Day trips to the surrounding areas of Leeds are an unmissable part of the student experience. Whether you’re in the mood for a wholesome day out, or have succumbed to family members’ advice about visiting historic towns, this list has something for you.
A day trip to this quirky market town will only set you back a fiver via train (with a 16-25 railcard). Nestled in a steep-sided valley is what has been voted ‘the fourth funkiest town in the world’. The high street is saturated with artsy shops and independent cafes, offering a much-needed break from the New Looks and Costas that seem to be found in every small town across the UK. You can wander alongside the canal and colourful barges to see a film at the Picture House. Walking trails into the hills offer a chance to take in the picturesque views and you can visit Sylvia Plath’s grave in Heptonstall on the way. Coined ‘the lesbian capital of the UK’, the liberal nature and inclusivity of the community is clear to see.
A must-see in the medieval city of York are the cobbled streets of The Shambles, which strangely boasts a large number of Harry Potter merchandise shops. There’s a fairly large choice of high street shops but the markets are probably catered to the older generation. Walking the circuit of 13th century walls or a visit to the gothic cathedral York Minister will mean you can tick off a few cultural spots. On a sunny day you can relax by the historic ruins in the park.
Ilkley Moor is ideal for a short hike, so even the outdoors-averse housemates can be dragged along. Visit the Cow and Calf rocks to rock climb or take pictures to reassure parents that your free time doesn’t just involve drinking. Have a swim in the outdoor pool at Ilkley Lido during the summer months. This can all be followed up by a big pub lunch in Ilkley village.
Harrogate, a spa town that is undeniably posh and frequently voted the happiest place to live in Britain, is accessible from Leeds by train in under an hour. Harrogate is known for Betty’s Tea Room which is worth a visit if you don’t mind paying eye watering prices for a cream tea. Feel as if you’re in a more exotic place than Harrogate at the Turkish Baths, with Moorish decor that has been preserved from the Victorian era. Try not to be put off by the cold plunge pool alongside the saunas and steam rooms, you’ll feel refreshed and ready for some long stints in the library afterwards.
Meanwood Valley Urban Farm
Being walking distance from Hyde Park, a visit to this city farm can’t be classed as a full day trip but is well worth a mention. Although aimed at young families, this farm is surprisingly popular with students who want a taste of the countryside within the city. At certain times of the year, you can see a plethora of new-born chicks and even pet the lambs. The alpacas are a highlight, but skittish when they’ve just been shorn so try to catch them when they’ve got thick coats. An afternoon at the farm offers a wholesome alternative to the pub.