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19 Surprising Little Things You Probably Didn't Know About Leeds

Bear pits, lidos, and universities.

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1. We have an actual bear pit just chilling on the side of the road.

We had a zoo for a little while – Leeds Zoological and Botanical Gardens, to be specific. It opened in 1840 but only lasted until 1858, which is probably just as well, all things considered.
Flickr: atoach / Creative Commons

We had a zoo for a little while – Leeds Zoological and Botanical Gardens, to be specific. It opened in 1840 but only lasted until 1858, which is probably just as well, all things considered.

2. Our buses have USB chargers and red leather seats.

3. We also have a lido.

It’s absolutely fucking freezing most of the time but Ilkley Lido is still up and running and utterly glorious, as you can see. There was also a lido at Roundhay Park, but it's now a car park. Far more practical, way less fun.
Instagram: @leannealexa

It’s absolutely fucking freezing most of the time but Ilkley Lido is still up and running and utterly glorious, as you can see. There was also a lido at Roundhay Park, but it's now a car park. Far more practical, way less fun.

4. Charles Dickens absolutely fucking hated the place.

He called it odious. Mind you, this was written around the time we kept bears on the side of the street.
Rischgitz / Getty Images

He called it odious. Mind you, this was written around the time we kept bears on the side of the street.

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5. Nobody here actually says "ee bah gum".

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Literally, nobody.

6. We have not one, not two, but three universities.

This is Leeds University. Nice, right? We've also got Leeds Trinity and Leeds Beckett. Oh, and a shit-ton of specialist colleges too. Maybe this is why 9% of the UK's graduates come from Leeds. Or maybe it's just 'cos we're bloody brilliant people.
Instagram: @georgies_22

This is Leeds University. Nice, right? We've also got Leeds Trinity and Leeds Beckett. Oh, and a shit-ton of specialist colleges too. Maybe this is why 9% of the UK's graduates come from Leeds. Or maybe it's just 'cos we're bloody brilliant people.

7. It’s not just visitors that hate the loop system in the centre of town: Locals detest it too.

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And we love to bitch about it with every taxi driver we meet.

8. We have over 1,000 shops in the city centre and over five miles of shopping streets.

We also have Europe’s largest indoor market: Kirkgate Markett. Oh, & Marks and Spencer was born and bred in Leeds. You're WELCOME, rest of the country.
Flickr: 118118485@N05

We also have Europe’s largest indoor market: Kirkgate Markett. Oh, & Marks and Spencer was born and bred in Leeds. You're WELCOME, rest of the country.

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9. We have a posh private library.

There is even a little section to make your own tea or coffee.
Flickr: 118118485@N05 / Creative Commons

There is even a little section to make your own tea or coffee.

10. And our public one ain't too shabby either.

Not so grim up north after all.
Flickr / Via Flickr: 118118485@N05 / Creative Commons

Not so grim up north after all.

11. Leeds Arena was designed so every seat has a perfect line of sight to the stage.

Squinting and craning your neck around a pole is no longer a thing in Leeds.
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Squinting and craning your neck around a pole is no longer a thing in Leeds.

12. We’re up for City of Culture 2023, don’t you know?

Warner Bros. Pictures / Via dicapriosmile.tumblr.com

Who likes Milton Keynes anyway?

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13. One of the many reasons we should win is the fact that we have our own opera, ballet, and theatre companies.

That's right. Opera North, Northern Ballet, and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Not that impressed? Well, we're the only provincial UK city who have all three, so you should be.
Instagram: @scottjbird

That's right. Opera North, Northern Ballet, and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Not that impressed? Well, we're the only provincial UK city who have all three, so you should be.

14. Although we have to admit, Leeds Bradford Airport isn't really in Leeds or Bradford.

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Instead it’s an equal distance from both. In other words, close to NO ONE.

15. On the plus side, there is an epic new train station on the way.

Sure, it's due for completion around 2027, but we are a patient folk.
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Sure, it's due for completion around 2027, but we are a patient folk.

16. Our people don’t appreciate it when you say, “Leeds? That's like Manchester, right?”

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Sorry, but just no.

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17. Our summer climate is one of the driest across all of the UK's big cities.

Although we have to admit, it can rain at any minute. Not like Manchester though, where it rains ALL THE TIME.
Flickr: jodcol / Creative Commons

Although we have to admit, it can rain at any minute. Not like Manchester though, where it rains ALL THE TIME.

18. Buying in Leeds is cheap, but it’s still kinda expensive for the North.

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19. But then again, you get to live in this beautiful city.

And how can you put a price on that?
Grace Holliday / Via facebook.com

And how can you put a price on that?