Monday, 6 July 2015

Travel: City Break - Leeds - Part 1

Even though I've lived in North Yorkshire now for over 18 months I've never paid a dedicated visit to Leeds. Yes, I've been there, mostly before I ever lived up here, but that was largely to attend meetings, my main glimpses of the city itself from train windows as I left. Hearing so much about this vibrant city, the shopping, the nightlife, the glitz and glamour of the big city, we thought it about time that we paid a visit.

I booked a hotel room within walking distance of the train station, and the city centre, The Met.

The Met hotel Leeds
The Met Hotel, Leeds

This beautiful hotel has an original Victorian terracotta facade which is quite striking from the front. Inside it's elegant, modern, and spotlessly clean and well maintained. The staff were exceptionally helpful and on our last day, were quite happy to look after our luggage while we went off shopping (again). If I was going back to spend a night or two in Leeds again, I wouldn't even shop around, I'd head straight back to the Met.

On our first day we arrived in the middle of the afternoon. It was blisteringly hot, and because I'd spent the morning at work, I had only eaten a measly miniature scotch egg from a buffet. I was ravenous. I could have eaten my own arm. We headed out and stopped at the first restaurant we found.

Restaurant Bar and Grill Leeds
Beautiful interiors all to ourselves inside the Restaurant Bar and Grill

Housed in the old Post office, the Restaurant Bar and Grill is very grand, and because everyone was sat outside baking themselves in the sun, we had the cool and refreshing interior to ourselves. My dinner was amazing. It was only burger and chips, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that was the best burger I ever met. The staff there were so lovely too.

The old Post office Leeds
The Restaurant Bar and Grill, in the old Post Office, Leeds
Despite it being late, we were in a vibrant city, and it was Thursday night which meant THE SHOPS WERE STILL OPEN PEOPLE! We took a wander through Trinity Leeds, stopping off to check out the sales in Victoria's Secret (I've never even been in that shop before, so much loveliness), and makeup shops we've never even heard of before. I know, I sound like I've never been to a big city before, but Leeds not only seems to have it all, but because it's fairly compact I think you see more than say on my many trips to London in the past.

Trinity Leeds shopping centre at night
Night time at Trinity Leeds
Having exhausted the open shops at Trinity, we took a gentle wander past more familiar chains, interspersed with more quirky shops such as old fashioned Barber shops (which seem to be almost as prevalent as the beard in Leeds). We arrived at the luxurious Victoria quarter and into Harvey Nichols. It was about 7pm at night, and it was really nice at that time as there wasn't too many other shoppers which meant we could peruse the many floors of cosmetics, beautiful designer shoes and amazing designer handbags without vast crowds everywhere.

Victoria Arcade Leeds
Victoria Arcade by night
Whilst all of the shops outside of Harvey Nics were closed, the arcade itself remained open and the lack of crowds meant that we were able to wander through it and admire the architecture.

Victoria Arcade Leeds
So very ornate

Dome Victoria Arcade Leeds
Stunning surroundings
In fact, without the shops open, it's even better to appreciate the beautiful surroundings at ease.

Victoria Arcade Leeds
It's amazing how serene an empty shopping arcade can be
With all of the shops shutting we wandered back to our comfortable hotel room, tired but happy. We grabbed a drink from the small hotel bar and took that up to our rooms, relaxing in front of the TV. A relaxing end to a hectic day.

Hotel Room Met hotel Leeds
The clean and cosy welcome of our hotel room
Come back later in the week to see more about my wonderful trip to Leeds.

1 comment:

Vix said...

I spent many a weekend back in the 1980s in Leeds. What a great city. Hyde Park and Headingley were my favourite places, big Victorian terraced houses, great charity shops and fab junk shops.
We're in two minds about working vintage fairs up North. Footfall and takings aren't great in cities further North than Sheffield and its a long way to travel for little reward. xxx