Admittedly, I, and most people I know, had seldom thought to venture into Leeds before uni open days. This faraway Northern land was rumoured to have arctic temperatures, no phone signal and nothing more than bleak moors and Yorkshire puddings. Rumours around Sixth Form, however, painted Leeds as a city with a lot more to offer than overly friendly OAPs. With a perennial laid-back atmosphere, an incredible party scene, and a lively up-and-coming vibe, it is tough not to pity those who don’t have the privilege of calling Leeds their uni home.
First up, there is no awkward embarrassment of stating you go to Leeds. It’s not in the Oxbridge or London elite, which in student terms automatically labels you a twat. Nor is it way down amongst the bottom of sacred league tables. After telling someone where you go to uni the usual response is ‘doesn’t Leeds have a sick night-out?’ All you can do is sit back and relax nodding to yourself with an air of superiority thinking, I nailed it.
In Lancaster, Warwick and Sussex the only thing they can pride themselves on is their beloved Student’s Union, which is quite literally the epitome of their uni experience. Leeds certainly ticks all the boxes with its campus. If you feel like procrastinating with your phone in one hand and a book in the other, Hidden Café is the hipster retreat on the block. If you fancy doing some actual studying, Eddy B is a campus icon, featuring level ‘flirteen.’ But what really separates Leeds’ campus from the crowd has to be our friend, Bakery 164 – no day is worth living without a focaccia frenzy.
In Leeds you can most definitely wear whatever you want and act however you want all in the name of ‘edgy Leeds.’ If its not an education you’re gaining it’s most definitely an ‘edgycation.’ Given that there are 5 universities in the city, you can go days seeing only 20-year-old top-knotted SubDub lovers. Leeds has countless of hipster nights from HighRise and Jungle Jam to Cirque Du Soul and RamJam. Let us not forget that Leeds also still provides those trashy, tasteless night outs; you’ve got an excuse to skip a seminar for a Greasy Pig breakfast on any day of the week.
The sheer number of establishments devoted to drinking is actually ridiculous, with Merrion Street and Call Lane opening new cocktail, craft beer and rooftop bars at every opportunity. Leeds is pretty much becoming a much cheaper Shoreditch; amongst its music venues like Brudenell, Belgrave and Nation of Shopkeepers, there are some cool newbies on the social scene like Get Baked and Moo’d Cereal House.
Don’t panic though, when family visit there are plenty of respectable places to visit as well, not that you will have ever been to them before they arrive. Leeds boasts the beautiful Victoria Quarter and Grand Arcade, Leeds Corn Exchange and Leeds Art Gallery. Or if you fancy being treated, Harrogate and York are only down the road for afternoon tea at Betty’s.
Still not convinced that Leeds is the best city ever? Transport connections are so good you can visit Manchester, York and Liverpool in around an hour and even London is just over two.
If Leeds had a school song we’d be belting it from Parkinson steps, but for now we’ll all just chant ‘Leeds Leeds Leeds’ at any opportunity to stress just how much we love living in Leeds.