Millions of people visit Leeds and the surrounding city region every year, drawn by its unique combination of visitor attractions, its heritage and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Over two thirds of the Leeds district is open space, public parks, gardens and green belt.
The cultural, historical and architectural heritage of Leeds is well represented by the city’s museums, stately homes and art galleries, from the national attractions of the Royal Armouries and Thackray Museum to the fine stately homes of Harewood House and Temple Newsam.
2008 saw completion of a £31.5 million refurbishment of the Grand Theatre to provide a permanent home for Opera North, while 2010 saw the opening the new £12 million headquarters building for Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance at Quarry Hill.
West Yorkshire Playhouse is the largest regional repertory theatre outside London and Stratford.
Leeds city centre has 957 shops, 25 major hotels and 13 more proposed, four renowned theatres, 87 restaurants, 90 bars and pubs and 24 nightclubs with bars and late licences.
The city has an extensive choice of places to eat, drink and relax, with a unique combination of covered arcades, award-winning restaurants, Victorian pubs and fashionable wine bars.
Clarence Dock, a new £250 million residential and leisure development adjacent to the Royal Armouries, and Granary Wharf are the latest extensions to the city’s lifestyle and leisure offer, with a combination of restaurants, bars and fashionable retail outlets in a waterfront setting.
Leeds has a full calendar of events, from open air public entertainment – including Opera in the Park, Party in the Park, the West Indian Carnival, the Leeds Festival and Leeds Mela – to prestigious work by Opera North, Phoenix Dance, Northern Ballet and West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Kirkstall Abbey, a 12th century Cistercian Abbey set in its own grounds on the banks of the River Aire, provides the atmospheric backdrop for the Classical Fantasia outdoor concert programme.
Leeds International Film Festival is a showcase for contemporary filmmakers around the world, with more than 200 screenings including world premieres.
There are excellent sporting facilities in Leeds for both the spectator and the participant: Elland Road is home to Leeds United Football Club; international cricket and rugby can be seen at Headingley; Wetherby hosts top class horse racing.
Olympic standard swimming and diving facilities can be found at the John Charles Centre for Sport in south Leeds, together with tennis, athletics and indoor bowling facilities.
There are 21 golf courses in Leeds, ranging from exclusive clubs to pay and play courses. Xscape, located at junction 32 of the M62, has one of the country’s largest indoor ski-slopes.