Whether you are a regular visitor to the city or simply planning your first stay, Leeds in West Yorkshire is a vibrant and interesting destination with so much to offer. From revelling in some retail therapy and indulging yourself with some fine dining to immersing yourself in the arts or enjoying a great night out clubbing, this compact and easy to explore city is great for individuals, couples and those travelling with the family
Whether you are staying for just a day or enjoying a long weekend city break, it helps to know as much as you can about the destination. Here are 10 rather unique facts about the city that you might not know.
1) There really is no better place for shopping. Leeds city centre has over 2.5 million square feet of floor space designated entirely to retail. Both large department stores and independent shops take up over five miles of shopping streets and Leeds is home to one of the largest pedestrianised shopping areas in the country.
The stunning 'Victoria Quarter' mixes stylish big name designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Mulberry and Louis Vuitton within the beautiful architecture of a Grade II listed arcade. The only difficultly you may have is whether to look at the gorgeous fashions or the architecture that surrounds them.
2) The River Aire passes right through the city centre, so once you have tired of all the shopping you could head to the waterways and take a relaxing scenic walk or even try your hand at a spot of fishing.
3) Leeds is a very sporty city, with football, rugby and cricket featuring heavily with local residents. Both Rugby League and Rugby Union is catered for at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium, whilst Leeds United football club play at Elland Road Stadium. The Headingley Carnegie Cricket Ground plays host to many local and international matches and nearby Wetherby Racecourse offers a number of unique events throughout the year.
However, if golf is your game, the area is perfect for you. In and around Leeds you will find more than 20 public and private golf courses, including Moortown Golf Club, which famously played host to the 1929 Ryder Cup.
If the weather is bad and rain stops play, don't worry. The new indoor golf facilities at the Golf Caff Bar right in the heart of the city offers over 36 simulated courses to test your swing.
4) Arriving at Leeds Railway Station will let you see one of the largest stations outside London. The city's station has 17 platforms, allowing 900 trains and around 50,000 passengers to come and go each day!
5) Leeds is a great place for discovering history, from the medieval tales of the city and examples of the more recent industrial history to the amazing Victorian architecture that can be seen as you wander around the city centre. Historical country houses, such as Harewood House, Lotherton Hall and Temple Newsam, bring the past to life.
Elsewhere, you can visit Kirkstall Abbey and York Gate Gardens to see stunning examples of Leeds' rich history, or spend an afternoon discovering Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills.
6) Leeds is one of the country's greenest cities. More than half the city is designated green belt land. Leeds itself is less than 20 miles from the beautifully scenic Yorkshire Dales National Park, perfect if you like to mix the hustle and bustle of the city with a peaceful stroll in the countryside.
7) The city is home to a number of famous musical acts, with well-known bands and singers originating from the area, including The Pigeon Detectives, Soft Cell, Kaiser Chiefs and Corinne Bailey Rae. The local football stadium, Elland Road, the O2 Academy and a number of university venues are great for catching big name artists.
8) Other famous names from Leeds include Harry Ramsden. Famous for his popular chain of fish and chip shops, Harry Ramsden opened his very first restaurant in Guiseley in 1928. They then went on to become Britain's longest established restaurant chain, continuing to serve their famous fish and chips. Over the years Ramsden's had around 35 franchises across the UK and Ireland.
9) A great time to visit the city is during the annual Leeds Carnival, which is the second largest carnival after Notting Hill. Over three days, the carnival sees more than 100,000 revellers take part with a large procession, stalls, entertainment and refreshments.
10) If you've ever visited the city, it may come as no surprise that Leeds has been known to attract more annual visitors than many of the other traditional UK holiday destinations, including popular seaside towns, Brighton and Torquay.