Nestled in the vibrant heart of West Yorkshire, Leeds City Centre emerges as a dynamic fusion of historical grandeur and modern sophistication. As you wander through its lively streets, you’re greeted by an array of opulent Victorian shopping arcades and a cultural tapestry that weaves together centuries-old architecture with contemporary urban flair. 

Home to a captivating blend of architectural marvels and historic landmarks that tell tales of its rich past and ambitious future. From the ornate Victorian Quarter, with its breathtaking glass-roofed arcades home to high-end boutiques, to the majestic Leeds Town Hall, an emblem of Victorian grandeur, the city is a canvas of stylistic diversity.  

The Corn Exchange stands as a testament to Leeds’ mercantile heritage, now repurposed into a vibrant hub for independent indie shops, ensuring a shopping experience as diverse as its clientele. 

Leeds City Centre thrives as a bustling hub of shopping, dining, and entertainment, offering an eclectic mix that caters to varied tastes and preferences. Culinary adventures abound with a vast array of dining options, from street food to gourmet restaurants that showcase both local and international cuisine. 


As night falls, Leeds City Centre transforms into a vibrant nightlife scene with theatres, bars, and clubs providing endless entertainment options. This dynamic blend makes Leeds City Centre a lively destination catering to all explorer’s, no matter your niche. 

We decided to drive to Leeds in the comfort of our own vehicle, having researched nearby parking lots, there was plenty of options to leave your car and know it’s in safe hands. We opted for Sovereign Multi-story Car Park, which offered 24 hour staff and surveillance, so once we navigated through Leeds city loop we happily abandoned the car and headed off for a little sightseeing. 

We then headed to our first venue, The Box Bar Leeds. Upon approaching the venue, you are met with a contemporary 1960’s building with a bright marble-like rustic coloured exterior. We made our way through the double door entrance and into the lively atmospheric sports bar where we were met with an array of colours, screens, patterned decor and neon signs – a feast for the eyes! The vibe as soon as you step into the sports bar is literally pumping! 

Work colleagues/friends/family all laughing together made a really happy and comfortable scene. The ground space is large and so easily catered for more and more customers diving into the building; the atmosphere only became increasingly buzzing. Plenty were there to watch the sports on one of their many screens, wherever you are seated you can’t miss the game! An added bonus if you’re a sports lover!  

At the bar, the staff couldn’t be more accommodating. We were provided with a drinks menu where the cocktails practically JUMPED and waved at us! So, we opted for a Peach Cooler and the iconic Pornstar Martini. Made fresh in front of us shaken and stirred! These were a tastebud treat!! If you are a lover of the refresher sweet – the peach cooler is a must!  

The friendly staff then showed us to our table, which was situated toward the bottom end of the building, past the double-sided bar, where further vibrant art and funky decor is showcased. We were shown up the steps and were welcomed to our table alongside two stretched shuffleboard tables. Where the competitive side of me instantly unleashed. 

A quick practice run and we were ready for cocktail number two! This time, it was something blue – very blue, which can only mean Bombay Sapphire Gin; The Box Ice Tea, which was brought over to our table with a smile! Colourful and Tasty and I am sure it has shuffleboard enhancement abilities!  

Whether you are visiting Leeds and want to watch the game, catch up with friends over some food and shuffleboard or simply people watch with a Cocktail and take in the abstract scenery, The Box Bar Leeds will keep you comfortable, entertained and well hydrated! 

Feeling very happy with our start to the trip and ready for what an evening in Leeds City Centre has to offer, we nipped back to the car to collect our luggage and headed off to check out our home for the evening; The Queens Hotel.  

This historic gem of a hotel that has played host to celeb’s such as Nelson Mandela to Laurel & Hardy is situated next to the train station, so you could not get a better base location if you are travelling via public transport. Adjacent to the revolving entrance doors is Leeds City Square, home to several monumental statutes, one, being the statue of the Black Prince. This Statue was commissioned by Thomas Harding, the Mayor of Leeds, and was unveiled on 16th September 1903, to celebrate Leeds’ new status as a city. 


As you come through the revolving doors you are met with immediate elegance and style. You are welcomed with plush velvet settee’s, sink in comfort chairs and modern wall art, floor to ceiling. Sophisticated mood lighting and stunning greenery is situated perfectly throughout the downstairs.  

At the hotel reception, you are welcomed with polite, well presented and accommodating staff who want nothing but to cater to your wants during your stay. Within moments, we are handed our key cards and head off to explore our room. We were situated on the sixth floor, so we opted for the lift as we had already hit our 10k quota for the day. 

As we open the door to our evening hideaway, we set foot into a little entrance lobby with door to bathroom to the right. The bathroom is fresh, clean, and modern, with a generous sized wall mirror, fully tiled shower with an eclectic abstract wall. The Queens Hotel, Leeds complimentary touches included showergel, shampoo, conditioner and robes. 

As we maneuverer further into the room, we see style and sophistication throughout the suite, with herring bow floor, ceiling pendants with mood lighting, and colours of pastel grey and green drape the room providing a relaxed ambience. Our suite boasted of a large window with a view of city square which almost glistens in the evening.  

The room has all the little extra’s you have in your home comforts, such as a tall mirror, wall-mounted television and stylish sofa and table to the right, with the obligatory tea station, coffee machine and mini fridge, that kept our complimentary bottled water & chocs ice cold. 

The main feature of the bedroom was a grand crisp white 7 ft bed, with fluffy linen bedsheets and a beautiful, panelled headboard. Deserving of a running jump, we did exactly that and were instantly cushioned and wrapped in fresh fragranced bedding. 

As difficult as it was to gear ourselves back up and out of the depths of the bed, we freshened up for evening activities and continued downstairs. 

As we touched the ground floor, we were greeted by a crowd of guests in black suit and tie attire. It was evident there was a function ongoing and the vibe was high-spirited. Feeling slightly underdressed we made our way to the bar, which is equally as stylish and modern as the entrance lounge. The music was playing and the atmosphere was energetic. As you enter the next room, the bar is placed on the left hand side and the decor tasteful with more mood lighting with a welcoming aura.  

Here we enjoyed a glass of bubbly while people watching and taking in the authentic surroundings. Down the steps from the bar area is the sizeable restaurant; Grand Pacific, catering to ample party numbers, with opulent tables and booths, sitting beneath a stunning and sweeping chandelier.  

Taken aback by The Queens Hotel and understanding it has just undergone a 16-million-pound refurbishment, we were intrigued to see where else had been given a makeover, so we took ourselves off to explore the historic and modern building. 

We came across bright and spacious meeting rooms with all the mod-cons; big screens, projectors and refreshment tables. We stumbled upon a modern and well-equipped gymnasium with air conitioning and water dispenser. Furthermore, we ventured, and we hit the jackpot! The Queens Ballroom, situated through many doors and up a grand stairway that divides into two, we found ourselves in the diamond among the stars; The Queens Ballroom is nothing less magnificent than it sounds. An enormous and majestic space hidden away, this is the perfect venue to cater for any function.  


By now, it was nearly time to head across town for our dinner reservations at Habbibi. Along the way we found a little spot that stood out amongst the rest; with its floral decor and breathtaking fire pits on entrance. We had to experience what The Cut & Craft had to offer. 

The entrance is small and by no means prepares you for what is hidden beyond the reception foyer. Friendly staff are on desk to help with any reservations and were more than happy to accommodate us for a tipple, giving us the option of relaxed seating or placing us at the bar.  

Once the staff escorted us through the secondary doors and into the building, it did not disappoint. The circular bar is situated in the middle of the restaurant and is an abundance of colour, with a gold brass centre and surrounded bar seating, overhead drapes with wine glasses roses and style. 


Fitted with beautiful interior tables for dining, the option of relaxed comfortable seating with view of passersby or seating at the bar for drinks. We opted for the bar as its central to the building and you can sit in awe of the beauty of this illuminated glass-roofed treasure and its magnificent decor.  

Cocktails – wow. They go to town here with effort from preparation to finishing touches. Cocktail creating here really is an art in itself. At the bar the staff were chatty and even themselves appreciated the beauty of the building they worked in. I got speaking with the bar tender regarding the aesthetic of this little diamond we had stumbled across, and he asked me if I had visited the restrooms. An odd question, but I went with it and answered not yet. He advised me the bathrooms were not skipped when it came to design… of course at this point I am intrigued and head on up the grand stairway, toward the restroom, passing another decadent dining space. He was of course correct. Coated in marble floor length mirrors and in the colour of the year too! The interior at Cut & Craft is tasteful and elegant and the atmosphere is lively and exciting, so it is no surprise to see both floors full with paying customers. It is clearly the fresh new place to be. 

By now we had definitely worked up a hunger and we were ready for our evening reservation at the very newly opened restaurant Habbibi’s. Located at Victoria Gate, on the 3rd-floor rooftop. We made our way through the glass doors and into the elevator and up to the top deck. As you exit the lift, you are welcomed with a smile by Habbibi’s door man opening the entrance ahead of you. 

You are immediately transferred to the Middle East with music and picturesque floral designs. To your left you are met with a vibrant, floral wall amidst a captivating Habbibi neon light. A great vibe as you enter the unknown.  

We are met with further friendly staff and are escorted to our table, situated down the illuminated stairway, and past the beautifully lit bar. The atmosphere as you hit the bottom of the stairs is infectiously lively and you are met with a dim lit dining space with abundant seating. The kitchen is at the rear of the restaurant with a large opening, so you can feast your eyes on the chef’s creating their masterpieces. 

To the end of the bar is an elevated DJ station, where green strobe lights span the room and in-keeping Mediterranean music plays, which gives a modern and cool vibe to the newly opened restaurant. Habbibi’s have done superbly with their vision here, bringing a touch of nightlife to dining, but not too much, it is a modernised and welcomed touch. They have found a perfect balance. 

Once seated to our table we were among beautiful decor and table wear to include a table lamp creating the perfect ambiance, matching Habbibi’s dynamic vibe. We were seated beneath a stunning illuminated tree that draped across the ceiling gracefully.  

The staff service was impeccable and second to none as we were brought a crisp cold pint of lager and a large glass of Prosecco to our table within minutes of being seated. Shortly after that we were approached for our menu choices.  

To start we chose the Deep fried dusted calamari with garlic and mayonnaise dipping sauce, together with Fried halloumi drizzled with warm honey and lemon, finished with Aleppo pepper, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds. Again, unbeatable service, as these were in front of our eyes within 15 minutes.  


It did not take nearly that long to demolish these, and they were thoroughly relished. The calamari has to be the best I have ever tasted. Beautifully crisp batter and seasoned to perfection. The mozzerella bites didn’t fail to impress either, with consistency, gooey in the middle and crunchy on the exterior. An impressive start to our dining at Habbibi’s. We enjoyed a drink in between courses and our pallets were cleansed and ready for the main event. 

Here, we ordered the Middle Eastern style grilled chicken with Kabsa rice. Served with toasted almond and yoghurt, together with the Grilled ribeye steak with garlic butter. Served with smashed potato and seasonal vegetables.  

The chicken was heaven for my tastebuds, juicy and tender with so many flavours and spices complimenting one another and a very generous portion indeed. The Kabsa rice was beautifully aromatic and of fluffy consistency. 

The ribeye steak was perfectly presented, the meat was succulent, cooked as requested and thoroughly flavoursome, served with seasoned crunchy tender stem broccoli and a creamy mashed potato that honored the dish superbly. 

As a side dish, we opted for the Double fried new potato with a hot and fiery tomato and garlic sauce and what a sensation these were. The balance of the cool yoghurt against the fiery potatoes was fine-tuned. I need this recipe in my life. A literal bomb of flavour fusioned together by potato! Divine! A simple combination yet amazingly effective. 

We could not possibly of managed dessert after Habbibi’s generous portions, so we opted for another cold beverage… The menu is short and sweet, but it works, and they seemingly perfect those select dishes. Habbibi’s have captivated the Mediterranean vibe perfectly with atmosphere, decor and dining. An experience I will be re-living.  

To the side of the DJ station are glass doors, where you can venture onto the rooftop terrace for those that fancy indulging in a little shisha after their dining. The covered outside area is chic and stylish, encompassing heating, lighting and ample seating catering for those who simply want to enjoy the nightlife with Habbibi’s signature shisha and cocktails. 

We wondered on to our home for the night, feeling comfortably full and having thoroughly enjoyed our evening. Passing by plenty of energetic party goers living their best life, Leeds Centre nightlife was exhilarating. We approach the revolving doors of our hotel and are back in the comfort of our room within minutes, were we climb into the cushioned luxury that is our bed for the evening. 

The next we know it is morning and after a blissful night sleep, we are feeling awakened and rejuvenated for the day. We head on down to the ground floor for breakfast, where you are guided with the smell of cooked breakfast and coffee beans, further welcomed by staff to escort you to your table.  

The decor comprises of bright walls and modern wall art framed throughout the dining space. A mixture of plush carpet and Herringbow floor with stylish potted plants situated throughout the dining space. We are brought a coffee pot and milk saucer to our table and an abundance of breakfast choice surround us for self-service.  


Beautifully presented and labelled in their own stations, we had the choice of fresh fruit, yoghurts and jam’s, thoughtfully placed on ice for crisp freshness. A separate station with delicious plump breakfast muffins, toast with several types of bread, cereal stations, where fresh fruit juices are kept in iced glass containers. 

To the centre of the dining space was the full English option, kept hot and constantly monitored for replenishing. We fuelled for the day with crispy bacon, lean sausages, fluffy hash brown, fried runny egg, mushrooms and beans, which was delicious experience.  

So, Leeds, will I be back? YES.  

Was it enjoyable? YES. 

Is there lot’s to see & do? YES 

Did you see & do it all? NO, there is so much more to explore and our hosts made a great impression, so we will be returning to this historic and provocative town. 

Words By Hannah Parnaby

Dream Big at the Cottage in the Wood Malvern

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