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Leeds Location

Hotels in Leeds

The name Leeds goes all the way back to a forest in the 5th century, but it was not applied to a borough until the 13th. Initially a rural market town, it expanded and absorbed nearby villages when in the 17th and 18th century it became a major centre for the trade and production of wool. This remained the dominant industry until the decline of British manufacturing, but it got competition from flax, engineering, iron foundries and printing during the Industrial Revolution. Remnants of these past times can be found all over the city.

The Leeds Town Hall, Leeds Corn Exchange, Leeds City Museum, Armley Mills and Temple Works date back to the industrial times, whereas churches such as St. George’s, Leeds Cathedral and the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey are older yet. Armley mill is a former woollen mill that has been converted into a museum. It features exhibitions on the city’s industrial parts, including actual machinery. Other historic museums in the city include the Thackray, which specializes in health and medicine, and the Royal Armouries, which features part of the national collection that once resided in the Tower of London.

De-industrialization brought about a massive change, transforming Leeds into a service-based economy that has since become the UK’s largest centre for business, legal and financial services outside the capital. Bridgewater Place, also known as the Dalek, stands at the heart of the financial district. It is at a height of 110 metres the tallest building of the city. The nearby retail area is the main shopping district in the region.

Leeds has also become a centre of higher education over the years, hosting three major universities. The considerable student population of these institutes have notably boosted the city’s nightlife and music scene. Clarence Docks and the Northern Quarter are the places to try for pubs and restaurants.

The city’s clubs are also many and varied, featuring both chains and independent establishments, but they are not centred on any particular location. The student population is also partly responsible for the many festivals, concerts and city-wide celebrations that are hosted in the city of Leeds.  These are generally held at Millennium Square. The Leeds Carnival and the Leeds International Film Festival are the largest of these, the former being the oldest West Indian Carnival of western Europe and the latter the second largest film festival in the UK, after London’s.

Performing arts may be seen at the Grand Theatre, where Opera North is based, as well as the Phoenix Dance Theatre, Northern Ballet theatre and the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Leeds might not be particularly renowned for its thespian scene, but that is not out of a lack of quality productions.