Temple Newsam Estate
Last weekend I spent 48 hours in the beautiful city of Leeds. I feel like someone has kept the prettiness of the North of England hidden from me – every time I’ve visited, whether its Manchester, Huddersfield, or York, I’ve found myself struck by the historical architecture and vast expanses of green, lush countryside!
Leeds was another pretty gem in the Northern crown. I was lucky enough to be shown round by good friends and true Northerners, meaning I was able to skip most of the tourist trail and instead see the best that Leeds has to offer.
Going by train
Early Saturday morning, a few friends and I took the train from King’s Cross to Leeds; we’d managed to score ridiculously cheap tickets in the Virgin sale so it cost us just £24 there and back. We travelled with a big flask of tea and Keep Cups, and I napped a little on the way too.
Upon arrival at the station we were met by more friends who took us on a tour of Leeds’ compact city centre. Our first stop was Laynes Espresso for coffee – apparently the best coffee in town – and they use both soy or oat milk if asked too.
It was then onto the Briggate, the main shopping street in the city, and through the dainty arcades that Leeds is famous for. We also walked through the new shopping area, which continues with the arcade-style shops and then into Kirkgate Market to see the first ever Marks & Spencers, and then to Trinity Kitchen, an area of the shopping centre with various street-food vendors. I had a much needed vegan hot dog and chips from Slap and Pickle after walking all over the place!
In the afternoon we visited the newly-opened Kitty Cafe in the city centre. It was lovely to be surrounded by rescue cats and cakes all afternoon, although because of the demand you only get an hour to sit with the cats and you also have to pay £6 per person on the door, plus any food or drink you order. I met their newest addition, a tiny 10-week old kitty with jet black fur who was incredibly happy nuzzling into his little hammock.
As a lovely extra, our friends had organised to take us to Temple Newsam Estate before the sun went down. Just a 10 minute drive away, it was a really lovely place to see more of the local countryside and meet a few farm yard animals too! I took to the cute black-and-white piglets, as well as their fluffy sheep, chilled out donkeys, and pristine white chickens that would hop from foot to foot!
Brunch, donuts, and monks
On the Sunday, we decided to have a chilled out brunch to start. Our initial idea was to go to Hessian, a healthy veggie and vegan café, but it was unexpectedly shut so instead we headed into town to go to LS6 Cafe. LS6 does a selection of breakfasts, from the typical full English to eggs on toast or even pancakes. I went for a vegetarian full English (my favourite!) and particularly enjoyed the sweet potato hash brown.
Then I was treated to vegan donuts at Temple Coffee – a Shoreditch-style coffee shop set up in a little garage on the corner of a main road. I went for a cola donut, which, let’s be honest, was never going to be the nicest donut ever, but I’m glad I got to try something new!
We then took our donuts to Kirkstall Abbey, an impressive crumbling building that was home to monks nearly 800 years ago. It was really nice to look around and enjoy the rushing River Aire nearby while chomping on vegan cola frosting!
After that, it was a matter of packing up my backpack and heading to the station… It’s surprising how much we got done in just under two days, and I can’t wait to go back!