Leeds city centre

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Leeds city centre
Leeds UK location map.svg
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Leeds city centre
West Yorkshire UK location map.svg
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Leeds city centre
Location within West Yorkshire
OS grid reference SE297338
  London 190 mi (310 km)  SSE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEEDS
Postcode district LS1, LS2, LS10, LS11
Dialling code 0113
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
53°47′59″N1°32′54″W / 53.7998°N 1.5482°W / 53.7998; -1.5482 Coordinates: 53°47′59″N1°32′54″W / 53.7998°N 1.5482°W / 53.7998; -1.5482

Leeds city centre is the central business district of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is roughly bounded by the Inner Ring Road to the north and the River Aire to the south and can be divided into several quarters.


Central districts

Arena Quarter

Leeds Arena First Direct Arena, Leeds 24 October 2018 1.jpg
Leeds Arena

The Arena Quarter is a mixed-use area best known for being the home of the First Direct Arena. [1]

Its location is directly north of Merrion Street. The Inner Ring Road borders the district on both the east and north boundary, with Woodhouse Lane acting as the district's western boundary. It is mainly made up of high-rise residential properties and developments, including Sky Plaza and Opal 3. Altus House is the tallest building in Yorkshire. Other major institutions are located within the Quarter, including the Yorkshire Bank HQ and also the Merrion Centre. Queen Square is also found here.

The Calls

The Calls is close to the River Aire. It is directly south of the Retail Quarter and to the west of Crown Point Road. The area's decline began in the early 20th century when industry moved away from the centre out towards Hunslet, Holbeck, Armley and Kirkstall. From 1985 to 1995 Leeds Corporation carried out a major regeneration with a careful conversion of listed building warehouses and new build in sympathetic style for a mixed-use area.

Many of the area's old industrial buildings have now been converted into modern flats and commercial buildings. The western part of the area is centred on Lower Briggate, where Leeds' LGBT nightlife is focused.

Civic Quarter

Leeds Town Hall Leeds Rathaus.jpg
Leeds Town Hall

The Civic Quarter is the area roughly north-west of The Headrow and west of the Arena Quarter. It is home to a number of grand Victorian buildings that are important in the civic life of the city. Prominent landmarks include Leeds Magistrates' and Crown Courts, the City Library, City Art Gallery and Leeds Town Hall, which was completed in 1858 and opened by Queen Victoria. The city's largest hospital, the Leeds General Infirmary, has been operating here since 1869.

Behind Leeds Town Hall are Millennium Square and Leeds Civic Hall. Millennium Square was a flagship project to mark the year 2000 and hosts regular concerts, with past performers including the Kaiser Chiefs, Bridewell Taxis, HARD-Fi, Fall Out Boy and Embrace. Leeds Civic Hall was opened in 1933 by King George V and is home to the Lord Mayor's Room and the council chambers. Many barristers' chambers and solicitors' offices are found here because of the close proximity to the courts. Also nearby are Leeds Metropolitan University, the University of Leeds, Leeds College of Art and the Park Lane and Technology campuses of Leeds City College.

Cultural Quarter

Inside the Royal Armouries main stairwell Leeds-RA-01.jpg
Inside the Royal Armouries main stairwell

The Cultural Quarter is in the east of the city centre on Quarry Hill. Landmarks here include the BBC building, which moved from Woodhouse Lane in August 2004; the Leeds Playhouse, which opened in March 1990; Leeds College of Music, which moved to its current location in 1997; and Northern Ballet which moved to the area in 2010. Leeds City College also has a large campus here.

Leeds Dock also lies to the south of the Cultural Quarter and is where the Royal Armouries Museum can be found. The building, designed by architect Derek Walker, was built at a cost of £42.5 million and completed in two years, and has since become one of the city's major tourist attractions

Financial Quarter

Infirmary Street in the heart of financial quarter. Infirmary Street, Leeds 2012.jpg
Infirmary Street in the heart of financial quarter.
Park Square in the financial quarter Park Square and Leeds Town Hall - geograph.org.uk - 183544.jpg
Park Square in the financial quarter
Bank House, the Bank of England offices on King Street in Leeds. Bank of England.jpg
Bank House, the Bank of England offices on King Street in Leeds.

The Financial Quarter is bounded by Park Row to the East, Leeds Inner Ring Road to the west, The Headrow to the north and Wellington Street to the south. It is centred on the Georgian Park Square, one of the green spaces in Leeds city centre. The City Centre Loop passes through the quarter, using City Square, Quebec Street, King Street and East Parade. Leeds Law School is at Cloth Hall Court. Major names can be found in the financial quarter such as Aviva and The Bank of England.

The district has grown out towards the west of the city. The Wellington Place development and the wider Wellington Gardens area of the city contain a number of international corporations. Wellington Place is currently under construction. [2]

Holbeck Urban Village

Historically, Holbeck Urban Village was Holbeck's closest area to the centre of Leeds. Due to the expansion of the city, it is now considered part of the city centre and was rezoned as Holbeck Urban Village, following the completion of a number of developments. is the name given by local government and planning agencies to a mixed-use urban renewal area south of Leeds railway station.

Bridgewater Place and also Granary Wharf are within Holbeck Urban Village. The new High Speed 2 station will border this area of Leeds, which is why much of the area is considered prime location for development.

Shopping Quarter

Victoria Quarter Victoria Quarter from Briggate.jpg
Victoria Quarter

The Shopping Quarter, extends south from the Headrow and includes Leeds' major shopping locations. It is considered the retail core of Leeds, containing Corn Exchange, Leeds Kirkgate Market, Trinity Leeds and also both Victoria Gate and Victoria Quarter. Kirkgate and Briggate are the oldest streets in Leeds, from which the city grew. The Shopping Quarter can be subdivided into several areas including Victoria, a high-end shopping district home to one of the UK's only Harvey Nichols stores.

Development of the area has seen two new additional indoor malls, Victoria Gate and Trinity Leeds.

Trinity Leeds opening day Trinity Leeds opening day (Taken by Flickr user 21st March 2013) 002.jpg
Trinity Leeds opening day

Opened 21 March 2013, [3] Trinity Leeds shopping centre had a surge of 130,000 people enter its doors on the first day of opening. Costing £350m, [3] and creating 3,000 jobs, [3] this was a major development for Leeds. It was the only major retail development to open in the UK in 2013. [3] It covers 1,000,000 sq ft (92,900 sq m) [3] with key anchor stores being Topman and M&S. [4] Other stores in the centre include Apple, River Island, Next, Hollister, H&M, Primark, Everyman, Conran Restaurants and Mango. It has a capacity for 120 shops and numerous pop-up shops.

Victoria Gate's construction was completed in 2016 and won numerous awards as one of the best malls in the world. It houses the city centre's John Lewis department store, along with many other flagship stores of premium brands. Older parts of the Victorian District include department stores in Leeds which have historically included Lewis's, which became Allders in 1996 and latterly closed in 2005, Schofields which was taken over by House of Fraser in 1988 and closed in 1996, the Co-op which closed in the mid 1990s, Littlewoods which closed in the late 1990s and is now occupied by Zara and H&M, C&A which closed in 2001 and is currently occupied by Next Clearance (until demolition for construction of the Trinity Quarter) and Marshall & Snelgrove which became part of Debenhams and closed in the 1970s and lies of the site of Lloyds TSB on Park Row have disappeared but currently department stores include Debenhams (historically known as Matthias Robinson), Harvey Nichols (which when opened in 1996 became the first branch outside London), Marks and Spencer, BHS and House of Fraser (formerly a Woolworths, it temporarily became premises for Schofields and latterly became Rackhams before becoming House of Fraser in 1996).

King Edward Street King-edward-street-leeds.jpg
King Edward Street

Most streets in the District are connected to Briggate, one of the main shopping streets, home to several national and international food chains, like McDonald's, Burger King and Nando's, and international shopping chains, including Zara. Off Briggate are several of Leeds' famous shopping arcades, such as Thornton's Arcade and the Victoria Quarter. Briggate was fully pedestrianised in 1996 and connected the two previously pedestrian areas either side of it. Other shopping attractions include the Corn Exchange, Leeds Kirkgate Market, Granary Wharfe, Leeds Shopping Plaza, Headrow Shopping Centre, The Light, the St John's Centre, and Crown Point Retail park which lies half a mile away from the retail core.

Major corporations

Within the Financial Quarter

Elsewhere in the city centre

Hospitality in the city centre

Outside of the city centre, First Direct have their headquarters at Stourton, while HBOS have major offices in Lovell Park.

Leeds Lights

Each Christmas the streets of Leeds city centre are decorated with a variety of Christmas lights. The widely publicised ‘switch-on' ceremony is in early November, when a celebrity flicks the switch to illuminate the decorations at Victoria Gardens and usually attracts tens-of-thousands of people to the turning on ceremony. When Leeds Lights were first established in 1983, the switch on was held on the 4th Thursday of November, however it has since been brought forward. The illuminations are renowned as being the largest display in the United Kingdom, spanning over 13 miles of city centre streets and using over 2 million low energy light bulbs.

Leeds is notable for designing, manufacturing and maintaining its own Christmas Light motifs. Its workshop began as a place to provide people with disabilities some employment opportunities. Its workshop has had several locations, beginning in a temporary location near Chapeltown Road, then to the old disused Whitbread Brewery site at Kirkstall and from 1993 to the present Seacroft location. Leeds City Council was the only local authority to do this for some years but now a small number have followed Leeds Lights example in preparing their own displays where as most other councils buy in their lights and services. The lights are repaired and pressure cleaned annually at the Leeds Lights workshop in Seacroft throughout the year. 80,000 coloured lamps are stored at the workshop, and 2000m of coloured rope light are used. A team of 14 works all year round producing the display. From October–January, a team of 9 works to erect the lights ready for the switch on in early November, before removing the lights after Christmas.

Commercial advertising has been permitted on some of the lights, such as The Headrow's champagne bottle lights.

Celebrities who turned on the Leeds Christmas lights:



Leeds railway station Overview of Leeds City railway station 04.jpg
Leeds railway station
Street map Leeds-OpenStreetMap-2009-02-25.svg
Street map

Leeds city centre is served by Leeds railway station. The station is one of 20 in Great Britain to be managed by Network Rail. It is the busiest English station outside London, and the UK's second busiest station outside London after Glasgow Central. [6] The station serves national, regional and suburban railway services.


The city centre is served by Leeds Bradford Airport. This is situated in Yeadon approximately seven miles north -west of the city centre. The city centre is linked to the airport by the A1 bus service operated by Yorkshire Coastliner. [7] The airport serves major European destinations as well as many further afield.


Traffic passing past Leeds city centre is diverted away from the main areas by the Leeds Inner Ring Road, an urban motorway passing the East, North and West of the city centre. Much of the Inner Ring Road is in tunnels so not visible to passing pedestrians. All major routes into Leeds head towards the city centre. The city centre is served by the M621 motorway.


The most notable bus service within central Leeds is the LeedsCityBus service operated by First Leeds and funded by West Yorkshire Metro. This service runs every few minutes in a clockwise direction around the city centre. It serves major transport interchanges and both universities as well as the main shopping and financial districts. There have been calls for a second FreeCityBus to serve emerging business, leisure and residential districts in the southern part of central Leeds.

Leeds city centre has its main bus station in the east of the city. However, as a rule only buses heading out of the City of Leeds and National Express services use it. Local First Leeds buses use stops on the city streets, or a number of smaller bus stations, referred to as bus points, at Bond Street, Infirmary Street, Leeds railway station and the Corn Exchange.

A view of the south side of Leeds city centre, from Beeston Hill in February 2013 LeedsSkyline2013.jpg
A view of the south side of Leeds city centre, from Beeston Hill in February 2013
Leeds city centre from the south LeedsSouth Panorama1a.jpg
Leeds city centre from the south

Location grid

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The Headrow

The Headrow is an avenue in Leeds city centre, West Yorkshire, England.

Economy of Leeds City economy

The economy of Leeds is the most diverse economy of all the UK's main employment centres and has seen the fastest rate of private-sector jobs growth of any UK city and has the highest ratio of public to private sector jobs of all the UK's Core Cities. Leeds has the third-largest jobs total by local authority area with 480,000 in employment and self-employment at the beginning of 2015. Leeds is the largest legal and financial centre in England outside of London, and third largest in the UK after Edinburgh, and in 2011 its financial and insurance services industry was worth £2.1 billion. with more than 30 national and international banks located in the city. Leeds is also the UK's third largest manufacturing centre with around 1,800 firms and 39,000 employees, Leeds manufacturing firms account for 8.8% of total employment in the city. The largest sub-sectors are engineering, printing and publishing, food and drink, chemicals and medical technology. Leeds is also ranked as a gamma world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network; Over the next ten years, the economy is forecast to grow by 25% with financial and business services set to generate over half of GVA growth over that period with Finance and business services accounting for 38% of total output. Other key sectors include retail, leisure and the visitor economy, construction, manufacturing and the creative and digital industries.

Trinity Leeds Shopping mall in Leeds, United Kingdom

Trinity Leeds is a shopping and leisure centre in the city centre of Leeds, England, named after the adjacent 18th-century Holy Trinity Church. Developed by Land Securities and designed by Chapman Taylor, it opened on 21 March 2013, with over 130,000 recorded visitors on opening day.

Leeds Kirkgate Market Building in Leeds, England

Kirkgate Market is a market complex on Vicar Lane in the city centre of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is the largest covered market in Europe and a Grade I listed building. There are currently 800 stalls which attract over 100,000 visitors a week.

Holbeck Inner city area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

Holbeck is an inner city area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It begins on the southern edge of Leeds city centre and mainly lies in the LS11 postcode district. The M1 and M621 motorways used to end/begin in Holbeck. Now the M621 is the only motorway that passes through the area since the end of the M1 moved to Hook Moor near Aberford. Since large parts of Holbeck have been vacated in preparation for the regeneration of the area, the district has in large parts suffered from a population exodus. Holbeck had a population of 5,505 in 2011. The district currently falls within the Beeston and Holbeck ward of Leeds City Council.

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The Light, Leeds

The Light is a leisure and retail centre in central Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. It occupies the rectangular space between The Headrow on the south, St Anne's Street on the north, Cookridge Street on the west, and Albion Street. Two former streets divide it: Upper Fountaine Street (east-west) and Cross Fountaine Street (north-south) now covered with a glass roof. It incorporates two listed buildings Permanent House and the Headrow Buildings.

Victoria Leeds Retail development in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

Victoria Leeds is a shopping district and leisure area in central Leeds, comprising the 1990 Victoria Quarter, an arcaded complex of restored 19th century and contemporary shopping arcades, and the 2016 Victoria Gate development. Notable for its role in the regeneration of Leeds' city centre, and a programme of restoration and reuse which included commissiong the largest work of stained glass work in Europe, designed by artist Brian Clarke, to cover the newly-pedestrianised Queen Victoria Street, the 1990 scheme created a covered retail district of linked arcades. In 2016 ,the Victoria Quarter was merged with the newly built Victoria Gate complex to form the largest premium retail and leisure venue in Northern England. The district includes a casino and major stores such as Harvey Nichols and John Lewis and Partners.

Architecture of Leeds Buildings of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

The architecture of Leeds, a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England, encompasses a wide range of architectural styles and notable buildings. As with most northern industrial centres, much of Leeds' prominent architecture is of the Victorian era. However, the City of Leeds also contains buildings from as early as the Middle Ages such as Kirkstall Abbey, one of Britain's best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries, as well as examples of 20th century industrial architecture, particularly in the districts of Hunslet and Holbeck.

Leeds Civic Trust Voluntary organisation and registered charity

Leeds Civic Trust is a voluntary organisation and registered charity established in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England in 1965. Affiliated to the national charity Civic Voice, its stated purpose is "to stimulate public interest in and care for the beauty, history, and character of the city and locality, to encourage high standards of design, architecture and town planning; [and] to encourage the development and improvement of features of general public amenity".


  1. "Vision for new hotel and restaurant in Leeds's booming Arena Quarter". Yorkshire Evening Post.
  2. "Big names sign up to Leeds's Wellington Place development". Yorkshire Evening Post. 6 June 2018.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Trinity Leeds shopping and leisure complex opens". BBC. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  4. "Trinity Leeds, Leeds | Land Securities Retail Portfolio | Land Securities Retail". Archived from the original on 29 March 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  5. "Leeds Lights Switch-On 2014". Leeds City Council. 13 November 2014. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 November 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "Timetable | Metro".

Further reading