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Leeds Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


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Leeds is a city in the English county of West Yorkshire. Leeds may be traced back to the 5th century in Yorkshire’s West Riding, when the term referred to a woodland territory of the Kingdom of Elmet. Over the years, the term has been given to a variety of governmental bodies. It went through numerous iterations from being the name of a tiny manorial borough in the 13th century to becoming the name of the current metropolitan borough. Leeds became an important center for the manufacturing and selling of wool in the 17th and 18th centuries. Leeds then grew into a major mill town during the Industrial Revolution; wool was the primary business, but flax, engineering, iron foundries, printing, and other industries were also prominent. Leeds grew from a small market town in the River Aire’s valley in the 16th century to a thriving metropolitan center by the mid-20th century, absorbing the neighboring villages. The population of the major built-up area sub-division is 474,632 (2011), while the City of Leeds metropolitan borough, of which it is a part, is predicted to be 757,700. (2011).

Leeds is now regarded the cultural, financial, and economic hub of the West Yorkshire Urban Area, and is classed as a gamma global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Leeds is home to four institutions and boasts the country’s fourth-largest student population as well as the fourth-largest urban economy. Leeds is the UK’s second-largest legal hub after London, and its financial and insurance services business was worth £2.1 billion in 2011, making it the fourth-largest in the country, with over 30 national and international banks based there. With over 30 contact centers employing about 20,000 people, it is the top UK city for telephone-delivered banking and associated financial services.

In terms of passenger counts, Leeds has the third busiest railway station and the sixteenth busiest airport in England, outside of London. Leeds is the center of the region’s public transportation, rail, and road communications networks, and it has a number of twinning agreements with towns and cities in other countries. Its designated position in the Leeds City Region collaboration recognizes the city’s significance to regional economic growth, and High Speed 2’s second phase intends to link Leeds to London through the East Midlands Hub and Sheffield Meadowhall.

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Leeds | Introduction

Leeds – Info Card

POPULATION : • City & Metropolitan Borough 766,399
• Urban 1,777,934
• Metro 2,302,000
FOUNDED :  Borough Charter 1207
City status 1893
TIME ZONE : • Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
• Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
LANGUAGE :  English
RELIGION : Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1%
AREA : • City & Metropolitan Borough 213 sq mi (551.72 km2)
• Urban 188.3 sq mi (487.8 km2)
ELEVATION :  33–1,115 ft (10–340 m)
COORDINATES :  53°47′59″N 1°32′57″W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 49.3%
 Female: 50.7%
ETHNIC : 85.0% White ,2.7% of mixed race , 7.7% Asian , 3.5% Black,0.5% Arab and 0.6% of other ethnic heritage.
AREA CODE : 0113 (urban core)
01924 (Wakefield nos)
01937 (Wetherby/ Boston Spa)
01943 (Guiseley/ Otley)
01977 (Pontefract nos)
POSTAL CODE :  LS, part of WF and also part of BD.

Tourism in Leeds

Leeds is the biggest city in West Yorkshire’s county. Formerly a significant industrial center, the city is now noted for being the UK’s biggest financial center outside of London, as well as its great shopping, nightlife, universities, and sports facilities. Leeds’ cultural profile is developing, with several museums, restaurants, and theaters, as well as a mix of Georgian, Victorian, 20th, and 21st century architecture.

Leeds, although not being a “typical” tourist destination, offers enough to keep visitors occupied. Aside from the major sites, museums, galleries, parks, and so on, walking about the bustling city center to soak up the mood and enjoy the unique mix of architectural styles from the last several centuries is a delight in and of itself.


Leeds’ vast retail sector has been designated as the primary regional shopping hub for the Yorkshire and Humber region, having a catchment area of around 3.2 million people. The Merrion Centre, St John’s Centre, The Core, the Victoria Quarter, The Light, the Corn Exchange, and Trinity Leeds are just a few of the city’s indoor retail centers. There are around 1,000 retail establishments in all, with a total floorspace of 2,264,100 square feet (210,340 m2).


Leeds has a diverse range of natural and man-made monuments. The gritstone outcrop of Otley Chevin and the Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve are two examples of natural landmarks. The city’s parks at Roundhay and Temple Newsam have long been owned and managed by the council for the benefit of ratepayers, while Millennium Square, City Square, Park Square, and Victoria Gardens are among the city’s open spaces. The center city war monument is located here, and there are 42 more war memorials across the district’s suburbs, towns, and villages.

Climate of Leeds

Leeds has an oceanic climate, which is affected by the Atlantic and the Pennines. Summers are typically warm, with modest rainfall, and winters are cold, overcast, and frosty. Spring and fall are pleasant, although snow and frost may occur at any time.

July is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius (61 degrees Fahrenheit), while January is the coldest, with an average temperature of 3 degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures of more than 30 °C (86 °F) and less than 10 °C (14 °F) are uncommon, although they do occur. Temperatures at Leeds Bradford Airport dropped to 12.6 degrees Celsius (9.3 degrees Fahrenheit) in December 2010 and reached 31.8 degrees Celsius (89 degrees Fahrenheit) in Leeds city centre in August 2003. During the early August 1990 heatwave, Leeds set a new record high of 34.4 °C (94 °F).

Temperatures may fluctuate based on location, as they do in many vast cities with variable terrain. In a tiny location immediately to the south east of the city center, where the elevation drops to around 20 meters, average July and August daytime highs reach 25.0 °C (77.0 °F) (a number equivalent to South East England). At an elevation of 208 meters, this is 2 degrees cooler than the normal July temperature at Leeds Bradford airport weather station (given in the table below).

With an annual rainfall of 660 mm and a location on the eastern side of the Pennines, Leeds is one of the driest cities in the UK (25.98 in).

Though severe weather is uncommon in Leeds, the city has seen thunderstorms, blizzards, gale force winds, and even tornadoes. On September 14, 2006, a tornado struck Leeds City train station, uprooting trees and causing signal problems.

Geography of Leeds

Leeds is situated in the valley of the River Aire in the eastern foothills of the Pennines, at 53°47′59′′N 1°32′57′′W (53.799°, 1.549°) and 190 miles (310 km) north-northwest of downtown London. The city center is located at about 206 feet (63 meters) above sea level in a narrow section of the Aire Valley, while the district varies in elevation from 1,115 feet (340 meters) in the far west on the slopes of Ilkley Moor to about 33 feet (10 meters) where the rivers Aire and Wharfe cross the eastern boundary. Pudsey, Bramley, Horsforth, Alwoodley, Seacroft, Middleton, and Morley are all part of a continuous built-up region that stretches from Leeds to Pudsey, Bramley, Horsforth, Alwoodley, Seacroft, Middleton, and Morley.

Leeds has the second-highest population of any UK local authority district (after Birmingham) and the second-largest area of any English metropolitan district (after Doncaster), spanning 15 miles (24 km) east to west and 13 miles (21 km) north to south. The northern limit follows the River Wharfe for many kilometers before crossing it to encompass the northern portion of Otley. The Yorkshire Dales National Park, which features some of the most stunning scenery and countryside in the UK, is less than twenty miles (32 km) from the city center, and over 65 percent of the Leeds region is green belt land. The Yorkshire Coalfield is a layer of coal measure sandstones that lies under the inner and southern parts of Leeds. It is constructed on older sandstone and gritstones in the north, and it reaches into the magnesian limestone belt in the east. In Leeds’ core regions, land usage is primarily urban.

Attempts to define Leeds’ precise geographic meaning have resulted in a number of notions of its size, which change depending on context, including the city center, urban sprawl, administrative limits, and functional region.

Economy of Leeds

Leeds has a varied economy, with service sector employment currently outnumbering traditional industrial sectors. The Leeds district has 401,000 registered workers in 2002. 24.7 percent worked in government, education, and health care, 23.9 percent in banking, finance, and insurance, and 21.4 percent in distribution, hotels, and restaurants. Leeds’ financial structure varies the most from that of the area and the country in the banking, finance, and insurance industries. Leeds’ finance and services sector was valued £2.1 billion in 2011, making it the UK’s fifth biggest behind London, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Birmingham. Retail, call centers, offices, and the media have all contributed to the high pace of economic development. The city also houses the Bank of England’s sole subsidiary office in the United Kingdom. The city’s GVA was £18.8 billion in 2012, with the Leeds City Region as a whole creating an economy of £55 billion.

Leeds’ economy expanded at a slower pace than the UK as a whole, 39 percent vs. 44 percent, between 2002 and 2012, and was still 2.6 percent behind its pre-recession high in 2012.

Leeds is home to approximately 30 national and international banks, many of which have northern or regional offices. It is home to Yorkshire Bank and substantial Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Lloyds Banking Group, and RBS Group activities, as well as First Direct’s headquarters.

In addition, the city is a major hub for equity, venture, and risk capital. YFM Equity Partners, a venture capital firm based in Leeds, is currently the UK’s leading supplier of risk financing to small and medium-sized businesses.

William Hill, International Personal Finance, ASDA, Leeds Building Society, and Northern Foods are among the city’s significant employers. TD Waterhouse, Capita Group, KPMG, Direct Line, Aviva, Yorkshire Building Society, BT Group, Telefónica Europe (otherwise known as O2), and KPMG all have significant presences in the city.

Leeds is home to over 150 legal companies, which employ around 6,700 people. “Leeds has a sophisticated and highly competitive legal market, second only to London,” according to The UK Legal 500.

Corporate finance, corporate restructuring and insolvency, global project financing, trade and investment, commercial litigation, competition, construction, Private Finance Initiatives and Public Private Partnerships, tax, derivatives, IT, employment, pensions, intellectual property, sport and entertainment are all areas where Leeds has specialized legal expertise.

Leeds’ place as one of the UK’s leading legal centers was cemented in April 2009 when an Administrative Court was established in the city. Previously, the court exclusively met in London.

Leeds is the UK’s third biggest manufacturing city, with half of the country’s industrial base within a two-hour drive. Leeds manufacturing enterprises employ roughly 1,800 people, accounting for 8.8 percent of the city’s overall workforce. Engineering, printing and publishing, food and beverage, chemicals, and medical technology are the most important sub-sectors.

The city also has a thriving creative economy, notably in the digital game industry. Activision, the creators of the mobile versions of the Call of Duty series, and Rockstar Leeds, the creators of the Grand Theft Auto series, both have studios in and near the city. Outside of London, Leeds is the only city to have held the Eurogamer Expo, however Birmingham will host in 2014.

Office projects, which have historically been concentrated in the city’s core, have spread south of the River Aire, totaling 11,000,000 square feet (1,000,000 m2). Between 1999 and 2008, £2.5 billion in property development was performed in downtown Leeds, including £711 million in offices, £265 million in retail, £389 million in leisure, and £794 million in housing. In the time, £26 million was spent on new property development for manufacturing and distribution purposes. The city center employs 130,100 people, accounting for 31% of the total workforce in the area. In 2007, finance and business employed 47,500 people, public services employed 42,300, and retail and distribution employed 19,500. Leeds city centre is home to 43 percent of financial sector employment in the region, while 44 percent of people working in the city centre reside more than nine kilometers (5.6 miles) away. Leeds is a major tourist destination; in 2009, it was the eighth most visited city in England by UK tourists. is the 13th most visited city by travelers from other countries. According to VisitEngland, the day visitor market in Leeds welcomes 24.9 million visitors each year, generating approximately £654 million in revenue for the city.

Leeds was selected one of five “cities to watch” in a study issued by the Centre for Cities in January 2011. According to the research, the typical person in Leeds earns £471 per week, which places them seventeenth nationally, and 30.9 percent of Leeds inhabitants have NVQ4+ high level credentials, which places them fifteenth nationally. In the period June 2012 to June 2013, employment in Leeds was 68.8 percent, which was lower than the national average, while unemployment was higher than the national rate at 9.6 percent. It also suggests that welfare cutbacks will have the least impact on Leeds in 2014/2015, with a forecast reduction of -£125 per capita, compared to -£192 in Liverpool and -£175 in Glasgow. Leeds has a lower level of deprivation than other big UK cities, and its average income is higher than the national average.



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