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328km (204 miles) NW of London; 121km (75 miles) NE of Liverpool; 69km (43 miles) NE of Manchester; 119km (74 miles) N of Nottingham

The foundations for a permanent community were laid nearly 2,000 years ago when the Romans set up a small camp here called Cambodunum, but the next step toward modern Leeds didn't come until the 7th century when the Northumbrian King Edwin established a residence. Kirkstall Abbey was founded in 1152 in 1207 Leeds finally obtained its charter.

During the medieval era, Leeds took the golden fleece as its coat of arms, representative of its growth and importance as a wool town. In time, it became the greatest center of cloth trade in the region. Industrial advancements have played a great role in the growth of the city, with the introduction of steam power leading to the development of the coal fields to the south. Other innovations allowed the continued expansion of its textile industry, as well as the rapid development of such upstart industries as printing, tailoring, and engineering. The Victorian era marked the city's glory days.

After languishing for years and being dismissed for its industrial blight, the city is moving progressively forward again today. It's experiencing some economic growth, and many of the great Victorian buildings have been renovated in its bustling central core: the Corn Exchange, the Grand Theatre, and the Victoria Quarter. A "24-Hour City Initiative" makes Leeds the only U.K. location that not only allows but also encourages round-the-clock work and entertainment options; it's an up-and-coming city with a lot of new energy.