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Just an hour south of the southern Dales and one of the fastest-growing cities in the UK, Leeds is the glitzy embodiment of rediscovered northern self-confidence. A decade and a half of redevelopment has transformed the city centre from a near-derelict mill town into a vision of 21st-century urban chic, with architecturally daring malls woven into the fabric of the city centre, a revitalised Victorian mill district and an innovative independent dining and drinking scene.

People come from all over the north to indulge in shopping weekends, concert trips and the lively nightlife, giving the town a decidedly confident Yorkshire swagger. There's not much in the way of tourist sights except for the national Royal Armouries museum, but excellent transport links to the Dales, York, Harrogate, Manchester and Haworth (of Brontë literary fame) can make it a good base, without the touristy veneer of neighbouring York.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Leeds.

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