A Student's Guide to Leeds
24 September 2014
WELCOME TO LEEDS
Being accepted and moving to University is definitely an exciting time. New "start", new long life friends, new experiences. But there may be that nervous feeling if you're moving to a new, unfamiliar area. Here is the low down of recommended places to visit in Leeds.
BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
This may not be the best photo but hey, let's get down to business. Every student's mind is most likely where to go for a few cheeky drinks and possibly dance the night away. The above photo was taken on Call Lane featuring a few bars, but there are plenty more bars along the strip where students and young professionals like to go for some amazing cocktails. I highly recommend trying each bar as they have individual vibes. There are a few clubs here. The gay village is close by too.
There are bigger clubs that are dotted around Leeds. Halo (£1 drinks on Mondays!), Pryzm (newly opened), The Space, O2 Academy, Chilli White, The Warehouse to name a few. Have a look online at voodooevents.co.uk to see what student events are held on what day of the week at which club. Skiddle.com is another website to look at other night events if you fancy something different.
You cannot leave Leeds without experiencing the Otley Run pub crawl. Whether this is organised by a society you've joined or to celebrate a birthday, whatever the occasion, be prepared to start early (where daylight is still visible) and in fancy dress. That's all I'm saying.
Heavy night? Need to soak up last night's antics? The Trinity Kitchen is one place to visit. It's like a food court but with a twist. You will have the cafes, restaurants that are permanently there, but the twist is, each month, there are 5 street food vans/carts/sheds that will pop in and stay for a month waiting to serve you. Every month is different. It's always nice to try something new.
There are restaurants in The Light, the Trinity Centre, pubs such a Wetherspoons, bars etc that will cure your hangover whatever your taste, Leeds has. Visit The Greedy Pig cafe (close to Lovell Park) if you want good quality and good value for your money with the home cooked feeling. It's not far from the universities and town centre.
HEY BIG SPENDER
Student loan is a love hate relationship. If bars and clubs wasn't the first thing on your mind, shopping definitely was. The best thing I like about Leeds is that there are small shopping centres/arcades close to one another. The Trinity Centre is the main shopping centre consisting of your high street stores. It's nice to walk through when it's dark outside, the roof lights up. If you cannot find the high street store in there, there's plenty more outside, Albion Street, Briggate, Headrow and many more streets that come off one another. Go explore and see where it leads you.
If you are wanting something different and unique and not from the typical high street, Queens Arcade, Thornton's Arcade and Leeds Corn Exchange would be your thing. Not only do they consist of great independent stores and boutiques to browse around, they are also aesthetically pleasing to look at. If you prefer the premium, higher end of the shopping spectrum, then the Victoria Quarter and Harvey Nichols is your heaven. Then possibly cry afterwards when the loan is used up just like that. Do visit the Victoria Quarter regardless since the interior is beautiful.
CHILL OUT & MINGLE
The Millennium Square is the place to chill, meet friends, watch the world pass by. Around the square, there is the Leeds City Museum and Nelson Mandela's Garden. The square is a tranquil area, away from the main shopping area, until the German Market pays a visit or any other events that are held at the square.
Round the corner is the Leeds Art Gallery. There are some areas where you can relax and view the architecture around as well as visit the gallery itself, with the Town Hall next to it. Park Square is a gem all year round. Beautiful in the summer with the flowers blooming and beautiful when covered in snow.
MUST VISIT PLACES
Within the above categories, I have recommended places within the Leeds centre. But what about the places outside Leeds? I quite like the Leeds transport system as I usually hate buses. It's easy to use to get in and out of the city as they all go through the town centre. Buses will stop outside the main attractions, making them easily accessible.
First thing on the list is Kirkstall Abbey. This needs to be on your to visit list, it's free admission and only 10 minutes on the bus. It's great to look and explore the Abbey ruins. If you enjoy drawing, come here. You can definitely have some me time, earphones in and draw to your hearts content. If you're a fashion blogger, why not explore and maybe take a few cheeky outfit photos here like I've done above. Hehe. Shorts* and top* are from Oh My Love if you're wondering. Opposite the road is the Abbey Museum if you're wanting to learn more about the history.
Where can you go to properly relax for the whole day, have a picnic, kick a ball around, bask in the sun and maybe attempt to tan? Roundhay Park is your answer. It is one of the largest open parks in Europe with plenty of things to see if you want to go explore. With a large open green space, you are sure to find the best spot to suit you. It's around 30 minutes on the bus.
How can I forget about Leeds festival? Need I say more?!
I find that Leeds is definitely the best university cities in the UK. It may be a small city as compared to others, but it's perfectly formed, rich in culture and heritage wherever you walk. With it's broad range of attractions and things to do, it will appeal to every taste.
I do hope you'll enjoy your life in Leeds and find this guide helpful. I will add more to this once I think of more. My advice to everyone would be to just enjoy your university life by the minute and explore new things! Make the most out of it.
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