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The Expert's Guide to an Exciting Visit to Leeds

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England's third largest city, Leeds merges with neighbouring Bradford to create a conurbation that spreads across much of West Yorkshire. The city has a vibrant cultural scene and buzzing nightlife. Culturally diverse, Leeds is home to large Asian and African-Caribbean communities and a thriving gay scene. It's easy to explore central Leeds on foot. For longer trips, there's an efficient bus and metro network.

Best time to travel

 

Shops, restaurants, attractions, and nightlife venues in Leeds stay open all year. If you want to take advantage of the city's many outdoor eating and drinking options, visit between April and September. If you're planning to visit towards the end of August, book early - during August Bank Holiday, the city hosts Leeds Festival, one of Britain's biggest rock and pop events. On the same weekend, up to 100,000 people flock to the Leeds West Indian Carnival.

Not to miss

 

Your visit to Leeds can be a lively mixture of culture, excitement, and self-indulgence. Shoppers can browse stores and boutiques in Victoria Quarter. Culture lovers should make time for opera or ballet at the Grand Theatre and Opera House, and for Leeds Art Gallery's collection of 20th-century art. At the Royal Armouries you can shudder at fearsome medieval weaponry and watch re-enactments of knightly combat. Nearby Bradford is home to the National Media Museum and hosts the annual Bradford Festival and Mela, a multicultural celebration of music, dance, and drama. It's held each year in June.

 

Getting around

 

Flying Tiger buses whisk you from the city centre to Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBA)in 30 minutes. There are direct flights from Leeds to several cities in the US, Europe, and Asia. Airport coaches connect with trains and local buses at the city centre rail and bus stations. Leeds has an extensive urban bus and metro network which covers the city centre, suburbs, and other West Yorkshire towns and cities. Taxis can be found at more than a dozen city centre ranks or hailed on the street. Fastest express trains between Leeds and London King's Cross station take 2 hours.

 

Cuisine

 

You'll find traditional English dishes such as roast beef, fish and chips, and steak pie on Leeds' menus. The city also has a plethora of restaurants and cafés serving dishes from all over Europe and Asia. Locals say some of the best South Asian food in Britain can be found in Leeds and in neighbouring Bradford. The Exchange Quarter in the city centre is full of bars and chic brasseries. You'll also find Mediterranean and Asia-Pacific fusion fare here. Vegetarians will find a wider choice of eateries than in many UK cities.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Leeds has no outstanding cultural quirks. Customary politeness will serve you well. Tipping is considered normal but not mandatory in more formal restaurants, and you don't need to tip in bars and cafés. Leeds and Bradford have large Muslim communities, and you will see women and men in conservative Asian dress in many places. You'll also find numerous halal butchers and eating places. That aside, religious customs have little impact on the visitor.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 751500
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  • Spoken languages: 0
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  • Electrical: 220-240 volts, 50 Hz, plug type G
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  • Phone calling code: +44 0113
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  • Emergency number: 999