Leeds is not on the top of many lists of cities to visit. Yet, it is a very attractive city, known for its extensive shopping possibilities, the nightlife and a successful mix of historic and modern architecture. Leeds is located in a beautiful region (Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire Moors and the Peak District). The historic city of York is just a stone's throw away, easily accessible by rental car.
The city has a population of almost half a million.
Leeds is located in the north of England, east of the Pennine Hills and on the River Aire. Bradford lies just west of Leeds, Manchester is southwest of the city. The beautiful Peak District (part of which is a National Park) is located south of Leeds.
The local economy's development is comparable to Manchester's. Leeds used to be an industrial center but nowadays, it's one of the United Kingdom's foremost financial centers, after London. A quarter of the labor force works in financial services. Another quarter works in public administration or education (Leeds has two universities). Tourism is increasingly important for the city, especially after Leeds was awarded "The best English city to visit outside London", in 2005.
Leeds shares its airport with nearby Bradford. Hence, the airport's name Leeds Bradford International Airport, which lies eighteen kilometers northwest of the city. The airport is easily accessible by rental car: it is right next to the A660 (follow the signs for Yeadon and Otley).
The city has excellent public transport. One line (Free City Bus) is for free and connects the most important locations in the center of Leeds. This free service runs from half past six in the morning until half past seven at night, except for Sundays. Furthermore, there are ferry connections between Granary Wharf, Brewery Wharf and Clarence Dock.
Leeds has a ring around the city center. This so-called City Centre Loop is one-way traffic. For visitors it can be somewhat confusing to navigate, although parking and tourist attractions are clearly indicated on signs. Finding a parking space for your rental car in the center can be difficult. A good alternative is Woodhouse Lane's big parking garage (above the A64 running through the center).
Leeds has a good range of accommodation, although the budget category is somewhat underrepresented. Bed & Breakfasts are mostly located in the vicinity of the university on Woodsley Road. Furthermore, there is a wide choice of apartments, both for short and longer stays. The tourist office in the train station can assist you finding the right accommodation.
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