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Leeds is the UK's third largest city, known for its industrial history, universities, and shopping. The historic city of Leeds was chartered in 1207, though its history stretches far beyond that, back to the fifth century, and it was a busy market town during the Middle Ages, and its historic Corn Exchange opened in 1864. It became an important industrial center with the rise of Marshall's Mill and printing, chemical, clothing, and other manufacturing taking off in the early 20th century. The tradition of commerce continues today, as one of the premier shopping destinations in the UK. Thanks to its long history, Leeds features architecture in the Georgian, Victorian, and various 20th and 21st century styles.
Leeds is situated in the north central region of the United Kingdom in the Pennines foothills. The highest point in the city is at an elevation of about 340 meters (1,115 feet), though the center of town is much lower, averaging 63 meters (206 feet). Rivers around Leeds include the River Aire and River Wharfe. Terrain includes the Aire Valley, hills, and green belt, as well as sandstone and limestone areas.
How to get there
The main airport in Leeds is Leeds-Bradford International Airport, which is just outside of downtown, and offers service to destinations across Europe, including some low-cost carriers. Also not far from Leeds is Manchester Airport, which is the best option for flights outside of Europe, and is connected to Leeds via train. The railway service to Leeds is centered at Leeds City Station in the city center, with destinations across the UK. Leeds is also accessible via car or bus, with major roads passing through the centrally located city.
When to visit
The warmest season in Leeds is summer, especially July and August, though the city is not typically warm. Spring and fall are also good seasons to visit Leeds, with fair weather. Winter are quite cold and snowy, though it is one of the UK's drier cities.
Major events hosted in Leeds include the Leeds International Film Festival in November and the Leeds Young Film Festival in late March or early April. The Leeds Festival is a major music festival in August, preceded by the Leeds Festival Fringe the week before, while the Garforth Arts Festival is in June and July.
What to see
For good shopping, head to Briggate street, where shops like Marks & Spencer can be found. The largest and most modern shopping center is Trinity Leeds, while the Victoria Quarter and Arcade and Thornton's Arcade have plenty to offer, including interesting architecture. The Corn Exchange is another good shopping destination, while the largest covered market in Europe is housed at Kirkgate Market.
One of the top attractions in Leeds is the Royal Armouries at Clarence Dock in the Riverside district. The museum houses collections of arms and armor from various wars, including WWI and WWII, along with modern military equipment. Historic sites include the Temple Newsam House, which houses an art collection alongside a working farm, and the Abbey House Museum, where visitors can experience life as it once was, with its quaint cobbled streets, old shops, and historic museums. Also nearby are the ruins of the Kirkstall Abbey, which is a scenic destination for photography, picnics, and exploration.
Other attractions to check out are Millennium Square, the main town plaza, Morley Town Hall, and Park Square.
Where to stay
Though Leeds does not have much in the way of youth hostels, it does have some comparatively inexpensive housing options for visitors, such as the Holiday Inn Express, Ibis Budget Centres, and Glengarth Hotel. For prime locations and only slightly higher prices, Leeds visitors can check out the Leedslet, Jury's Inn, Novotel, and Mercure. For high-end accommodations, try the Met or Queens Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in the city, the Malmaison, Quebecs, or 42 The Calls.
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Last Updated on: January 23rd, 2018