall, designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, opened in 1858 by Queen Victoria, home of the triennial Leeds international piano competition and the annual international concert season.

The Corn Exchange also designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, is one of Britain's finest Victorian buildings. Restored in the late 90s it now houses a variety of shops and cafes. The Victorian Quarter is not to be missed, original shop fronts, restored and retaining many original features, all enclosed under a modern stained glass roof. The Edwardian Kirkgate Market, another of the city's historic buildings, offers a wide variety of stalls in the city centre.

Other places of interest to visit - The Royal Armories Museum, purpose built to house the Royal Armouries' national collection of arms and armour. Leeds City Art Gallery displays one of the best collections outside London. The Henry Moore Institute shows temporary exhibitions of sculpture. Armley Mills Industrial Museum and Kirkstall Abbey dating from medieval times and the Jacobean, Temple Newsam House containing paintings and artifacts from the City Art Gallery.

An owl is one of the emblems of the City of Leeds. The owl shown above can be found in Millennium Square outside the Civic Hall pictured below.


Leeds has many fine hotels, both modern and traditional. Restaurants, brasseries and cafe-bars, to enjoy international cuisine, or sample traditional English fare at the original 'Harry Ramsdens' just a few miles out of town. There are a variety of clubs and pubs, many with live music from a variety of cultures. The Grand Theatre is home to Opera North, where you can see ballet, west-end musicals and all that is best in the performing arts. The Civic Theatre, the famous City Varieties Theatre, and in complete contrast West Yorkshire Playhouse, new, innovative and worth seeing.


Sport remains central to city life, especially with the successes of the Rhinos in Rugby League and Leeds Carnegie in Rugby Union. The rugby sides share their home at Headingley Carnegie Stadium with Michael Vaughan's Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Football fans around the world will be familiar with Leeds United and Elland Road. For sports enthusiasts - there are seven golf courses, a large variety of Leisure Centres, squash, swimming pools and a large tennis centre.

Leeds Civic HallShopping

As a shopping destination, Leeds has it made. There's no comparable city in the north for shopping. Here in Leeds, the Shopping Quarter is very compact and traffic-free, so you don't have to walk far to go between designer shops and the colourful market, or from high street stores to individual boutiques and shops in the Victorian arcades.

Victoria Quarter is one of the most exclusive fashion and lifestyle destinations in the North. Home to more than 70 top names such as LK Bennett, Vivienne Westwood, Gieves and Hawkes, Jigsaw, Ted Baker, Karen Millen, Reiss, Molton Brown, TM Lewin, Diesel, Jo Malone, Space NK and, of course, Harvey Nichols. Harvey Nichols' first store outside London opened in the historic Victoria Quarter of Leeds in 1996. The store, with five floors has become a landmark destination in the city centre.