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The West Yorkshire city of Leeds is one of northern England’s most vibrant destinations. From the thriving restaurants and entertainment establishments of Chapel Allerton to the plethora of traditional English architecture in the downtown quarter, Leeds seems to be bursting with interesting and extravagant sites. The city is also close to many popular Yorkshire marvels, so hiring a car while holidaying here will certainly lead to fun times.
Who to Book With
The centre of the city, and some areas on the outskirts of Leeds, provides plenty of car rental facilities for tourists. Some of the larger rental firms include Enterprise, Thrifty and Hertz. However, Leeds is also home to a number of local and regional vehicle rental companies, like Whipcar and Nationwide. If you are looking for rental discounts, online booking is the best option.
Best Time to go
The best time to visit Leeds is during the summer months of July and August. During these months, the weather is at its warmest, reaching comfortable highs of 22°C to 25°C. Rainfall is relatively low, although constant throughout the year. Between May and September, the hours of sunshine almost doubles compared to the winter months. Discounts on rentals and room rates are more commonly found during the colder times of the year, however.
Need to Know Essentials
Visitors must produce several documents in order to rent a car in Leeds:
- A valid UK driving license
- Secondary identification that shows proof of address
- The car reservation number
- The original credit card used at booking
Driving in Leeds is recommended, although care is required in certain areas and at certain times. The city is one of the largest urban areas in England, so congestion does occur during the weekday morning and evening rush hour periods. The inner-city district operates a City Centre Loop system with one-way roads leading into and out of major commercial areas. This can be confusing for first-time drivers, but roads and streets are well-signed and easy to navigate. Pay-for parking is plentiful, as several large multistory parking garages are available. However, free-parking on the street tends to be limited in the city centre.
The city centre of Leeds is surprisingly small and can be explored on foot by most visitors. However, the many districts of Leeds are rich in exciting and entertaining hotspots, so public transportation should be used to get around, if you don’t have your own wheels. Taxis, buses, a limited train network and ferries provide transport services for tourists. However, daytrips are much better suited to car hire. The local public transport service in Leeds is operated by West Yorkshire Metro.
Leeds contains a range of taxi services. Black and white cabs may be hailed from the street, but are generally more expensive than private-hire taxi, which also exist within the city. These private taxis must be booked online or over the telephone, but are cheaper than regular cabs. Some of the more reliable taxi companies in Leeds include Amber Taxis Leeds and Royal Park Cabs.
Buses are the fastest and most convenient way to get around the city centre. Most of the bus routes throughout Leeds are run by First Leeds, but some of the routes to the southern districts of the city are operated by Arriva Yorkshire. The LeedsCityBus is a circular route that takes tourists and locals around the heart of the city. In addition to this service, there are more than a dozen routes spanning the city.
The central train station at Leeds, known as Leeds City Station, currently stands as one of the busiest transit hubs in the UK. From the station, local train services, operated by MetroTrains, head into the suburbs and inner-city districts of Leeds. Some major tourist sites, such as Headingley, can be reached by Metro. Nevertheless, compared to the local bus services, the train network is relatively limited.
There is a limited ferry service that leaves from Granary Wharf on a regular basis throughout the day. It makes connections to Brewery Wharf and Clarence Dock, serving thousands of commuters daily. Leeds City Cruisers are responsible for operating this transport service.
The beauty of Yorkshire is right on your doorstep in Leeds, so tourists are advised to take a few days to explore this remarkable corner of England. Leeds is well-connected to the surrounding shires by road, as the motorways are free-flowing and expansive. Places like York, Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales are only an hour or two away from Leeds’s bustling cityscape.
Todmorden - This is an old market township located less than an hour away from Leeds. Less-visited than some of its more renowned neighbours, Todmorden is home to plenty of fascinating sites, including the Old Town Hall, the New Town Hall and a bustling market place.
Harrogate - A lovely town in the North Yorkshire region, and boasts an incredibly tranquil atmosphere and many traditional landmarks. It is a spa town, but the most interesting attractions here are the beautifully landscaped gardens at sites like Valley Gardens and RHS Harlow Carr Gardens. Tourists should enjoy the picturesque drive to Herriott Country, just outside the city.
Yorkshire Dales National Park - This is a beautiful natural reserve located in North Yorkshire. More than eight million visitors explore the park each year, predominantly done by car, as the reserve is extensive. It boasts landmarks like museums, limestone hills, old estates, stunning waterfalls and several deep cave systems.