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16 Things Nobody Tells You About Leeds

Basically our city is awesome.

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1. We make wine.

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Hold up, there's a vineyard in Leeds. A real vineyard. No, it's nothing like the South of France but it's a vineyard nonetheless. Leventhorpe Vineyard is a low-altitude spot that sprawls 5 acres and makes it's own wines, including the delicious Seyval Blanc. Go, discover, drink.

2. Our art galleries do pizza too.

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More than just art and exhibitions, the best thing about White Cloth Gallery has to be its pizza. Hang left at the roundabout as you leave the station through the carpark exit and find tomato-cheese goodness a couple doors down.

3. We do rooftops pretty well.

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It doesn't sing and shout about them but Leeds has some great rooftops. When it's summer and you're not sitting on your Hyde Park student house roof (that may or may not fall down any minute), go lap up the rays on Belgrave Music Hall's rooftop. You've also got Everyman Cinema's terrace too.

4. We've got big, beautiful open water spaces.

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Low and behold the beauty that is Eccup Reservoir. Venture out of the city for peace, quiet and natural beauty.

5. Our independent burger chains are quality.

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Sack off Meat Liquor and Red's and go to Boss Burgers instead. A) It's on Brudenell Grove so probably minutes from your house, B) There ain't queues, and C) Their burger game is strong.

6. Hyde Park Picture House is a real gem.

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Not only is Hyde Park Picture House a quality throwback in time and a brownie-point winning date idea, it's also the only gas-lit cinema in the UK don't you know?

7. Kirgate Market is actually amazing.

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Yes, you've probably heard Kirgate Market is the home of Marks & Spencer and the largest indoor market in Europe, but what started out as a penny bazaar is just as thriving today. Do your weekly shop here and leave with change in your pocket. It literally has everything, and at snipped prices too. You will leave with one too many packets of biscuits and/or Space Raiders cos 5 packets for 40p is a bargain.

8. Leeds-born Red's True Barbecue is a trailblazer.

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Red’s True Barbecue is heaven for BBQ fans. What was formerly a site of pilgrimage in our city has now exploded over the country, with sites in Manchester, Nottingham, and this month, London too. Remember your roots, Red's.

9. Our university alumni rules.

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Those corridors you slump down daily were formerly the stomping ground of some successful folk. The University of Leeds' alumni includes Jay Rayner, The Guardian's resident restaurant cynic, Steve Bell, political cartoonist for The Guardian, Nambaryn Enkhbayar, the former President of Mongolia, alt-j,and Corinne Bailey Rae.

10. We've got beautiful libraries.

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Squeezed in on Commercial Street between the likes of Clinton Cards, Paperchase and Footlocker, The Leeds Library is probably something you've never taken a second look at. Outside it's nothing special, but inside — if you're lucky enough to step inside, it's members-only — it's a beautifully ornate library, flooded with sunlight and with not as much as a page out of place. It's nearly 250 years old but still looks immaculate.

12. Ira B's is worth your appetite.

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Ira B’s is the best restaurant in town. But literally. Trip Advisor says so. It's #1 of 1,472 eateries in the city. It calls itself "classic Jewish food, slightly bonkers mood".

13. We know our gin.

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A little factoid for you discerning Loiners. Jake Burger of Jake's Bar — your Saturday booze haunt — is also one of the founders of Portobello Road Gin. We can call that our own, right? And an excuse to drink more of it. Bottoms up.

14. Notting Hill Carnival has nothing on us.

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Your time in Leeds isn't complete without a good boozy, high-spirited day out at Carnival. We like to think Notting Hill Carnival has nothing on us and our Leeds West Indian Carnival, an event that sees 100,000 dancing and bouncing their way through Potternewton Park, Chapeltown and Harehills, fuelled with music and rum. It happens every August Bank Holiday weekend and it's the oldest Carnival in Europe.

15. Our date night spots are pretty special.

The New Conservatory

Your next date should be here. The New Conservatory is a sophisticated hidden gem of the city centre, tucked away on Albion Place. It's got moody lighting, low, slouchy sofas, plenty of wine, and a pianist on hand to set the mood. Make your next Tinder date more romantic and grown up with an intimate afternoon right here.

16. And we've got pubs that are older than America.

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Hidden down a back alley, Whitelock's Ale House is a place to behold. Not only is it the oldest tap house in the city at 300 years old, but it still does a quality pint and pie. Take all visitors and guests.

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