Moving to Leeds
Are you moving to Leeds? The city of Leeds has long been one of the UK’s most commercially important metropolises. Nestling in the eastern shadow of the Pennines, the imposing city centre gives way to spacious and pleasant suburbs; and it is considered to be a Gamma World City or local gateway into the world economy.
If someone mentions Leeds it is generally assumed they are talking about the City of Leeds, which has a population of approaching 800,000. However, they could be referring to the city centre and its 450,000 residents or they might alternatively mean the West Yorkshire Urban Area which has a population of 1.5 million. Or even the Leeds Bradford Metropolitan area, whose 2.3 million residents make up the fourth largest urban conglomerate in the UK. Phew!
Suffice to say, it’s a big place.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Leeds report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Leeds on the Map
Leeds lies approximately 200 miles north-west of London and is bisected through the centre by the River Aire. To the west, the land rises up to the bleak, windswept expanses of Ilkley Moor and the centre of the city is only 20 miles from the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park with its wild and spectacular landscapes. However, despite the savageness of the scenery, Leeds enjoys a temperate climate with only moderate rainfall by UK standards.
Connections to London and the rest of the country are good; the city offers easy access to the M1, the M62 and the A1(M) motorways, while the inner and outer ring roads keep local traffic flowing. Within the city a good network of bus services offer the primary means of public transport, while suburban and national rail services carry passengers further afield. Leeds railway station is one of the busiest in the country. The Leeds Bradford International Airport is 10 miles from the city centre with flights to destinations within the UK, across Europe and to the United States.
West Yorkshire, and Leeds in particular, represent outstanding value in terms of property when compared to the UK market as a whole. Leeds also benefits over London by having a more compact central area and even for families venturing into the suburbs, commuting is less of an issue.
We’ve chosen five areas of Leeds to highlight – these are great places to live but it is by no means an exhaustive list, especially for those looking to live further afield in places such as York and Harrogate.
- City Centre – when compared with living in the most central parts of London, the middle of Leeds is a bargain. Cosmopolitan and cultured, you can live within walking distance of your office and there is a great range of properties to choose from. Converted industrial buildings vie for attention with sleek apartments in Leeds tallest building, Bridgewater Place. Around Dock Street there are restaurants, cafés and bars offering a village-like atmosphere.
- Chapel Allerton – to the north of the city centre this accessible enclave attracts media professionals, artists, executives and their families. Local facilities are excellent including high achieving schools, smart restaurants, traditional pubs, a tennis club and a farmers market. It can be pricey for Leeds but that’s not surprising due to its popularity.
- Roundhay – looking further afield, this suburb is 15 minutes drive from the centre but you’ll feel like you’re living in the countryside. Roundhay Park covers 700 acres of woods and lakes and parkland, and there are a number of local courses to attract golfers. The good shops and restaurants are complemented by Leeds’ best schools and families looking for larger properties can find attractive townhouses with gardens. Add to that convenience for the ring roads and the airport and you could be forgiven for not looking elsewhere.
- Headingley – a youthful urban buzz attracts young professionals to this area. As well as shops, restaurants and great nightlife, it is also home to the rugby stadium and the cricket ground – making it a lively place at weekends. The redbrick terraced houses are small but always popular and there are some excellent apartment conversions.
- Holbeck Urban Village – an exciting new business and residential development that is revitalising an old industrial area to the south of the city centre. Look for sophisticated apartments at Granary Wharf and Spectrum.
Who lives here and why?
Leeds is or has been home to the following illustrious characters:
- Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding
- Spice Girl Mel B
- Actors Malcolm McDowell, Tom Wilkinson and John Simm
- Novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford
- Playwright Alan Bennett
- Furniture designer Thomas Chippendale
- Rugby player Mike Tindall, who is married to the Queen’s granddaughter Zara.
Leeds is a telephone banking centre and there are healthy corporate, legal and retail sectors. Indeed, it was the first city outside London to have a branch of the prestigious luxury department store Harvey Nichols.
The actual city of Leeds covers an area of 42 square miles and, along with the famous names listed above, some 443,000 people reside there. Of all the UK’s major cities it has one of the best qualified populations and will be the least affected major city in the current round of welfare cuts. Commercial property development continues to show healthy growth in the inner area and the city is the major shopping centre for the Yorkshire and Humber region. Shoppers are drawn in by the large pedestrianised zone in the city centre, where there are eight shopping centres and more than 1,000 shops. All of this makes it an attractive place to set up a business.
In terms of quality of life, Leeds has plenty to offer. The city has a large number of parks and open spaces and offers an attractive mix of architectural styles from the pomp of the Victorian to the bright steel and glass of modern office buildings, including one that has been affectionately nicknamed the Dalek after the terrifying Doctor Who alien robots.
The Best Bits
As one would expect in a city the size of Leeds, there is plenty in the way of culture and entertainment. The world’s largest woollen mill has been converted into an industrial museum, while the Royal Armouries Museum contains a collection that was transferred directly from the Tower of London. There are two good-sized theatres, one of which is home to Opera North, and the largest dance centre outside central London houses both classical and a contemporary dance company. The new Leeds Arena is set to make its mark as an important national venue for live music, sports and other events.
The nightlife and restaurant scene in the city centre are buzzing and you will find some of the UK’s best nightclubs here, including Back to Basics, Speed Queen, Club Mission, Mint Club and the Orbit. Those who prefer a slightly less adventurous night out will be relieved to hear that the area is renowned for its real ale. Once a year the Leeds Carnival celebrates all things West Indian and is second only in size to the Notting Hill Carnival.
Bringing the Kids
Like any major city, Leeds has lots of family-friendly areas. Although property in the city centre tends towards apartments aimed at the urban professional, once you venture into the suburbs you will find plenty to like in terms of Victorian family houses with gardens. The important thing to consider when deciding where you want to live is the convenience for local schools. Naturally, there is plenty of choice:
- There are 55 state primary schools in the city of Leeds
- Five of these are Church of England affiliated and three are Roman Catholic
- There are 40 state secondary schools in Leeds
- One is Church of England and three are Roman Catholic
- Leeds has several Muslim schools
- There is an art college, a specialist sports college, a grammar school, a science college and a specialist language school
- Additionally there are 10 schools for pupils with special educational needs, including a school for the deaf
- There are six fee-paying secondary schools
- The city also runs seven sixth form colleges, including one of which is Roman Catholic, a contemporary dance school and colleges of music, building and art
Relocating to Leeds
For assignees moving to the UK for the first time, Leeds and the surrounding area may be something of an unknown quantity, even if they have spent time London before. However, tucked in the shadow of the Pennines, one of Britain’s areas of outstanding natural beauty, the city itself is cosmopolitan and vibrant – as well as being the economic powerhouse of the north. It may not be as wealthy as London and the South East but this makes it eminently more affordable and there are still plenty of ravishing properties on the rental market in the smart and up-and-coming quarters of the city.
However, for newcomers to Leeds, it’s not always obvious where to start looking; it’s a large swathe of urbanisation that encompasses not only exciting modern property developments and beautifully restored Victorian houses but also a few pockets of real economic deprivation. On the plus side, though, the rental values are low and if you want green open space, you’ll certainly find it. Even so, identifying the right house in the right location can be tricky. This is when employing the services of a relocation agent can really help.
At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property that will tick all your boxes. We know UK property inside out and we know how much you should expect to pay and the advantages and disadvantages of choosing different areas. We can bring expertise to all these factors and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – here or to other parts of the UK. Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.
Leeds is cosmopolitan and vibrant – and it is the economic powerhouse of the North of England. Tucked in the shadow of the Pennines, it is one of Britain’s areas of outstanding natural beauty. The rental prices are low – and, if you want green open space, you’ll certainly find it!
Average Monthly Rent - Leeds