Picture (above): York Minster as seen from the city walls.
Whenever I was fed up with Manchester (which was often), I used to catch the train to Leeds. It’s only about an hour away (unless you travel by Nothern Rail, then it takes about half an hour longer) and I much prefer Leeds to Manchester. People seeme somehow friendlier, there are less crowds… for me, there is just a nicer, more homely atmosphere.
Famous for its music scene, Leeds has produced a number of notable artists from the Kaiser Chiefs and the Pigeon Detectives to Soft Cell, Chumbawamba and Hadouken. There are many nightclubs in Leeds to suit every taste (The Stone Roses one of the best places for so-called alternative music) and it is home to a number of music festivals.
If you are more looking to enjoy more of the great Yorkshire countryside, you should take a day trip to Otley, a quaint market town ten miles from Leeds. Otley is home to the famous Otley Run, a traditional pub crawl of 16 venues from Headingly to Leeds.
However, my favourite place in Yorkshire is York. I’ve been several times and it never fails to impress. Dating back to as early as 7000/8000 BC, York was originally a Roman city overtaken by the Vikings in the year 866. In 954 however, the Viking King was expelled and York became part of the Anglo-Saxon State. Since Roman times, York has been protected by walls, created after the Romans built a fort in 71 AD. Large sections of these walls remain, and it is possible to walk along them, taking in all of the sights such as the York Minster, the river Ouse and The Shambles.
The York Minster is a magnificent 13th century Gothic cathedral, one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. It is the seat of the Archbishop of York and is run by the Dean of York. Another popular spot for tourists is The Shambles, a medieval street dating back to the 14th century. Once named Great Flesh Street, it houses a row of shops that were originally butcher shops. You can even see the outdoor shelves and hooks where the meat was displayed on some of them!
Moving onto another famous Yorkshire town now: Harrogate. Renowned for its spas and Betty’s Tea Rooms, Harrogate has been voted the UK’s happiest place to live since 2013. I first visited this beautiful town in March 2015 and took a walk through its gardens and parks, ending up in RHS Garden Harlow Carr’s botantical garden for a scone and a cup of tea.Something I was told to do, but didn’t have the time to, was visit the Nidderdale Llamas, a trekking centre in the Yorkshire Dales on Kiln Farm. I will definitely be going back to Harrogate to visit the llamas and take a walk with them!