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Sustainability – choosing a walkable city

The hospitality sector has been identified as one of the biggest offenders when it comes to being sustainable, thanks to the size of the industry and its extensive use of single-use plastic products. Venues can make green changes themselves and, indeed, many of the leading names in Leeds are introducing more environmentally friendly practices to their businesses as we speak. To support this sustainability drive, ConferenceLeeds has identified ways in which event organisers and delegates can do their bit to help make the conference and event industry’s footprint greener.

The ongoing battle against pollution is one that is massively impacted by the hospitality industry, and in part by the footprint created by delegates travelling to and from events. Delegates and visitors travelling by car are adding to the increasing traffic figures that contribute to both air pollution and the loss of green belt areas, as road infrastructure is created around vehicle requirements. Walking, however, provides an active means for people to mitigate and address local and global environmental concerns. From noise and air pollution to heat island effect, a shift from car-dominated transport can help event organisers be more sustainable. Choosing a location, such as Leeds, that is easy to travel to and enjoyable to walk around will encourage delegates to ditch their cars, save on parking costs and commute to conferences on foot instead.

Leeds already has put in place plans for a Clean Air Zone, which is set to be introduced in January 2020, but this doesn’t mean those commuting to the city for events can’t start making a difference sooner. Leeds is extremely easy to navigate around, with most of its leading attractions being easiest to commute to on foot, and is arguably one of the best cities in the UK for its walkable nature.

The walkable city centre is the perfect location for delegates to stay in if on foot, with a number of popular hotels within walking distance of the soon to be refurbished Leeds Station. Hilton Leeds City is located just three minutes walk from the train station and is an ideal venue for delegates wanting to set up base in a central location, with conferencing facilities and accommodation available for an event all under one roof.

When it comes to academic venues, The University of Leeds is surrounded by unique landmarks and stunning architecture that can’t be appreciated through the window of a vehicle. On the 20 minute walk from the station, the University’s surroundings allow visitors to get a real sense of the city during their visit, whether it be for work or play. However, at the other end of the spectrum is Horizon, located in vibrant Brewery Wharf. The riverside venue is an 11 minute walk from Leeds Station in a route on which you will see a whole host of Leeds highlights including the rainbow steps, river taxi and commercial bridge, each offering a glimpse into the life and soul of Leeds.

The city’s numerous landmarks and points of interest also make it easy to know both where you are and where you need to go, and for those who fancy taking in the sights of the city, there’s also the water taxi which is a free service that runs from the stunning, quaint Leeds Dock to the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

A list of the best attractions to check out on foot are below. Do you have any to add? Let us know on Twitter @ConferenceLeeds!

Victoria Quarter
The stunning Victoria Quarter boasts intricate architecture and luxury stores. The breath-taking stained glass roof runs the full length of Queen Victoria Street and is the largest modern stained glass roof in Europe!

Angelica
With a wraparound terrace and panoramic city views, Angelica is a real show-stopper and oh so instagrammable. Relax in a luxurious setting with a cocktail prepared by one of their skilled mixologists.

Belgrave Music Hall roof terrace
Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen is an independent venue with music, art, film and food spread across three floors, including one of Leeds’ most spectacular roof terraces; head their at dusk for a picture perfect view.

Headrow House
Take a walk upstairs to the Headrow House roof terrace and see the neon lights of one of Leeds’ most famous landmarks. There are two levels, the upper level, Kennedy Meadows offers views of Victoria Quarter, the domes of Kirkgate Market and Victoria Gate.

The Tiled Hall Café
Few could argue against the charms of the Tiled Hall Cafe. Part of the huge building which houses both Leeds Central Library and Leeds Art Gallery, this magnificent arched space is photogenic and comes with coffee.
Where? Enter through the entrance to The Art Gallery, The Headrow, LS1 3AA

Leeds Art Gallery
The newly refurbished gallery boasts a stunning glass roof, one of the most impressive collections of 20th Century British art and a colourful new wall painting commission for the Victorian staircase by Lothar Götz - the perfect selfie backdrop.

Dark Arches
Venture under the Leeds rail station to the atmospheric Dark Arches. Now flooded with multi-colour light, it’s a photo favourite, and will also lead you through to one of the city’s waterfront areas.

Granary Wharf
The Water Taxi to Leeds Dock outside the Double Tree Hilton is where the River Aire meets the Leeds Liverpool Canal and is home to bars, restaurants and coffee shops. The free to use water taxi takes you to Leeds Dock the home of The Royal Armouries Museum. Who knew Leeds had a waterfront!

Leeds Corn Exchange
Leeds Corn Exchange is one of the city’s most recognisable and most impressive Victorian buildings. This Grade I building houses a wide range of independent retailers and tasty eateries with an iconic domed roof.

A city less grey - Public art across the city
This project has seen both local and national artists creating art installations and events across five sites across Leeds city centre. See if you can spot any pieces whilst you travel around the city on foot!

 

Leeds Station and Athena Rising Mural - Carl Milner Photography for VisitLeeds