Major travel guide; Lonely Planet has named Leeds as the fifth best destination in Europe, with Leeds narrowly missing out on the top spot to the likes of Zagreb in Croatia and Gotland in Sweden. Leeds managed to beat even popular holiday and tourism destinations, such as Paphos, Cyprus and Le Havre, France.
Lonely Planet’s UK destination editor, James Smart stated:
“Once defined by its industrial past, Leeds is now a confident, cultural hub in the north of England. With major events this year including the reopening of Leeds Art Gallery and the 50th anniversary of Leeds Carnival, there’s never been a better time to head to Yorkshire and join the party.”
As a city, Leeds has so much to offer. On any day you can visit local attractions such as Harewood House and the Royal Armouries, or enjoy a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes; with Leeds having a great reputation for its diverse eateries. To support this, Leeds hosts a variety of food festival throughout the year, including the Indie Food Festival which gives visitors the opportunity to try a wide range of foods to celebrate and support both independent retailers and local produce. Away from food, let’s not forget Leeds’ fantastic reputation for music and the arts, homed most notably to the Northern Ballet and also one of the UK’s largest festivals: Leeds Festival, which takes place at Bramham Park each August. In addition, due to Leeds’ recent surge in terms of high street retailers, with the addition of Victoria Gate shopping centre and retail giant John Lewis, the city is also considered one of the top places to shop in the UK!
Not only is Leeds considered as one of the best cities in Europe, it is also bidding to become European Capital of Culture 2023. Throughout the year, the city will be encouraged to submit their ideas, ensuring the bid and the wider Culture Strategy truly reflects the creativity of the city. A series of events will also be supported by the Leeds 2023 team throughout the year, including the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Leeds West Indian Carnival, Transform and Slam Dunk festival, giving the community the chance to engage with local cultural events and share their thoughts and ideas, you can read more about the cultural plan here.
But what does this mean for business in Leeds?
Leeds is not only beginning to be recognised for its extensive culture, it could be argued that Leeds is fast becoming one of the top places to do business outside of London; particularly for digital and technological industries. Leeds has a digital GVA of £671 million according to Tech Nation 2016, accounted for by around 3,500 digital businesses in Leeds, including names like Sky Betting and Gaming and Rockstar Games, as well as a host of creative and digital agencies. Moreover, Leeds has over 30 national and international banks, as well as the Bank of England’s only base outside London, which means it’s no surprise Leeds is the UK’s largest financial hub outside of the capital.
Furthermore, with Leeds already building a great reputation for its business accolades, alongside a recent £9m boost for business and innovation and the help of these awards, we have no doubt the city will continue to attract a wealth of new business and increase tourism figures over the coming years, allowing Leeds to show the outsider’s what it’s really made of!
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