M – Meanwood (By Emily Powter-Robinson)
Looking to escape the urban world of the city for a few hours? Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve could be just what you’re looking for. Located just north of Headingley, Meanwood is a former village, now suburb of Leeds. It’s probably a bit far out if you were to walk, but it’s easily accessible by bus. If you do fancy getting some exercising and walking though, I would suggest stopping off at one of the many cafes and restaurants scattered along the Headingley-Meanwood border (Salvo’s is a particularly tasty Italian restaurant, but you do have to book in advance). Meanwood Park itself is around 72 acres, offering extensive walking paths, as well as
basketball and tennis courts and a bowling green. You can follow the Meanwood Valley trail from Woodhouse Moor (aka Hyde Park), through the Meanwood Valley and on to Breary Marsh if you’re feeling particularly energetic. There’s also another park called The Hollies nearby, which boasts a vast covering of forested woodland scattered with beautiful wild flowers. As this is a slightly smaller and less
popular park than Meanwood Park this is the perfect place if you really want to lose yourself in nature and get away from the stress of impending deadlines and general uni gloom. So, if you find yourself stressed out and feeling claustrophobic under a mountain of work, or
if you just miss the countryside at home like I sometimes do, hop on a bus to Meanwood for a few hours and enjoy the Yorkshire wildlife which is literally right on your doorstep.
N – Nightlife (By Janie Gonsalez)
If there’s one thing to say about the nightlife in Leeds it’s that there truly is something for everyone. This was one of my first thoughts during fresher’s week, and one which prevailed throughout my entire university experience, as I continue to explore the different clubs and bars which are on offer.
Leeds is widely known for its student club nights, which boast an exciting array of line ups and an incredibly diverse range of music. Whether you’re into a certain scene or enjoy a lot of different genres, there will always be an event on which will take your fancy. Nights like Cirque du Soul and Good Life bring the most colourful deco and atmosphere to Leeds. They are often held at Beaver Works (which in first year felt like an actual maze) and there are loads of different rooms and artists you can choose to see. Also at Beaver Works is High Rise, an event which was born in Leeds before spreading to other cities. It continues to bring a dynamic line up to its hometown with each event, with some of the best names in drum and bass, jungle, grime and reggae, to name a few. Then there’s Cosmic Slop, ran by MAP, a charity operating from Hope House, who offer arts courses to young people who have barriers to learning. With one of the best sound systems in Europe and with an intimate capacity of 200 people, Resident Advisor said that Cosmic Slop offers a picture of diversity which most other clubs cannot claim. With the funds from the night going to MAP you can party knowing that you’re benefitting an amazing cause.
Even after three years in Leeds there are still events which I’ve not been to and there are always new ones popping up. The Hyde Park Book Club has recently opened a basement to host nights such as Crispy Aromatic Sounds and HUCK, which I’ve heard great things about.
For something a little different, and educational, look out for HPBC’s evenings of guest speakers and lecturers, which are often on a diverse range of insightful and important topics. They also host poetry and music nights, and on Valentine’s Day they welcome Tame
Impala’s Julien Barbagallo, with a night of progressive French pop.
If you enjoy getting glammed up in your Sunday best and doing a bar crawl, the top two places I would recommend are Call Lane and Greek Street, both of which boast a range of cocktail bars and clubs. A stone’s throw away from Call Lane is Brewery Wharf, home to
Oracle Bar and Nightclub. The downstairs bar and restaurant is a great place to start your evening (and their £20 bottomless brunch is a must), whereas the club hosts a variety of different events and is where you’ll want to head later on in the night.
This guide is just skimming the surface of what nightlife Leeds has to offer, so I know you’ll enjoy discovering the city’s gems just as much as I have!
O – Outside (By Saffron Ward)
Surrounded by the Yorkshire moors and the Dales, there are plenty of ways to escape the bustling city of Leeds and catch some country air. Beyond Ilkley, Knaresborough is a quaint town positioned on the train route to York, making it the perfect location for a quick and easy day out. Fancy something a little bit closer to home? Just a short bus journey, or if you’re feeling very adventurous, a longer walk out of the city, you’ll find Roundhay Park and Otley Chevin. Both offer beautiful, lush countryside and varying walking routes to suit all, whether you want a nice walk or a full on hike.
image from holdyourhorsesblog.com