A Single Explorer

6th August 2020

A single explorer

Claragh enjoys some ‘me time’ exploring the city

Armed with comfortable shoes, I’m off to explore the city of Leeds!

As I’m going to be doing some walking this morning I think I need to fortify myself with a hearty brunch. Le Chalet on Park Row is a lovely French tea room. They do a delicious range of different breakfast/brunch options and fabulous afternoon teas. Today I’m going for scrambled eggs with their homemade bread and a pot of hot tea. Which hits the spot nicely.

Le CHalet

(Le Chalet Brunch, Credit Le Chalet Facebook)

It’s amazing that, even if you live somewhere, there are so many things you just don’t notice in your busy everyday rush. So this morning I’m going to do the Owl Trail which will take me all around the city centre looking for the owls (the Leeds emblem) on various city landmarks.

I’ll need a map so my next stop is to the city’s visitor centre: Visit Leeds and the Art Gallery Shop, situated in the grand, Victorian Municipal buildings just underneath Leeds Art Gallery. You can buy an Owl Trail Map there for just £1 and pick up free leaflets on attractions and very user friendly city maps.

The trail starts just behind the Municipal buildings in Millennium Square with the magnificent golden owls on their pillars in front of the Civic Hall.There are 25 Owls to find in all and it’s a really good way to get to know the city. There are a couple of indoor owls but the current pandemic restrictions mean it might be difficult to access them. However, to make up for this, you can view two breath taking owls who aren’t on the trail down by the train station.On the side of The Platform building is the 150ft mural “Athena Rising”. Painted by artists Nomad clan, it is taller than the statue of liberty.

Athena Rising Mural

(Athena Rising Mural, Credit Carl Milner Photography)

The Owl Trail finishes down at the beautiful Leeds Minster. I’m a slow walker (especially when I’m taking in architecture and nosing in shop windows) so It’s taken me a couple of hours to complete the trail. I’m feeling a bit peckish after all my walking and I’d love to sit and have a look back at some of the pictures I’ve taken.  Not far away is Kirkgate Market (one of the biggest covered markets in Europe) and at the bottom end of the market are a variety of street food vendors and a large eating area. From more traditional British fair like fish and chips at The Fisherman’s Wife or Yorkshire pudding wraps at The Yorkshire Wrap Company  to vibrant bowls of pho at Banh & Mee Vietnamese street Kitchen there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes. However I’m going to try out the hugely popular Manjit’s Kitchen which serves traditional vegetarian Indian food. People rave about the chilli paneer wraps and the light crunchy onion bhajis. However I fancy trying a Vada Pau. A deep fried dumpling of spiced mashed potato served in a bun. (Basically the Mumbai version of a chip butty) Served with tamarind it goes down really nicely with a beer and leaves me just enough room for an afternoon snack with my next activity. Before that though I’ve got time for a wander around the Markets. There’s such a variety of different stalls to look around you just have to be careful not to lose track of time. I do, however, make sure to visit The Bluebird Bakery for a delicious, fresh sourdough loaf. I passionate about good bread so now I’m planning wine and cheese for tonight.

Everyman Cinema

(Everyman Cinema, Credit Carl Milner Photography)

On to Trinity Leeds shopping centre next to find somewhere to relax and put my feet up with a glass of wine. Oh and you can watch a film too! The Everyman cinema in Trinity has big comfy sofas, foot rests and side tables. Guaranteed to give you the comfort of watching at home with the bonus of a big screen experience. Plus you can have food and drinks brought to your seat in the cinema. Bliss. I’m ordering some hummus and flat bread and a large glass of wine. At the moment they’re showing some classic films as well as new ones. One of my childhood favourites “The Empire strikes back” second in the original Star Wars trilogy is what I’m going for.

So I’m going to settle down and cosy in.

May the force be with you!