Book self-catered holiday cottages, houses, and more on Airbnb
Guests agree: these stays are highly rated for location, cleanliness, and more.
With a buzzing music scene, rich cultural life, and incredible array of shops and restaurants, Leeds is the throbbing heart of Yorkshire, a city that combines modern verve with stylish civic buildings. Grand 19th-century architecture now houses unexpectedly hip businesses — like the Corn Exchange, under whose elegant dome you can buy vintage clothing and vinyl. Or Headrow House, the former textile mill that’s now a lively beer hall — or the wrought-iron, glass-roofed arcades that house designer stores in the Victoria Quarter.
From indie boutiques to high street fashion and everything in between, with plenty of tearooms and coffee shops to catch your breath, shopping is a serious business in Leeds. And its range of museums and galleries, which include the Royal Armouries, historic Harewood House, and the Henry Moore Institute, part of the famous Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, offer more browsing pleasure. The arts thrive here: Other than London, Leeds is the only English city to support its own ballet, opera, and repertory theatre companies. Sport is just as important, with major football, cricket, and rugby league teams all fiercely supported.
Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBA) services a number of European destinations and UK cities, and has a bus that gets you to the city centre in 30 minutes. The much larger international airport in Manchester (MAN) is 90 minutes away by car or rail, and London is three hours on the train. The city centre is easy to walk or cycle around, and there are plenty of taxis and rideshares available; Leeds’ suburbs, which include attractive destinations like Headingley and Roundhay, can be reached by public transport, including a Metro and a busy bus network.
Leeds has something to attract visitors twelve months of the year. Even in winter, when the weather turns cold and rainy, there’s plenty to do and see indoors, and a warm welcome in the pubs and restaurants. The city’s parks — Roundhay, Temple Newsam — and gardens bloom prettily in the spring, and come summer the sun shines reliably and temperatures can be very pleasant. Leeds celebrates the season with regular outdoor festivals, including the Leeds Festival, which draws some of the biggest bands in the world and more than 100,000 music fans at the end of August. The International Festival, which takes place in the spring, and the International Film Festival, in November, showcase cutting-edge culture, while Light Night (October) is a special way to see the city shimmer in the autumn darkness.
Leeds’ first covered shopping street was built in 1857, and its ornate facades still loom over Vicar Street. It’s one of the largest covered markets in Europe, with 800 stalls serving every type of food you can imagine, alongside clothes, jewellery, and homewares. The market also hosts regular fairs and events.
Running from the Corn Exchange to the north bank of the river, Call Lane has become the heart of the city’s liveliest nightlife, its former warehouse district regenerated into a series of bustling bars and music venues. From dive bars to DJs to late-night barbecue, the street has everything you need for a good night out.
The ancient walls of this 12th-century Cistercian abbey make for a haunting sight on the banks of the River Aire, in the north of the city. The atmospheric ruins are surrounded by park and woodland, and admission is free.