In recent years Leeds has hosted some major national events such as the prestigious MOBO awards, Tour de France’s Grand Depart and The British Art Show. We’ve seen our high street transformed with the hugely successful Leeds Trinity shopping centre, helped launch national food brands such as Red’s True BBQ and been voted the top city to live in England by MoneySuperMarket’s 2015 quality of living index.
Leeds really is an awesome city, and it’s only getting better, here’s a little round up of what to expect over the coming months…
1.FOOD & DRINK
POP UPS & SUPPER CLUBS...
AFSANEH'S PERSIAN KITCHEN
Since making it to the final of the 2012 the MasterChef, Afsaneh Kaviani has been busy bringing her vibrant take on Middle Eastern cuisine to anticipated diners up and down the country with her exclusive Supper Clubs.
The Supper Club’s location is only revealed once you’ve booked and usually costs £42 for a 5 course Persian feast. Afsaneh’s next Leeds based club is on the 30th April, follow her on Twitter or email email@example.com to enquire.
THE HEDONIST PROJECT
The first of its kind in the UK, The Hedonist Project is a chameleon-like, seasonal bar which changes themes every 3 months within its permanent location; the old Wok On site on Leeds’ Lower Briggate.
Their latest theme, Old Tom's Gin Kitchen - which replaces their recent Liquor and Whisky concept (a collaboration with Scotch whisky powerhouse Diageo) - promises to deliver yet another menu of outstanding signature cocktails and features over 60 fine gins to sample at your pleasure.
THE NOISE OF STRANGERS
Known for their unique venues and sell-out events, The Noise of Strangers is one of Leeds’ favourite Supper Clubs. Having hosted recent events at Tall Boys Beer Market, Temple Works and Canal Mills, their Spring Restaurant will once again collaborate with Masterchef winner Steven Edwards along with Josh Stanzl and their team from Etch Food. Expect six courses, wine and spirits in the beautiful surroundings of the Leeds Corn Exchange on the 24th & 25th of May.
BOOZE GLORIOUS BOOZE...
Leeds has been host to an abundance of drinks festivals over the last few years naming Cocktails in The City (7 & 8 April), Leeds Loves Cocktails (6 - 12 June) and Leeds International Beer Festival (8 - 11 Sept) as just a few.
And this year Leeds Corn Exchange will become host to the UK’s first Gin and Vodka Festival which hopes to showcase over 80 Gins and 30 Vodkas over the early May Bank Holiday weekend on the 29th & 30th of April. Expect live music, street food and an opportunity to meet the distillers from leading brands.
Tickets are on sale now, for more info visit www.ginvodkafestival.com
LEEDS INDIE FOOD FESTIVAL...
Leeds’ vibrant independent scene is set to unite once again for a mouth-watering celebration of food and drink, marking the return of the city’s unique Leeds Indie Food festival from 12th to 30th May 2016.
Last year’s event was the first of its kind in the country, seeng over 100 events take place in more than 50 venues, with 100 businesses collaborating to entertain diners, drinkers, street food lovers and culture vultures. Festival-goers were treated to everything from tasting menus to dine-along film screenings, with edible art exhibitions, cookery workshops and craft beer tastings thrown in for good measure.
This year’s festival is launching in similar style, with over 80 businesses already on board planning an even more creative programme of events in well-loved independent restaurants, bars, coffee shops and venues across Leeds. Check out the complete calendar of events on their website where the LIF16 discounts Passport can be purchased for a mere £10; www.leedsindiefood.co.uk
2. ART & CULTURE
THE ART HOSTEL...
Leeds' first ever social enterprising Art Hostel is a project developed by East Street Arts supported by Bauman Lyons Architects and Key Fund. The project plans to 'harness the creative talents and pure imagination of artistic practitioners' whilst welcoming audiences from in and beyond the city to engage in a new cultural experience.
Each bedroom will have a unique design and a project space will host a programme of artists events and installations, linking back out into the creative underbelly of the city.
The Art Hostel hopes to open its doors in May and will be staffed by artists trained in the hospitality sector.
What's more, the residents themselves will be encouraged to contribute to the future of the hostel.
This is a unique offer, providing an innovative way to stay and visit Leeds.
Check out www.arthostel.org.uk for more info.
LIVE AT LEEDS...
Live At Leeds is an award winning metropolitan festival held annually within a variety of venues and spaces in Leeds. 2016 sees them celebrate their ten-year anniversary by showcasing the best new emerging artists such as Jess Glynne and Circa Waves alongside more established acts from around the world including Mystery Jets, Band of Skulls, We Are Scientists and Ghostpoet to name but a few.
Live music will take place across the Early May bank holiday weekend with Saturday the 30th April being the focal point for breakthrough talent. The festival is growing and thanks to an exciting partnership with Leeds Digital Festival they will also be introducing a programme of digital events across the week to sit alongside and link into the live music acts.
Tickets are now on sale, visit www.liveatleeds.com for more details.
LEEDS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL...
The world’s first moving images were shot in Leeds by Louis le Prince in 1888 and today Leeds remains a major centre of film production and exhibition.
Now in its 30th year, Leeds International Film Festival describes itself as ‘a portal for discovery of the real world of filmmaking that exists beyond regular film exhibition’, its aim is to support outstanding new established talent that has not received deserved-exposure in the UK.
The festival will be showing a programme of international, multiple genres films in locations across the city between 3rd and 17th November 2016. Check out their website for updates at www.leedsfilm.com.
3. BUSINESS & RETAIL
LEEDS SOUTH BANK...
Leeds South Bank is being coined as ‘one of the most significant and exciting regeneration projects in Europe.’ Once fully developed it is set to accommodate 4,000 new homes and 35,000 new jobs.
Already home to a thriving digital and creative sector, a range of UK headquarters and a growing educational hub, this new business district promises to enhance the area’s competitiveness, prosperity and opportunities for citizens and businesses.
Earlier this year Leeds opened the doors to its new station, HS2, in what will be the new South Bank Central. This 20m investment is set to strengthen the links between Leeds and London and is already providing a catalyst for investment and development in the area.
Set to open this summer, Victoria Gate is Leeds’ City Centre’s latest retail development located in a spectacular group of 19th century shopping arcades at the bottom of The Headrow.
Delivering John Lewis’s first store in the city, the first phase will capture the heritage of the Victoria Quarter and offer a range of high quality and designer brands.
The twin arcade will connect the existing retail within the Victoria Quarter, Vicar Lane and Harewood Street to the John Lewis store on the ground floor whilst the upper level will house restaurants and space for additional leisure.
The architecture of the building sounds nothing but spectacular boasting an ornamental roof with feature lighting, shop fronts glazed in black ceramic and decorative flooring throughout the arcade. The design will also use a mixture of white terracotta and red bricks emulating the architecture of Leeds’ historic buildings, whilst red clay bricks at the upper levels will produce a three dimensional facade through angled brick panels.
See Victoria Gate updates at www.victoriagate.co.uk