Leeds is one of the most important cities in the north of England. With almost 800,000 people in the city and around 2½ million in the metropolitan area, it is England’s second-largest council area (after Birmingham) and the country’s fourth-largest urban area.
It is an important business centre with the United Kingdom’s fourth-largest urban economy, its third-largest manufacturing centre and, after London, it is the UK’s second-largest financial and legal centre.
In 1888, the world’s first moving pictures were filmed in Leeds and the city remains a major centre for television production with programmes such as Emmerdale filmed here.
It is also a major retail centre. Marks and Spencer was founded in Leeds and the city is noted for its shopping areas with Victorian-era shopping arcades such as the Victoria Quarter often ranked among the world’s most beautiful shopping centres.
Like most other large cities in northern England, Leeds grew significantly during the Industrial Revolution when it became a major centre for processing worsted wool and this has left a legacy of grand buildings from the Victorian era and transport infrastructure of railways and canals that developed during this time.
Although it is a vibrant metropolis noted for its shopping and nightlife, it is a place that most tourists do not visit.
Although public transport within the city is not as developed as other cities of a similar size (it is the largest city in Europe to not have a tram or metro network), Leeds is an important transport hub with England’s largest railway station outside London plus a busy bus and coach station and an important airport.