When you’re thinking of planning a summer holiday, chances are you’re thinking of hot sun, beautiful beaches, high culture and some form of lethal sugar/alcohol combination. You are probably not, I would wager, thinking of Leeds.
According to Lonely Planet, though, you are downright wrong. They’ve named the northern city the fifth on their list of the best places to visit in Europe this year.
The list celebrates places with “something new, exciting or undiscovered” – and Leeds’ culture and nightlife, urban regeneration and food and drink scene all contributed to its inclusion, Lonely Planet say.
“Once defined by its industrial past, Leeds is now a confident, cultural hub in the north of England,” said James Smart, Lonely Planet’s UK destination editor. “With major events this year including the reopening of Leeds Art Gallery and the 50th anniversary of Leeds carnival, there’s never been a better time to head to Yorkshire and join the party.”
If you don’t fancy Leeds, there are some other choices slightly further afield. “Cosmopolitan and edgy” Zagreb took the top spot, followed by Swedish island Gotland, Galicia, Spain and northern Montenegro.
Completing the top ten were Alentejo in Portugal, northern Germany, Moldova, Paphos in Cyprus and Le Havre in France.
Leeds city council leader Judith Blake said it was a “fabulous” endorsement.
“To see Leeds take its place alongside some of the world’s top travel destinations is testament to the vision and hard work of the many businesses, organisations and attractions who contribute so much to the continued growth of our thriving visitor economy,” she said.