Traveling to the UK for a vacation, for many tourists, is going to be centered on London, but don’t neglect the north if you have enough time to spare. Leeds, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, is a historic city that’s also buzzing with life, thanks in part to its large student population – and it also makes a great base for trips into the wonderful countryside to the north.
There’s a wealth of things to do in the evenings in Leeds. Music and live comedy venues abound, including a little gem on Central Road called the HiFi Club. Music is both live and DJ based, covering jazz, rock and soul, and well-known comedians often appear onstage.
If gaming is more your thing, there are a number of casinos in the city including The Grosvenor on Merrion Way, and there’s a large bingo hall near the main bus station. We’d recommend visiting the beautiful Victorian Adelphi pub on Hunslet Road instead; you can use their free Wi-Fi to play online bingo or slots like sunny scoops at bingo.com, while enjoying the best pint of real ale in Leeds.
A trip to The Royal Armouries museum is a must for anyone interested in history. This year a new exhibition has opened commemorating the centenary of the First World War. The collection will be permanent, joining the museum’s displays of ancient and modern arms and armour. Entry is free other than for specific temporary exhibitions.
Combining a visit to the Armouries with a trip to Kirkstall Abbey would make a great day out. Kirkstall is just 15 minutes outside the city, and it’s one of the best preserved medieval buildings in the country. It’s set in some beautiful, well-kept parkland, and (except in winter) there’s a regular monthly Sunday market with fantastic local produce and crafts.
If the weather lets you down, one good option for an afternoon’s entertainment is a visit to the Hyde Park Picture House. This lovely little cinema is also celebrating its centenary in 2014, making it one of Britain’s oldest. While it has a reputation as an arthouse cinema, it also hosts “event92” family-friendly matinees on Saturdays. The Picture House was saved from closure in 1989 by the local council and is now thriving again.
Finally, a couple of recommendations for eating out. For a good value lunch or a snack, try El Topo on Sovereign Place for excellent barbeque and Tex-Mex food. For an evening splurge, Fazenda on Waterman’s Place is an amazing take on the Brazilian churrascaria – wonderful for carnivores, though there’s also a decent vegetarian menu available.
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