Leeds is famous for its modern city centre, cosmopolitan vibe and diverse night life. Renowned for hosting cultural festivals such as Leeds Festival (Reading Festival’s sister music event), the Leeds International Film Festival and some of the best galleries and museums in the UK – this urban city truly does have it all. A large city with a town-like feel, students and hip young professionals flock to Leeds to be a part of the city’s trendy vibe. Most notably, visitors are staying in Leeds for weekend breaks; shopping in independent stores, throwing hen dos and having a blast in gigs and pubs during the evening.
A fantastic mix of independent stores and chains, Leeds is perfect for the shopping-enthusiasts among you. The city centre holds the best designer stores, markets, independent thrift shops and high street brands within its beautiful Victorian streets. The locals’ favourite outlet is Upstaged Leeds, offering fashionable clothing from the 1940s to the 1980s, with a wide range of Dr. Martens footwear for the Frockabillies among you. Thrifty items from across time are sold at decent prices, for as little as £15. A small price to pay for a thoroughly vintage look.
[Image of Natalie Fowler wearing Upstage Leeds is copyrighted by Heinz Schmidt via Flickr]
2) Hen do
Leeds is fast becoming the prime spot for celebrating the best time of your life. And no, we don’t mean your wedding! Event organisers like Hen Heaven put on a series of nights for the cheekiest of hens. One of the packages is testament to this, merrily called ‘ABsolutely PECtacular Hen Weekend Package’, which includes a hotel stay, a queue jump in Revolution Vodka Bar and a front row seat to the ‘Adonis Cabaret Show’, which of course, comes with ab-tastic, tanned hunks. Yum!
Are you and your ladies penchant to a bit of dancing? Leeds is fantastic for live gigs and cutting-edge clubs. The best music venue in Leeds is easily the prestigious HiFi club. Founded in the year 2000, it has been voted the ‘Best Nightclub’ and ‘Best Live Music Venue’ three times running at the annual Leeds Bar & Club awards. Their success is largely due to the diverse music they showcase, hosting electric bands and singers, across genres such as funk, hip hop, soul, reggae, disco and indie. Not only that, they’ve had a variety of comedians gracing the stage every Saturday, such as funny man Alan Carr and the ever sarcastic Reginald D Hunter. If you like the sound of a HiFi night, take a look at their website for more details and get those dancing shoes on.
Rated 5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor, the prestigious Hyde Park Picture House is the locals’ favourite art-house cinema, showing the best of the old and the new, including international pictures. A real gem of the community, the independently run institution offers screenings for everyone. Founded in 1914, the cinema has been the heart of Leeds, bringing people together within its vintage ambience and spacious back row. Cheaper than the multiplex cinemas, staff always greet visitors with a smile on their faces, clearly loving working for an independent business that has grown with the community around it.
[Image of Hyde Park Picture House is copyrighted by RAS-Photography via Flickr]
5) Eating out
Tucked away in North Street, Hansa’s Gujarati Vegetarian Cuisine is the darling of Leeds, winning several awards over the years for its food and service. Run by Hansa herself and her troop of all-women staff, the restaurant has gone from strength to strength, serving mouth-watering Gujarati food for the last 25 years to locals and visitors to Leeds. Now a local celebrity, Hansa and her husband Kishor take groups of their customers on tours around India to give them a real experience of their mother country. Perhaps they can take you along too!