Monday, 30 July 2012

The snail and the whale and my very own tour of Leeds....

Yesterday we had tickets to see the famous Julia Donaldson children's book The Snail and The Whale at the Carriageworks in Leeds. Taking a four year old and a 17 month old to the theatre was never going to be easy, but actually they did really well, although my four year old did shout really loudly in the ear of the lady in front, much to her surprise. For obvious reasons we plied our 17 month old son with food and drink to keep him "quiet" but actually he was fine for the most part. In fact in general the audience was much better behaved than when we went to see The Gruffalo at St Georges Hall in Bradford a few weeks ago.

The theatre itself is in one of my favourite parts of Leeds, just off Millenium Square near the city museum and the amazingly stylish champagne bar, Epernay. If you didn't know it was there, you might miss it, but we had been there before, in fact to a Kaiser Chief's after show party a few years ago (name dropping, more on that later).
Carriageworks Theatre
Being in Leeds yesterday made me think about the city I call home, even though we live around 45 minutes outside the city centre now, for me it will always be my city. As a child, living in Wakefield, Leeds was always the big smoke to me, the place where things were going on, the best nightlife was and  the only shops worth shopping in. I always strived to live there the way some people might strive to live in London, indeed in the North of England it's the closest we will come to anything like London, as Leeds is always innovating and changing before our very eyes. There was an unfortunate period a few years ago where some bright spark decided to build a load of trendy flats which I am told, now lie mostly uninhabited now, but we've put that behind us and there is loads of regeneration work going in previously no-go areas like Holbeck and Meanwood, things are looking up. Of course, all of this is at the expense of Leeds' previously wealthier neighbour Bradford, but that's the way it goes, right?

Anyway, I decided to do a little tour of Leeds and take a couple of photos of some arty bits, though I might take a special trip in to take some more shots of the less obvious parts, the Leeds side streets that I slip down as Morrissey once sang.

Just behind the Carriageworks, is Leeds City Museum, great for kids and always something new going on there. There is also a little known about cafe which serves kids meals.
Leeds City Museum
It really reminds me of the industrial era, it's quite dark and menacing from the outside, but lovely and light on the inside, ultra modern really.

Great for shopping, though out of most people's price range, and used mostly for posing in Breton stripe t shirts, is Leeds' beautiful Victoria Quarter; an ornate shopping arcade which is decorated gloriously in what I call Belle Epoque but most probably isn't.
Leeds Victoria Quarter Shopping Arcade
Ha, there is even someone in this picture wearing a Breton stripe top!
I took a few more pictures just to show it for what it is.

Lovely glass ceiling
There is some amazing stained glass on the ceiling of the Victoria Quarter which I have never noticed before, but I took a picture as it looked amazing with the sun light streaming through...
Victoria Quarter Leeds Stained Glass
There are many many other lovely parts of Leeds, and not just in the city centre either, there are other vibrant areas like Chapel Allerton (home of the 20 something "professional"), Street Lane in Roundhay, Headingley and Meanwood, all almost like little towns in their own right.

And of course a post about Leeds wouldn't be complete without a mention of Leeds' favourite sons, The Kaiser Chiefs, who I have seen many times and have been lucky enough each time to have VIP tickets, it's not what you know, you know....


  1. Love these pictures! Hmmm check you out. Kaiser Chiefs eh. Bet they beat the dismal Oasis gig we went to in Tokyo!

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