If you’re thinking of moving to Leeds, no doubt you’ve been drawn in by its cosy feel, great location and thriving cultural scene. The city’s location offers close proximity to major motorways and great transport links to other UK destinations, making it easily commutable to other places such as Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield, while residents are also in easy reach of the stunning scenery in the Yorkshire Dales or the Peak District.
In fact, research conducted at the start of 2020 listed Leeds as the fourth happiest place to live in the UK after Bristol, Birmingham and Liverpool, with a score of 7.2 out of 10. So, if you’re thinking of moving to Leeds, but don’t know where to begin, we’ve put together a guide of everything you need to know including:
- Where to live in Leeds
- House prices in and around the city
- The cost of living
- Living in Leeds and things to do
- Travelling around the city
- Employment opportunities
- A handy moving checklist
Where should you live in Leeds?
Like with any city, where you decide to live depends entirely on your budget and location, the type of property you want and the lifestyle you’re looking for. These are our top picks in and around the city:
Consistently named as one of the best places to live in Yorkshire Horsforth is a suburb situated just west of the city. Which attracts families and young couples alike. With its country feel and community spirit, you’d never know that Horsforth was just a quick 15-minute train journey away from the centre.
Residents can benefit from it’s sprawling green spaces such as Horsforth Hall Park while the area also boasts a bustling high street with some great independent offerings and quirky coffee shops, it’s own 18-hole golf course and the picturesque Kirkstall Abbey is just a few miles away.
Just a 5-minute drive from the centre of Leeds, Roundhay provides central living with a community feel. The high street offers a great mix of both chain and independent shops and cafes while the area also has a good range of bars and pubs for those who don’t want to venture into the city centre.
The popular Roundhay Park is one of the largest parks in Europe and contains a number of lakes, green spaces, gardens and woodland and offers the perfect place for picnics, dog walking or days out.
3. Chapel Allerton
Often referred to as the ‘Notting Hill of the North’, Chapel Allerton is a quaint suburb located just an 11-minute drive away from central Leeds, making it popular with professionals and young families. The area itself is charming and perfect for family life with great schools and plenty of independent delis, cafes and restaurants on offer along with a good mix of popular and more well-known businesses.
With its distinctly rural feel, you could be forgiven for thinking you were miles from the city in Shadwell, when in actual fact it’s just 6 miles from the centre of Leeds. The village itself is home to a pub, a few fish and chip shops and a post office while half a mile away Slaid Hill offers residents more amenities such as a dry cleaner, a bakery and the popular Shadwell Tandoori Indian restaurant.
5. Leeds Waterfront
If you’re looking for a central location with a bit of character then Leeds Waterfront is ideal. With its renovated warehouses and character properties along with cobbled streets and plenty of charm, this area offers residents a slice of calm in an otherwise bustling city.
With everything on your doorstep, you don’t need to walk far to access the huge variety of bars, restaurants and shops on offer while its central location means excellent transport links to the rest of the city and surrounding areas. The best part? The stunning views over the River Aire.
House prices in Leeds
When comparing house prices in Leeds with those in London, the average rent in the capital is 146.08% higher making moving to Leeds a much more affordable option for a range of buyers. Over the last 12 months, the average sale price of properties in Leeds was £213,924, according to Zoopla, while Rightmove reports that in the city, a terraced property is a more cost-effective choice, selling for an average of £151,159 over the last year while a semi-detached house will set you back (on average) £209,811.
Renting in Leeds
Leeds rental prices are slightly higher than those of other Northern cities, with the average rental cost in central Leeds £1,055 PCM versus Sheffield’s £795 a month, according to home.co.uk.
However, this obviously depends on where you live, as according to Numbeo a city centre 3 bedroom flat will cost on average £1,240.62 a month while a similar property outside the centre will only set you back £889.00.
Living in Leeds
In 2017, Leeds was named the UK’s best place to live for culture and is currently in the middle of its bid to be crowned the European capital of culture 2023. With its hugely diverse offerings along with its recent and ongoing cultural investment, this isn’t surprising.
The cost of living
According to Payscale, the average salary in Leeds is roughly £29,000 a year. Research from savings account website Raisin UK, who looked at the cost of happiness, found that in order to enjoy living in Leeds residents need an annual salary of at least £27,712, so living comfortably in the city is well within reach.
On average, the cost of a pint in the city is £3.90 while a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost roughly £50 for two, according to Numbeo. So, while the cost of living in the city is slightly higher than its other Northern counterparts, there are plenty of job opportunities and the salary you can expect is likely to cover the cost of living when moving to Leeds.
Things to do in Leeds
You can’t talk about Leeds without mentioning the huge variety of shopping on offer. Back 2017, Victoria Gate was named the best shopping centre in the world, while Leeds Trinity shopping centre Leeds is also home to a wide range of independent shops and boutiques, with the beautiful Grade 11-listed Victorian Grand Arcade offering something a bit different.
A Leeds night out is a right of passage for anyone living in the area and at the heart of the city’s cultural offerings lies its thriving independent food and drink scene. The city offers a huge range of nights out – from lively clubs to chilled rooftop bars.
For those on the hunt for the perfect night out: head to Merrion Street, one of the most famous hotspots in Leeds for those looking for a mix of buzzing pubs, bars and restaurants.
For those searching for something a bit different: Leeds also boasts some great alternative options, from karaoke to mini-golf – you can even challenge your friends to a game of beer pong or shuffleboard at the Roxy Ball Room, or play some classic board games at Outlaws Yacht Club.
For avid foodies: head to Leed’s lively Trinity Kitchen for a range of global street food restaurants and interesting pop-up offerings. Or, if you’re looking for something more eclectic, a visit to Kirkgate Market stalls – one of the largest indoor markets in Europe – is a must.
Arts and culture
Leeds is a hotspot for art and culture lovers and is the only UK city outside of London home to its own opera (Opera North) and ballet company. (Northern Ballet). The city also boasts its own art gallery, four theatres, an arena and a range of other venues for live music, shows and other entertainment. It’s also home to the Hyde Park Picture House which, built in 1914, is one of the oldest running cinemas in Britain.
Similarly, the city is also known for its range of art on offer. For example, the Henry Moore Institute, housed in what was once a Victorian warehouse and established back in 1997, is a must for sculpture lovers, while Leeds has a rich street art history which can be seen across the city. Follow the street art trail to see what’s on offer.
From Headingley Stadium to Elland Road, Leeds has a strong sporting heritage and is home to teams like Leeds United, Leeds Rhinos and the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, which was established over 150 years ago. The city is also known for its world-class sporting events – from the World Triathlon to its role in the Tour de Yorkshire – and is home to a multitude of golf courses along with climbing centres and trampoline parks for those looking for something different.
Education in Leeds
It’s no secret that there are four top universities located in and around the city- the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett, Leeds Trinity and Leeds Arts University. But, the city is also home to some great primary and secondary schools, too.
According to Leeds Live’s ‘Real School Guide’ which looked at 51 different measures and local government data to reveal the top secondary schools in Leeds. These are:
- The Morley Academy
- Allerton High School
- Abbey Grange Church of England Academy
- Roundhay School
- St. Mary’s Menston
Where to work in Leeds
A leading financial hub, Leed’s boasts one of the UK’s largest financial areas outside of London, with companies such as First Direct and Yorkshire Bank both having headquarters in the city.
Leeds also has a bustling creative and technology industry – Channel 4’s headquarters recently relocated there, creating an additional 250 jobs for those in TV and production roles, while companies such as GHD, Asda and Sky Betting also have head offices in the city.
Leeds has seen a huge boom in recent years in the technology industry, while it’s Financial Quarter is also home to the largest financial and professional services community in England. There are more than 30 national and international banks located in the city including The Bank of England, Aviva and Lloyds TSB have established their regional offices. In fact, as of September 2020, there are 1,560 legal companies based in the Leeds region. It’s no surprise, then, that Leeds City Council announced plans in 2020 for an inclusive growth strategy to use the benefits across all sectors to boost the local economy and tackle inequalities across the city.
If you’re a business looking to relocate, then a move to Leeds could be ideal. While office space is slightly more expensive than in other nearby cities, Leeds’ working population of 1.37 million and its range of great universities means that the city is home to a highly-skilled workforce, perfect for building up a business.
Travelling around Leeds
Like other major cities, Leeds is served by a great transport network. Leeds City Train Station sees around 90,000 people pass through each and every day, and offers quick connections to other major UK destinations. There is also a great bus network that runs throughout the city as well as the LeedsCityBus, which links passengers with key locations across the city for just £1.
If you’re looking to head further afield, Leeds Bradford Airport provides a huge number of flights, both within the UK and to international destinations, while the central location of the city means it’s simple to get around the rest of the UK, too.
Moving to Leeds: relocation checklist
1. Double-check the details
It might sound obvious, but double-checking all of your moving materials, dates and paperwork is the key to making sure you’re on top of everything and don’t miss anything out. Similarly, you’ll want to check as soon as possible when you can move into your new property and when you have to return the keys for your existing one. After all, there’s nothing worse than messing up the dates and finding yourself without a bed but with a whole truckload worth of stuff and nowhere to put it.
2. Don’t forget to notify people and organisations of your change of address:
- Government bodies (such as the electoral register, HMRC and DVLA)
- Utility providers
- Insurance companies
- Banks, lenders and credit card companies
- Bill companies (such as broadband and mobile phone contracts)
- Doctors and health providers
- Subscriptions and pet databases
3. Declutter, declutter, declutter
There’s nothing more satisfying than a good clear out, and there’s no better time than when you’re moving house. Having a clear plan of action can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and keep you on track. Here are our top decluttering tips:
- Gather up everything you need, such as bags and boxes, before you begin
- Work through one room at a time
- Keep separate boxes for keeping, donating and throwing away
- Be ruthless – think carefully about the last time you wore or used an item, and immediately throw away anything that’s damaged or broken.
If a large amount of your decluttering process involves sorting out your wardrobe, take a look at our top tips for clearing out and storing your clothes between seasons.
4. Pack up your boxes
As tempting as it might be to leave it to the last minute, it’s a good idea to get started on your packing early to avoid any last-minute stress. A good tip is to start packing all your non-essentials a month or before you move and to keep everything you might need in the first few days such as a toaster, kettle, a few plates, cups and cutlery sets in a separate box for ease when you move in.
Go one step further when labelling your moving boxes and colour code each by room using coloured markers or washi tape – you should do this both on the sides and the top so you know what’s in it no matter how your boxes are stacked. While it would be ideal to write each item within on the outside of the box, in reality, this is time-consuming.
Instead, write down some of the key items in each box such as ‘bedding’ or ‘kitchen utensils’ to help you know what to unpack first when you move in. and avoid rummaging around in endless boxes. Just be careful with valuable or expensive items and never label these to deter any potential thieves. For more detailed tips, take a look at our moving house packing guide now.
5. Hire a removals company
If you’re relocating, with so much to sort out it can often be easier to hire a removals company to take care of your furniture and other belongings and to make your move go more smoothly. Typically, when you get in touch about an estimation you’ll need to tell them the date of your move along with timings and addresses, how much stuff you need moving, to make sure you have a large enough van and if you need any assistance unloading or assembling furniture. If you’d prefer to drive your own belongings, or have less to move, you can also make use of
6. Have you thought about self storage in Leeds?
Chances are, if you’re moving to Leeds for the first time you’ll need a bit of time to get settled and scout out the various areas and sights on offer before you figure out where you want to live. Self storage offers a great opportunity to scout out potential areas to live without worrying about having the space to fit everything in. Similarly, if you’re buying a property that needs some upgrading, self storage provides the perfect place to keep your items until your renovations are complete. Read our top storage unit packing tips now.
So, why store with us?
At Ready Steady Store, we offer our customers three separate self storage facilities across Leeds, so no matter where you are you can make use of our services:
We also offer:
- Flexibility: if you need to, you can scale up or down your storage unit to suit your needs. Just get in touch with your local store today, and only pay for what you need.
- Updated safety procedures: all of our Leeds self storage stores offer online registration and contact-free move-ins along with social distancing policies so you can be certain you’re staying safe when you store with us.
- Security is our top priority: we have 24-hour CCTV at all Ready Steady Store facilities for peace of mind while most of our sites also feature high perimeter fencing and PIN code access so only our customers can enter our sites outside of office hours.
- On-site extras: for all of your packing needs, head over to our box shop now whole we also offer shelves and racking to keep your unit tidy along with trolleys and lift access for ease when moving in and out.