Hey! So I originally intended to write a post and share some photos from my trips to California, and offer a bit more of an insight into the not some glam and beach-perfect sides of the state…but work, graduation and job applications have had to put a major halt on my writing 😭 This post will get done, but for the past couple of weeks I have to prioritise the elements in my life going on around me – after four years working at my University the time in my student job has ended (you cannot really talk about Freshers Week and lectures when your last of each were months ago), so I have been madly applying for positions here there and everywhere, including for a couple of internships which genuinely excite me! But for now, I have a few days breather to enjoy the 20p day trips I booked a little while ago. I am writing a small summary of each UK city/town we visit, and first on the list is – Leeds!
For any international readers, Leeds is one of the biggest cities in the UK with a population of nearly 790,000, and is situated in West Yorkshire. It has a rich economy and a large student population, and it was where I went to do my A Level Geography fieldwork, where I spent a whole two days noting down pedestrian figures and building uses😂. Thankfully, this time around my visit was very much for leisure rather than business.
What’s Available: Whilst my boyfriend Jesse and myself found there were plenty of shopping centres to check out, ranging from traditional shopping arcades, to the extravagant stores in the Victoria Gate/Quarter areas, there was not much culturally to do. Now we only had just under seven hours in Leeds so admittedly we did not explore too much outside of the city centre boundaries, but it had little to differentiate it from other cities. Yes, the Corn Exchange and City Hall buildings are wonderful examples of architecture, but when you see Big Ben you instantly know you are in London – we just did not get that feel for any of them in Leeds.
We had both visited Leeds Armouries when we were younger, so we were on the lookout for new museums to look around. We decided on the Leeds City Museum, because any museum which is focusing on the history of the place its set in tends to be pretty interesting. However…it closes on a Monday. This was not the only attraction which closes on Mondays in Leeds it turned out. On the way towards Revolution I spotted The Shed, an indie and rock bar situated fairly near to the riverside, but again it did not open on Mondays. With most people working 9-5 in the week it is understandable why businesses would choose not to open, but it is still a surprise given Leeds does house so many students! In all fairness to Leeds, there were some big free attractions open today that we did not get the time to explore around – Tetleys and Leeds Art Gallery, which both offered intriguing exhibitions.
Cleanliness of the City: Leeds felt clean, with clean pavements and recycle bins dotted around the city. Kirkgate Market was one of the places which was actively encouraging recycling, with designated bins for cans. A few days before our trip here, I’d read about Leeds being one of the most heaviest polluted cities in the UK and I got why. Several main roads, including the A58(M) run directly through the city centre – in some areas it was unavoidable to not breathe in fumes. It would be good for them to try and cut the amount of private car use in the city centre, and they already have the infrastructure of good public transport with its Metro system.
Ease of Way Around: As just mentioned, Leeds has a strong public transport system, and everything in the city centre is close together, even if I felt the maps made areas seem further away from one another. Speaking of maps, it took us a while to find them, but once we found some they did really help in showing us clearly where we were. However, the orientation of the city changed from map-to-map, which made it more confusing when we were following streets and landmarks to find a specific part of Leeds!
Food and Drink: This is one of the strongest features of the city; as there is an abundance of shopping centres, there were also plenty of places to eat and drink. Starting from Leeds Central, there were loads of eateries in the station, something which shocked me when I am used to there being a grand total of one Costa Coffee in the whole of Lincoln Station! There were a lot of Pret A Mangers, but there were also plenty of Subways and Greggs – something for any budget. However, Leeds shon brightly for its independent eateries; there were many more bakeries and cafes we wanted to try, but we ended up sampling food from a couple of the stalls in Kirkgate Market. Jesse had a vegan hot dog whilst I had a Yorkshire pudding wrap with gammon and gravy, and both left us feeling very full and satisfied! We also both agreed that we would like to have a night out in Leeds and try out the extensive offering of bars and pubs it has; thanks to a wonderful leaving present from Jesse’s old work we had pizza and cocktails at Revolution Bar; the food was delicious and you get a solid quantity of drink in your cocktails, and the ambience of the bar was just right too.
Concluding Thoughts: Whilst we enjoyed the six hours we had in Leeds today, it would not be the first place on our list to revisit. Yes, the shopping centres like Trinity were marvellous, but aside from them, there was not a whole lot more to do on a Monday afternoon. We also felt it lacked the parks and wide open green spaces other city centres have, although we did find a pleasant small piece of green to sit down at, at Woodhouse Square. However, we would go back for a night out at some point, and it was definitely well worth the 20p each we paid for the whole day (even if the new Northern Class 195 trains are very bumpy!)
On the 28th we carry on our 20p trip adventures to Manchester 🐝