Leeds in a day

I’ve been wanting to visit Leeds for a number of years now so when we were invited to a wedding in the area it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally get the chance to explore. An easy train ride from London, the journey took only 2 1/2 hours from the platform at Kings Cross to Leeds City Centre and after a bottle of train picnic prosecco (one of the better kinds) we arrived at our rather lovely hotel The New Ellington ready to settle in for the night.

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Now Neil, the groom of the wedding, really prevailed here as he had chosen this hotel for the groomsmen (and tagalong ladies) to stay in. We extended our stay by an extra night which I am thrilled about as it really was quite the find. Boutique with a contemporary and relaxed ambience The New Ellington was a perfectly situated home away from home. Super comfy bed, super fancy drinking glasses, excellent micro toiletry selection and a GIN BAR. That’s right friends, over 300 (!) varieties of gin just lingering a mere lift ride away. It was always going to be a success in my eyes.

IMG_0115 IMG_0116Tearing ourselves away from the hotel after breakfast in the morning we set off to see the sights of LeedsLeedsLeeds via the canal and walking through the city centre with all its well manicured shopping delights. The Trinity Centre felt very shiny and new with all your high street needs whereas the Victoria Quarter housed some beautiful architecture and the kind of shops I enjoy looking longingly through the window at before remembering my profession and swiftly moving on.

IMGP2599 IMGP2601 IMGP2603 IMGP2607 IMG_0120I had heard lots of good things about the Corn Exchange and it was the perfect place to poke around taking in some unique shops under the domed roof. From here we walked along the water to The Armouries because hi history. For a free museum it really was great however I was content after one floor of swords and well, armour, let alone four. Still, where there’s a place there’s room for a photo opportunity. Said, erm, the blogger.

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Now it’s not quite Pont des Arts but look: a Leeds Love Lock bridge. Complete with that age old symbol of true, everlasting love- a single converse.

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Feeling satisfied with our new Northern knowledge we headed back in pursuit of food. Now being the first class stalker researcher I am, I had previously turned to Twitter for restaurant recommendations and found some Leeds bloggers talking about a place called The Botanist which they were giving rave reviews. Well thank you mystery lady bloggers of Leeds as this is where we went and it was absolute perfection. Not that I’m surprised, bloggers do tend to have excellent taste. Ahem.

IMG_0138Situated just outside of the Trinity Centre The Botanist was positively heaving at 3pm compared to the quiet streets we had been walking all day. As you may expect from the name it’s rustic chic at its very finest with nods to botany scattered around the largely wooden interior. Whilst waiting for a table it seemed only right to sample one of their many cocktails (Blueberry & Apple Cooler- sterling choice) before perusing the menu.

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To follow a hummus and crudite starter I opted for a selection from their deli menu to make up my own board of edible delights and Tom went for the unusual sounding smoked haddock rarebit. We also had a couple of craft beers, including one from one of my favourite breweries, Beavertown.

IMG_0125 IMG_0129 IMG_0130 IMG_0133 IMG_0136The DIY deli board is such a great idea; especially for people like me who would much rather try bits of everything than commit to one dish. I had the greek salad, home dried tomatoes, coronation chicken and Lancashire cheese which came with Turkish bread and it was a wondrous selection. The tomatoes in particular were heavenly. I didn’t need the bread but since when did that ever stop a girl.

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Feeling full we walked back to the hotel to get ready for an evening with the soon to be married couple who were hosting a drinks reception prior to the big day commencing the following morning.  Now there ain’t no pre drink like a gin bar pre drink so this is where we settled before we left, happily sampling types of gin I can’t remember the names of. All I know is my one was raspberry infused and they both came with these incredible spherical ice cubes with fruit encased inside. Genius. Stealing that one for summer. Thanks Leeds.

IMG_0147 IMG_0148I really enjoyed our time spent exploring somewhere new and found Leeds to be very walkable for all the main city highlights and full of Northern hospitality. I’m sure there’s a wealth of places left to explore and in turn I’m sure this won’t be my last visit to this lovely West Yorkshire part of the world.

Suffice to say the wedding was also wonderful- full of love, laughter and this hairstyle I’m particularly proud of. Yay for Pinterest.

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