Comedians telling jokes about Leeds may have to use new material. Old ones such as, “What’s the best thing to come out of Leeds? Answer, “The A65” will fall on increasingly deaf ears now that the City has made it into Lonely Planet’s top ten undiscovered European destinations for tourists.
Entering the charts at number five – behind Zagreb in Croatia, Gotland in Sweden, the Galicia region of Spain, and northern Montenegro – Leeds was the only UK destination to make the list. It’s a considerable coup for the former industrial city which built its wealth on woollen mills and iron foundries. Those industries have long gone but the city has done a good job of building up the UK’s second largest financial hub – and having Britain’s fastest rate of private-sector jobs growth into the bargain.
Of course visitors to Leeds are not going there just to admire the financial hub but are being drawn instead to attractions such as Royal Armouries Museum, where they can see a full suit of armour for an elephant; Kirkgate Market, where Marks & Spencer first set up their stall and Kirkstall Abbey, one of the country’s most complete medieval Cistercian abbeys.
In fact, the publishers praised Leeds for its ‘modern outlook and flourishing cultural scene, with a thriving nightlife and a growing reputation for food and craft beer’. More than that, its destinations editor, James Smart, called it “a confident cultural hub in the North of England”.
Here’s a list of other stuff you can see and do in Leeds.
Leeds Indie Food Festival: The annual food fest runs until May 28.
Leeds West Indian Carnival: May onwards (marking its 50th year)
Leeds Festival: One of Britain’s biggest music events, August 25-27.
England v West Indies Test, Headingley: From August 25-29.
As an old comic, the late Frankie Howerd used to say “Titter ye not!”