Exploring the City of Leeds Today & Its History
Leeds has become a city of great importance, especially for the North, with a rich history of urban development and suburban growth.
With a number of variations on the vibrant city’s name, Leeds comes from the old British Ladenses meaning “people of the fast-flowing river”, which is of course the River Aire, which continues to flow through the city today.
Developing as a market town in the Middle Ages, Leeds grew in part from its manufacture of woollen cloth and white broadcloth, with Leeds handling one sixth of England’s export trade in 1770. This initial growth in Leeds’ textile industry was boosted by the construction of the local railway network around Leeds, with connections made to Manchester and the ports of Hull and Liverpool.
Today, the contemporary economy of Leeds has thrived from Leeds City Council’s vision of a 24 hour European City and “capital of the North”.
Leeds is served by four universities and has the country’s fourth largest urban economy. It is also only second to London as the largest legal centre in the UK. It is the leading UK city for telephone delivered banking and related financial services, with over 30 call centres employing around 20,000 people.
Exploring the City of Leeds
We know that Leeds is infamous for its shopping opportunities and of course its sports teams, so we won’t finish without mentioning them, but what other highlights can you spot on a trip to Leeds…?
- Royal Armouries Museum: The home of Britain’s national collection of arums and armour, this renowned museum houses a world-renowned collection of over 75,000 objects. A fantastic day for the family or for those interested in Britain’s military history. [More Info]
- Millennium Square: A large city square which has become a key location for city events such as music festivals and the screening of major sports events i.e. Wimbledon and football World Cup competitions. Notably, the square was host to the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, on April 30, 2001, who appeared to open the adjoining Nelson Mandela Gardens and was given Freedom of the City.
Other attractions include the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Roundhay Park and First Direct Arena – all with lots to offer!
There are also umpteen galleries and museums of all varieties, to keep those of all ages entertained, plus lots of sporting and shopping opportunities and landmarks (read on).
Sports in Leeds
Whether you’re a fan of football, rugby or cricket, there’s a sporting stadium to visit in Leeds!
The city is home to the Leeds Rhinos (rugby league) and Leeds Carnegie (rugby union) who play at Headingley Stadium, plus Leeds United AFC at Elland Road stadium and the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, who you can also find at Headingley Stadium.
Shopping in Leeds
The city of Leeds is a shopaholic’s dream, filled with many shopping centres and arcades with shops of all varieties.
Trinity Leeds, the city’s biggest shopping and leisure destination, even made the list of one of the UK’s coolest brands on the influential CoolBrands list. It has three floors, is open seven days a week and includes 20 bars and restaurants as well as retailers including Hollister, Primark and Coast.
Other shopping venues and arcades include the Grade II listed Victoria Quarter’s shopping arcade, with 75 of the world’s biggest fashion and lifestyle brands, such as Vivienne Westwood, Louis Vuitton and Mulberry.
Visiting Leeds with Stanley Travel
We have previously taken lots of happy customers sightseeing in Leeds over the years, but our next two trips are Leeds & Leeds Market on Saturday 10th October and the Leeds German Christmas Market on Saturday 12th December.
Both trips give you a chance to explore the city’s incredibly shopping quarters!