Last updated 16 May 2022. Here is some useful information to help you plan how to reach Leeds and how to travel to your accommodation once you have arrived in the UK.
COVID-19 travel requirements
You should still check any requirements :
- for the country you are travelling from
- for any other country you are travelling through
- your transport provider asks for
- related to your travel insurance
Keep checking all relevant requirements before you travel as guidance can change rapidly.
When you plan the details of your journey and travel connections remember to allow time for any delays and queues at immigration control.
When you enter the UK do not use the electronic ePassport gates, as you will not receive the correct immigration stamps if you enter via this method. Instead, make sure you speak to an immigration official to avoid any problems.
Before you leave home
Before leaving home make sure you:
- Keep checking the UK government guidance, as this can change rapidly.
- Have arranged where to stay on your first night.
- Know the arrangements for collecting your accommodation key.
Many accommodation site offices are not open in the evening, so if you plan to arrive in the evening, contact your accommodation in advance to check how to collect your keys when you arrive.
- Know the 24-hour phone number for your accommodation.
- Make a note of the University Security Office address and 24-hour telephone number. You can contact the University Security Office in case of an emergency.
- Make a note of the International Welcome contact details in case of any problems. You can find information on how to contact the International Welcome team on the Arriving page.
- Check you have packed your travel documents, essential documents and medication in your hand luggage. Find out more on the What to bring page.
- Read the ‘Travel Safety Tips’ section below. Be confident about your trip by preparing before you travel.
Travelling to Leeds
When you arrive in the UK by train, coach or plane, there are different ways you can travel to Leeds. Research your transport options from different airports before you book your flight.
The University of Leeds provides transport from Manchester Airport and Leeds Bradford Airport to students who are arriving in Leeds for the first time. Find out more about booking this service on our Arriving page.
To help you plan the best route to reach Leeds by coach or train, you can use the Traveline website.
It’s useful to know that tickets are usually cheaper the earlier you book them online. However, be aware that the cheaper ticket options can be less flexible, which means that if you are delayed on your journey you might not able to change your ticket.
You can also reach Leeds by train. Check train times, routes and buy tickets on the National Rail website.
If you’re arriving in London, as part of your travel you might need to change train and take the London underground for part of your journey.
Depending on where you arrive in Leeds, in most cases you will then need to arrange transport to your accommodation. Find out more information on ‘Travelling to your accommodation’ section below.
In this section, you can find travel information on four airports you might choose to travel to.
The University can arrange a pick-up service from our nearest airports at key arrival times:
- Leeds Bradford
- Manchester Airport
You may also decide to travel to:
- London Heathrow Airport
- London Gatwick Airport
Below you can find more information on travel options from each airport and their distance from Leeds city centre.
Leeds Bradford Airport
Leeds Bradford Airport is around 12 kilometres from Leeds city centre. It is a small local airport and immigration queues will often be shorter than other airports.
The University of Leeds can arrange free transport from Leeds Bradford Airport to the University of Leeds campus for students travelling to Leeds for the first time.
Book this service on our Arriving page.
If you would like to arrange your own transport, you can find information on transport options on the Leeds Bradford Airport website.
Bus: You can reach Leeds in around 30 minutes by bus from Leeds Bradford Airport. ‘Flyer A1’ buses run every 20 minutes between the airport and the city centre.
Private taxi service: You can book your own private taxi service from the airport and arrange to be dropped off at your accommodation directly. You can pre-book a taxi through Arrow Cars or via the Uber app. A taxi journey from the airport to Leeds city centres take around 20 minutes.
Manchester Airport is around 90km from the centre of Leeds.
The University of Leeds provides free transport from Manchester Airport to the University of Leeds campus for students travelling to Leeds for the first time.
Book this service on our Arriving page.
You can find information on other travel options on the Manchester Airport website.
Train: You can get a direct train from Manchester Airport to Leeds train station. The journey will take around one hour and twenty minutes. View routes, times and book your train ticket on the National Rail website.
Coach: You can also travel by coach from Manchester Airport to Leeds Coach Station, which will usually be the cheapest option. The journey will take around two hours. Check the National Express or the Megabus website for coach times and to book you ticket.
Private taxi service: You can book your own private taxi service from the airport and arrange to be dropped off at your accommodation directly. You can pre-book a taxi through Arrow Cars or via the Uber app. A journey from the airport to Leeds city centre takes around 20 minutes. This is the most expensive travel option.
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport is around 320km away from Leeds. Check the London Heathrow Airport website to help you plan your journey.
Coach: You can travel by coach from Heathrow to Leeds with either National Express or Megabus. This is usually the cheapest option and the journey will take between six and eight hours and you might need to change coaches at London Victoria coach station.
Train: If you are thinking of travelling by train, be aware that there is no direct train from Heathrow Airport to Leeds. Travelling by train can be difficult with heavy luggage. You will need to change trains and use the London underground and the journey will take around three hours and forty minutes. To view routes, times and to book a ticket check the National Rail website.
Plane: You may be able to book a connecting flight to Leeds Bradford or Manchester Airport. You will then need to arrange transport from the airport to Leeds city centre – find more information about how to do this in the ‘Leeds Bradford Airport’ and ‘Manchester Airport’ sections above.
London Gatwick Airport
Gatwick airport is around 380km from Leeds. Find out more transport options available on the London Gatwick Airport website.
Coach: You can travel by coach from London Gatwick Airport to Leeds coach station with National Express or Megabus. The coach is usually the cheapest option and the journey will take between seven and a half and nine hours and it often includes a change of coach at London Victoria coach station.
Train: There are many routes between Gatwick and Leeds train station, many will include between one and three train changes. If you decide to travel by train, the journey will take around three and a half hours. Check times, routes and book your ticket on the National Rail website.
Travelling to your accommodation
If you arrive at Leeds coach or train station, you will need to arrange your own transport to your accommodation.
We recommend taking a taxi at this point of the journey. There are permanent taxi ranks just outside Leeds train and coach station without needing to pre-book them.
Make sure you have some cash with you to pay for transport but keep in mind that taxi drivers won’t accept £50 notes so it’s important that you have £10 or £20 notes with you that you can easily use to pay.
Remember not to bring large amounts of cash with you and that always be mindful of your surroundings. You read more about our ‘Travel safety tips’ below.
You can also pre-book a taxi through Arrow Cars or book a pre-paid ride using the Uber app.
If you’re delayed or have problems with your journey, phone your accommodation to let them know of your arrival plans. If you are not able to contact your accommodation, take a taxi to the University Security Office where staff are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Travel safety tips
- Keep your passport safe and never give it to anyone except an immigration official.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash.
- Do not leave your bags unsupervised during your journey.
- Arrange travel insurance cover before you travel. It will not stop something from going wrong, but it will protect you financially.
- Keep your travel documents, essential documents and medication in your hand luggage. Find out more on our What to bring page.
Save important contact details in your phone so that you know who to get in touch with if you have problems at any point in your journey:
If you arranged to collect your keys but your journey is delayed, contact the Accommodation Office to let them know about your plans.
Phone: +44 (0)113 343 7777
If you’re staying in private accommodation, make sure you know who to contact if you’re delayed on your journey.
International Welcome Helpdesk
Opening hours: 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
Contact us with questions about our airport pick up service, ask for any support you need on the day of your arrival, and get help with recovering any lost or delayed luggage.
Phone: +44 (0)113 3439599
University Security Office
Open 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
If you arrive at the weekend or outside of working hours and have an emergency, contact the University Security Office.
Find out more about how we can support you when you arrive.