Once the capital of the ancient kingdom Elmet, these days it’s a vibrant, fashionable and culturally rich city

Once the capital of the ancient kingdom Elmet, these days it’s a vibrant, fashionable and culturally rich city

The city centre
Leeds city centre is easy to navigate on foot thanks to the many pedestrianised streets. The Edwardian and Victorian architecture in the area is particularly well-preserved, making a stroll around the town centre a worthwhile activity in itself. Fans of shopping will enjoy the rich mix of high-street and designer shops plus independent boutiques. Find them nestled in beautifully preserved shopping arcades that feature a mix of glass roofs, stained glass and marbled floors. In the Victoria Quarter you’ll find the Grand Arcade, which houses several independent stores selling a nice selection of crafts, clothing and gifts.
Leeds tourist attractions
There are plenty of cultural attractions in the city. The Leeds Art Gallery is a great place to find art from across the centuries by local creators including Antony Gormley (the Angle of the North), Turner and Constable. For lovers of more contemporary work, the adjoining Henry Moore Institute has a constantly changing series of cutting-edge exhibitions. For a taste of the area’s history head to Kirkstall Abbey, the ruins of a medieval monastery founded in 1152. Just a few moments away you will find one of the city’s most entertaining attractions, the Abbey House Museum, which gives fascinating insights into life in Victorian Leeds. The museum is designed to be interactive and there are regular family sessions to keep little ones entertained. For some Downton Abbey-style elegance, head out of the city centre to Harewood House, a beautiful example of Georgian architecture and extravagance with generous gardens and well-preserved interiors. Young explorers can get a feel for what life as a domestic servant was like in the Below Stairs area. After a long day in the city, head to Bramley Baths to experience a real Edwardian bath house.
Local Tips
For a taste of local Leeds head to Kirkgate Market, where 800 stallholders jostle to sell international foods and specialist items. You can find everything from samosas to Yorkshire chorizo and fresh oysters here. On Wednesday mornings there is a special fish market.
Leeds transport
The best way to travel around Leeds is usually on foot. For longer journeys the bus system is comprehensive and reliable. If you will be travelling several times in one day ask the driver for a First Day Ticket, which costs £4. For more information about transport in the West Yorkshire area visit the wymetro website. You can also find licensed black-and-white taxis throughout the city.
Eating & drinking
There are plenty of restaurants and cafes around the city centre, and most of them are just a short walk from our Novotel Leeds hotel. Roots and Fruits offer a fresh, modern take on Mexican food and are found in the city’s Grand Arcade, whilst Piazza by Anthony in the Corn Exchange is run by local celebrity chef Anthony Flinn and serves interesting takes on classic dishes. The speciality at Fazenda is delicious meat in Brazilian gaucho style, meaning all you can eat! The servers wander through the restaurant with various cuts of meat and will keep topping up your plate until you surrender. For family-friendly dining head to Salvo’s Salumeria for delicious authentic Italian food that avoids the usual clichés.
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