I had about twenty-four hours in Leeds last week, which – excluding the all-important dual demands of working and sleeping – left me a few hours to explore, and I was determined to make the most of that time because I’d heard great things about the city.
Although I don’t know much about the city other than it being the home of Leeds United FC and sharing an airport with Bradford, Leeds is spoken of as one of northern England’s successful big city regenerations, I’d heard it was a vibrant place, and it has looked nice on the few occasions I’ve travelled through it on the train. So I was keen to see what I could, knackered though I was after seven hours on the train. And of course, for a place that is normally used to being described as “up north”, it didn’t feel very north being as it was a few hundred miles south of me.
I was able to avoid the time-consuming and probably not very productive process of attempting to research the best way of using my time, however, by putting out an appeal for tips on Twitter. Armed with a few useful nuggets thanks to Mylifeinleeds I was able to take in most of the sights and get a nice little flavour for the city.
And I have to say I was impressed. Leeds came over as a bright, bustling place with a large but easily-navigable centre and an attractive waterfront, and the proud Victorian architecture was complemented by modern constructs that on the whole were not too hideous. One or two tall skyscrapers spoke of the city’s aspirations as a modern metropolis, yet the streets (and the one excellent pub I ventured into) had a pleasant, warm air to them. The city quite effortlessly mixed an evident heritage with a strong modernity. It was the sort of English city that felt like it ought to have trams, but didn’t.
In recent years I’ve visited a couple of Yorkshire’s big cities, and while I was hugely impressed with Bradford, Sheffield was a place I never quite “got”, and so it was a relief that Leeds came over as a place that would definitely entice me back for another explore.
I’ve bunged a handful of photos from my explorations on Flickr.