Where should you start your career? In focus: Leeds
As the third largest city in the UK, Leeds is without a doubt one of the most exciting places to start your life after university. Bursting with culture, entertainment, nightlife and opportunities, any young professional will enjoy a well-rounded lifestyle up north.
Those at the start of their career will find lots of opportunities in Leeds: with numerous corporate headquarters, a thriving bar scene, lots of start-ups, and four universities, there are plenty of jobs on offer. Airline Jet2, ASDA, Leeds Brewery, haircare brand GHD and many more big companies and multinationals are based or have major operations in the city, making it a great regional centre for anyone beginning their job search. Equally, if you're a fan of independent businesses and fancy working in a non-corporate environment, the design scene in Leeds has really taken off, with print studios such as the gorgeous Colours May Vary bringing a touch of sophisticated urban cool to the job market.
A Supermundane installation at Leeds Train Station that Colours May Very were a part of. Source coloursmayvary Instagram.
Where else can you travel by a free water taxi? (Venice perhaps?) - in Leeds, free water taxis run from 10am to 6pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between Granary Wharf and Leeds Dock, following a scenic canal route. The Leeds Travel site will give you real-time information about buses and train times, and with plans for a trolleybus in the works, getting around Leeds day or night is pretty easy.
Luckily for graduates who are just getting their foot on the employment ladder, accommodation in Leeds is cheap. If you're lucky enough to be in the position to buy, for the price of a tiny maisonette in a distant outer London borough, you can get a good sized 3 bedroom house. If you're renting, a 3 bedroom house -yes, all of it- is yours for under £700 a month if you're prepared to live away from the middle of town, while an enormous room in a decent city centre houseshare with garden is more likely to cost you around £350 a month. Even better, not one, but two Leeds suburbs (Chapel Allerton and Otley) were named in a Sunday Times' Top Places to live in the UK list in 2014.
Dining and Entertainment
Did you know that there's a vineyard in Leeds? Yep- the Leventhorpe Vineyard covers 5 acres and produces very drinkable Seyval Blanc. When it comes to dining, Bulgogi Korean Grill; Ira B's (amazing Jewish food); Meat Liquor; Red's, and Boss Burgers are all independent eateries offering up affordable and exciting gourmet delights in Leeds. If you're more of a cinema-goer, the Hyde Park Picture House is an excellent idea for a date- it has tons of retro appeal and is the only gas-lit cinema left in the UK. Finally, classy drinks aplenty are to be had in Jake's Bar: one of the owners was a founder of Portobello Road Gin. The White Cloth Gallery also serves multiple functions: bringing a little culture in the way of modern art, it also serves up incredible pizza, coffee lovers' coffee, and glasses of wine. Cheers!