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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.

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.

3. We also have a lido.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

Universal Pictures

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

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

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.

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