I Love Leeds

It’s summer, and so as a general rule the sun shines, the people are happy, and there is so much to do in Leeds that I haven’t had time to write about it all!

I thought I would do a rapid-fire ‘photos and words’ -type blog in order to document my #hometourist fun so far without (hopefully) going on for forever!

So, in chronological order..

A few weeks back now, I went to the Otley Chevin to see the sunset.  Unfortunately, The Cheerful Chilli was closed, but I must must must visit it soon – can’t believe I’ve still not managed to go!

A few days later, I spent the day in Leeds City Centre trying to cram in as much as possible.  There was a little ‘Celebrate Spain’ event going on in front of the library/gallery with live music and free hats 🙂

Then I headed up to Millennium Square with my friend Mark for ‘Leeds Loves Food’ where we managed a few glasses of ‘samples’ (only for research purposes, of course) and I tried some delicious food from Wetherby-based Veggie Indian, ‘Mango’.  Must go there one day soon. 🙂

It was a wonderful event!  Really really busy and had a great selection of local bars and eateries on show.  At the same time, the first ever ‘Quarry Hill Festival’ was happening at the other end of town, showcasing the creative talents of those based in Quarry Hill.   I left my friend Mark and swapped him for friend Rob, and we headed to the Wardrobe, where I feel incredibly lucky to have discovered blues guitarist/singer Tom Attah.

Tom played a great and very intimate set, showing himself to be a talented performer with a great sense of humour, and a true gentleman to boot.  Rob and I even had a dance to one of his songs! 🙂

Then it was time for us to head to the Grand Theatre for the matinee performance of ‘Footloose’.  What a great, feel-good show!  I came out of the theatre singing and wishing I could dance like those on stage.  Then we headed for some dinner at Hansas – always a winner for me!

After dinner was done (and I felt completely and utterly full!) we had a lovely chat with Kishor (Hansas’ husband).  He was telling us that Leeds was his favourite place in the World (and he’d just returned from Kenya!) and this from a man who has live here since the 60s.  It was wonderful to hear someone with so much enthusiasm for a place they have been in for that many years – and quite refreshing – it’s often very easy to become indifferent about where you live.  Unless you are a Home Tourist of course! 😉

During the next week, Smithers (and Tilly) took me for my first visit to Temple Newsam.  It’s beautiful there!  I definitely need to go back with some more time and properly explore both the house and gardens.  We did visit the cafe though.. 🙂

(Tilly)

The following Saturday, I managed to fit in lots of fun in the sun.  First, I partook in the Armley Heritage Trail – an event organised by I Love West Leeds festival where I got to see things I never had before and learn more about the place I live.

I saw…

the Library (and signed up)

St Bartholomew’s Church (both inside and out)

 The graveyard has around 3500 graves, each with around 5 bodies. eek!

The organ is one of only 2 like it in the world, and has 3700 pipes. Wow!

And the map of Armley that’s on the Town Street paving stones.

After that wonderful morning, I walked along the canal to Kirkstall Abbey and Kirktall Festival.  Well, I walked as far as the miniature train anyway… Choo choo!

I’d never been to Kirkstall Festival before.  I’m not even sure I knew about it in previous years, though that does now seem hard to believe given its scale (and brilliance).

They had all sorts of things going on.  A fun fair, a dog show, loads of food and drinks stands, a circus skills workshop..

(Tina was the only one brave enough to give it a try!)

LOADS of live music, with great venues, including the Abbey Cloisters – where we listened to Hope and Social

As did many others..!

And the Marvellous Tea Dance Company also had a tent where we did some dancing (though we didn’t limit ourselves to that dance floor, and instead found ourselves (lindy-) hopping from one stage to another until all the music stopped and it was time to go home..!)

 It was a truly fantastic day!

During the following week, I was very lucky to be wined and dined at Restaurant 1875 as their competition winner.  I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend every one of you Home Tourists take a visit – it was remarkable!  The food was delicious, the service was faultless, and it was most definitely a first class experience.   The restaurant is in Menston – it takes 15 minutes on the Ilkley train, and costs less than £4 return.  More than worth it!

Another drop in on the events of I Love West Leeds found me and my friends drawing edible pictures in an Armley Cafe this week, and earning ourselves a Baked Bean Badge for the privilege.

Yet another wonderful and querky thing that Leeds has to offer. 🙂

I also visited the Grand Theatre once more last night to watch a performance of Blood Brothers.  I knew nothing of the story, and only that many of my friends adore the show, so I was very much looking forward to it.  It was incredible.  Completely moving with some breathtaking performances.  I was in floods of tears by the end, and took a little while to recover!

How lucky we are in Leeds to have these productions visit! 🙂

To top off this little (not so little) blog entry about the things in Leeds I love, I note that I also visited Dock Street Market for the first (and second!) time this week. Had a delicious sandwich and slice of cake, totally won at Pool – woo! – and saw the best toilet signs ever.

 I really do love it here.  I hope you do too. 🙂

Tessa x

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