Leeds: What To Do When You Visit Leeds

By: Simon Haughtone

As you would expect from the fourth largest city in England, there is plenty to see and do when you visit Leeds, whether that visit is for business or pleasure.

In fact, Leeds even received the coveted Conde Nast Traveler magazine Reader's Award as the UK's favorite city as recently as 2004 and was voted the best English city to visit outside London in 2005.

So what can you do when you visit this popular city?

During November and early December, there is a Christmas Market that takes over the Millennium Square area of the city. Then in the start of the new year, the square turns into Europe's largest open air ice skating rink, so you can practice your skating skills.

Music fans will want to make sure that they time their visit to coincide with the International Pianoforte Competition, although you may need to plan in advance as this event is only held every three years.

During the summer, you can join in the various free events that are held as part of the "Party in the Park" at Temple Newsam stately home. If you're not able to time your trip for this, you can always visit this grand manor, including landscaped grounds designed by Capability Brown.

If you are lucky enough to be in Leeds for the August bank holiday period, be sure to take in the West Indian Carnival. This colourful event has been running every year since 1967 and is the oldest such carnival in the whole of Europe.

Film fanatics should aim for Leeds during November, when the International Film Festival takes place in the city. Here you can see a wide range of hard to find movies, even including an all night horror movie selection on one of the weekends of the festival. If horror isn't your idea of fun, the festival is also often host to the premieres of various Hollywood blockbusters. So there's definitely something for everyone at this event.

Earlier in the year, usually in July, Kirkstall Abbey hosts a traditional festival in its grounds.

Pop music fans can join in with the Leeds Festival, which takes place at the same time as its musical twin, the Reading Festival. The two events regularly share the same acts, so if you are located towards the North of the UK, you may well find this an easier place to reach.

With all these different events, it pays to book your Leeds accommodation in advance to make sure that your hotel room is close to your chosen event (or far away from it if your business trip takes you into Leeds at the same time as one of these festivals).

Sports fans should time their visit so that it takes place at the same time as their chosen team is playing. Whether that's Leeds United football club who play at the large Elland Road stadium, the Yorkshire County cricket team, Leeds Rhinos Rugby League team or even the lesser known women's football team.

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