Once called Leeds Metropolitan University, the 190-year-old Leeds Beckett University is an interesting place, whether you’re here for an open day or to visit a loved one. It’s split into two campuses - one right in the heart of the city and one in the leafy suburb of Headingley, three miles north of the centre. Both have no shortage of cool bars and restaurants right on their doorstep, but whichever campus you find yourself at, there’ll be a Premier Inn nearby, ready to get your Leeds Beckett University visit off to the best possible start.
Leeds Beckett University started life in 1824. Called the Leeds Mechanics Institute, it had just two rooms, a library and a classroom in its humble premises on Park Row, in the city centre. Over the years, the University snaffled up a wide range of Leeds educational institutions, merging with (among others) a home economics school, an arts college and a business institute to become Leeds Polytechnic in 1970, and then Leeds Metropolitan University in 1992. Much controversy ensued when it was announced that Leeds Metropolitan was going to become Leeds Beckett University, to avoid confusion with an international chain of universities with the same name. Students objected to the £250,000 brand change exercise, and many still call it the Met to this day. Notable past students include Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson who studied graphic arts and design back in the late 1990s, and Marc Almond, who formed Soft Cell here in the 1970s.
Visiting Leeds Beckett in October? It’s worth checking to see if you can catch the much-loved Varsity event. Essentially a sports match between Beckett and arch-enemy Leeds University, it has 60 fixtures across 25 different sports all in one day. The highlight is the rugby grand finale held in Headingley Stadium. Attracting an audience over 12,000 students each year, there are pop-up bars, stalls and lots of good-natured rivalry.
Whether you’re visiting the Headingley or City campus, there are plenty of options to ensure you won’t go hungry.
Both Headingley and City campuses have their own food courts, where all tastes are very well catered for. There’s everything from traditional Yorkshire favourites to world foods - including a much-loved roast of the day. Both courts have a variety of coffee outlets, and offer finger-licking fast food at the Chicken Shack.
If you’re visiting the Headingley campus, try the Santorini Bar and Grill, a trendy Greek place serving up legendary meze sharing plates. Just a stone’s throw from City Campus, in the buzzing Arena Quarter, you’ll find Bulgogi Grill, a Korean barbecue joint where you cook the meat yourself at your table for a fun DIY feast.
Leeds Beckett University is easy to get to and very well-connected. You can walk to the City Campus from Leeds City Rail Station while Headingley is just three miles out of the city centre and has its own bus stop. Find out more here.
Pay and display parking is available to visitors at all times on both campuses. If you’re coming for an open day, check in advance as you may be able to park for free. Postcodes are LS16 5LF for Headingley and LS1 3HB for City.
To get to Headingley, hop on a 29 or 29X, both of which stop right on campus. Other local bus services stop at nearby Otley Road and Churchwood Avenue stops. For the City Campus, take the Leeds CityBus from either the bus or train station to get to Portland Way. It runs every few minutes.
Headingley Campus is a pleasant 20-minute walk across Beckett Park from Headingley train station. Its City Campus buildings are just a 15-minute walk from the main Leeds rail station or you could hop on the bus from right outside the station, straight to the Rose Bowl building on Portland Way.
From the city centre to its leafy suburbs and beautiful surrounding countryside, you'll find lots of great hotels in Leeds. If you need to be central, try the First Direct Arena Hotel and Trinity Leeds Hotel, or Leeds City West for Elland Road. For those jetting in, check out Leeds/Bradford Airport hotel.
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