Hometown Series: Leeds, Yorkshire
Written by Get Lost
As the Corona Virus makes its way through across the globe and changes our current way of life, severely limiting our ability to travel, we will continue to focus on the beauty that can be found around us-our hometowns. I encourage you all to take the time to enjoy your hometown, explore nature, and realize all that it has to offer! (Be sure to maintain social distancing for the protection of all!)
This week we will continue the series on Hometowns and hear from Hannah of Get Lost about her hometown of Leeds, Yorkshire. In previous weeks we discussed my hometown, Herkimer NY and the Ann Arbor from Ann Plans Travel.
Leeds is a city in Yorkshire in the north of England. While this city has only been my home for the last 6 years, I’ve fallen in love with it. Since moving here in 2014 I’ve researched and experienced all of the amazing things this city has to offer; here is just a taste of what Leeds has in store.
What to see
Leeds and the surrounding area have an awful lot to offer visitors. With so much to see and do, you’ll be spilt for choice. To give you some ideas to get started, I’ve highlighted just some of the attractions on offer in the city center.
The Royal Armouries is the United Kingdom’s oldest museum and was originally housed in the Tower of London from the 15th century, making it one of the oldest museums in the world. Today, the collection is divided across three sites, one of which has found its home in the vibrant Leeds Dock area. This huge museum spans 5 floors and is free to enter.
You could easily lose yourself in the museum for an entire day exploring the history of armoury and hunting from around the world. The highlight of the collection is undoubtedly the elephant armour. This is the only example of an almost complete, all-metal elephant armour in any public collection in the world.
Leeds Art Gallery
In 1997, the British government designated a collection of 20th-century British Art at Leeds Art Gallery as a collection “of national importance.” The gallery features some fascinating pieces in a range of mediums. The building itself is also a work of art; make sure you stop at the Tiled Gallery Café on your visit. This stunning room was originally the library’s reading room and is covered completely in beautiful tilework from the floor to (and including!) the ceiling.
Millennium Square is a large, paved square that was the city’s flagship millennium project to mark the year 2000. The square is a popular location for outdoor concerts and events, including a large Christmas market throughout December. If you pay a visit to the square, make sure you don’t miss Mandela Gardens. This idyllic oasis is an award-winning garden is designed to reflect elements of South Africa and Britain and has been visited by Nelson Mandela himself.
This bustling market has over 800 stalls and attracts over 100,000 visitors a week. In traditional market style, it is the ideal location to pick up fresh fruit, meat and flowers. It is also the birthplace of a British icon. In 1884 the very first Marks & Spencer opened in Leeds Market as a penny bazaar.
The Corn Exchange is a beautiful Victorian building with an impressive dome-shaped roof. Inside, you’ll find 30 boutique stores selling a variety of wares. Today, it is one of only three remaining Corn Exchanges still functioning as a centre for trade in Britain.
Hidden Gem: Railway Lifting Tower
Looking to find something unique on your trip to Leeds? Hidden amongst a group of new office buildings known as Wellington Place you will find one remaining railway lifting tower. Once part of a pair, this tower was used to hoist wagons from the high-level access viaduct to the yard below using steam power and chains.
Shop like a local
If you’re looking to incorporate some retail therapy into your visit, Leeds is the perfect place.
This mall in the city center boasts over 120 high street shops. It is an impressive retail structure that weaves its way around some existing buildings, creating a multi-level ‘high street.’ It’s all topped off with an iconic and impressive glass ceiling, and an imposing modern sculpture of a packhorse carrying cloth.
Victoria Quarter Arcade
If you’re looking for a more up-market shopping experience, the beautiful arcades of Victoria Quarter are a must. The County and Cross Arcades were built between 1898 and 1904, designed by the theatre architect Frank Matcham. Today, the arcades are filled with high-end boutiques but still retain the beautiful Victorian décor.
The most recent addition to the shopping scene in Leeds is the Victoria Gate mall. Victoria Gate was built as an extension just beyond the Victoria Quarter to utilize an undeveloped area of the city. Boasting a large John Lewis department store and several premium retailers, it’s the ideal place for some luxury shopping.
Eat like a local
If you’re feeling in need of a bite to eat but don’t know where to start, head to Trinity Kitchen. This cool canteen is home to street food from all over the globe, all under one roof. They also have a unique concept of rotates six new street food vans every eight weeks, so you can sample something different every time you visit!
Did you know?
As well as great attractions, shopping and food, Leeds is also full of great street art! In fact, it is home to the UK’s tallest mural and the country’s biggest 3D, anamorphic work. If you’d like to learn more, check out this guide to finding the best street art in the city center.
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