A Non-Shopper’s Guide To Leeds

I recently decided that anytime I attend a conference in a new city, I would extend my time and use the opportunity to go sightseeing. Two weeks ago, I attended my biggest marketing conference till date; #SearchLeeds which took place at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

It was my first time in Leeds which is about an hour away from Manchester. So I planned out my itinerary to extend my departure to about 8pm. Thankfully, it is Summer, we have longer days now. I arrived by National Express coach at about 11am, navigated the area for a while and found my way to the arena. I had a blast at the conference. It such an eye-opening event with about 2000 Search Marketers or SEOs. The conference was an all-day event but was done at about 5pm. I left about 4pm because I thought I wouldn’t have enough time to go around the City Centre.

I was wrong.

Exploring Leeds City Centre

One of my favourite things about Leeds is the strategic maps at different points in the city centre. In Manchester we just have signages. In Leeds, it’s a full-blown offline Google Maps with directions. So if for some reason your phone dies early like mine, you can’t get lost. Following the map accurately will help you arrive at your destination.

I followed the map and thought, why not? It’s 5pm. I have more than enough time to visit the museums. Turns out museums and other important tourist attractions have closing hours. I was so sad when I got to the Leeds City Museum and it was closed. In fact, every single indoor attraction was closed by 5pm. So I just had to make do with the outdoor attractions. While I can’t say I had fun walking around the city centre, there was sunlight, the weather was gorgeous and I was able to burn my calories for the day.

Much Ado about Leeds’ Shopping Addiction

Remember what I said about those lovely and super helpful maps around Leeds City Centre? I didn’t know how much shopping was done in Leeds until I got to the Victoria Gardens, took a step back and observed the map for a minute or two. Woah! The yellow spot on the map showed all of the shopping centres in Leeds and I was astounded. I don’t think I noticed this in Liverpool because there were enough tourist attractions to compensate for the number of shopping centres. But in Leeds, it just felt like the only thing they knew how to do is shopping. The tourist attractions aren’t that many, to be honest, compared to the shopping centres. It just says a lot about the people as a whole. As a business owner, it means that Leeds is a viable city for retail.

Again, I never travel for shopping. I’m not rich enough yet. But it was great to visit the Merrion Centre which had some of the brands like Home Bargains (of course, I snagged a couple of things) and Iceland that wasn’t available in Manchester. Coincidentally, the Merrion Centre is right across the First Direct Arena so it was also an opportunity to have some good Chinese food.

The Best Attractions Leeds has to offer.

Regardless of how annoying the situation turned out, I enjoyed walking around and discovering the best attractions Leeds has to over.

In no particular order;

  • Leeds City Museum: As I mentioned earlier it was closed by the time I got there. But it was great to know that I was able to locate it.
  • Millennium Square
  • Henry Moore Institute: I was seriously looking forward to this art gallery but it was closed for repairs or so. I was too annoyed to confirm.
  • Leeds Art Gallery: Another art gallery that was also closed. One of the staff actually told me this as I was about to enter. I was crushed.
  • Leeds Kirkgate Market: I was also looking forward to visiting this market. I was very sad.
  • Corn Exchange: At some point, I was tired of all the closing hours that I just jumped on a bus and followed it wherever. I found myself at the Corn Exchange for no reason.
  • Leeds Outside Markets: By the time I got there, the last vendors were packing up.
  • Victoria Leeds: I was fascinated by all the high street brands in Victoria Leeds. The structures left me in marvel.
  • Leeds City Bus Station: This might not count as an attraction but I love how organized the bus station was.

As you can see, I absolutely have to go back to Leeds very soon.

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