One of the fastest growing cities in the UK, Leeds is the glitzy embodiment of rediscovered northern self-confidence. More than a decade of redevelopment has seen the city centre transform from near-derelict mill town into a vision of 21st-century urban chic, with skyscraping office blocks, glass and steel waterfront apartment complexes and renovated Victorian shopping arcades. The financial crisis that began in 2008 saw many flagship development projects grind to a halt, but tower cranes are beginning to sprout on the skyline again, and the massive new entertainment venue, the Leeds Arena, is scheduled to open in 2013.
Known as the 'Knightsbridge of the North', Leeds has made itself into a shopping mecca, its streets lined with bustling malls sporting the top names in fashion. And when you've shopped 'til you've dropped there's a plethora of pubs, clubs and excellent restaurants to relax in. From cutting-edge couture to contemporary cuisine, Leeds will serve it to you on a plate (or more likely in a stylishly designed bag). Amid all this cutting-edge style, it seems fitting that the network of city bus routes includes peach, mauve and magenta lines as well as the more humdrum red, orange and blue.