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How to make the most of living in Leeds

Already home to the BBC’s Yorkshire headquarters, Leeds College of Music, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Northern Ballet, the newly rebuilt and renamed Leeds Playhouse is also located in Quarry Hill.

Head along Eastgate towards The Headrow and you’ll find The Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House on New Briggate. It remains one of Leeds’ most culturally significant buildings, with Gothic and Victorian features, and has a year-round programme of events. It is home to the Howard Assembly Room, a beautifully restored, 300-capacity performance venue and rehearsal space for Opera North’s award-winning orchestra.

The Royal Armouries at Leeds Dock, on the River Aire, is a short walk from the city centre and is free to enter. As the UK’s national museum of arms and armour, it has an impressive collection of more than 75,000 items with live jousting and re-enactments. It’s also a popular conference and events space. 

Hyde Park Picture House on Brudenell Road is a cinema with a difference, 1.8 miles outside the city centre. It will give you a real taste of times gone by – not only is it the last surviving gas-lit cinema in the UK, it has original features like an outside ticket booth and decorative balcony, with big plans to improve the facilities and accessibility in the coming years. Catch one of the latest films or something more unusual.

Getting around Leeds

Getting to other towns and cities throughout the UK is made easy by Leeds’ excellent road network and public transport links. The M1 runs close to the city and will transport you straight into the centre of Sheffield. The A1 (M) is your main connection to Doncaster in the south and Darlington in the north.

Leeds was home to the first commercial railway, so it comes as no surprise rail travel remains important to the city. It is home to the third-busiest station in the UK outside London, with an estimated 29.7 million rail passengers last year according to the Office of Rail and Road. A train to London King’s Cross takes just over two hours, while other destinations include Manchester Piccadilly, Newcastle and Liverpool Lime Street making some of the UK’s biggest and most vibrant cities easily accessible from your new home in Leeds.

The city is on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal with a free water taxi service between Granary Wharf and Leeds Dock every 20 minutes. It’s an unusual but fun way to travel!

Leeds Bradford International Airport is 8 miles north-west of the city centre. It’s easy to access if you live in the city and its suburbs, with plenty of houses for sale in Strata’s Kudos and Ambition developments within its reach. There’s a regular bus service to the departure terminal from outside the city’s train station. The journey takes around 35 minutes. 

Once you’re at the airport, there are flights to destinations including Budapest, Alicante and Gdansk. If you get chance to relax before your flight, grab a bite to eat at The Saltaire, located just after the airport’s Yorkshire Premier Lounge. They have a great breakfast menu.

Shopping in Leeds

Leeds has a compact city centre with a great selection of boutique and designer stores, high street brands and retailers, and many excellent independents. 

There are four arcades, each with its own personality. There’s Queens Arcade on Briggate, the Grade II listed Grand Arcade on Merrion Street and the glass-roofed Thornton’s Arcade on Lands Lane. The Victoria Quarter is part of Victoria Leeds, with designers including Vivienne Westwood and the first Harvey Nichols outside London.

Victoria Leeds also includes the new Victoria Gate shopping centre, home to the city’s first John Lewis department store. It’s the place to go for boutique shops, as well as Anthropologie and Australian tea brand T2. Meanwhile Trinity Leeds is where you’ll find 120 big-name shops, including high street favourites Mango, Pandora and Topshop.

For a range of independents (and a fine example of Victorian architecture) The Corn Exchange is a Grade I listed domed building on Call Lane. It’s a good stop for local fashion, gifts, records and jewellery, or to just sit and stare at the amazing ceiling. 

For fresh produce, fashion and hardware, there’s Kirkgate Market. Not only is it one of Europe’s biggest indoor markets, it was also named Britain’s Favourite Market at the 2017 Great British Market Awards for the second year running. It’s located in a Grade I listed building with the main entrance on Vicar Lane.

To top it off, there’s a farmers’ market on Briggate in the city centre, scheduled for the first and third Sunday of the month. All of this is just a short distance from our selection of new housing developments.

Out of town, Otley Farmers’ Market is popular and is held on the last Sunday of the month. If you’re there during the week, head to independent wine dealer Chez Vin, and grab yourself a treat from Bondgate Bakery. The half-hour drive to Otley takes you through some stunning countryside. 

From the designer boutiques of the high street to the hustle and bustle of a rural town market, you can rest assured that all of your retail needs will be catered for within a stone’s throw of your new home in Leeds.

Eating and drinking in Leeds

As well as shopping, Leeds is famous for its selection of independent bars, restaurants, cafés and nightclubs. 

Around the train station you’ll find Tapped Leeds on Boar Lane with 27 different craft beers – many of which are brewed on site – and beer dough stone-baked pizzas. Bibis Italianissimo is on Sovereign Street, a family-owned restaurant that’s been open for 40 years with an impressive food and cocktail menu. The 1920s-style dining room will transport you back to the Great Gatsby era. 

From Sovereign Street, make your way to Granary Wharf, a lively part of town that’s home to Livin’ Italy, an Italian restaurant and wine bar, and Fazenda, a Brazilian dining experience and paradise for meat eaters. 

You can catch some of the best views of Leeds from the Sky Lounge at Granary Wharf located on the 13th floor of the DoubleTree Hilton. While you’re there why not enjoy a drink on the balcony when the sun goes down – and don’t worry, warm blankets are provided!

The Calls is one of Leeds’ trendiest areas. It’s packed with bars and restaurants, including Ambiente Tapas and Brasserie Forty 4, both of which have great views over the River Aire. Head up Call Lane towards the city centre and take a look at the quirky Art’s Café Bar and Restaurant. Local artists can display their work on the walls and because it’s quite small, the service is generally excellent.  

At the top of Vicar Lane, close to the Grand Arcade, you’ll find Zaap, a Thai street food experience in the heart of Leeds. 

Park yourself in a tuk tuk while you’re served tasty and authentic dishes. The Pad Thai gets good reviews, or for something out of the ordinary, the Guay Tiew Phed Toon (rice noodles with stewed duck in broth) is popular with regulars. 

Trinity Leeds has a good selection of places to eat and drink, including Trinity Kitchen where the selection of street food vans change every six weeks. It’s home to The Alchemist and The Botanist, both famous for their unorthodox yet delightful range of cocktails.

"Friends of Ham is my favourite place in the world! It serves great beer and wine, as well as cured meats and cheeses – what’s not to love?” - Jamie Richards, Leeds resident for 3 years

Whether you’re something of a foodie or prefer to keep it simple, choosing to move into one of our new homes in Leeds promises a world-class dining scene and the kind of social life you enjoy right on your doorstep.

Exploring beyond Leeds city centre

Head beyond Leeds city centre and you’ll see some of the country’s best scenery and attractions.

Our new build homes in Leeds are ideally located for easy access to surrounding towns and villages, which include the likes of Victorian spa town Harrogate and the village of Harewood, with its grand stately home and surrounding estate.

“There are so many great walks you can do in and around Leeds. One of my favourites is a stroll along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, heading out towards Bradford. I’d recommend going as far as Apperley Bridge and catching the train back to Leeds city centre.” - Elaine Peters, Senior Operator at BBC Yorkshire and a resident in Leeds for 6 years