When all is said and done, the North will always be my home: I grew up there, studied there and hope – one day – to move back there. In mid-November, Laurence and I spent a long weekend in Leeds reliving our student days, visiting old haunts and eating our way across the city. (Mostly eating, if I’m honest, but we did clock up a lot of steps zig-zagging from LS1 to LS6.) Hopping aboard the 18:03 to Leeds, I was only too happy to be trading the pancake-flat South for the rolling hills of the North.
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.
As Christmas draws ever nearer, the multicultural metropolises of the north turn into magical festive wonderlands. Leeds’ Christkindelmarkt is a smaller, condensed German Christmas market, whilst Manchester has a sprawling network of markets, with the largest market being that located in Albert Square. A trip to either Christmas market is sure to evoke the festive spirit, but in a head-to-head which of these comes out on top?
Many people who visit the UK visit London – and that alone. Almost 200 miles north of London – or a speedy 2.5 hour train journey away – lies Leeds, the UK’s third biggest city. The city centre is jam-packed with eateries, cultural havens and ornate shopping arcades, whilst its proximity to several national parks makes it an ideal base for anyone seeking to explore the UK’s beautiful countryside.
The city centre of Leeds is remarkably compact, meaning it’s easy to explore on foot – and thanks to the reliable signposts, you’re unlikely to get lost! Often described as the capital of the north, the thriving student city of Leeds has a lot to offer to the discerning tourist, by day and by night. Here’s the low-down on my university city . . .
Leeds Art Gallery has metamorphosed into a new cultural venue, temporarily emptying its galleries to host the British Art Show 8. It is a showcase – held every five years – for contemporary art in Britain; this year exhibiting works from forty-two artists deemed to have contributed significantly to the contemporary art scene in the UK. This year, the central theme of the exhibition is that of the relationship between objects – whose purposes are constantly evolving – and both the real and virtual worlds.
Ilkley Moor is a stunning expanse of open moorland: shrouded in mist in the early morning it has an eerie presence which, in the sun, transforms into a glorious adult’s playground comprising of gullies, boulders (including the famous Cow and Calf and the aptly-named Stone Circle), rocky outcrops and streams.