More people came into Leeds city centre last Saturday than on any Saturday since the Covid pandemic, council data has suggested.
The start of Christmas shopping season is thought to have helped drive weekend footfall to a three-year high on November 12.
The railways were also unaffected by strike action last Saturday, unlike previous weekends earlier this autumn.
It’s a marked contrast from a year ago, when Covid rates across the country were high, even though lockdown restrictions had come to an end.
Leeds’ traditional German Christmas market was controversially cancelled this year, with the council blaming visa costs and “complications”.
Food and drink stalls will still be in and around Millennium Square however, with winter-themed fairgrounds and a giant ice rink set to open next week.
Speaking on Thursday, Leeds City Council leader James Lewis said: “Last Saturday was the busiest Saturday we’ve had since before pandemic, so people are really choosing to come into Leeds city centre.
“It recognises that the retail, hospitality and food and drink offer has never been as good as it is I think it is at the moment in the city centre.
“Footfall is really starting to come back after Covid and Christmas will be a big part of that.”