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Leeds – an amazing city and the home of the first Go Travel North Show

We are delighted to be involved with the first Go Travel North Show in Leeds at the Royal Armouries on Saturday October 29th. This event will provide an opportunity  for those in the Travel and Tourism industry to showcase their offers and network with Travel buyers and Group Travel Organisers, whilst also promoting just how wonderful a part of the world the North of England is.

For information on attending, or exhibiting visit: www.gonorthtourism.com

go-north-tourism

This entry was prepared for us by Yorkshire Blue Badge Guide Leeds Specialist, Margaret Longhurst, who gives a Guide’s insight into the must-dos in Leeds.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, Leeds stuns with its vibrant culture, superb shopping and nightlife, set amid iconic Victorian buildings, including the Town Hall, ornate, covered shopping arcades, and the Zeppelin like splendour of the Corn Exchange. Even old factories and warehouses surprise with features inspired by Egyptian Temples and Renaissance towers.

leeds town hall

Leeds Town Hall

Once a giant of the Industrial Revolution, Leeds has now evolved into the largest centre for business legal services and financial activities outside of London. Its rise was based on its position on the River Aire, and the surrounding coal fields and stone deposits. These provided the means of transportation, water power, fuel and building materials on which its earlier industrial and manufacturing success depended. See the sites in Leeds which reflect this story: Kirkstall Abbey with its romantic ruins which provided sheep for the wool trade and a medieval iron forge; walk through the Dark Arches under the railway station, where the River Aire roars and crashes its way through the tunnels to merge with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal; go along the canal pathway admiring the wildlife until you reach Armley Mills Industrial Museum. For those who enjoy riding on heritage railways, nearby Middleton station is the world’s oldest continuously working public railway.

Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey

Many of the areas of old docks, mills, warehouses and factories have been regenerated in recent years and converted into classy bars, restaurants and apartments. Granary Wharf is a prime example, as is the Calls area, near the mediaeval minster of St Peters Parish church. Walking east along Waterside, there is the Tetley Brewery, now a contemporary arts and learning centre. Opposite is the Salem Congregational Chapel built 1791, and now a youth training centre and offices of a telecommunications company. Set next to the now fashionable Leeds Docks, is the imposing Leeds Royal Armouries, which displays amongst its 75000 artefacts, a suit of armour belonging to Henry V111 and an Indian Mogul elephant in stunning full battle regalia.

For many visitors, shopping is the main attraction. There is a huge variety of retail experiences, from the palatial Leeds City Kirkgate Market, where the founder of Marks & Spencer set up his first Penny Bazaar, and the multitude of shops and boutiques in the Victoria Quarter, to the modern Trinity and Victoria Gate centres, which include a new John Lewis store. What makes the experience particularly pleasurable, is that most of the shopping area is undercover, protecting the shoppers from vagaries of the northern weather.

Leeds market

Leeds Market

Culturally, Leeds is noted as the home of Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Leeds Art Gallery, (famous for its Victorian and Twentieth century art collection) and the Henry Moore Institute. On a more popular level, there is the Leeds City Varieties, a Victorian music hall made famous through the television programme, ‘The Good Old Days’ which is still in operation. Home city of the Kaiser Chiefs, and with a student population of 65,000, Leeds has for years attracted major stars at the Leeds Festival in August and the First Direct Arena, which seats 13,500.

Leeds city varieties

Leeds City Varieties

If you seek some peace and tranquillity, Leeds centre is endowed with several park areas, such as Centre Park Square, surrounded by Georgian buildings not far from the Town Hall. A bus ride further afield takes you to Temple Newsam, a Tudor -Jacobean mansion, former home of the ill-fated husband of Mary Queen of Scots, with Capability Brown landscaping. There is also Harewood House, where the soap drama ‘Emmerdale’ is filmed, and the huge expanse of grass and lakes of Roundhay Park, which houses Tropical World, a family attraction featuring meerkats and exotic birds and creatures.

Canal Gardens and Roundhay Park

Canal Gardens and Roundhay Park

For sport fans, there is the Headingly cricket ground, where international test matches are regularly played, the rugby league team the Leeds Rhinos, and Leeds United Football Club, which has its home at Elland Road Stadium in Beeston. With its proximity to the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks, there is plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities such as fell walking, climbing and cycling; Leeds was, of course, the starting point of the great cycling race, The Tour de France, in 2014. Less strenuous exercise includes ambling around the picturesque market towns and villages, taking advantage of the many real ale pubs and teashops, such as Yorkshires own ‘Bettys’ tearooms.

For short or long visits, Leeds leads as an exciting and cultural venue, with easy access to the surrounding beauty of the Yorkshire countryside.

For more information on guided tours in Yorkshire, visit: http://yorkshiresbestguides.co.uk/

 

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