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. While the city centre has no formal definition, it is roughly bounded by the Inner Ring Road to the north and the River Aire to the south and can be divided into four quarters.


Central districts

Arena Quarter

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

Arena Quarter is a mixed city centre development with residential, retail and office developments best known for housing Leeds 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 residential properties and developments, including Sky Plaza and Opal 3. Other major institutions are located within the Quarter, including the Yorkshire Bank HQ and also the Merrion Centre. Hume House is the tallest building in Yorkshire.

The Calls

The Calls is close to the River Aire. It is directly south of the Victorian District 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 lower end of The Calls has a number of LGBT community-friendly businesses and bars.

Civic Quarter

Leeds Town Hall Leeds Rathaus.jpg
Leeds Town Hall

The Civic Quarter is the area roughly north of The Headrow and is home to a number of Victorian buildings. Prominent landmarks include the Leeds Magistrates' and Crown Courts, the City Library and City Gallery, and Leeds Town Hall, which was completed in 1858 and opened by Queen Victoria. Queen Square is also found here. 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. Landmarks here include the BBC building, which moved from Woodhouse Lane just north of the city centre in August 2004, the West Yorkshire 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.

The Cultural Quarter is also where the Royal Armouries Museum (opened in 1996 when the collection was transferred north from its previous location, the Tower of London) can be found, although it is more in the south of the city centre than it is the east. 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.

Leeds Dock also lies on the fringes of the Cultural Quarter.

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 HS2 station will border this area of Leeds, which is why much of the area is considered prime location for development.

Victorian District

Victoria Quarter Victoria Quarter from Briggate.jpg
Victoria Quarter

The Victorian District, also known as 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. The naming of the district is due to the number of Victorian buildings in the district, but also the historical Briggate, which is one of the oldest shopping streets in Leeds. Two main shopping locations also carry the "Victoria" name in the district, Victoria Quarter and also Victoria Gate. Victoria Quarter is one of the oldest buildings in central Leeds and houses 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

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 757 Yorkshire Tiger bus service. 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

Related Research Articles

West Yorkshire County of England

West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county in England. It is an inland and, in relative terms, upland county having eastward-draining valleys while taking in the moors of the Pennines. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972 and has a population of 2.2 million.

Pudsey Town in West Yorkshire, England

Pudsey is a market town in West Yorkshire, England. Once independent, it was incorporated into the City of Leeds metropolitan borough in 1974. It is located midway between Bradford city centre and Leeds city centre. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, it has a population of 22,408. It also lends its name and sits in the local Leeds City Council ward of Pudsey and Pudsey parliamentary constituency.

Wortley, Leeds Human settlement in England

Wortley is an inner city area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It begins one mile to the west of the city centre. The appropriate City of Leeds ward is called Farnley and Wortley.

Harehills Human settlement in England

Harehills is an inner-city area of east Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) north east of Leeds city centre. Harehills is situated between the A58 and the A64.

Swansea City Centre Human settlement in Wales

Swansea city centre in Swansea, Wales, contains the main shopping, leisure and nightlife district in Swansea. The city centre covers much of the Castle ward including the area around Oxford Street, Castle Square, and the Quadrant Shopping Centre; Alexandra Road, High Street, Wind Street and the Castle; Parc Tawe; and the Maritime Quarter extending down to the seafront.

Merrion Centre, Leeds shopping centre in Leeds, UK

The Merrion Centre is a shopping centre in located in Arena Quarter area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. Since opening in 1964, the centre has been owned and managed by Town Centre Securities. Originally open air, the centre had a roof installed during the 1970s.

Schofields was a department store that operated on the Headrow in Leeds, England, from 1901 to 1996. For much of the 20th century Schofields was regarded as being the pinnacle of shopping in Leeds city centre.

Briggate street in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

Briggate is a pedestrianised principal shopping street in Leeds city centre, England. Historically it was the main street, leading north from Leeds Bridge, and housed markets, merchant's houses and other business premises. It contains many historic buildings, including the oldest in the city, and others from the 19th and early-20th century, including two theatres. It is noted for the yards between some older buildings with alleyways giving access and Victorian shopping arcades, which were restored in late 20th century. The street was pedestrianised in the early-21st century.

The Headrow street in Leeds, United Kingdom

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

Economy of Leeds

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 the UK outside of London, 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

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 Grade I listed architectural structure in Leeds, United Kingdom

Leeds Kirkgate Market is a market in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England located on Vicar Lane. It is the largest covered market in Europe. 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.

Leeds City in West Yorkshire, England

Leeds (/liːdz/) is the largest city in the county of West Yorkshire in Northern England, approximately 170 miles (270 km) north of central London. Leeds has one of the most diverse economies of all the UK's main employment centres and has seen the fastest rate of private-sector jobs growth of any UK city. It also has the highest ratio of private to public sector jobs of all the UK's Core Cities, with 77% of its workforce working in the private sector. 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 ranked as a High Sufficiency level city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial heart of the West Yorkshire Urban Area. Leeds is served by five universities, it has the UK's fourth largest student population and the country's fourth largest urban economy.

The Light, Leeds building in Leeds, West Yorkshire

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.

Transport in Leeds Leeds-busiest railway,station in britain and other types of transport are also prevalent

Transport within Leeds consists of extensive road, bus and rail networks. The city has good rail and road links to the rest of the country. Leeds railway station is one of the busiest in Britain, and Leeds is connected to the national road network via the A1(M) motorway, M1 motorway and M62 motorway. The city is served by Leeds Bradford Airport.

Victoria Leeds Retail development in Leeds, West Yorkshire

Victoria Leeds is a shopping and leisure area in Leeds city centre. It combines the 1990 Victoria Quarter west of Vicar Lane and the 2016 Victoria Gate shopping centre east of Vicar Lane. It includes a casino and major stores such as Harvey Nichols and John Lewis and Partners, and the largest stained glass work in Britain, by artist Brian Clarke.

Architecture of Leeds

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 City bus station

Leeds City bus station serves the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is owned and managed by Metro. It is situated between the Quarry Hill and Leeds City Markets areas of Leeds city centre. The National Express Dyer Street Coach Station adjoins the bus station. It can be accessed from York and Dyer Streets.

Leeds New Lane railway station Proposed railway station in West Yorkshire, England

Leeds New Lane was a proposed new railway station to accommodate High Speed Two rail services in West Yorkshire, England. It was planned to be constructed on a viaduct on New Lane south of Leeds city centre, the River Aire and Leeds City station to which it would be connected by an elevated walkway. The site is occupied by Central Park, a small low-rise office park built in the 1990s and other small office buildings.


  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. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 March 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  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. http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/xls/station-usage-2006-07.xls

Further reading