Travel and Transport

As the epicentre of the North, Leeds welcomes millions of visitors to the city every year for both business and pleasure, and it couldn’t be easier to plan your trip to the city. Leeds is the home to the busiest rail station in the North of England, welcomes flights from over 70 destinations, and has continuously-developing forms of public transport within the city centre to help you navigate your time here.

If you’re planning your trip to the city, find out more about the forms of transport and travel that you can enjoy to enhance your experience in Leeds.

Keeping your journey on track

For those looking to make use of public transport within the city, Leeds Train Station has an unbeatable reputation. Sitting at the heart of the city, Leeds Train Station brings millions of locals, commuters, national and international delegates to the city every year, with over 31 million passengers walking through the station in 2019/20 according to the Office for Rail and Road.

Leeds Train Station boasts easy access to neighbouring cities and airports, including Manchester Airport and even the UK’s capital, London, is just a two hour commute away. As the busiest rail station in the North of England, and with the number of commuters using public transport forecast to double by 2043, Leeds Train Station has been granted a £39.5million investment as part of the ‘Sustainable Travel Gateway’, with works to create a European-style destination that integrates the station into the city due to start in 2022.

FreeState, the consultants who transformed London’s King Cross Station, have been hired by Leeds City Council to lead the huge transformation, which will see the station become a destination within itself, in order to improve user experience and increase dwell time. The developments, which are set to be delivered in 2023, will see the pedestrianisation of New Station Street next to the Train Station, improvements to disabled access, the closure of vehicles except taxis and cyclists to Bishopsgate to improve cycle safety across the city, as well as a total transformation of the dark arches and underpass next to the station.

A busload of options

Commuting by bus is a sustainable and affordable option for many living and working within Leeds, or visiting the city for business or as a tourist. Leeds City Council has listened to resident’s calls for greater bus services offered in and around the city centre, with new bus corridors being introduced to the city to make it easier for people to commute to and from surrounding areas.

The city is also taking delivery of around 300 new environmentally clean buses that offer audio and visual announcements, free Wi-Fi, USB and wireless charging and contactless and ticketless smartphone payment options. To make the journey even smoother, work is also underway to remove old, perspex bus stops and replace them with high quality stops that share real time updates with audio announcements.

Landing in Leeds

Leeds Bradford Airport sits just eight miles away from the hustle and bustle of Leeds City Centre and brings thousands of visitors to the city every year. With flights from over 70 destinations, and hundreds more worldwide with connecting flights from other airports, the airport makes it easy for international delegates to attend conferences and events in Leeds. With a £150m proposal currently under review to expand the airport’s terminal, that will improve passenger experience aiming to deliver one the UK’s most environmentally efficient airport buildings, and support the city’s sustainability targets.

Putting one foot in front of the other

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, improvements to walking routes around Leeds City Centre were able to be executed with minimal disruption to local businesses and residents. Plans to widen pavements across the city, including developments on The Headrow, have been undertaken to make it easier for residents and visitors to resume daily life as we emerge from lockdown, with many now opting to make the most of the walkability of Leeds City Centre to get from A to B.

During the pandemic, Connecting Leeds also funded improvements to Call Lane, a popular nightlife destination, where through traffic has been closed and pavements widened to champion health and wellbeing, by offering the option to walk or cycle through the city centre.

But don’t just take our word for it…here’s what Hanif and Sally did…

Hanif will be attending Digitech which is being held at one of Leeds’ flagship venues, first direct Arena. After opting to take the train from his home in London, Hanif arrives at Leeds Train Station from the capital in just two short hours. He planned ahead for his journey, using the handy Conference Leeds map to work out the distance from Leeds Train Station to the conference venue and opted to cycle the one mile journey.

After a full day at the conference Hanif makes his way back to the station, with time to spare he stops off at Leeds Corn Exchange, a Leeds landmark and home to a wealth of independent shops and cafes, so he grabs a meal from one of the eateries inside to have a taste of Leeds for his journey home.

But what do visitors think?

Sally arrives in Leeds by a direct, international flight to Leeds Bradford Airport, and makes her way to the DoubleTree by Hilton at Granary Wharf ready to attend the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons conference at the Royal Armouries at Leeds Dock.

On the first day of the conference, she makes the short walk along the Leeds to Liverpool Canal to the Royal Armouries for a day of learning and engaging with others in her field. When the conference is over Sally decides to take the scenic route back towards the centre of the city, hitching a ride on the infamous yellow Water Taxi from Leeds Dock back to Granary Wharf which boasts stylish restaurants and bars so she can immerse herself in local culture and the Leeds way of life.