Leeds is a city in the United Kingdom.
Getting out of Leeds can be difficult. There is a place you can stand on the slip road to the M1 that is a 10-15 min walk from the city centre. People do get lifts from there, but it can feel a bit sketchy cos cars go past pretty fast. You can also take bus 2 or 3 to Maumoniat's Supermarket on Dewsbury Road, and from there walk to junction 5 of the M621. It's less dangerous, but still quite slow as there is not much space for cars to pull over.
Another option, if you have a couple of £s, is to get a bus to the nearest services. Get bus 444 from stop P5 which is on City square, opposite the train station. You can also get the 110 bus to Wakefield, leaving from Leeds bus station roughly every 10 minutes. These buses will take you to Wakefield and from there, you will need to catch the 96 bus from the station (£2.50 each - july 2011). After quite a long, windy bus route you need to get off on Bretton lane, just before the Yorkshire sculpture park (get the driver to give you a shout). Walk up Bramley lane and you will see the services. Cross over the bridge to get to the southbound section. If you get lost ask people for ‘Wooley edge services’ – they might think you’re a bit nuts but will generally help. Once you find it it’s fairly easy to get lifts. You can also stay on this bus until just after Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and get off at the stop on the roundabout. You can hitch straight from here, as there is a slip road to the M1. It's a bit quieter, but saves you the walk to the services.
To Manchester & Liverpool
The slip road to the M621 is right next to the M1 south slip road. Unfortunately this is an even hairier place to stand because you're pretty much on the road. It is possible to get lifts if you're feeling daring. Junction 2 of the M621 (beside Elland Road Football Stadium) is a lot safer (there is medium sized shoulder to hitch from), and has a reasonable amount of traffic. Alternatively, you could get a bus to Hartshead Moor services, but might not really be worth it if you're just going to Manchester because the bus all the way there wouldn’t cost much more.
Northwest, towards Ilkley, Dales, Lake District
Walk north up Otley Rd. (this road starts in town and goes past the universities–it's called Woodhouse Lane, then Headingley Lane, then Otley Rd.). It’s a bit of a walk but you can start trying to hitch anywhere after the big roundabout near Lawnswood and Boddington hall. People driving in this direction are likely to be in a good mood, so chances of getting a lift are high.
You can walk out of town to Oakwood (about 3 miles). Get on Roundhay Road (ask for Thomas Danby College - everyone will know it, and its on Roundhay Road) and keep going until you reach a small clock tower, about 5 minutes past a large Tesco that will be on your left. Keep going straight onto Wetherby Road (A58). Alternatively the 12, 13, 13A, 99, 98 and X98 buses from the city centre all stop at Oakwood Clock. The 99, 98 and X98 will all take you to a roundabout on the ring road, which is ideal for hitching. Alternatively, all three also go on to Wetherby bus station, which can be more reliable. If on foot, keep on Wetherby Road until you reach a roundabout on the ring road (there are signs). However, this can mean quite a walk and getting the 50, 50A or 49 buses from Leeds to the bottom of Easterly Road (the stop to get off at is Monkswood, Easterly Road Boggart Hill Drive (Stop 45013940)) will save about 25 minutes of walking as opposed to going to Oakwood Clock. From here it is only a few minutes from the aforementioned roundabout.
To get to York, make your way to the where the York Road cuts across the ring road. This is about a mile and a half south along the ring road from the above mentioned roundabout. Getting to this point can be done by walking from Leeds down the York Road through the suburbs of Leeds, or by getting the 4ftr bus. If on foot, remember that when the York Road from the city centre hits the ring road you have to go north up the ring road for 10 minutes before the York Road continues. There's a green car wash just past the roundabout (where the York road and the ring road meet) which is ideal to hitch from just in front of. Virtually everybody will be going straight to York and the high level of commuters makes getting picked up a breeze.
Hitching into Leeds
If you are coming from the south on the M1, you might get a lift from someone who is continuing west towards Manchester, or north towards Newcastle. You can ask to be dropped at Junction 28 of the M62 or Junction 46 of the M1. From both places there are regular buses that go into the centre (or you can continue to hitch), and it is easy for your driver to pull back onto the motorway.
If you are coming up the A1 and want to get to Leeds, the junction with the A64 is possibly a good place to be dropped. It's not the shortest route, but it is quite busy. It can be difficult after dark though, because there are no streetlights.
Other useful information
If you need somewhere to stay or want to get in touch with squatters in Leeds try emailing the Squat network north yahoo group.
There are various showers you can use on Leeds University campus. The Union, the geography department and the computing department all have showers.
Free city bus
There is a free bus service which does a small circuit around the city centre and goes to the station, bus station, markets and university.
Oblong is a resource centre, currently based in Woodhouse. They offer free internet, a food cooperative, cheap printing and photocopying, an art space, and hopefully soon a bike workshop.
The Common Place is a social centre in the city centre. Its not always open, but worth trying for cheap vegan food, internet, a free shop, and a good way to meet people.