I’m sure you’re asking yourself, why Leeds? Well for several reasons in fact, yes i will pretty much go ANYWHERE that presents itself, the flights are a ridiculous €9.99 with Ryanair and most importantly my Dad. My Dad grew up in Leeds during the sixties, spending the majority of his youth and teenage years there after immigrating from Ireland. His mother grew homesick and decided to move back to the green lands of Ireland, where my Dad spent the rest of his life.
He did however continue to talk about his distant memories of Leeds, and growing up as a young lad in West Yorkshire. Like most daughters attempting and struggling to buy their Dads a semi distant crimbo gift, i decided why not book two tickets to Leeds and allow him the chance to revisit his past. I will admit it was also another excuse for me to fly to a new city, cheeky, i know. My Dad is literally as crazy as me, so i knew i would be in for a good laugh and who could argue with the cost of those flights.
It really is a great little destination for a weekend escape, and i will admit, it really reminds me of Dublin. There is plenty to see and do, just make sure to bring a scarf.
1) Take the FREE water taxi to the Royal Armouries Museum
It sounds a bit cheesy and novelty, but i assure you that this little addition to your Leeds trip will be the cherry on the cake. Leeds is famous for its canals, and you can choose to either take a short twenty minute walk or go by a free water taxi service. It attracts families, locals, tourists and couples, and will take you from Leeds Station all the way to the Royal Armouries Museum. It’s a really lovely little experience that is totally free and takes roughly twenty minutes. The Royal Armouries is also not to be missed, as it is not just any old museum. It is jam packed with beautiful costumes of war from England to Japan and guess what, it’s also free.
2) Shopping with a difference
If it gets a little chilly you can jump into one of the MANY shopping experiences that Leeds has to offer. I will honestly admit that i spent roughly three hours wandering around the Trinity Leeds, a central shopping centre which opened in 2013. I will be honest and say it’s a little confusing as it’s part indoors, part outdoors. Once you figure out your whereabouts, you’re in for a real shopping treat. I got my hands on a gorgeous little dress in Topshop, which i was only delighted with.
If you’re looking for something a little less commercial, you can also nip into the famous Victorian Arcades including Thorntons, Central and Grand. They are simply beautiful and i promise your neck will hurt from wanting to look up. See below
3) Drink tea in The Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange is a MUST when visiting Leeds. It is full of alternative shops from music, fashion to photography. It also has a wicked entertainment section where you can play table tennis on the bottom floor. I however decided to sip herbal tea watching the people walk by and also take in the breathtaking architecture and roof.
4) Drink craft ale at Whitelocks Ale House
Leeds is packed full of cool little craft ale houses, the majority of which are tucked down little side alleys and lanes, making it a real adventure to try and find one. I did manage to visit the oldest of them all, located on the main shopping street of Briggate. Whitelocks Ale House is the oldest pub in Leeds, founded originally in 1715. It is a charming little spot and you can enjoy a range of craft ales and a cheeky pork pie on the side.
5) Eat with a difference at Man’s Market
If you’re looking for a wicked place to grab a cocktail, delicious asian food and enjoy an electric atmosphere while you eat, then Man’s Market is the place for you. It’s located about five minute walk from Leeds Station and offers a very unique dining experience like no other. I only wish there was one in Dublin and find myself still dreaming about their deep fried Asian ice cream and Dim Sum. Its definitely a spot for the young and the bill wasn’t too bad either. I paid a total of €61 (after conversation) for a three course meal for two with drinks.
Other ideas for those seeking further inspiration:
There really is an endless amount of activities and sightseeing opportunities in the city of Leeds. If you’re seeking more ideas than the above why not consider the following:
- Watch a football match with the locals, either on screen or at Elland Road (Leeds United Stadium)
- Take a tour of The Elland Road Stadium for as little as £5
- Walk around Leeds City Museum
- Take part in an Ale tasting experience in one of its many craft houses
- Visit Leeds Market for a taste of real life in the city
- Grab a takeaway coffee and do the the canal walk
Extra information about the trip
– I flew with RyanAir for €9.99 to Leeds Bradford
– Take the 757 bus from Leeds Airport to the city for £3.80
During my time in the city i stayed at the Clayton Hotel Leeds. Which is perfectly located beside Leeds Station and about a 15/20 minute walk into the heart of the city. Rates range depending on the month, but they currently have a range of offers on, including great weekend deals. I will admit that this hotel had one of the most comfortable beds that i have ever slept on and it also has a huge buffet breakfast spread.
To check out the Clayton offer follow the link here http://bookings.claytonhotelleeds.com/offers
For more information on visiting leeds why not check out http://www.visitleeds.co.uk/