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Step into a bustling city christened 'Knightsbridge of the North', where the world's leading fashion brands brush shoulders with acclaimed art galleries and and the imposing Grand Theatre and Opera House are just a minute's walk away. With so many stunning listed buildings and cultural landmarks to discover, set aside a weekend and drink in all that cosmopolitan Leeds has to offer.
The Victoria Arcade Housed in an elegant Grade 11 listed building, is home to many of the world’s leading fashion brands.
Kirkstall Abbey Wonderful picturesque abbey ruins next to the river Aire.
There is an extensive network of secret red brick tunnels beneath Leeds City Station.
The Hyde Park Picture Palace is one of the last Edwardian picture houses in the country.
Leeds was one of the first towns in Britain to have a piped water supply, as far back as 1694.
Leeds is the North of England's premier shopping destination, with everything from haute couture to vintage delights to discover. The Victoria Quarter, housed in an elegant Grade II listed building, is home to many of the world's leading fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood, and of course the stunning Harvey Nichols department store. Gourmets will love the Corn Exchange with its domed food hall and delicatessens, or travel slightly further afield to the White Rose Centre where two floors of high street delights are enough to satisfy even the most enthusiastic shopper.
With its own Grand Theatre and Opera House, ballet companies and even renowned burlesque nights, you're rarely short of evening entertainment in Leeds. The Grand Theatre has delighted Leeds for over 125 years, with performances ranging from award-winning comedy to the spectacular Opera North. And just moments away, Northern Ballet perform in a new state-of-the-art building, the largest centre for dance outside of London. Smack bang in the city centre, Leeds Art Gallery, housing contemporary exhibitions and a charming jewellery & craft shop, sits next door to the internationally renowned Henry Moore Institute.
Leeds is a city rich in history, from the handsome Victorian architecture in the city centre to the mid 18th century Harewood House just a short distance away. Those fond of unusual buildings will enjoy a visit to the Grade I listed Corn Exchange or the grand Town Hall with its impressive stone lions and handsome clock tower. If it's a sunny day then we recommend a visit to Kirkstall Abbey. Set amidst beautiful parkland right by the river, these imposing, well-preserved ruins are the perfect place for a summer picnic.
Head to Leeds City Museum and meet the famous Leeds tiger (he used to be a rug!), explore fascinating dinosaur skeletons and even dig for fossils, as well as exploring four floors of interactive galleries. For a great family day out, don't miss a visit to The Royal Armouries, Britain's national museum of arms and armour. With over 8,500 objects on display, a newly refurbished Tournament Gallery and live jousting events, there's something to entertain everyone.
Harewood House is a stately home just a short drive away from Leeds. Built in the mid-18th century, this beautiful building boasts Robert Adam interiors, Chippendale furniture and gardens designed by Capability Brown. Temple Newsam is another grand home a short distance from Leeds, sometimes referred to as 'Hampton Court of the North'. The main house is a Grade I listed building with a stunning Tudor-Jacobean style and acres of manicured gardens and woodland and a rare breeds farm.
Leeds certainly has its fair share of unusual, awesome attractions. The award-winning Thackray Medical Museum tells the story of medicine from its origins to present day, including the opportunity to step back in time to 1842 and experience the sights and sounds of Victorian Leeds on a 'living street'! Explore the Royal Armouries museum at Clarence Dock for an exciting trip through time or culture vultures can swoop on the Henry Moore Institute for some of the UK's most creative exhibitions and installations.
With more than 80 restaurants and 130 bars and pubs you'll find a wealth of mouth-watering and award-winning restaurants. For Italian check out Salvo's Restaurant in Headingley for freshly made, award-winning authentic Italian treats or city centre-based Bibi's Italianissimo who run their popular, regular Showtime events. Try waterside dining at Brasserie Blanc or Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill.
By night, Leeds really comes alive with its wide array of restaurants, bars and clubs, and the city has a fantastic range of independent bars and restaurants. The Northern Quarter around New Briggate bustles with hip little hideaways, while Call Lane and surround streets and cobbled alleys play home to some of the coolest bars. And Millenium Square is a good choice for summer with bars and restaurants aplenty. For cocktails, check out the famous Mojo bar or Skylounge at the Double Tree by Hilton.
Following a complete refurbishment, the Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor Café and Bar, Leeds will open in April 2013. The much-loved Café and Bar, recent winner of the Oliver Award for the best city centre restaurant in Leeds, is celebrating its 17th year as a leading drinking and dining destination. With its spectacular views over the city's rooftops, The Café and Bar will be given a stylish transformation to reflect the fashions in the floors below.
Filmore & Union is a stylish deli and restaurant with two outlets in Leeds, with a focus on fresh, seasonal and innovative healthy food with an array of gluten-free options that not only taste good but make you feel great too. Check their Victoria Quarter and Moortown stores.
For a more extensive list of dining options in Leeds City Centre, please visit here.
Kirkstall Abbey is, without doubt, the perfect place for picnics. The well preserved ruins (still at their full height) are set amidst beautiful parkland right by the river. Built between 1152 and 1160 by Cistercian monks, the Abbey is a wonderful example of mediaeval architecture. Nearby you will find woodland trails, tennis courts and a children's playground - perfect for a family day out.
Nature lovers young and old will love Tropical World. The centre has a vast collection of tropical plants, magnificent aquariums and even a vast butterfly room where you can wander past hundreds of colourful fluttering creatures. Tropical World is situated right next to Roundhay Park, with hundreds of acres of rolling parklands where you can roam in fairytale woodland, stroll round lakes graced by swans and enjoy a picnic in one of the elegant pavilions.
With 500 acres of rolling Yorkshire countryside, dotted with some of the finest sculptures in the UK, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a unique and certainly very special destination. A fantastic way to combine fresh air and culture, spend a day exploring the outdoor spaces and indoor galleries, including the largest display of open-air bronzes by Henry Moore in Europe. Free (although donations are welcome) and with plenty of parking, the park is perfect for a super family day out.
Leeds' extensive sporting heritage is built around two famous stadiums - Headingley and Elland Road. Headingley Carnegie Stadium is a must-visit for sports fans. Home of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Leeds Rhinos rugby league team and Leeds Carnegie rugby union team, you can spend a thrilling afternoon watching your sporting heroes in action. Alternatively, watch a match at Elland Road - home to Leeds United and their many passionately supportive fans.
Unique to Yorkshire, the Marks in Time exhibition at the M&S Company Archive celebrates the role that M&S has played in peoples' lives over the last 128 years. The exhibition features iconic items from the archive collection that vividly show the development and impact M&S has had on the social history of Britain since 1884. From Boardroom battles to staff welfare, from puddings to pants, the exhibition explores how M&S has led the way in innovation, quality and service.
Leeds is the North of England's premier shopping destination, with everything from haute couture to vintage delights on offer. The Victoria Quarter, housed in an elegant Grade II listed building, is home to many of the world's leading fashion brands, from Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood to Mulberry and Space NK, and of course the stunning Harvey Nichols. Gourmets will love the Corn Exchange, with its elegant food hall and delicatessens, or for more fashion fixes try The Core, St John's Centre and Merrion Centre. Trinity Leeds is also due to open its doors in 2013.
If vintage threads are what you're after, UpStaged in the Grand Arcade specialise in authentic vintage original items, some as old as the Victorian age right up to the best of the 1980s. There's also a particularly rare selection of genuine 1930's, 1940's and 1950's dresses and accessories.
If you're looking for a bargain, Leeds Kirkgate Market is Europe's largest indoor market with over 400 stalls housed in impressive Edwardian buildings, which are famous for their ornamental dragons. There are a further 200 stalls in the huge open air market outside.
Why not try the Leeds Corn Exchange is proud to champion the very best in creative, innovative and independent retail enterprises, and the building's striking features provide the backdrop for a unique shopping experience.
For a full list of shopping opportunities in Leeds City Centre, please visit here.
Perfect for picnics
We recommend a visit to Kirkstall Abbey with its scenic surroundings, or Yorkshire Sculpture Park with its rolling acres of Yorkshire countryside and award-winning exhibitions.
Leeds is the North of England’s premier shopping destination, with everything from haute couture to vintage delights to uncover.
With its own Grand Theatre, opera house, ballet companies and even renowned burlesque nights, you’re rarely short of evening entertainment in Leeds.
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