The Northern city of Leeds has just been ranked as the best place in the UK for culture by The Times, but what are the reasons behind this title?
The best place in the UK for culture, a leading Fintech city and home to the world’s best shopping centre. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this must be somewhere in London, but you’re wrong. It’s our very own Leeds.
Over the past decade, the West Yorkshire city of Leeds has not only moved from strength to strength but it is now being recognised as a city of culture across the globe. Earlier this year the Northern Powerhouse city was titled the best place in the UK for culture, proudly ranking ahead of cities like London, Birmingham and the UK’s official City of Culture – Hull.
With support from the likes of Yorkshire Bank and Yorkshire Building Society, Leeds is preparing to officially present its case to an international panel of judges in a bid for the city to be crowned the ‘European Capital of Culture 2023’. But what exactly is it that makes Leeds so brilliantly cultural? Here we take a look.
A premier shopping location
With Leeds Trinity shopping centre and Victoria Gate both opening their doors in the past four years, the city has very quickly become a major shopping destination. Following the launch of the Victoria Gate shopping centre last year, Leeds shot up to the third position in the Javelin UK retail rankings, being recognised as the largest premium retail and leisure venue in Northern England.
In addition to this, Victoria Gate has just been awarded the world’s Best Shopping Centre at the international MIPIM Awards, a property market event that took place in Cannes earlier this month.
When it comes to the arts, the city has so much to offer. Last year, the annual Leeds International Film Festival – the largest film festival outside of London – celebrated its 30th anniversary with an exciting programme of over 300 screenings at 30 venues.
The city also boasts Opera North, Northern Ballet and the West Yorkshire Playhouse, which takes its shows to the West End. The Henry Moore Institute is known for its variety of art exhibitions, Chapel Allerton (located just out of the city centre) has its own art festival, and in nearby Wakefield you will find the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Located just across the road from Victoria Gate, the West Yorkshire Playhouse has announced plans for a £13.6 million redevelopment scheme. The plans will include the creation of a third performance space that focuses on artist development as well as a new entrance hall.
Business and developments
With some big names like Channel 4 choosing to make Leeds their new home and with numerous state of the art office blocks springing up all over the city business in Leeds is quite literally booming.