The city received the accolade in Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2017 list, which highlights the 10 most exciting European destinations to visit this year. Leeds has featured at number five in the list: the only UK city to be included.
Lonely Planet said that Leeds earned its place thanks to its transformation over the past decade, with urban regeneration accompanied by a flourishing cultural scene, growing food and craft beer reputation and thriving entertainment and nightlife.
Meg Robinson, Leeds Beckett Students’ Union President Elect, commented: “It is not surprising that Leeds has been listed as a destination to visit this summer. It is a vibrant and exciting city, home to over 60,000 university students and more than 75 nationalities with 85 different languages. As someone who has lived in Leeds for a long time, I am proud to say that it is one of the most popular student cities across the UK. It doesn’t matter where you have come from, or what your interests are, from underground music scenes, to exciting bars, to museums and art, Leeds has something for everyone, and that’s what makes it so great.”
Lonely Planet’s spokesperson and UK Destination Editor, James Smart, said: “Once defined by its industrial past, Leeds is now a confident, cultural hub in the North of England. With major events this year including the reopening of Leeds Art Gallery and the 50th anniversary of Leeds Carnival, there’s never been a better time to head to Yorkshire and join the party.
“From cultural adventure to spectacular scenery, Europe has something to offer every traveller. For Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2017 we’ve compiled our hotlist of destinations across the continent to visit this summer, all offering something new, exciting or undiscovered that make them worth exploring right now.”
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is a fabulous endorsement for Leeds and to be recognised as one of the top places in Europe people want to visit, enjoy and explore is something that as a city, we can all be incredibly proud of.
“To see Leeds take its place alongside some of the world’s top travel destinations is testament to the vision and hard work of the many businesses, organisations and attractions who contribute so much to the continued growth of our thriving visitor economy.
“It’s particularly encouraging to see the quality of our city’s impressive cultural, leisure and nightlife scenes acknowledged and I hope this recognition means we will soon be welcoming even more visitors from across Europe and beyond to experience everything Leeds has to offer.”
Leeds was also voted Britain’s best city for quality of life in the 2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index.
The city of Leeds is a hotbed of culture and activity: bursting with exhibitions, live performance and world famous music festivals. At Leeds Beckett, students and staff are involved in the city’s arts in every discipline and at every level, whether that’s on stage or behind the scenes. Highlights include Light Night, Live at Leeds, the design of a local community centre and working with recording artists.
Leeds’s reputation for food and drink has also been boosted by Leeds Beckett’s Independent Food and Drink Academy, offering advice, support and training to help businesses to grow in this dynamic sector within the city.