Believe it or not, life does exist outside of Leeds City Centre and Headingley. There is a whole world out there, inhabited by normal people going about their everyday lives; people who have never even heard of Fruity, let alone had to negotiate Roger Stevens with a hangover at 9am on a Monday morning. So when the social carousel that is Freshers’ week begins to threaten your grasp on reality, why not take some time out and explore the amazing area surrounding Leeds?
Here are the LSi’s top picks for places to visit:
1. Ilkley Moor
Settled deep in the harshly beautiful Yorkshire countryside is the town of Ilkley, which provides a gateway to the fantastic Ilkley moor. Suitable for hardcore outdoor enthusiasts and casual walkers alike, the moor offers a wealth of different routes to explore. The landscape is also home to many stories and legends, such as those which surround the Twelve Apostles standing stone formation. Dating back to the Bronze Age, the stones are a subject of much speculation: some claim they have religious significance, whilst folklore details the stones as a meeting place for local witches. Whichever it is, the moor is a wonderful place to get away from city life and relax; just make sure you don’t end up lost.
The town of Ilkley itself is also worth a visit, you can enjoy a walk by the river and head to one of the local pubs for a home cooked meal that you’ll definitely be craving.
Getting there: Simply hop on an X84 bus, or board one of the frequent trains from Leeds.
Home to the Brontë sisters, Haworth is a must-visit for all literature lovers. The English Society run an annual trip to the famous village, but it is also worth a visit by yourself, even if only to roam the surrounding countryside shouting ‘Heathcliff!’ in a suitably tragic manner. You might even persuade a friend to stand just out of sight and reply ‘Cathy!’ in an equally theatrical tone. Amateur dramatics aside, the village itself is a wonderful place to visit, with a jumble of quaint tearooms, bookshops and cobbled streets to wander around, as well as the parsonage (now a museum) where the sisters wrote the majority of their novels.
Getting there: Get the train or the number 760 bus to Keighley, then change to the number 665 or 721 bus to Haworth.
The walled city of York is abundant in both history and tearooms that line its charming cobbled streets, alongside small boutiques and pubs. Not to be missed is York Minster, an impressive Gothic structure that is the second largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The well-known medieval street The Shambles is also worth meandering down, and leads out into the city centre, which hosts more of the larger chain stores. Take note, train spotters: York is also home to the National Railway Museum, where enthusiasts can find the world’s biggest collection of railway locomotives. Thrills for all the family.
Getting there: Board any of the frequent trains departing from Leeds Central to York.
Known in the Georgian Era as ‘The English Spa’, Harrogate is the perfect place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. Whilst enjoying first-class tea and cakes at the renowned Betty’s Tea Rooms, you can almost convince yourself that you are indeed a refined English lady or gentleman, rather than a grubby student. Burn off the clotted cream calories with an amble around the picturesque Valley Gardens before heading back to Leeds, and the reality of your less than refined student kitchen.
Getting there: Trains every half hour from Leeds Central.