central business district in the United Kingdom

Central district of Leeds. It contains the following notable areas:

  • Civic quarter - north of the railway station, focussed on Millennium Square. Many museums and galleries can be found in this area as can two major educational institutions.
  • Central shopping district - north and north east of the railway station.
  • Exchange quarter - east of the railway station, centred on the Corn Exchange. Home to many quirky independents, bars and cafes.
  • Gay Village - east of the railway station around Lower Briggate.
  • Financial district - north west of the railway station. The attractive Georgian-era Park Square is at the centre.
  • Riverside - south of the railway station. The converted granaries are now home to shops and restaurants, while new developments bring upmarket shopping to Leeds. The Royal Armouries museum can be found at Clarence Dock.
  • Holbeck - south of the railway station. Once the industrial heart of Leeds, this district has been regenerated into a creative industries quarter with trendy bars spilling into cosy public spaces.

Get in edit

See edit

  • 1 Millennium Square. There is generally something going on! A great public space home to some gorgeous civic architecture (including Leeds Civic Hall - council offices built in 1933), concerts, exhibitions, ice rinks, Christmas markets.    
  • 2 Leeds City Museum, Millennium Square, LS2 8BH. Tu-F 10AM-5PM; Sa Su 11AM-5PM. The Leeds Story is the main draw for visitors, but there are also galleries of natural history and ancient Roman and Greek history. The museum is in the imposing Leeds Institute building. free.    
  • 3 Town Hall, The Headrow. The city's symbol and pride and joy, one of the world's finest Victorian buildings, and home to a dazzling array of concerts, particularly during the city's popular and extensive International Concert Season. The restored interior is stunning.    
  • 4 Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow. Tu-Sa 10AM–5PM; Su 11AM-3PM. The world of modern and classical art is at your disposal here in Leeds. It has a small but interesting range of exhibits, and is a great place to kill half an hour. Free.    
  • 5 Henry Moore Institute, 74 The Headrow, LS1 3AH. Tu-Su 11AM-5:30PM, W until 8PM. Small sculpture gallery and library. free.    
Victoria Quarter
  • 6 Victoria Quarter including County Arcade, Briggate. When the Victorian civic authorities sought to improve the sights and foul smells of Briggate and the city centre, they demolished some of the city's dirtiest yards, alleyways, shambles and lanes and built covered shopping arcades filled with fine establishments. These catered for the refined tastes of the growing moneyed classes of Leeds. This rebuilding continued into Edwardian times and the legacy is some of Europe's finest, most elegant shopping locations. Today these arcades are home to some of the most exclusive designer shops in Great Britain (Vivienne Westwood, Hugo Boss, Luis Vuitton and Harvey Nichols to name a few).    
  • 7 Kirkgate Market, Vicar Lane. M-Sa 8AM-5:30PM. This traditional British market is largest in Europe. Housed in an opulent late Victorian palace to commerce, it has both indoor and outdoor stalls. Marks and Spencer had their first establishment here called, 'Marks Penny Bazaar'.    
Inside Corn Exchange
  • 8 Corn Exchange, Call Lane. Shopping in surroundings to rival any of Leeds' fine arcades. Located just to the south of Kirkgate markets on Vicar Lane. Designed by Cuthbert Broderick and architecturally based on the Paris corn exchange. A largely elliptical building, crowned with a great glass dome roof, that allows light to stream in even on the greyest Yorkshire winter mornings - necessary because grain traders required good lighting to determine the quality of the grain. (Broderick was also architect of Leeds town hall and the Leeds Mechanics' Institute, Millennium Square, Two shops designed by Broderick still survive opposite the Mechanics Institute on Cookridge Street, now converted into a cocktail bar.)    
  • 9 St Pauls House. A stunning building built in an ornate Middle Eastern style, with minarets, complex stone carvings, and colored tiles on the facade.  
  • 10 Park Square. A lovely Georgian square reminiscent of Dublin, and is often an overlooked haven of tranquility in the city centre. (Hard to find without a map)    
  • 11 City Square. With old Post Office and imposing Queens Hotel.    

Churches edit

  • 12 Saint Anne's Cathedral (Cathedral Church of St Anne), Cookridge Street. Small, but an extremely interesting example of an Arts and Crafts, 19th-century Catholic cathedral - unique within the UK.    
  • 13 St John's Church, New Briggate. Hidden away within peaceful gardens lies this true gem, built just before the English Civil War, it has beautiful ornate woodwork in its charming interior, and architecturally it is an extremely rare example of a 17th-century double nave design.    
  • 14 Oxford Place Chapel, Oxford Place. Lovely 19th-century, red-brick baroque church.
  • 15 Leeds Minster (Minster and Parish Church of Saint Peter-at-Leeds), Kirkgate. An attractive and fairly large neo-gothic church with a renowned choir and concerts from time to time. During the rebuilding of the Parish church in Victorian times, the original Saxon crosses where Leeds folk would have worshipped in the 8/9th centuries (well before the first church of Leeds had been founded) were unearthed in the medieval tower and is permanently on display inside.    
  • 16 Holy Trinity Church, Boar Lane. An unassuming location and exterior hide an elegant baroque interior, built for the merchant class by subscription and donation so they could worship well away from the lower working classes of the city. The Iconic spire of Holy Trinity has dominated the skyline of the city for hundreds of years and was restored in 2006/7.    

Do edit

Theatre and comedy edit

  • 1 The Carriageworks, 3 Millennium Square, +44 113 376 0318. Home to the city's impressive range of amateur dramatic and musical groups, including the acclaimed Leeds Youth Opera
  • 2 City Varieties Music Hall, Swan St, +44 113 243 0808. World famous and has even had Charlie Chaplin tread the boards. Home to a mix of shows.
  • 3 Grand Theatre, 46 New Briggate, +44 844 848 2700. Major shows (often straight from the West End); also this is the home of the world famous (and extraordinarily good) Opera North who perform a wide repertoire of operas and operettas.
  • 4 West Yorkshire Playhouse, Playhouse Square, Quarry Hill, +44 113 213 7700. More adventurous and often performs world premiers and encourages local talent - well worth a visit. Lucky travellers may arrive in time for one of the themed, almost festival-style programmes.

Cinemas edit

  • 5 Vue, The Light Plaza, The Headrow, city centre. Modern 13-screen multiplex cinema with huge screens.
  • 6 Everyman, Trinity, Briggate, city centre. Cinema complex in the Trinity shopping centre.

Buy edit

Eat edit

  • 1 Aagrah, St Peter's Square, Quarry Hill, city centre, +44 113 245 5667. An expanding Bradford-based chain of quality curry houses. Traditional Indian and Pakistani cuisines available
  • 2 Akbars, 15 Eastgate, city centre, +44 113 245 6566. A chain of excellent curry houses. Try the masala fish!
  • 3 Arts Café, 42 Call Lane, exchange quarter, +44 113 243 8243. One of the oldest establishments in the Exchange Quarter, with a friendly-relaxed vibe and food to die for at very reasonable prices (the desserts are especially delicious).
  • 4 Bibis, Criterion Place, Sovereign Street,city centre, +44 113 243 0905. Wonderful Italian food served in a fantastic Art-Deco restaurant - packed with local regulars who know a good thing when they eat it!
  • 5 Little Tokyo, 24 Central Rd, Exchange Quarter, +44 113 243 9090. Multi-award winning Japanese place.
  • 6 The Red Chilli, Electric Press,6 Great George Street, City Centre, +44 113 242 9688. Highly recommended Chinese restaurant.
  • 7 Red Hot World Buffet, The Light, 44-48 The Light The Headrow, City Square, city centre, +44 113 244 0400. All-you-can-eat buffet restaurant on Headrow.
  • 8 Safran, 81 Kirkgate, City Centre, +44 113 244 4496. Fantastic authentic Iranian cuisine.

Splurge edit

  • 9 Brasserie Blanc, Victoria Mill, Sovereign St, +44 113 220 6060. Owned by world famous chef Raymond Blanc.
  • 10 Fourth Floor at Harvey Nichols, Victoria Quarter, 107-111 Briggate, +44 113 204 8888. Renowned Leeds branch restaurant has been going strong for years with an innovative menu tailored to the seasons. Despite the swanky location, it is surprisingly unpretentious and not ridiculously pricey.
  • 11 Sous Le Nez en Ville, The Basement, Quebec House, 9 Quebec St, financial quarter (near railway station), +44 113 244 0108. Fantastic dining experience below street level in this exclusive-but-well-worth-it restaurant. Does a very good value early bird menu, but you need to book in advance at the weekend.

Cafés, coffees and light meals edit

As well as a plethora of fine restaurants, Leeds also has a huge range of cafés and places for a drink or light bite. Of course there are countless Starbucks, Caffe Neros, Costa Coffees, etc. but there is also a strong showing from independent places. Many of the above restaurants will do smaller meals and lunch menus during the day but here are a pick of some Leeds cafés:

  • 12 Bagel Nash, City Square; The Light Plaza, The Headrow and Swan Street, all city centre. Rapidly expanding Leeds bagel chain, with a massive range of bagels and fillings, all extremely tasty.
  • 13 Bottega Milanese, The Light Plaza and Call Lane. An espresso bar that is open until 10 or 11PM most nights. Excellent coffee and good food.
  • 14 Harvey Nichols' Café, Briggate, City Centre (Ground floor). High quality treats that won't break the bank.
  • 15 Philpotts, 41 St Paul's Street, financial quarter. Top quality sandwich deli and juice bar.
  • 16 Roots & Fruits, 10 Grand Arcade, City Centre, +44 113 242 8313. Quality vegetarian café with a relaxed atmosphere.
  • 17 Tiled Hall Café, The Headrow, City Centre. A magnificent tiled hall linking the city library and city art gallery next to the Town Hall. A must for any visitor, and pop in the gallery and library for a free look round.

Drink edit

Pubs and bars edit

  • 1 The Duck and Drake, 43 Kirkgate (near market), +44 113 245 5432. A 'locals' pub.
  • 2 Epernay, Electric Press, 12 Great George Street, City Centre, +44 113 242 9977. High-quality champagne bar.
  • 3 Jake's Bar, 29 Call Lane, City Centre, +44 113 243 1110. Thought of by many as having the best drinks in the city, and is on one of the city's busiest bar strips.
  • 4 Norman, 36 Call Lane, City Centre, +44 330 111 0010. Sexy and stylish, has bucket-loads of atmosphere and great drinks.
  • 5 Milo, 10 Call Lane, City Centre. Bohemian, has bucket-loads of atmosphere and great drinks. DJs and often a bit of dancing too.
  • 6 Mojo Bar, Northern Quarter, 18 Merrion St (Just past the Grand Theatre down a small road on the right.), +44 845 611 8643. Old favourite still going strong with a wonderful, friendly atmosphere and drinks to die for.
  • 7 North Bar, 24 New Briggate, City Centre, +44 113 242 4540. Unrivalled beer selection! Was named best place to drink in Britain by The Observer.
  • 8 The Palace, Kirkgate (near bus station), +44 113 244 5882.
  • 9 The Scarbrough Hotel, Bishopsgate Street (near train station), +44 113 243 4590. Real ales.
  • 10 Victoria Family and Commercial Hotel, 28 Great George St (behind Town Hall), +44 113 245 1386. A refurbished Victorian gem.
  • 11 Whitelocks, 4 Turk's Head Yard (off Briggate), +44 113 245 3950. A great 18th-century historic pub, one of the most impressive (and oldest) in Leeds.
  • 12 The Wardrobe, 6 St. Peter’s Square, Quarry Hill, +44 113 383 8800. Famed for its diverse range of quality live music, including a strong jazz offer. With bar and food.

Clubs edit

  • 14 The HiFi Club, 2 Central Rd, +44 113 242 7353. Regularly voted the best club in the city, it has a range of quality nights out playing excellent music in easy-going yet chic surroundings... expect everything from jazz to reggae to hip hop. Featuring live Comedy every Saturday evening and live music at The Sunday Joint every Sunday, HiFi is the truly diverse venue that every city deserves!
  • 15 My House (Stinky's Peephouse), Brick St. Home of one of the UK's biggest club nights: Back to Basics (Sa).
  • 16 The Space, 11 Hirst's Yard,, +44 113 246 1030. Great Thursday nights (Habit) and great weekends sometimes too! Although Fridays and Saturdays are to be avoided unless you know it will be busy, it's not really a Friday or Saturday night place.
  • 17 Wire, 2-8 Call Lane, +44 113 234 0980. Wire pushes quality underground music in a personal setting. The club is powered by a full Funktion One Sound system, fuelled by an eclectic range of spirits and beer from around the globe, and is a favourite home to world class DJs.

Sleep edit

Budget edit

Splurge edit

  • 4 Roomzzz Leeds City, 10 Swinegate, +44 844 4994888. A short walk from the train station, Harvey Nichols, and the finance district. Award winning Aparthotel right in the heart of Leeds' vibrant City Centre in the Swinegate area. LCD TV, Apple Mac computers, free Wi-Fi and free Grab & Go Breakfast.
  • 5 42 The Calls Hotel, 42 The Calls, +44 113 244 0099, . Offering boutique luxury in a quiet waterfront setting only minutes from the bars and clubs of the Exchange Quarter and the city centre shops.
  • 6 Malmaison Leeds, 1 Swinegate, +44 113 426 0047. Three minutes walk from the City Rail Station, in the Swinegate area of the city.
  • 7 Met (formerly Hotel Metropole), King Street, +44 113 245-0841, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. A 4-star hotel offering 120 bedrooms, 18 event suites and a restaurant, housed in a Grade II listed building built with a Victorian terracotta façade.
  • 8 Park Plaza, Boar Lane City Square (opposite railway station), +44 844 415 6720. Funky hotel in a prime location with great views on the upper floors.
  • 9 Quebecs, 9 Quebec St, +44 113 244 8989. Stunningly refurbished building housing one of Leeds' finest and most luxuriant hotels in a prime location.
  • 10 Queens Hotel, City Square, City Centre, +44 113 243 1323. One of Leeds' oldest hotels, its dramatic Art Deco façade and old world charm and style ensure it remains a favourite.
  • 11 Radisson Blu Leeds, The Light Plaza, The Headrow, City Centre, +44 113 236-6000. The Radisson Blu, Leeds is a Grade II listed building located in the city centre.
  • 12 Quebecs luxury apartments (Residence 6), The Old Post Office, 3 Infirmary St, City Square, City Centre. Serviced apartments in the Old Post Office.

Self-catering edit

A useful alternative to hotels can be to stay in self-catering accommodation. There are a number of serviced apartment providers in Leeds, with many apartments in the city centre.

Connect edit

Go next edit

Routes through Central
  (W)West Leeds  SW   SE  South Leeds  (S)
  (W)West Leeds  SW   NE  East LeedsNorth East Leeds
South Leeds ← briefly merges with    S   N  North LeedsHarrogate
ENDS AT   CROSS GREEN  NW   SE  East Leeds  (N)
IlkleyNorth West Leeds  NW   SE  ENDS AT INNER RING RD

This district travel guide to Central is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.