Leeds Reimagines Itself as 2023 UK City of Culture

Leeds Reimagines Itself as 2023 UK City of Culture
Leeds in West Yorkshire is the 2023 UK City of Culture, Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Here's why you should try to include Leeds in your itinerary if you plan to be in UK next year, or the one after that

Uttara Gangopadhyay
June 16 , 2021
06 Min Read

While the UK City of Culture this year is being held virtually from Coventry (central England), Leeds (northern England) is getting ready to play its role in 2023.

UK City of Culture is a competition run by the country’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) every four years. Previous winners were Derry/Londonderry in 2013 and Hull in 2017. The designation is given to a city for a year.

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Way back in 1983, Greece’s then Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri said that European cultures were not receiving the same attention as politics and economics. She suggested that member states should actively participate in a project which highlighted the culture of the various nations. The European City of Culture programme was launched 1985 and Athens was first city to be crowned thus. The competition was renamed the European Capital of Culture in 1999.

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In 2009, the UK government launched its own competition to find the city which could hold the UK City of Culture event in 2013.

Irrespective of the edition, the competition has been highly acclaimed because the winning city derives immense social and economic benefits. The winning city gets a year to showcase its culture and related stories.

The Leeds Town Hall is used for concerts and civic functions

Concerts, weekend shopping, a vibrant nightlife are some of the attractions that draw people to Leeds, one of the happening cities of England, and the largest city in west Yorkshire. The nearest main airport is Manchester while the city’s own Leeds Bradford Airport is also well connected.

A delight to history buffs, no other city outside London has more listed buildings than Leeds. The City Museum, The Leeds Art Gallery, The Leeds Grand Theatre, The Royal Armouries, and the Thackray Medical Museum are some of the biggest attractions here.

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From music and arts to food and fashion, Leeds has carved out its own independent state.  The Leeds Indie Food (independent food and drink culture) or the Thought Bubble Festival (the UK's largest comic arts event) are some of the must-see events. It is in this that you will find UK’s tallest mural, Athena Rising.

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From arcades to designer boutiques to high street stores, Leeds is a great place to go shopping. If you want to take a peek at the vintage markets, head to Leeds Kirkgate Market or Leeds Corn Exchange.

Organisers of the Leeds 2023 event said that 12 signature events and a multitude of creative experiences have been planned all over the city. ‘From dance to design, art to architecture, poetry to pop, sculpture to sport, grassroots community theatre to performances, there’s something for everyone, no matter where you live or what you like’, according to the event website.

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