My Leeds

As anyone who takes delight in picking up the free Evening Standard and accompanying ES magazine (myself included) can tell you, they do a great feature called ‘My London’, whereby a particular celebrity details what makes them tick in The Big Smoke. As of tomorrow, I’ll be a graduate of the University of Leeds – and that’s where this adaptation of the aforementioned ES magazine feature comes in: a collection of recommendations, anecdotes and things to eat, see and do in the city I called home for ¾ of my degree – Leeds.

Home is was…?

A terraced house on the edge of campus; an easy five minute walk (if that) to lectures and the university’s sustainable garden, where we (mostly Laurence) picked 1kg of gooseberries to take home for my dad. For a substantial part of the year, though, the Brotherton Library became my second home.

1-DSC00045

Best place for coffee and cake?

La Bottega Milanese, an independent Italian-style coffeehouse in The Light; there’s another branch at 2 Bond Court, a stone’s throw from the train station. The tiramisu is delicious – and this comes from someone who doesn’t even like coffee. Plus, for holders of the Socialight card (free to obtain), there’s a 10% discount.

1-5.02.16 - celebrating L's job offer (3)

What advice would you give to a tourist?

If you plan on visiting neighbouring towns, and aren’t in a rush, then the bus can save you a lot of money. The FirstDay Family & Friends ticket (available weekends and bank holidays only) costs only £5 and is valid for up to five people across First bus services in West Yorkshire. There’s no better time to venture out to Roundhay, Ilkley and beyond!

1-DSC06073

Leeds’ best asset?

The fact that there was always something going on – or something free being handed out! Millennium Square (in front of the Civic Hall) hosts dozens of events throughout the year – from the festive Christkindelmarkt and food-tastic Yorkshire Food and Drink Festival to open-air screenings of films and even a beach, which will serve as a Team GB Fanzone for the 2016 Rio Olympics. One of the strangest, but most captivating, events which I stumbled upon during my time at Leeds was Annea Lockwood’s ‘Piano Burning’ performance.

1-DSC08581

Best place for a cityscape?

Short of going all out on a private helicopter ride, SkyLounge at the DoubleTree by Hilton offers the best panoramic views of the city. The alcoholic drinks are a little pricey, but if you want to save a few pounds the soft drinks were reasonable. If you fancy soaking up the view in the afternoon instead then be sure to check out their afternoon tea offers.

1-DSC00024

Most memorable meal?

Leeds has a buzzing foodie scene, so this is a tough one. In the city centre, Friends of Ham is ideal for sharing platters whilst Arts Café does a great take on the classic Ploughman’s lunch. Nation of Shopkeepers, just off Millennium Square, is the best place for burgers – especially on Tuesdays, when it’s 2-4-1. Outside the city centre, Ecco Pizza in Headingley offers authentic Neapolitan pizza, made to order in wood-fired ovens. The selection there is incredible, and as they do take-away you could quite easily eat your way round the world from the comfort of your own armchair.

1-DSC07154

Best way to get from A to B?

Leeds has a compact city centre, so walking is best. Unless you’re a confident cyclist, I wouldn’t recommend taking to the cycle lanes – it’s every man for himself, and cyclists often come a cropper at busy junctions. If you’re heading outside the city, let the train (or bus) take the strain: the one-way system in Leeds is worth avoiding, and public transport in the area is efficient and reasonably-priced.

1-DSC00018

Favourite Leeds discovery?

Pickards Tea Room, a pop-up café owned by one of the local letting agents just across the road from the University of Leeds’ Parkinson Building; full credit to Elle and Hannah for introducing me to it. It became a regular haunt for the three of us, and their baguette sandwiches are unbeatable; my favourite was the Mature Cheddar and Balsamic Onions, for £2.20. No plastic accepted here; cash only.

1-Pickards 27.05 (1)

Best cultural spot?

The Royal Armouries – a fantastic museum showcasing the national collection of arms and armour. When I was studying a module in medieval French literature in my second year, we spent an afternoon there trying on the armour and jousting with the swords!

1-DSC06307

Best day trip from Leeds?

Yorkshire has so many picturesque towns and villages, so it’s difficult to narrow it down. If you’d like to experience some outstanding scenery, a trip to the Yorkshire Dales is hard to beat. If you fancy whiling away a few hours in a cultural hotspot, try York or Harrogate. For a taste of quintessential England, head to Knaresborough. If you’re undecided, the quaint spa town of Ilkley blends superb scenery with a vibrant, independent shopping scene.

1-DSC09096

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s