About Leeds and its area
Leeds is the fourth largest city in England (after London, Birmingham, and Manchester) and lies at the heart of a metropolitan area of two million people.
It is a prosperous, commercial, industrial, and manufacturing city and a major administrative centre. It has important cultural venues, including: the Grand Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse, the City Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute. It is host to the world-famous Leeds International Pianoforte Competition and the home of Opera North.
The area is similarly rich in early and later medieval churches, and the sites of religious communities. Kirkstall Abbey, one of Britain's most complete Cistercian monuments, is within walking distance of the University. Other well-known sites (like Fountains Abbey, Skipton Castle, or Ripon Cathedral) are easily accessible by public transport, or by car (e.g. Rievaulx, Byland, Whitby). York is just half an hour away.
Yorkshire is one of the UK's most geologically and geographically diverse counties, with landscapes that range from the hills and moors of the dales (for details on the national parks see Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors) and the magnificant coastline to the introspective chalk Wolds. Some of Europe's most important settlement studies - like Wharram Percy and West Heslerton - are located here.
Moving back to the Leeds area, the British Library has the headquarters of its Lending Division at Boston Spa, 10 miles north-east of Leeds, and the Institute has close links with the Royal Armouries, Britain's oldest founded museum, containing military and other artefacts, formerly housed in the Tower of London, now based in Leeds. Four of the five galleries in the Royal Armouries are of direct medieval interest: those describing the uses of arms and armour in war, hunting, tournaments and self-defence (the fifth gallery explores armours of the great civilisations of Asia).
As a centre for study, exploration of the Middle Ages, and recreation, Leeds has few rivals.
This page is owned by Institute for Medieval Studies and was last updated on 2 March, 2010