Like most of its West Yorkshire neighbours, Leeds grew during the industrial revolution as a woollen mill town but now assumes greater importance as a commercial, financial and legal centre.
It offers city centre and out-of town shopping centres, universities, theatres, nightlife and transport links through its major station and the airport it shares with Bradford around 7 miles north west of the city centre at Yeadon.
Leeds is the administrative centre of the metropolitan district run by Leeds City Council. This also includes a ring of small towns around Leeds, among them
The Leeds metropolitan district is one of a ring of five metropolitan districts which make up the county of West Yorkshire, with Leeds occupying the north-eastern corner. About one-third of the West Yorkshire
The city centre has a huge selection of pubs, bars and nightclubs, with many other venues scattered around the city's districts.
Leeds has a wide range of eating establishments catering for all tastes.
Leeds city centre has post offices at the St Johns Centre, Albion Street, and at The Markets, New York Street. There are also branches in some districts of Leeds.
The city is a major banking centre with commercial and investment banks as well as consumer banks and building societies.
Leeds has many pharmacies in its city centre and in its districts.
Leeds Central Library is at Municipal Buildings in Calverley Street. The library is operated by Leeds City Council which also operates more than 30 other libraries together with a mobile library service throughout its wide metropolitan district.
More information can be found at the
The River Aire flows through Leeds.
The Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Aire and Calder Navigation reach Leeds.
St Anne's Cathedral
Great George Street
St Anne's Cathedral is the centre of the Catholic Diocese of Leeds. The church opened in 1838 as successor to earlier chapels in Leeds and was elevated to cathedral status in 1878.
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Leeds Minster was until 2012 Leeds Parish Church. Dedicated to St Peter, it was consecrated in 1841 after the grand church was built with 1,600 seats to replace an earlier parish church as the town of Leeds grew into an industrial city.
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Leeds PlayhousePlayhouse Square, Quarry Hill
Offers a creative hub and presents local, national and international companies and artists. While still having county-wide impact among the many theatre choices within the towns and cities of West Yorkshire, the Playhouse has returned its heart to the city of Leeds after changing its name back from West Yorkshire Playhouse in June 2018.
City VarietiesSwan Street
With a history dating back to 1865, this city centre venue once used by BBC TV's "The Good Old Days" continues the tradition of Victorian Music Hall entertainment into the 21st century.
First Direct ArenaArena Way
Major entertainment "super theatre" hosts live music, comedy, entertainment and sporting events.
Leeds UnitedLeeds United play in the Championship league at Elland Road, Beeston
Leeds RhinosWinners of the 2017 Super League Grand Final, Leeds Rhinos play at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium
Yorkshire County Cricket ClubBased at Headingley Cricket Ground
University of LeedsFounded in 1904, the University of Leeds is one of the largest in the UK with a campus around Woodhouse Lane, a short walk from the city centre.
Leeds Beckett UniversityLeeds Beckett University links its history in education back to the Leeds Mechanics Institute in 1824 but represents an amalgamation of several Leeds colleges over the years before becoming the Leeds Metropolitan University in 1992 and changing its name to Leeds Beckett University in 2014. The University is connected between a City centre campus, a Headingley Campus at Beckett Park and facilities at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
Leeds Trinity UniversityBrownberrie Lane, Horsforth
Leeds Trinity University is based on a campus in Horsforth, six miles north west of Leeds city centre. It traces its establishment back to 1966 as two Catholic teacher training colleges. It gained full university status in 2012 and is building a new student accommodation block for September 2016.
University of LawPark Row
The University of Law has established one of its centres in a seven-storey building in the heart of Leeds city centre.
Royal Armouries MuseumArmouries Drive, Leeds Dock,
The Royal Armouries opened a museum in Leeds in 1996 to display some of the large national collection of arms and armour historically based at the White Tower of the Tower of London. Housed in a purpose-built modern building at Leeds Dock, near the city centre, arms and armour from Britain and across the world is exhibited in themed galleries, with a programme of live shows and demonstrations. The museum opens daily from 10am to 5pm with last admisssion at 4.30pm.
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Thackray Medical MuseumInteractive galleries show the world of medicine from the Victorian age to modern scientific breakthroughs. The museum also offers a library and resource centre.
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Leeds City MuseumMillennium Square
Includes exhibitions centred on the life of Leeds and natural history.
Details at the
Leeds Industrial MuseumArmley Mills, Canal Road, off Kirkstall Road, Armley
Once the world's largest woollen mill, Armley Mills now tells the story of the rich industrial heritage of Leeds. It is located alongside the River Aire and Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Armley, about two miles from Leeds city centre.
More information at the
Places to visit
Kirkstall AbbeyAbbey Road, Kirkstall
The ruins of the Cistercian Kirkstall Abbey, dating from 1152, are in public parkland alongside the River Aire at Kirkstall, 3 miles north-west of Leeds city centre.
More information at these
Middleton RailwayMoor Road, Hunslet, Leeds
The world's oldest working railway is now operated by volunteers who run trains mostly at weekends. The railway was first opened as a horse-drawn colliery railway in 1758 and was the first to successfully use steam locomotives commercially in 1812. The line was not built as a passenger railway, but solely for carrying coal. Passengers can now make the journey between Moor Road station and Park Halt at the edge of the attractive woodland of Middleton Park, where there are displays about the past coal mining in the area. The line has a timetable of diesel and steam operating days and special events and the engine shed is a celebration of the numerous manufacturers, among them Hudson, Hudswell Clarke and Manning Wardle, which once made Leeds the biggest producer of railway locomotives in the country. The railway is about 2 miles south of Leeds city centre close to Junctions 5 & 6 of the M621.
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Roundhay Park and Tropical WorldPrince's Avenue, Roundhay
Roundhay Park is a popular large park 3 miles north of Leeds city centre, owned by Leeds City Council, with more than 280 hectares of parkland, woodland, lakes and gardens. It also has cafes and is the location of Tropical World, which holds a large collection of tropical plants, birds and reptiles, a butterfly house, aquariums and other animal enclosures, including the ever-popular meerkats.
Further details at the
Temple Newsam House
Temple Newsam Road, off Selby Road, near Colton,
Temple Newsam House dates from Tudor and Jacobean times and is surrounded by more than 600 hectares of parkland and gardens, which include a rare breeds farm. The gardens were designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in the 1760s. Leeds City Council now own the country house and estate, which is open to the public. The house has previously been used as an art museum but there has now been refurbishment of rooms to period styles to match the outstanding restored exterior of this Grade I listed building. There are fees for admission to the house and to the farm.
More information at the
Leeds station is a major rail hub for inter-city, regional and local services with around 29 million passenger journeys a year, making it the UK's third busiest railway station outside London.
Station managed by Network Rail.
Rail operators: LNER, Cross Country, Transpennine Express, Northern, East Midland Trains
Leeds City Bus Station
A range of bus services to surrounding cities and towns operates from the Leeds City Bus Station. Many bus services also operate to the districts of Leeds from stops in city centre streets.
Road travelLeeds city centre is just a few miles from the
The city now has parking off the motorway at park and ride schemes at the
Leeds Bradford AirportLocation: Yeadon
Offers national, European and international flights around 7 miles north west of Leeds city centre (8.5 miles by road).
A 757 bus runs from Leeds city bus station and from outside the railway station to the airport in just over half an hour.
The HS2 effect
LeedsThe fastest HS2 journeys could be as little as 1hr 21min. The higher route mileage to London may be a small price to pay, but faster running and no other town or city centre stations on the way does mean a saving of 38 minutes on the current fastest train*. If not starting your journey in Leeds city centre itself, however, some of the gain may be lost with the longer walk from connecting trains to change platform at a new station in Leeds. Also trains will arrive at Euston rather than at King's Cross.
Emergency servicesWest Yorkshire Police
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Metropolitan district councilCity of Leeds
The City of Leeds authority covers an area extending several miles beyond the city itself, including areas of agricutural land with widely spaced villages to the north east and several separate small towns including
Leeds is just one of a ring five metropolitan councils covering the many cities, towns and villages of the conurbation of West Yorkshire. Around one-third of the West Yorkshire population live in the Leeds metropolitan district, just over ¾ million at the time of the 2011 census.
In the City of Leeds metropolitan district a total of 99 councillors are elected. There are three councillors per ward across 33 wards. Councillors are usually elected for four-year terms, one councillor being elected in each of three years out of four. In 2018 all 99 were elected following a ward boundary review. A Lord Mayor of Leeds is elected from the council each year.
Link to council website
The political composition after the May 2019 election is:
County strategic authorityWest Yorkshire Combined Authority
Covers some combined services of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire - Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Kirklees and Wakefield - which were at one time provided by a West Yorkshire metropolitan county council, with the addition of the non-contiguous City of York council and unelected Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.
Police and Crime CommissionerThe Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire
Fire AuthorityWest Yorkshire Fire Authority
The fire authority is made up of elected members of each of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire - Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Kirklees and Wakefield.
Ceremonial countyWest Yorkshire
HistoricMunicipal borough 1836-1889
County borough 1889-1974 (within the West Riding of Yorkshire)
City charter from 1893