Leeds is a popular city among Indonesian students. It has at least two universities with good reputation, added with its quite affordable living cost. No wonder there are so many Indonesian students in Leeds. Besides for studying, Leeds is also quite popular for its tourism because it is located (almost) between two national parks, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North York Moors National Park. Both national parks are famous for their beauty; they are even mentioned as the must-visit places when you are in the UK.
I personally have not been to both national parks. Some of my friends have and they love it! Indeed, it is something worth to do. However, I have visited Leeds several times now. My purpose was mainly to visit a friend or to do something. Mostly, I went to Leeds to go to the airport, Leeds Bradford. Hahaha… Anyway, during my visits, several times I tried to explore the city. I cannot find a word that can represent Leeds, but just say that it is a combination of old and new.
I had enough time to explore the city (excluding its museums and galleries) during my last visit. I visited the Kirkstall Abbey, went to the Museum Quarter (without entering the museums), and explored the Corn Exchange. There is actually I place that should worth to visit but I haven’t got time to do it, which is the first Marks and Spencer outlet in Kirkgate Market. So, here’s my story…
I saw Kirkstall Abbey a few times when I had to go to the Leeds Bradford Airport. It is located a little bit out of the city center, but not that far that you have to allocate certain time to visit it. When I passed by, I didn’t know that it can be quite interesting visiting the place. Kirkstall Abbey is a complex of park, abbey ruins, a museum, and a small café. In normal days, visitors can come inside the abbey ruins and the museum. There is also some kind of farmers market held there once in a while. However, at the time I visited the abbey, I could not get into the place because it was holiday. I had to be satisfied by just exploring the park and looking at the ruins from the outside. I was happy, though, because I could take a lot of nice pictures.
Again, visiting cities during holiday can be tricky. I went to the Museum Quarter but I could not get into the museums because of it. Therefore, again, I had to be satisfied by just strolling on the streets of Leeds. I heard people recommend Leeds City Museum and the Royal Armories Museum as places to visit. However, it was quite interesting to see how the old buildings and the new developments are blending in the city. The shopping center, which is not too far for the Museum Quarter, is also a blend of old and new. There are many shopping arcades with interesting interior designs.
Near the end of the day, I ran out of ideas of where to go to. Then, my friend suggested me to see the Corn Exchange. Basically, it is a shopping center – or a vintage shopping center if I can say. The building was quite old and has been used as a shopping center for a long time. It is interesting to see the inside of this building because although it is old, the building is preserved well. It is simply gorgeous. I also like to see how the shops still maintain the ‘vintage look’, blending themselves to the surrounding architecture. My husband was especially happy there because there is a camera shop selling second-hand cameras. I was surprised that the shop still sells the analogue camera there!
Anyway, that is my review about Leeds. It has not been much. However, if I visit the city another time, I would love to use it as the gate to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North York Moors National Park.