This is a guest post by Darren Cronian, founder and editor of My Life in Leeds – a local guide to the attractions of Leeds in Yorkshire, England. The guide is written by locals who are keen to share their knowledge and experiences. Darren is also author of the popular Travel Rants blog, which champions consumer travel issues. This is part of a series of guest posts by my fellow travel bloggers, to assist me while I look after my twin babies.
Most visitors to Leeds will spend their time in the city centre, but there are a number of towns and suburbs recommended for day trips just a short bus or train journey away.
The town of Otley lies 10 miles north-west of Leeds and can be reached by bus. It is the perfect place if you want to get some exercise and walk up and around the Chevin, the scenic ridge that overlooks the town. Afterwards you can relax in the beer garden at the Black Bull pub. Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday the town square hosts the local market, where you can find fresh food and locally produced goods. You can eat great Italian food at the Buon Apps restaurant, which is popular with locals.
Not far away from Otley is Ilkley, located on the Leeds and Bradford border and accessible by train or bus. Like Otley, Ilkley has some good walks, up the moors and over to the Cow and Calf rocks. Take a picnic and relax at the White Wells House on the edge of the moor and learn all about the history of Ilkley as a spa town. There are a number of good places to eat, including Betty’s tearoom (expensive, but treat yourself!). Or for even more money, there is the Michelin-starred Box Tree.
I’ll be honest – I have only visited Chapel Allerton once, so I am not too familiar with the area but if you want to a good night-out away from the city centre then the place has a number of very popular restaurants like Salsa Mexicana (Mexican) and Sukhothai (Thai) plus a good selection of pubs and bars. The area is only 10 minutes bus/taxi ride from the city centre. If you enjoy jazz or live entertainment then a visit to independent arts venue Seven is recommended.
My home town, I have lived here for the past nine years. Pudsey has a regular market, a wonderful park and playground for kids, and live brass bands play throughout the summer. My favourite pub is the Golden Lion and Bar 57, but pub chain Wetherspoon has recently opened up a new pub called the Crossed Shuttle, named after the town’s industrial past. From the city centre, catch the number 4 bus, wander around the park, and then have a meal at The Stroom (British food) or East Bar and Grill (Indian) restaurants.
Photo credits: “Menston, Otley, Chevin & Almscliff Crag” and Ilkley Foxgloves, both by Rick Harrison on Flickr. “Pudsey Parish Church” by Darren Cronian. All photos are used under a Creative Commons licence.