About Leeds - Leeds is Booming - Leeds City Guide
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About Leeds - Leeds is Booming
Leeds is Booming
Leeds is a true success story. Over the last 20 years the city has been transformed from a northern industrial city into one of the most vibrant and successful cities in the UK.

It is the capital of the Yorkshire and Humber region and one of the UK's fastest growing cities. The local economy has gone from strength to strength, with Leeds becoming one of the most successful citites in Europe. More and more businesses, visitors and students are attracted to the city, drawn by its economic success and the quality of life that Leeds offers.
Some of the many accolades that the city has received include: The UK's Favourite City (Condé Nast Traveller magazine Reader's Awards), Britain's Best City for Business (OMIS Research), Visitor City of the Year (The Good Britain Guide), Best Place in Britain to Live (Urban Behaviours survey, Henley Management College), Best UK University Destination (The Independent), and Number One City for Clubbing (Mixmag Music Dance Awards).

City Square, Leeds
Excellent nightlife, restaurants, bars, shopping and value for money are amongst the many attractions quoted by readers of
The Traveller magazine - the leading, independent travel guide published by Condé Nast - who named Leeds as The UK's Favourite City.

Tourism is big business in Leeds, supporting more than 44,000 full time equivalent jobs. On average Leeds attracts 1.5m people per year who stay overnight, plus a further 25.4m who visit on day trips. Visitors to the city bring in over £1.5bn into the local economy per annum. Whether it's for business or leisure, the Leeds lifestyle has a lot to offer. Its vibrant and cultural scenes are some of the attractions that bring visitors from across the UK and Europe to Leeds. Major national and regional attractions include the Royal Armouries, Leeds Art Gallery, the Henry Moore Institute, Roundhay Park & Tropical World, Leeds City Museum, West Yorkshire Playhouse and award winning Harewood House, winner of the Large Visitor Attraction category at the national Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2009.

The number of hotel and serviced apartment bedrooms in central Leeds has increased dramatically, rising from just over 850 in the early 1990's to well over 6,500. In the Good Hotel Guide 2004, four Leeds hotels were named as top choices for places to stay in the UK.

City Square in Leeds
Leeds is one of the largest retail centres in the UK, employing more than 40,700 people in the sector, and over 154,000 in the Leeds City Region as a whole. The city centre has an excellent retail mix of major department stores, shopping centres, high street chains, speciality and prestige shopping attractions, catering for all tastes and ages.

With over 1,000 shops in the city centre, Leeds is the region's prime shopping location. Dubbed 'The Knightsbridge of the North' by the Lonely Planet Guide to Britain, the city is the birthplace of major brands like Marks & Spencer and Burtons. The city has more than 4.3 million square feet of retail space, featuring top quality retailers including Harvey Nichols, Vivienne Westwood, Louis Vuitton, Paul Smith, Zara and Gieves & Hawkes. Retail areas include the Victoria Quarter, Briggate, The Corn Exchange, the Thornton's and Queens Arcades, and The Light.

The Leeds shopping experience is going to get even better, with the £350m retail-led Trinity Leeds development scheduled for completion in Autumn 2013, and new plans being submitted for the £650m Victoria Gate retail development, which will be anchored by a new 260,000 sq ft John Lewis department store.

Leeds City Square

Voted the 'Best University Destination in the UK' by
The Independent, Leeds has two internationally acclaimed universities, the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University. It has become the most popular university choice in the country, with a total student population of over 200,000. The city also has 7 colleges of higher and further education, including Leeds College of Art, Leeds College of Music, Leeds College of Building, and Notre Dame Sixth Form College, with a combined total of 78,000 students.

The city's safe, friendly environment, fantastic nightlife and comparative affordability make it the ideal location to live and learn. Leeds has also been recently named 'The Most Cost Effective Place to Study in Britain' by the RBS Student Living Index 2007.

City Square, Leeds
Leeds is the financial capital of the North, has one of the fastest growing economies in the UK and has recently been voted 'Britain's Best City for Business.'

In terms of wealth creation Leeds is the driving force within the regional economy. The value of the city's economy is estimated at over £18 billion per annum, and is projected to grow by over a quarter in the next ten years. Over the last ten years over £4.4 billion has been invested in commercial property development in Leeds, and a further £5.9 billion of projects are under construction or in the pipeline.

Leeds has major strengths in financial and legal services, with over 30 national and international banks based in the city, and the largest legal sector outside of London, employing over 8,000 people. The Bank of England also has a major presence in the city through its Leeds cash centre, which is responsible for bulk note handling for the North of England. The retail and media sectors are also very strong, and the city is the UK's third biggest manufacturing centre. Leeds is the second largest employment centre in the UK outside of London with over 465,000 people employed in the city, with around 120,000 people working in the city centre alone. A key strength of the local economy is its diversity. Leeds has the most diverse economy across the full range of economic sectors of the UK's top 15 employment centres, which has enabled it to survive and recover from economic recessions much better than many other European cities. Leeds also has the highest ratio of private to public sector jobs of all major UK cities bar London.

Over the last 30 years, more jobs have been created in Leeds than in any other UK city outside London, and over the next 10 years Leeds is expected to generate over a third of the total employment growth for the entire Yorkshire and Humberside region.

City Square, Leeds
Recent research shows that residents are extremely proud of Leeds and aware of the city's many benefits as a place to live. Residents rate living in Leeds highly, with 91% of people stating that the city provides a great quality of life. Leeds has exceptional parks and green spaces, as well as great sports venues.

A separate national survey has crowned Leeds as the 'Best Place in Britain to Live'. The Urban Behaviours study revealed that 65% of 15 - 35 year olds living in the city have rated public transport, amenitites, cleanliness, and entertainment as excellent.

Sport remains central to city life, especially with the successes of the Leeds Rhinos in Rugby League and Leeds Carnegie in Rugby Union. The teams share their home at Headingley Carnegie Stadium alongside Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Elland Road is home to Leeds United Football Club, and Wetherby Racecourse hosts top class horse racing.

For the participant, Olympic standard swimming and diving facilities can be found at the John Charles Centre for Sport in south Leeds, together with athletics, tennis and indoor bowling facilities. There are also 21 golf courses in Leeds, ranging from exclusive clubs to pay and play courses. Meanwhile, nearby Xscape, located next to junction 32 of the M62, has one of the country's largest indoor ski-slopes.

Leeds has also been voted the 'UK's Number One City for Clubbing' and this is not surprising given the city's vibrant entertainment and cultural scenes. With over 180 bars and pubs, 90 restaurants and over 29 nightclubs in the city centre alone, Leeds is renowned for its buzzing nightlife.

The city is also home to the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition and top international performing companies such as Opera North, Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre. A £31.5 million refurbishment of the Leeds Grand Theatre took place in 2008 to provide a permanent home for Opera North, while a new £12 million headquarters building for Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre opened in 2010. Major national and regional attractions located in Leeds were recently also joined by The Carriageworks - Leeds' newest theatre and conference venue, and a new £26m state-of-the-art city museum which opened its doors in September 2008.

CLICK HERE to discover more interesting and surprising facts and figures about the city of Leeds!

Source: Leeds City Council
Leeds City Guide - The Essential Guide to Bars, Pubs, Clubs, Hotels and Restaurants in Leeds
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