Discover Leeds

With the biggest sports event of 2012 due to start next month in London, it’s likely to be very crowded, and while it’s certainly worth going to London to be a part of it all, the summer is long and there’s plenty to see and do.

If you want to get away from the crowds for a bit, but still want the excitement of a big city, then coming to Leeds is a great idea. It’s a very versatile city, and offers entertainment for every mood and every tourist.

Shopping

If you love shopping, then come to the city centre and explore the big brands in Leeds such as Zara, Debenhams, M&S, and TK Maxx, but don’t forget to venture into the shopping arcades of Leeds. The Queen’s Arcade, and County Arcade are particularly good if you’re looking for some unique and charming boutiques and gift shops, while you can take a break in the Victoria Quarter before venturing into Harvey Nichols.

Architecture

If shopping isn’t your favourite pastime, then you should nevertheless look around the arcades of Leeds, as they are fascinating buildings with some brilliant ceiling murals to admire. It was built in the Victorian era by Frank Matcham from 1898 to 1900. Matcham is famous for designing theatre interiors, and when admiring the combination of marble, mosaic, and faience you can certainly recognise and enjoy that theatrical luxury.

The arcades aren’t the only architectural gems of Leeds. The main streets of Leeds city centre, Briggate and The Headrow both harbour an interesting mix of different century facades. Buildings from the 19th, 20th and 21st century stand side by side, displaying the city’s vast history. The golden rule to admiring architecture in Leeds is to always look up. The shop may be a Starbuck’s, but the façade of the building is fascinating.
©Sarah Oxley
Parks

If you’re looking for a more leisure oriented time and want to relax in a nice park, then Leeds can once again offer several options. You can find charming little parks all over the city. A personal favourite of mine is Park Square, which is tucked away opposite the Town Hall. Despite it being adjacent to the busy Headrow, Park Square offers a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere.

If you had a bigger park in mind, then Leeds offers two famous and large parks to choose from outside of the city centre. The first is Roundhay Park, which offers multiple large fields such as Soldiers Field, which are ideal for family games or for flying kites. Not just cheapo kites you can buy from the corner shop. Professional kiters with sports kites and buggy kites are often found at Roundhay Park as it offers a large area with the required wind force.

The second large and historic park in Leeds is Temple Newsam, which combines a pleasant walk in the park with regular activities. As well as admiring the Jacobean Mansion and trekking through several historic gardens, which hold several national plant collections, Temple Newsam is also the venue for music festivals, such as Party In The Park (a free annual festival). The famous Leeds Festival has been hosted in Roundhay Park and Temple Newsam, but will be taking place in Bramham Park in Wetherby (suburb of Leeds) this year.

So, as you can see there’s plenty to see and do for everyone in Leeds, so why not come and see for yourself this summer.

This article was written by Sarah Oxley on behalf of ONE UK, who provide city apartments in the Leeds area. Take a look at their flats in Leeds here. Sarah has been living in Leeds for two and a half years, and is a keen explorer of the city. There’s always something new to see.