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Leeds in northern England is a busy city with one of the most diverse economies of all the UK’s main employment centres. It is a shopping mecca, and a night-out in Leeds promises to be one you won’t forget! There are a number of indoor shopping centres in the city comprising British High Street stores, along with a host of luxury retailers including Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Harvey Nichols, housed within impressive Victorian-style arcades. A hotspot for nightlife, there’s a multitude of pubs, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and live music venues. Millennium Square is a growing entertainment district, hosting seasonal events, concerts and festivals, and is popular with both students and weekend visitors alike.
For art aficionados, Leeds has produced many notable sculptors and artists, whose works can be viewed at the city’s municipal art gallery. Famously, Turner painted numerous scenes in and around Leeds, and it was once home to one of Britain’s largest collections of Pre-Raphaelite art. The city also has a rich film exhibition culture, and in addition to the Leeds International Film Festival and Leeds Young Film Festival, Leeds hosts numerous independent cinemas and pop-up venues for film screenings. A bustling music, theatre and dance scene, popular music acts originating from Leeds include Kaiser Chiefs, The Pigeon Detectives and Corinne Bailey Rae to name a few. Some of the biggest bands in the world perform at the First Direct Arena in the city as part of their UK tour.
If you prefer the countryside, on the rural outskirts of Leeds, you can enjoy a country walk by taking the Leeds Country Way, which is never more than seven miles from City Square. The city also boasts a wealth of large parks and open spaces. Roundhay Park is the biggest, and has more than 700 acres of parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens. There are also plenty of smaller parks scattered around Leeds, making it one of the greenest cities in the whole of the UK.
Heavily car-dependent, Leeds does not have much of a rapid transport system, meaning commuters tend to either drive or use buses. Given its proximity to the A62, A63, A64, A65, A660, A58, A61, M1, M62 and A1(M) motorways, you can see why car travel is the principal mode of transport. That said, Leeds has good railway links, with over 900 trains and 50,000 passengers passing through Leeds Railway Station each day. Furthermore, Leeds Bradford International Airport is located in Yeadon, about 10 miles to the north-west of the city centre, and has both charter and scheduled flights to destinations within Europe, plus Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and the USA.
A history in the production and trading of wool, as well as flax, engineering, iron foundries and printing, modern-day Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial hub of West Yorkshire. Its financial and insurance services industry is worth £13 billion to the city’s economy, with more than 30 national and international banks located in the city, including an office of the Bank of England. Leeds is also an important centre for equity, venture and risk finance. Founded in Leeds, the venture capital provider, YFM Equity Partners, is now the UK’s largest provider of risk capital to small and medium-sized enterprises. Other major companies based in the city include William Hill, Asda, Leeds Building Society and Northern Foods, and there are around 150 law firms operating here.
Leeds City Council is responsible for the city’s 220 primary schools, 39 secondary schools and six special inclusive learning centres. There are also several independent schools including faith schools serving the Jewish and Muslim communities. Served by four universities, Leeds has one of the largest populations of students in the country. The University of Leeds has around 31,000 students, while Leeds Beckett University has around 25,805.
Most of the property sales in Leeds over the last year were semi-detached houses, which on average sold for £202,233, while the overall average price was £194,324. Fancy a move to this thriving city? Yorkshire is one of the leading real ale producers, so there are plenty of places to whet your whistle if you’re embarking on a spot of house-hunting!