Tourism in Leeds
Leeds in West Yorkshire, England is a tourist destination. It has received several accolades in the field of tourism; including being voted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine Readers' Awards as the "UK's favourite city" in 2004, "Best English city to visit outside London" in 2005, "Visitor city of the year" by The Good Britain Guide in 2005 and was described as a great place to visit by Rough Guide in 2008. The city is listed in the book 501 Must Visit Cities.
Leeds has many transport links by which tourists can arrive. The city is served by Leeds Bradford International Airport, which has direct links to most major British and European airports as well as several direct links further afield. Leeds railway station is one of the UK's principal railway stations and links to regional towns and cities, as well as many major cities. The cities main tourist information office is situated at the railway station. The nearest port is the Port of Hull, with passenger connections to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. Leeds is linked by motorways in all directions by the M1 (South), M62 (East and West) and the A1(M) (North and South). The city is linked by National Express and Megabus coaches all major UK cities.
Tourism in Leeds is estimated to support over 20,000 full time equivalent jobs, and on average Leeds attracts around 1.5 million people annually who stay overnight, plus a further 10 million who visit on day trips. Visitors from across the UK and Europe to the city bring in nearly £735 m into the local economy each year.
Major national and regional attractions include the Royal Armouries, the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and the award winning Harewood House, which was voted one of the best large visitor attractions in the Excellence in England Awards for Tourism 2003. Leeds is also the only city outside London to have both its own opera and ballet companies – the internationally acclaimed Opera North and Northern Ballet Theatre. Leeds Civic Trust offer walking tours of the city.
List of Leeds attractions
- Harewood House (Out of the City on A61 towards Harrogate)
- Temple Newsham
- Lotherton Hall
- Roundhay Park
- Tropical World
- Bramham Park (South of Wetherby)
- Golden Acre Park
- The Hollies Arboretum
- Royal Armouries Museum
- Leeds City Art Gallery
- Thackray Medical Museum
- Kirkstall Abbey
- Abbey House Museum
- Armley Mills Industrial Museum
- Thwaite Mills Museum
- Middleton Railway
- Leeds City Museum
- Leeds Theatres (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Civic Theatre, Grand Theatre, City Varieties, Carriageworks Theatre)
Although there is less tourism brought into the city by sport since Leeds United's exit from the premiership, it is still generated by Leeds United, Leeds Rhinos, Leeds Carnegie, Yorkshire Cricket, as well as England Cricket test games at Headingley. There is also National Hunt racing at Wetherby Racecourse. To a lesser extent tourism is brought to Leeds (particularly West Leeds) by Farsley Celtic.
There are many events that attract tourists to Leeds such as Leeds Festival, Party in the Park, The Leeds Christkindelmarkt (German Christmas Market), The Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, The Leeds Christmas Lights, The Leeds Mela, The Leeds West Indian Carnival and the Leeds International Film Festival.
Four Leeds hotels are listed as top choices to stay in the UK by the Good Hotel Guide 2004. There are many major hotels in the city centre including the Hilton Hotel, Queens Hotel, Hotel Metropole, Ibis Hotel, Etap Hotel, Novotel, Park Plaza Hotel as well as several Travelodges and Travel Inns as well as many other smaller hotels.
Eating and drinking
Leeds has many popular pubs, bars and restaurants in the city centre. The historic Whitelocks public house on Briggate and the Adelphi public house on Hunslet Lane (adjacent to the Tetley's Brewery) are notable public houses. The range of restaurants and bars in Leeds covers all budget ranges.
Besides the city centre, many people visit Hyde Park and Headingley for the student sub culture and the interesting mix of pubs, cafés and bars. Chapel Allerton, Roundhay and Horsforth are popular due to the upmarket bars and restaurants in these areas. The market towns of Wetherby and Otley come under the City of Leeds and are also both popular with day tourists, Wetherby being particularly busy after a meeting at Wetherby Racecourse.
- Leeds travel guide from Wikivoyage