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Moving to Leeds: what you need to know

Set in the heart of West Yorkshire, Leeds is a vibrant and cosmopolitan northern city. The city has a thriving and lively centre, surrounded by smaller distinct suburbs and villages to create a cohesive and exciting city that offers something to everyone.

Leeds is home to a diverse population of over 780,000 people: there are over 70 different ethnicities represented in the community. The variety and diversity of the city is evident in the culture, with a great variety of restaurants, shops and music events from all over the world.

If you’re looking for an urban lifestyle, with the benefits of good outdoor space, Leeds is the perfect fit. Surrounding 65% of the city’s urban area is a green belt, and Leeds is just 20 miles from the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The city of Leeds is the one of the UK’s most popular student destinations, with the city home to over 60,000 students at any time. This gives the city a real buzz and a sense of youthful vibrancy.

Outside of London, Leeds is the biggest financial city in the UK. This attracts a number of start-ups and well-established global companies, attracting a high calibre of job seekers.

The history of Leeds

Leeds began as a small market town, and like much of Britain during the middle ages its basis was in agriculture. Over the course of the middle ages, Leeds became synonymous with textile manufacture and production.

Throughout its history, Leeds has been known for its contribution to industry. The city contributed heavily to the UK’s industrial revolution, growing to become a huge export hub amounting to a sixth of all of the country’s export trade by the end of the 18th century. This is reflected in the architecture of the city: the Leeds and Liverpool canal built in 1816 was used to transport goods, and the city is full of old mill buildings. To this day Leeds remains the UK’s third largest manufacturing hub.

After a decline in textile manufacture at the tail end of the 19th century, the city transformed its fortunes by producing military uniforms and munitions during the 1930s. This success was short lived, and by the 1970s the city’s industries were once again in decline.

Today, the city has reinvented itself as a hub of new industry: banking, legal services and luxury goods are just three of Leeds biggest business sectors now.

Leeds: the city with award-winning culture

Leeds was voted the best cultural place to live in Britain by The Times in 2017, beating London. And we can see why: Leeds is a hub of cultural activity, driven by a mix of young professionals and the huge student population. Every year, world class entertainers and artists perform in the city.

Centred around two plazas, Millennium Square and Victoria Square, Leeds is home to numerous impressive Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions. There is also a famous Henry Moore sculpture on the steps of the Leeds Art Gallery – he was a scholar of the Leeds College of Arts in the 1920s.

The city’s rich links with the film industry are also celebrated. The oldest surviving film in the world was recorded in Leeds in 1888 by Louis Le Prince. Today, the city hosts the Leeds International Film Festival annually, drawing film and cinema fans from across the country. And for film lovers moving to Leeds, you will have to pick your favourite cinema: from one of the two oldest functioning cinemas in Great Britain, or a modern Everyman cinema complete with sofas and cocktail bar, your viewing choice excellent.

Leeds also has a great food scene, with a broad selection of places to eat: from food trucks, to cafes, bars and even Michelin Star restaurants. The multicultural population is reflected in the variety of types of food available. And there really is something at every price point.

Part of the stress of moving comes from unfamiliarity with your new location. Our tailored Area Orientation services can eradicate that. We show you around, get you situated, and can even recommend local services and amenities to make it even easier to get settled.

Leeds: what to do

With so much to choose from, your first few weeks in Leeds can easily become crammed with exploring your surroundings and the city’s amenities.

To make things a little less overwhelming, start with Santa Fe Relocation’s top picks:
– Go shopping – for your new house, new additions to your wardrobe, delicious things to fill the fridge. Whatever you need, there is 8 indoor shopping centres and Briggate Street to explore.
– Look for luxury – explore the Victoria Quarter’s luxury boutiques and expansive Harvey Nichols store for a taste of luxury and designer goods.
– Michelin star dining – visit The Man Behind the Curtain for the 10-course tasting menu. The menu is different each day, and a meal here is fast becoming the luxurious ‘thing to do’ in Leeds.
– Enjoy street food, indoors – explore the delicious food trucks in the indoor market at Trinity Kitchen. With six new food trucks every eight weeks, this is a food lovers’ hotspot.
– Take a picnic to Roundhay Park – it’s one of the largest city parks in the whole of Europe. Spend the day exploring the tropical glasshouses, expansive green space and picturesque landscaped gardens.
– Have a pint in the oldest pub in Leeds – Whitelocks Pub is a traditional English pub serving up the warmest of welcomes, if you can find it. The entrance is notoriously hidden down one of the many alleyways off of Briggate street.

Where to live in Leeds

Finding the right home for you is as much a search for the right location as for the right bricks and mortar. Luckily for anyone moving to Leeds, the variety of homes, locations and lifestyles on offer is exceptional.

Whether you are looking for a large detached home, a swanky city apartment, a village feel, or full city centre living, Leeds has something for everyone. And with average detached houses for sale at £220,000 (accurate as of March 2019), house prices are very competitive. The rental market is equally good, with one bed rental apartments going for £600 to £900 per month, depending on the location and level of luxury/amenities.

Here are our favourite areas to live in Leeds:
– Horsforth – for suburban living, this is our favourite. The area is very popular with young professionals.
– Chapel Allerton.- the perfect area for individuals as well as families, with a wide range of property types.
– Roundhay – with a wealth of green space and parks, this is a perfect location for families and individuals looking for outdoor living and good amenities.
– Headingly – this is a lovely student area, with a good mix of quieter residential streets as well as cafes, restaurants and bars.
– Alwoodley – this is where the most luxurious properties are found and is respectively one of the most expensive suburbs of Leeds. Expect grand homes with plenty of space.
– The Waterfront – this modern development offers luxury and modern apartments with the convenience of a city centre location.

If you need more help finding your new home in Leeds, let our property experts help. Santa Fe’s Home Search service takes all the work out of finding a new home: we shortlist exceptional properties that meet your requirements, so all you have to do is pick.

Family life and education in Leeds

Leeds is home to a vast array of great educational institutions. With over 260 state primary schools, there is a variety of good schools. The city also has 18 private primary schools to choose from. Some of the top performing primary schools are St Mary’s Catholic Comprehensive and Horsforth School. There are over 40 secondary schools to choose from, and a selection of great sixth forms and colleges.

If you are looking for prestigious fee-paying schools, the city boasts a good selection. The Grammar School at Leeds is a top-notch independent school with very impressive facilities. It’s a mixed school, educating up to GCSE level, and even boasts some rather famous alumni (Colin Montgomery, and Ricky Wilson to name a couple).

There are so many schools to choose from it can actually be a bit daunting, but our School Search team can help narrow it down to those that meet the needs of your family.

The city is also home to four Universities. Between the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, the University of Law and Leeds Trinity University, the student population of the city is over 60,000. It also consistently ranks as one of, if not the best student city in the UK.

Travel information

Leeds has great transport links, both to the north and the south of the UK. With its position in Yorkshire, it’s almost equidistant between Edinburgh and London.

You can easily and quickly get from Leeds to the other large northern cities: Manchester, Liverpool and Hull are reachable via good rail and road links. Sheffield is just a 30-minute drive down the M1.

Rail links go from Leeds New Station Street, which runs routes all across northern England and direct to London. Leeds station is actually the biggest station outside of London. The direct train to Kings Cross Station reaches the capital in just 2 hours 15 minutes.

For international travel, Leeds Bradford Airport is just 10 miles north of the city centre. From here you can fly all over Europe, as well as to Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia and some USA locations. There is also a direct train to Manchester airport.

How can we help with your Leeds move?

Trust the experts. We have 120 years of international and domestic removals and house move experience. We know every stressor, every potential pitfall, and how to prevent them all.

At Santa Fe Relocation, you get one dedicated point of contact who organises everything, so you can relax and enjoy the adventure of moving home. At Santa Fe Relocation, we make moving home easy for you.

Get a free moving quote.

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