13 December 2021

Serviced and Flexible Office Guide: Leeds

Offices to rent in Leeds

Situated in the county of West Yorkshire, to the east of Bradford and north of Sheffield, is Leeds, a city bursting with creative energy, economic growth, and breath-taking views of the exquisite Yorkshire countryside.

Leeds was a small manorial borough in the 13th century. It then became a major centre for the production and trade of wool in the 17th and 18th centuries, eventually developing into a major mill town during the Industrial Revolution. Today, Leeds is the second largest metropolitan district in England and the largest centre for financial and legal services outside of London. As a result, the Leeds economy, and that of the wider region, is well positioned for the future. While the city has traditionally focused on industries such as manufacturing, chemicals, education, engineering, finance and law, Leeds is now also trailblazing a path forward in digital and creative industries, medical technology, and business services. Looking ahead, fintech, data analytics and digital industries will be key areas of growth for the city.

In addition, Leeds also has one of the highest concentrations of higher education institutions in Europe, including Leeds University, which was established in 1904 and is ranked in the top 100 universities in the QS World University Rankings.

Thanks to the city’s fantastic career opportunities, thriving economy, good transport links, vibrant city centre and gorgeous surrounding countryside, Leeds has developed an enviable reputation as a great place to work, live, study or run a business. In fact, in March 2021, The Sunday Times rated Leeds as one of the best places to live in the North.

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Notable business areas in Leeds

There are currently over 32,000 registered businesses based in Leeds, including more than 6,000 small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for more than half of employment. Many of these businesses can be found in office developments in or near the city centre, which account for 31% of all jobs in the wider district.

Leeds also has one of the most diverse economies of all the UK's main employment centres, with key sectors ranging from finance, retail and leisure to tourism, construction, manufacturing, and the creative and digital industries. This has led to the city experiencing the fastest rate of private sector job growth of any UK city and having the highest ratio of public to private sector jobs of all the UK's core cities.

There are also planned improvements to the Leeds City Region transport infrastructure, including strategic new train stations at White Rose Office Park, Thorpe Park and Leeds Bradford International Airport Parkway, which will further aid business growth.

Transport connections in Leeds are fantastic

Leeds is one of the biggest transport hubs in the North, which means there are plenty of ways to get around.

Travelling by train is fast and convenient

Leeds has the third-busiest train station outside of London, making it easy to travel throughout Yorkshire and to other destinations in the UK. There are direct services available to London and Edinburgh, and reliable connections to local stations that serve as commuter hubs for those living outside the city centre.

Leeds is well served by the M1 and A1

Leeds is served by the M1 and A1 heading south towards London and the East Midlands, the A1(M) heading north towards Newcastle upon Tyne and Edinburgh, the M62 heading both west towards Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool and the M62 and east towards Kingston upon Hull and the Port of Hull. There’s also an Inner Ring Road that carries traffic across the city, whereas the City Centre Loop distributes local traffic around the city centre.

The closest airport is only eight miles from Leeds

Leeds Bradford Airport is only eight miles from Leeds and can be easily reached by bus or taxi. The airport has flights to more than 70 European destinations, including 11 capital cities, and connecting flights to countries all around the world.

Leeds is easy to navigate by bike

Cycling is a quick and affordable way to travel around Leeds and the city is easy to navigate by bike. Leeds has a network of cycle routes between different neighbourhoods to the city centre. Many of the main roads in and out of the Leeds city centre also have cycle lanes or paths to help make cycling safer.

Arriva and First Bus keep the city well serviced

Buses are the most used form of transport in Leeds with Arriva and First Bus keeping the city well serviced. The Leeds CityBus also connects key locations in the city centre and passes through the major business and shopping districts. There are also several buses that offer services to surrounding towns and villages.

Leeds has outstanding business amenities

The hotels in Leeds exceed expectations

Whatever your trip entails, whether it’s for business or leisure, and whatever your budget or requirements, you’ll find somewhere to stay in Leeds that exceeds all expectations. Spend a night or two at well-known favourites like the Hilton or the Marriott, where you can enjoy all the creature comforts, high-quality amenities, and the highest level of personalised and professional service you would expect from an international luxury hotel brand. Another fantastic four-star option is the Park Plaza Hotel, conveniently located just metres away from Leeds shopping district, and replete with spacious and air-conditioned rooms, free Wi-Fi and modern bathrooms.

Alternatively, if boutique hotels are more your style, book a stay at the Malmaison. Housed within a gorgeous Victorian building, which was once the former Leeds City Tramways Office, Malmaison Leeds offers 100 rooms and suites over five floors, each with big, beautiful beds and all the amenities you could wish for in a luxury city centre hotel. You can also consider staying at the Dakota Hotel where you can enjoy contemporary elegance, impeccable service and stylish, sleek and beautifully decorated rooms.

Leeds is a must-visit destination for foodies

Leeds boasts a thriving food and drink scene. The city has a wonderful selection of restaurants ranging from casual dining, street food and quirky cafes to sophisticated fine dining and Michelin star restaurants. Whether you’re heading out for a quick dinner with colleagues, grabbing a bite in between meetings, or needing to impress a client or potential investor, this northern foodie hub has you covered.

Start off your day with a caffeine boost and a delicious breakfast at Laynes Espresso, Leeds’ first and best artisan coffee shop, conveniently located around the corner from the train station. From there you can grab a quick bite to eat at the variety of street food cafes that serve up an array of tasty meals from around the world.

For dinner, if running from back-to-back meetings has built up an appetite, you should definitely head over to , one of the best all-you-can-eat restaurants in Leeds. This Brazilian feast is not your average buffet, here you can enjoy as much of the highest quality barbequed meat as your heart desires along with a range of delicious sides and salads, all served in a beautiful setting.

Other firm local favourites include the Ox Club, an award-winning contemporary British restaurant championing the very best of Yorkshire produce, as well as Shears Yard, an independent kitchen and bar, which offers diners visually exciting, honest dishes inspired by both classic and more unexpected flavour combinations.

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Other useful amenities

If you enjoy a breath of fresh air after a long day in the office, then Leeds most certainly does not disappoint. The city is just a stone’s throw away from some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK. But you don’t have to leave the city to get your taste of greenery. Roundhay Park is one of the largest city parks in Europe, with over 700 acres of parkland, lakes and gardens for people to enjoy and relax in.

If retail therapy is more your thing, Leeds is hard to beat. The city centre is wonderfully compact, meaning you’re never too far from the next shop. The biggest shopping destination in Leeds is Trinity Leeds with over 120 shops, cafes, bars and a cinema. But it’s not just big-name brands that find a home in Leeds, there are also a healthy number of independent shops, designer stores and market stalls.

If exercising is the best way to clear your head, then Leeds offers plenty of options when it comes to staying fit. There’s a Nuffield Health, Pure Gym and Gym Group all located in and around the city centre. For those who enjoy playing or watching sport, there are plenty of opportunities to get close to the action. The Yorkshire County Cricket Club is considered one of the best in the world, and the Leeds Rhinos rugby team is one of the most successful in Super League history. Arts, culture and music lovers also won’t be left wanting. The visual arts are well served by Leeds Art Gallery, with a remarkable collection of twentieth century works. Leeds is also the only city outside London to play host to both a resident opera and ballet company as well as four major theatres, a world-class arena, and countless independent venues.

Key Tenants in Leeds

  • William Hill
  • Channel 4
  • International Personal Finance
  • Asda
  • Leeds Building Society
  • Northern Foods
  • Capita Group
  • KPMG
  • Direct Line
  • Aviva
  • Yorkshire Building Society
  • BT Group
  • TD Waterhouse

Serviced and flexible offices to rent in Leeds

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Key agents in Leeds

  • JLL
  • WSB Property Consultants
  • Savills
  • Carter Towler
  • Michael Steel & Co
  • Sanderson Weatherall LLP
  • Lemon Lettings
  • Knight Frank LLP
  • Brackenridge Hanson Tate
  • Fox Lloyd Jones

Interesting facts about Leeds

  • Leeds is famous for being the birthplace of many famous people and brands including Marks and Spencer, which opened its first shop in the Kirkgate Market over a hundred years ago, as well as First World War Prime Minister, Henry Herbert Asquith, who was born in Morley.
  • In 1920 JRR Tolkein took up a post of Reader in English language at the University of Leeds, subsequently becoming the youngest professor there. Many academics also believe that the dramatic landscapes of Yorkshire may have been a significant influence on the creation of Tolkein’s masterpieces.
  • The first commercially successful steam locomotive, the Salamanca, was built in Leeds in 1812 by Matthew Murray. The train transported coal along the Middleton railway, between Middleton and Leeds. This Leeds-based invention helped shape modern train travel as we know it today.
  • Carbonated water was first discovered in Leeds. The inventor Joseph Priestley is thought to have created carbonated water by accident in 1767 at a brewery in Leeds. This discovery began to be produced on a large scale in 1781, with the first factory being built in Manchester.