“With so many higher education establishments, Leeds is home to over 55,000 students, with many attracted by the quality of their chosen course”
Moving to Leeds
With a population of around 774,000, the historic northern city of Leeds is the largest in Yorkshire, and boasts the UK’s most diverse economy, as well as a thriving job market, a huge manufacturing presence and a reputation for cultural excellence.
Leeds has undergone a lot of regeneration, particularly since the 1980s, when building developers began projects to rejuvenate old warehouses along the River Aire and transform areas such as The Calls into districts of slick river-view apartments. As the city’s image has improved, people have flocked to the region, introducing further developments in the retail and food and drinks scene in their wake.
With so many higher education establishments, Leeds is home to over 80,000 students, with many attracted by the quality of their chosen course as well as the student life the city has to offer. Hailed as the best student city in the UK in 2016, and with Leeds University receiving the most applications out of any other university in England, clearly many agree. Despite crime levels higher than the regional average, the city has great nightlife, a different place to eat out on every day of the year, stacks of bars, shops, good transport links and affordable housing.
For working professionals, the city of Leeds has a great rental market and city centre apartments provide people with a comfortable way of living equally close to their workplace and the prime areas of evening entertainment. Clarence Dock is one area which is aimed at this community, with 1,000 new homes have been built to rent alongside a few local supermarkets and cafes. With a picture-postcard view across the river, and over the Royal Armouries to finish it off, it’s easy to see why the area is so popular.
House prices in Leeds
As of 2017, the average house price in Leeds is around £190,000, lower than the UK average, and rental prices continue to be more affordable that in similar urban centres such as Manchester. Close by the city centre, areas such as Chapel Allerton and Pudsey offer a pleasant mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced properties, suited to families, retired and young couples alike. Particularly the former is an affluent area, voted one of the best places to live in Britain by the Sunday Times in 2014, and home to many large homes of mansion dimensions. Alternatively, in the north of the area, Headingly is full of student accommodation, complete with a bustling town centre, while Hyde Park is another key spot for university students.
“The average house price in Leeds is around £190,000, lower than the UK average, and rental prices continue to be more affordable that in similar urban centres”
Leeds station is one of the busiest in the country with over 100,000 people travelling along its lines every day. Regular trains transport locals from Leeds to several major cities, including London, in little over 2 hours. The surrounding areas of Wakefield and Bradford may also be reached by train or equally, with the M62, M1 and A1 close by, via a short trip on the road. Within the city itself, regular buses on a myriad of routes ensure that travel throughout Leeds is fast and reliable.
For more exotic travels, Leeds Bradford Airport is only 8 miles away from Leeds city centre, and offers flights to destinations across the world.
From student-friendly bars to high-end dining, Leeds offers an enviable lifestyle for residents and visitors looking for a good time. The city is packed with a melting pot of tempting cuisines for all appetites, from tasty pad Thai at Thai Sabai to comforting Italian pasta at Bibis. Foodies will love discovering new traders at Trinity Kitchen, which gives smaller, independent businesses a chance to flaunt new ideas, while for families, a number of eateries offer tailored menus for children, as well as play areas that will keep them occupied whilst you have a quick bite. Perched on the river in the south of the city centre, Call Lane is a lively after-work spot and a favourite with working professionals looking for a slick and trendy selection of bars and restaurants to carry them into the evening. The area also hosts a great nightlife, which draws in the large student population.
Alternatively, for an all-day food fiesta, Leeds Indie Food, also known as the country’s biggest independent food and drink festival, takes place every May. If you can’t make that, the North Leeds Food festival takes place in August and celebrates the best of art, music, local produce and charity, with last year’s event raising money for the charity ‘Mind.’
Meanwhile retail addicts can satisfy their urges in the Victoria Quarter, known to some as the ‘Knightsbridge of the North.’ for its luxury brands. As the third largest UK shopping district outside London, Leeds city centre has a fantastic variety of high street stores and designer outlets, including a large Harvey Nichols and John Lewis. Alternatively, for those who get their highs from winning a thrifty bargain, Kirkgate Market, first opened in 1857, is a penny-pincher’s paradise, stocking everything from jewellery to fresh flowers sold by 170 traders. It also hosts a Chinese supermarket, Polish Delicatessen and regular Farmer’s Market and is the very place that Michael Marks first opened his Penny Bazaar – who knew that it would eventually become the megastore that is Marks and Spencer?
Grocery outlets in the area also reflect the diversity of the population, with the Continental Supermarket and Abu Bakar Supermarkets located here alongside popular supermarket chains such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Health & Sport
For sports enthusiasts, Headingly Carnegie Stadium in Headingly is home to professional Rugby League club, the Leeds Rhinos, who are the third best rugby league club in the country having won 3 World Club Challenge titles. The Yorkshire Country Cricket club is also based here while for footie fanatics, Leeds United FC, based at Elland Road Football Stadium, is one of the biggest clubs in the UK. However, if you’re keen to be more than a spectator, why not get training in one of the city’s many gyms before taking part in the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon, which sees athletes from across the world competing over a course which journeys from Roundhay Park through to the centre of the city.
Leeds residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to culture, with a vast array of activities ranging from historical sites to major music venues. The Royal Armouries, showcasing the national collection of arms and armour, along with the Henry Moore Institute which is dedicated to celebrating sculpture are two of the city’s most esteemed cultural institutions. There are also many cultural residences, such as Temple Newsam as well as the grand Leeds Cathedral, Kirkstall Abbey, a 12th century medieval abbey situated just outside the city centre, and Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, which hosts some of the finest performances in the region.
For those looking for a little lighter entertainment, Leeds has a great selection of comedy venues including Pryzm, Jongleurs and the HiFi Club, whilst the Brudenell Social Club in Headingly and O2 Academy regularly host both popular and upcoming music artists.
“Leeds residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to culture, with a vast array of activities ranging from historical sites to major music venues.”
Schools and Education
One of the most important decisions for families moving in an area is undoubtedly, the quality of schools available. In Leeds, there are a number of great independent, and state primary and secondary schools scattered throughout the city. As well as high-achieving independent schools, such as Fulneck School in Pudsey, state schools like Roundhay Secondary School, where 71% of GCSE students achieved at least 5 A*-C grades in 2013, are also very popular. St. Peter’s Church of England Primary school is another notable school which boasts great results, including 90% of 11-year-olds achieving a level 4 or above in Maths and English.
As for further education, there’s a fantastic choice of institutions here. Situated in the north of the city centre, the University of Leeds is one of the UK’s top universities and part of the Russell Group, which celebrates the leading universities in the UK. Also in the area are Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds College of Art and Leeds College of Music.
Leeds has an average crime rate of 108 crimes per 1000 people as of 2016, higher than the UK average and continuing to rise. Areas with particularly high crime rates include Hyde Park, Middleton and Farnley, while Morley, Gildersun and Hunslet are among the safest areas in the city.
With nearly 22% of Leeds covered by greenery, there are plenty of open green spaces in the vicinity to enjoy.Roundhay Park is famous as one of the biggest city parks in Europe, with more than 700 acres of parkland, gardens, lakes and a Tropical World centre. Other notable green spaces include Golden Acre Park in Bramhope, Stockeld Park off Wetherby Road and the RHS Garden Harlow Carr, which celebrates a number of gardens that pay homage to the Yorkshire landscape. Alternatively, for those who are a little more adventurous, the stunning views of the Yorkshire Dales are never far away.
From the time of the Industrial Revolution, Leeds has been famous as the town of textiles; the invaluable canal link between the region and Liverpool cemented its industrial importance in the northern part of the country. Furthermore, mass cloth markets, which attracted curious inhabitants from miles around, contributed towards a surge in the area’s prosperity, undoubtedly facilitating its quest to achieve city status. Since then, it has become a thriving centre of commerce and is successfully known as Yorkshire’s diverse and contemporary capital.