Paisley’s Weekend in Leeds
23rd July 2020
With a central location in the UK, Leeds is the ideal getaway for a long weekend. I recently spent a few days in this quintessential English city and quickly fell in love with all of its charms. Here is everything that you need to know about how to make the most out of your time in Leeds.
Logistics: Leeds is located in the Northern English county of Yorkshire on the bank of the River Aire. Its central location is about 170 miles north of London, making it an easy escape by car or train. I took the train from London and I was in Leeds in a little over two hours. In addition to boasting the distinction as a bustling financial centre, the city is also home to a number of colleges and universities, including the prestigious University of Leeds. This public research university features an enrolment of over 30,000 students, making it the heart and soul of Leeds. Students come from all over the UK and the world to study at Leeds, contributing to the diverse culture and people of this area.
The young vibe of Leeds makes it a popular place for students to spend a gap year. Highlights of my visit to Leeds included a night spent at the redeveloped industrial area of Call Lane, famous for its pubs and live music options nestled under converted railway arches. For all of your shopping needs, be sure to check out Leeds Kirkgate Market with its hundreds of indoor and outdoor stalls. I was able to pick up a myriad of souvenirs to remember my time in Leeds.
(Kirkgate Market, Credit Leeds City Council)
What to Do: From a host of museums and historical sites to vibrant cultural offerings, Leeds boasts a bevy of things to keep you busy on your weekend trip. While it can be challenging to fit all of the fun into just a few days, here are a few things to put at the top of your itinerary list.
- Civic Quarter – Begin your trip to Leeds with a visit to Civic Quarter. As the hub of Leeds, this quarter is always bursting with activity with its various squares. A variety of statues dot the landscape of the City Square. I especially loved seeing the statue of the Black Prince and the famous inventor James Watt.
- Royal Armouries Museum – Located in the dock area of Leeds, this popular museum features Britain’s national collection of arms and armour with more than 8,500 pieces spanning six unique galleries. Highlights of the museum include the full-body armour worn by Henry VIII, a collection of swords used in the movie “The Lord of the Rings,” and the stunning Oriental Gallery.
- John the Evangelist’s Church – There is an abundance of majestic churches to see in Leeds. However, if you can only choose just one to tour, I would recommend this New Briggate gem. Built in 1634, this church oozes history and beauty around every corner.
- Temple Newsam House – It was an afternoon well-spent when I toured the Temple Newsam House. This 40-room Tudor-Jacobean mansion is set on a 900-acre park just outside of the city limits. Be sure to leave time to tour the beautifully landscaped grounds of the mansion.
- The Headrow – This half-mile pedestrian route is where you can discover some of the city’s best shopping options and cultural attractions. I spent nearly an entire day wandering this area and never got bored. Along the route, you will find important structures such as the Leeds Town Hall, the Leeds Central Library, the Leeds Art Gallery, and more. Between Park Row and Briggate is where you will find the bulk of the shopping options.
- (Temple Newsam House, Credit Karen Spencer Visit Leeds)
What to Eat: Proving a popular destination for students, it is no surprise that you will find a wide array of affordable eats in Leeds. England is known for its authentic Indian food and Leeds is no exception. Manjit’s Kitchen features a cornucopia of Indian street food and is a favourite amongst local. For a multi course experience, HOME provides inventive British favorites with a new spin. For an explosion of flavor, I loved the Argentian-inspired offerings at Gaucho Leeds. If you desire a special night out on the town, be sure to make a reservation at the upscale OX Club. Wherever you choose to dine, you will be surprised at the melting pot of flavors that you will encounter when looking for your next meal in Leeds.
(Manjit’s Kitchen Supper Club, Credit Lucy Forrester)
But don’t take my word for it. Leeds deserves a spot at the top of your list of quick weekend getaways. With its easy accessibility and diverse list of things to see and do, it is easy to lose yourself in the magic of this classic British city.
Author Bio: Paisley Hansen is an avid traveller, loving mother, and gym nut. When she’s not travelling the world or working out, you can find her curled up with her kids reading a good book or blogging.