2015 has seen rent levels in London rise to such an extent that young professionals have been forced out of the city and into the surrounding suburbs. Consequently, the average junior lawyer’s commute into the City has gone from “fail” to “bail”. Couple that with an increasing cost of living and regular tube strikes and you’re left with very few smiles on a Monday morning.
I live in a spacious Leeds City Centre apartment and I walk to work. When I leave the office, I very often pop into one of the new award winning bars on my way home, where I rarely pay over £7.00 for a cocktail. For this privilege, I pay a monthly rent which would barely cover the monthly cost of renting a garage in London.
2015 has brought with it such a vast amount of new and exciting things to Leeds that I am finding it increasingly difficult to recognize the city I have lived in for the past decade. As a young professional, I cannot recommend Leeds highly enough. Here are five very good reasons why:
Without further ado, let’s address what Leeds is famous for: a memorable night out. Whether you enjoy a cocktail, a pint of ale or just a coffee, Leeds has a list of bars which caters for tastes of all shapes and form.
With the transformation of Merrion Street (East) into a pedestrianised avenue lined with new venues, there has been a noticeable shift in popularity from Call Lane to the top end of Leeds. Popular venues include The Belgrave Music Hall (a city favourite since its opening its doors in 2013), Meat Liquor (a London-based watering hole which has opened its first branch outside London, here in Leeds) and Bundobust (a refreshing fusion of high quality beers and fantastic Indian Street Food).
If late night drinks aren’t top of your agenda, then your next port of call should be Leeds’ rapidly expanding restaurant scene – particularly if you appreciate a good old fashioned, gourmet burger. Between Almost Famous, Meat Liquor, Byron, Get Baked and a long list of others, Burger aficionados need look no further.
But burgers aren’t for anyone. If you’re looking for more of an upmarket experience Leeds City Centre’s very own “Man Behind the Curtain” has won a coveted Michelin Star this year and it won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has had the pleasure of dining there.
Sometimes the best thing about a city is how quickly you can escape it. A 30 minute drive out of Leeds City Centre takes you to the green pastures of Harrogate. A 30 minute drive out of London City Centre takes you to Croydon. Does anything more need to be said?
Whether you prefer stretching out on a sofa at the Everyman Cinema, clumsily hitting a ten pin strike or even sitting before a world class production of Black Swan, Leeds can offer a vast array of entertaining things to do. With the introduction of the relatively recent Arena, you can even catch Prince singing Purple Rain or listen to the Boss giving a rendition of Born in the USA right here in God’s Own County. If music isn’t your thing, Leeds has it covered – the Henry Moore Institute is one of the most renowned sculpture galleries in the World and makes for a real eye-opening day
SHOPPING AND RETAIL THERAPY
What would city life be without shopping? Since the opening of the 1 million squarefoot Trinity Shopping Centre in 2013, the retail sector in Leeds has exploded and is continuing to go from strength to strength. The likes of Louis Vuitton, Hollister, The Kooples, Harvey Nichols and Hugo Boss are being very shortly joined by a new flagship John Lewis store. The latter is due to be the starring feature of the brand new 42,000 square meter Victoria Gate – yet another reason for shopaholics to celebrate and max out their credit cards!