Tourism in Leeds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Leeds Town Hall - One of the city's main landmarks

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.

In the 2017 Condé Nast Traveler survey of readers, Leeds rated 6th among The 15 Best Cities in the UK for visitors.[1] Lonely Planet named Leeds as one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2017.[2]


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.

Visitor data[edit]

Tourism in Leeds in 2010 was 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.[3]

By 2016, Leeds received 27.29 million leisure tourist visits generating over £1.6bn for the city, according to data from a STEAM survey. That was a 15.9% increase in revenue over 2015. A 9.7% increase in visits had been recorded since 2013.[4] According to a report, "tourists were lured by major sporting events and an explosion of shopping and leisure opportunities".[5] The industry supported over 19,000 full time equivalent jobs in 2016.[6]


Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds: Looking up the main stairwell

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.[7] 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.[8]

Readers of TripAdvisor rated the following as the top four things to do in Leeds: Roundhay Park, Royal Armouries Museum, City Varieties Music Hall, Abbey House Museum. Favourite architectural buildings were Leeds Minster, Harewood House, Thornton's Arcade and Leeds Civic Hall.[9]

List of Leeds attractions[edit]

Harewood House in 2005, seen from the garden
Part of Canal Gardens at Roundhay Park

Sport venues[edit]

Elland Road from the East

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.


The Queens Hotel

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[edit]

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.

Popular areas[edit]

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.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Leeds Live It Love It website Archived 2009-04-01 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Leeds City Guide: Leeds is booming
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2008-12-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^

External links[edit]

  • Leeds travel guide from Wikivoyage