NORTHERN COMPASS

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Published on May 02, 2017 with No Comments

Leeds, Yorkshire’s busiest and brightest city, is a full-on tourist destination.

Words EMMA RAMSAY

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Leeds is a full-on tourist destination. Credit(s): Leeds City Council

 

 

A city rich in industrial heritage, Leeds is well known for its architecture. Whether it’s the historic Leeds Kirkgate Market, home to a number of local traders or the First Direct Arena, which sees huge artists from across the globe perform every year, its unique skyline offers something for everyone, from history buffs to fans of modern art.

But it’s the mix of old and new that makes Leeds such a vibrant city.

Getting to Leeds is incredibly easy, located in the heart of the UK, Leeds is one of the country’s most accessible cities. Frequent direct trains carry visitors from London to Leeds in just over two hours. Leeds Bradford Airport is situated at the heart of the Leeds City Region, approximately 13km from Leeds city centre and is one of the fastest growing regional airports in the UK.

Once you arrive, get your bearings in the heart of the city by following the Owl Trail, searching for the intricately carved owls that live on a number of the city’s main attractions and buildings. You will also discover the streets full of incredible architecture and abundance of listed buildings. Be sure to stop in at a few along the Owl Trail. The Henry Moore Institute, home to some of the country’s best sculpture attractions, has three beautiful gallery spaces and host an ever-changing programme of exhibitions accompanied by tours, talks and events which explore sculpture from ancient to modern. Leeds City Museum, also on the trail, has six interactive galleries well worth spending some time to discover.

The Victorian Shopping Quarter is another area where you can marvel at the splendour of Victorian architecture, with a number of listed buildings and magnificent arcades. The beautiful architecture of the Victoria Quarter’s Grade II arcades makes a spectacular setting for a shopping spree. It’s also home to Europe’s largest stained glass window and more than 75 designer brands. Kirkgate Market is a stunning Grade I listed building which has grown and expanded over the decades and is now proud bearer of the title of largest indoor market in Europe. Kirkgate Market was also the birthplace of international brand Marks and Spencer.

Mix your architectural discovery with more shopping at the Corn Exchange. Here you will find one off fashion pieces, vintage delights and quirky gifts housed in a magnificent, Grade I listed building. It is also home to a wide range of indie boutiques including bookstores, vintage shops and eateries. Make a pit stop at Mrs Atha’s for delicious coffee and a spot of lunch, before heading off to Trinity Leeds to discover over 120 of the world’s best brands under its spectacular floating roof.

Leeds is also ripe for discovery with its vibrant arts and food and drink scene. It is proud to be the only UK city outside London to boast its own repertory theatre and ballet and opera companies. Catching a show is the perfect way to spend an evening in the city, in the beautifully ornate Leeds Grand Theatre, be it soaking up the emotion of one of the Northern Ballet’s award-winning performances, taking in the drama of an exceptional play or experiencing your first opera from Opera North.

Granary Wharf, just a five minute walk from Leeds city centre, is the ideal beauty spot to spend a few hours outside and enjoy the picturesque waterside setting. Strolling down to the area from the canal side, you can enjoy the ambience of this stunning area with cobbled bridges and the original working locks of the waterways. Enter either from Water Lane, Holbeck, over the bridge and down the steps around the striking Candle House residential building or over the sparkling new footbridge approach from Neville Street, walking underneath the copper-clad Waterman’s Place. For an even amazing view, go up to DoubleTree by Hilton’s Sky Lounge for drinks and a scenic vista of Leeds.

Those looking for taste of rural life will also feel at home in Leeds. Only a stone’s throw away from the magnificent Yorkshire countryside, you can explore the Yorkshire Dales or visit a number of historic stately homes and gardens, including Harewood House, which dates back to the 1700s. With its royal connections, extensive art collections and impressive grounds, including an exotic bird garden, Harewood House will be a pleasure to while away your few hours.

West Yorkshire is home to a number of historic towns and villages that seem a world away from the city centre. Follow in the footsteps of the Bronte sisters in Haworth and Keighley, or marvel at the Victorian architecture of Ilkley before taking a meal at Michelin-starred restaurant, The Box Tree. Don’t give Otley a miss. This thriving market town just 16km from Leeds is a picturesque town in the beautiful countryside of Lower Wharfedale and has a street market three times a week, a monthly Farmers’ Market, a wide range of specialist shops and award winning bakeries and butchers.

 

 

Royal Brunei flies London daily via Dubai for connections to Leeds. Discover things to do in Leeds in www.muhibah.com.bn

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