Leeds, one of West Yorkshire’s metropolitan boroughs, boasts itself of being a multicultural city imbued with history with so many things to offer and engross keen travellers. It is the gateway to the Yorkshire region with the Leeds Bradford International airport being the largest airstrip servicing flights within the UK and Europe. It is quite easy to book a flight to Aberdeen, Bristol and even Malaga if you fancy to go artistic. But before you book a flight at Eastern Airways to any of the other wonderful cities, take a walk around Leeds first (even the Headrow is enough) and explore a treasure trove of experiences and discoveries.
Roundhay Park – One of the best parks Leeds has to offer. Aside from skateboarding areas, bowling greens, tennis courts, football and cricket pitches, a canoe club, and a grass cycling track, one can get close to nature by birdwatching and gating at the many wild animals as roe, deer, moles, squirrels and more.
Golden Acre Park –have yourself amazed by the gardens and mature woodland around a beautiful lake. There’s also the Breary Marsh Nature Reserve, which are both perfect for teaching kids about wildlife and conservation. Let them mingle swans, and also deer, fox, rabbits and squirrels, geese, heron and various duck species.
Horsforth Hall Park, a large community park featuring a Japanese Garden and an integrated play project where all children (able bodied and disabled) can play together.
Middleton Park, with ancient woodlands dating as far back as the 1600, adorned with old oak trees, streams, ponds, and a variety of flora and fauna, this park is a must see. There are also tennis courts, a bowling green, a public golf course for both adults and kids to enjoy.
Architecture (and Shopping)
Leeds has the most number of Listed Buildings than in any English city outside London. Some of these buildings are famous shopping centres designed by famous architects. These shopping centres comprise Leeds’ shopping area which is approximately 1,000 retail stores, with a combined floorspace of 2,264,100 square feet (210,340 m2). Some of the most notable Listed Buildings would be:
The Victoria Quarter, an upmarket shopping area christened as the premium shopping centre North of England which holds Ted Baker, Karen Millen, Vivienne Westwood, French Connection, Space NK, Hobbs, Diesel, Firetrap, All Saints and Jigsaw stores, as well as being home to the first Harvey Nichols store outside London. The building was designed by architect Frank Matcham.
Leeds Corn Exchange, a historical building designed by Cuthbert Brodrick who also did the plans for the Leeds Town Hall. The Corn Exchange was used as a trading center for – as the name suggests, corn. Today, it is a shopping centre housing independent retailers of a selection of innovative shops, boutiques and places to eat. The Corn Exchange also hosts vintage fairs, craft fairs and other collectors’ fairs once in a while.
Temple Newsam, a house built in the Tudor-Jacobean style situated in a 1500 Acres of Park with a farm, children’s playground and cafe and wonderful garden to walk around. The house has a fantastic collection of furniture and other artefacts – an unassuming yet astonishing irony.
Harewood House, a country house designed by the architects John Carr and Robert Adam for wealthy trader Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood.
Leeds Town Hall, architect Cuthbert Brodrick’s most famous building, stands today as a representation of the importance of Leeds as a centre of trade and commerce and the wealth of its citizens.
A visit to Leeds will not be complete without exploring its artistic offerings. Art enthusiasts can feast on both modern and historical works of arts from the different museums and exhibits in this area. There are venues that showcase works of aspiring artists or art students and first class art exhibitions along with galleries that permanently feature historical artifacts and artworks. The Leeds Art Gallery and Leeds City Museum alone already have plenty of inspiring art works in different mediums and interesting artifacts that visitors can enjoy. Those who want to explore some more can visit these other hotspots for arts and culture.
Abbey House Museum. This house is a family friendly museum that holds a lot of educational and visually appealing pieces from the Victorian Period. Kids will definitely learn and enjoy the lively and interactive displays as well as the authentic recreation of Victorian Streets that visitors can walk through.
Armley Mills Industrial Museum. This old woolen mill used to be considered as one of the largest of its kind in the 17th century. It was converted into a museum in 1969 and has since then showcased a rich collection of artifacts on the industrial revolution.
University of Leeds and University of Leeds Museum. This University is considered as an excellent school in the area that is also known as a venue for music acts. It is also noteworthy that JRR Tolkien worked here as a reader, then Professor, in the early 1900s. The university museum also has one of the largest collections for design, science, and natural history.
This part of West Yorkshire makes a good destination for those who love to explore arts and culture. The numerous attractions of Leeds can fill the senses with rich experiences, inspire the soul with their local masterpieces, and enrich the mind with historical and modern artifacts.
Photo credits: Travellers’ Stories