Thursday, 17 January 2013

Falling in love with Leeds

Leeds, my guide
Leeds is pretty familiar to me. Lots of my mates went there for uni, and with it being only an hour away from Sheffield I'd often pop up to see people when I was trying to avoid my coursework. It's a bubbling, bustling, friendly city with loads to do and some great spots for shopping.

When Best British Bloggers got in touch to see if I'd like to rediscover Leeds over a weekend, I jumped at the chance! I stayed over at the Hilton City Centre* five minute's walk from the station - scroll down for a rather exciting giveaway - and have put together something of a mini guide if you, too, fancy visiting one day soon.

Leeds, my guideLeeds, my guide
You really need at least an afternoon to see everything in this vast museum. It spans 4 floors and though it might sound like something for the boys ("knives! guns! yeah!") it's incredibly interesting for history lovers and animal lovers alike. If you can stomach the "hunting" section that is.

This was the suite I stayed in, and it was absolutely perfect for a weekend away. Big enough to dance around to Hot Chip when you're getting ready to go out, small enough to feel cosy and at home after a long day on your feet.

Leeds, my guideLeeds, my guideLeeds, my guide

As someone who's obsessed with independent boutiques when they're on their own, Bird's Yard on Kirkgate pretty much blew my mind. It's a council-funded rabbit warren of wares created by local designers and vintage clothing labels. From magpie jewellery to re-upholstered chairs, I could have spent weeks in there, and probably would not have seen everything it has to offer. It's so incredibly heart-warming to see a shop so full of love. And cake.

They're shortly opening a store like this in Sheffield and I'll be visiting on Saturday with my Exposed hat on. I'll let you know when I post about that - but all I can say is that if you're in Leeds or Sheffield, you should definitely check out either store, to make your heart flutter just that little bit more.

Leeds, my guide
Surprise surprise, I headed to the sister pub to Bungalows and Bears in Sheffield. Nation of Shopkeepers, and also Spanky Van Dykes in Nottingham, feels like home to me. Every venue is laid out differently, but with the similar decor of local band posters and bunting, and of course the DELICIOUS shared menu, I feel just as happy to curl up on one of the leather sofas, read the paper and watch the world go by.

And if you go, get the fishfinger sandwich and a pint of Fruli. Enough said.

I hope this inspires you a little if you find yourself a short train hop away. And now, onto the giveaway! Hilton are offering one of Jazzpad's readers a voucher worth a whopping £100 to put towards a stay in one of their hotels! Eeee! Here's how you enter:

1. Make sure you're a follower of Jazzpad on GFC 
2. Click "like" on the Jazzpad facebook page
3. In a comment below, tell me what your favourite UK mini-break city is!

Don't forget to leave me your email address for me to contact you if you win. Closing date is Midnight on the 24th January next week - that's Thursday!

All that is left for me to say is a big thankyou to Hilton and BBB for putting me up for the weekend, I had a fantastic time and it makes me so happy that I can give something back through my blog to you lot - good luck!
Claire x


  1. Wow, looks like you had a lovely time! And what an amazing giveaway...
    I follow you on GFC and 'like' you on Facebook :)
    I went away to Cardiff the other weekend and that was my favourite UK city break so far but Leeds looks like it could top that!

    Rosie x

  2. I lived in Leeds for 10 years before moving back to Sheffield, and I still love a day or two there. Its got to be one of my favourite places.

    I'll be honest, I don't take many city breaks but I love visiting Manchester, and Bristol. Both great places with such personalities.

  3. Leeds looks gorgeous, I'd definitely love to visit and explore one day! The mini-break I'd love to go on is to Bath as it's such a beautiful city and it takes me about 3 hours on the train to get there so the overnight stay would mean I'd get to explore it properly :)

    Florrie x

  4. Looks like you had an amazing time doll, your pictures are great! :) I'm following in GFC and Facebook- of course! :)

    My favourite city's to stay would have to be Bath, Brighton and London but I would love to visit Manchester as I've never been!

    Hayley xx

  5. Hi Claire,

    I'm following you on both of those things

    I live in the lovely heart of Derbyshire but nothing makes me happier than heading over to Robin Hoods Bay, empty beach, great walks and not too far from little Whitby and Scarborough! I've had some of my best holidays there! Doing nothing!

    Steph Smith

  6. I need to go and visit Leeds again, I haven't been in ages!

    Maria xxx

  7. Eeeee I am from Leeds! I love Birds Yard. And Nation of Shopkeepers! It's so exciting to see my local haunts on your blog =) I'm so glad you enjoyed your weekend xx

  8. Oooh, Leeds looks like fun! Have never been. If I won I'd visit Leeds..or London as have only been once and I want to go again!

    Am following on GFC and Facebook :)
    Email is -

    Fliss @ The Offbeat Girl
    The Offbeat Girl

  9. Oh this is a lovely post! Bird's Yard looks so quaint. I really want to visit Leeds now. I'd have to pick Nottingham for mine. It's so versatile with tons going on, great music scene, shops and quaint boutiques and eateries xx

  10. Loved seeing Leeds from your eyes! How can I have never visited Birdsyard?

    If I won I'd like to go somewhere I've never been but not too far, maybe Birminham or Liverpool!


  11. Bird's Yard looks so kitsch and dainty, I'd love to visit! I've not been on many city breaks so I'd probably have to pick Sheffield for mine as it's pretty close to where I live and yet everytime I visit I find a new boutique to love :)
    I'd LOVE to visit Edinburgh though!

    Leah xx

  12. I was in Leeds over the weekend as well and I had never been before - loved the Armouries but didn't get to the other two recommendations :(
    I really love going to Edinburgh - it's beautiful with some lovely food and the Castle always brings a smile to my face when I see it up on the hill! :D


  13. Omg I think that this is the most I've ever wanted to win a giveaway!!! I love love love mini city breaks, me and my boyfriend try to go on as many as we can afford to, travelling is so important to me. My favourite city breaks have been Leeds, Bath, Bristol, London! I really want to visit some places in Scotland soon too x

  14. went to uni in leeds, this post is making me miss it tonnes! apart from leeds though, my fave city break would be Brighton. Love the feel of the place, the people, the style, the much fun! x

  15. I've been looking for a post like this for ages - I go to uni in York so I love to pop over to Leeds, but I always just end up in high-street shops. I can't wait to go back again and check out Bird's Yard!

    My favourite city break was last summer in Barcelona - beautiful sunshine, beaches and some of the best sightseeing around. If you haven't been - go! However we went with the budget hostel option so a stay at the Hilton would be quite a treat!

    Of course, I follow you on here and FB already.


  16. Follow you on GFC, liked you on Facebook and loved the post about Leeds. I'm from Leeds but live away now so nice to see some familiar places as well as new ones.
    I love Edinburgh for a mini break though!

  17. the room looks smashing, very cosy. i've not spent enough time in leeds to comment (few days here and there but one of my mates knows it well so i'll have to go see him ). nation of shopkeepers, nice name! looks like a neat place, i remember sampling that beer years ago but wasn't overly keen. another go though i reckon.

    i'd like to enter please. i'd say my fav break was with hollie in brighton. you sort of feel like your abroad and it's mega diverse. @mat_buckets for easy access

  18. Leeds looks like so much fun! I'd love to win this competition. I went to Liverpool last year and LOVED it however have always wanted to check out Manchester too so would definitely stay there if I won.

    My email address is:

  19. I've never been to Leeds but would love to go one day. I really want to travel to new places in the UK, maybe we should go on some adventures :) x

  20. I love going to museums :D I go to the Norwich Castle Museum sometimes to draw all the stuffed animals they have! I also need that dinosaur necklace in my life ♥

    My favourite mini-break city has to be Bath. I went there for a weekend about four years ago and I'll never forget how beautiful it was. I really want to go again someday but it's hard to find the time and money to do so.

    I follow you via GFC as Whimsical Wolf and I liked your FB page.

  21. This post has made me kick myself as my brother lived in Leeds and was always inviting me up to visit but he's just moved to Norwich so I've missed my chance! I had no idea Leeds had so many awesome things to see and do, I definitely need to add this to my growing list of places to visit in the UK. I recently went to Bath for a weekend and that was divine, next on our list to visit for a weekend is London - my boyfriend is a proper country mouse and has only been a couple of times so I want to take him to do the tourist-y things like visit the National Gallery (and do lots of shopping, but don't tell him that!) Also on my list are Edinburgh, Cambridge and Chester, oh and my Dad has a flat in Dublin so we're dying to go over there for a visit

    BTW I follow you on GFC already and Facebook now too :) And I'm at xo

    Rosie | A Rosie Outlook

  22. I have never been to Leeds and this kinda makes me want to choose my ultimate weekend away as Leeds...BUT...I have TOO MUCH LOVE for Edinburgh. My favourite city. EVER. The one I hope to live in after graduation (I was going to say couple of months time but that sounded absolutely terrifying) and a place I can spend hours exploring despite visiting at least four times a year. Gorgeous parks, good for shopping and some real gems of museums too! (:

    I follow you on GFC and now Facebook too! My email is:


  23. I've only been to Leeds once, but I really loved it! I would love to go again to have a proper look around, I only went for Stag & Dagger festival in 2009.
    My favourite city for a mini break is London or Manchester but I'd love to go to Edinburgh or Bath. I'd also love a mini break in Winchester because I miss that place so bloody much!
    My email is:

  24. Wow looks like you had a great time! the independent boutiques look really quaint and cute!

    I'd love to go on a little break away to Liverpool, I've heard it's great for shopping! Plus I'd love to go for lunch by the albert dock, would be lovely!


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  26. Leeds has been the city i always go to as ive grown up, it was my closest one and i really did love it. Although i have moved to manchester now and am still discovering the little hidden gems there :)
    I have only ever been to visit friends up there and never really had a chance to explore but Edinburgh would make such a perfect weekend get-away! Although if i was staying a little closer to home York is a beautiful city that i would love to explore more of xx - i follow on GFC and facebook :)

  27. Oooh I'd love to be entered in to this - I really need to get out and about more! Last year I started a bit of a discover more of Britain thing! All this is on our doorstep and I've been to Tokyo more times than London, really odd!

    I've not been to many places, but last year me and Dan went to Bath and it was lovely, the buildings were gorgeous, and Thermae spa was such an awesome treat!!

    S xx

    Fingers crossed <3 xx

  28. I'm following on GFC and on Facebook!

    My fave city break in the UK is, northrner cliche alert, London. I only head down about once a year and every time it makes me say the words 'it'd be good to live here' - mainly because all we do is eat good food and do all the exciting stuff!

  29. super beautiful!

  30. I'm a follower on GFC and a liker on FB.. It's so tough to pick a favourite city break. Leeds and Sheffield are up there, but I love getting away to Newcastle! Vintage shopping, awesome food and the Baltic is a must see!


  31. I used to live In Leeds. It's such a great city! Nation of shopkeepers does the best burgers. Nom!

  32. follow on gfc and like don facebook :) Love the kitsch vintage looking shop!I would have to say I love getting away to london, so bustling and you can find lots of hidden gems! megan x

  33. mine would have to be Cambridge, i love walking up the river and there is a pub on the river that does home cooked food that is to die for, would love to go there again soon x

  34. Aww well I love Leeds (been Leeds based or thereabouts for 20 years now) but have also enjoyed some fab UK breaks too - my fave so far has to be Brighton - lots of eclectic shops, fab atmosphere and a shed load of personality! Love it!!

    Have liked FB page, following via GFC (No Discernible Talent). Contact me nodiscernibletalent at yahoo dot co dot uk. Thank you, you're going to make someone very chuffed with that lovely prize :-)

  35. Ive never visited Leeds but we are going to Yorkshire this summer also for first time so would be nice to combine it with a stay in Leeds.

  36. Never been to Leeds, but my favourite break away is....wait for it...its cheesy....the 70's weekenders at Butlins, just reliving my teenage years over the 4 days is fabulous, those cheesy songs crazy outfits & the general atmosphere is amazing!

  37. I haven't been to Leeds for years since visits to my Grandmothers in the 60's and 70's. Now I feel I need to visit again! Fave city break is probs Edinburgh.

  38. I'm from Leeds, but moved to Rotherham a couple of years ago, but all of this stuff is new to me. I do miss my home city!


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