My trip to Leeds was decided in the same time that you take to read the weather forecast and decide whether the day would be rainy, sunny or it will use its discretion to act funny. I am a late sleeper and a late riser. Usually my mum’s voice is the alarm clock ; but for a change that day it was my father asking her whether to go to Leeds or not. My half -awake self became fully conscious of a brewing travel plan and I woke up in a jiffy to join in the conversation. The very word ‘travel’ makes me enthusiastic and I was ready for a full day trip to Leeds. My half backpack (half cause I use the same bag for my travels and my college) is always semi-packed with travel essentials. All I had to do was get up , have breakfast, take a bath and wait for my parents to get ready.
We booked a Megabus Travel Bus (https://uk.megabus.com/) for the to and fro trip. As Leeds is only an hour away from Manchester, there was no need to spend on trains. Also, megabus fares are really affordable with fares being as low as £3- £4 per person for a one way trip. Our bus was supposed to arrive at the Shudehill Bus Stop, Manchester City Centre (which is the standard bus station for Megabus Coaches) however it got delayed by half an hour due to an accident in the highway. Nevertheless, the coach arrived at 10 AM sharp and we departed for Leeds. It took us exactly one hour to reach the Leeds City Bus Station.
This was my first sunny day trip via the highways and I left no stones unturned to take some decent photographs from the bus windows.
After reaching Leeds we waited at the Bus Station to try to find out which buses take us to the Kirkstall Abbey which was our first destination. We figured out that the buses 33 and 757 takes us to our destination and hopped onto one. Unfortunately, we were not aware of the fact that the day had been chosen for the Leeds Marathon Run and thus there was increased traffic on the roads. Furthermore, some routes were diverted as well. As we waited for the bus to move, I took some photographs of the marathon runners.
After waiting for almost an hour the bus left us at a point from where the Abbey was a mere walk of five minutes. The Abbey and the Abbey (House) Museum are on opposite sides of the same footpath and each is a must visit when in Leeds. We decided to go to the Museum first and see the Abbey later. Both sides of the road were bound by beautiful parks and lawns where people were enjoying a sunny day to its fullest.
KIRKSTALL ABBEY MUSEUM
The Museum which opened in July 1927, is an award-winning museum located just outside the Leeds city centre. It is a ‘fun and family friendly’ museum which is ‘the perfect place to entertain all ages’.
The highlight of this museum are the three recreated 19th century Victorian era Streets. These streets had reconstructed shops and pubs on both sides. In fact, more than me describing the place, the photographs should give you a feel of the place.
The Childhood Galleries were probably my personal favourites. Toys ranging from 1850’s to 1976 were displayed here including a miniature Dalek (Doctor Who ) and a Jigglypuff (Pokemon).
Since it was almost 2pm, we decided to stop for a quick-lunch in the Museum shop. Trust me, it was the best food I had ever had outside. Amazing Chicken/Meat sandwiches with chocolate brownie cake. For more information on the Kirkstall Abbey Museum you can take a look at their website at leeds.gov.uk/kirkstallabbey . The Museum is closed on Mondays and open from Tues to Sun (Tues- Fri 10am – 5pm ; Sat- 12 pm – 5 pm). There is a nominal fee for entry to the museum.
KIRKSTALL ABBEY RUINS
After having our lunch, we decided to take a quick stroll around the Abbey ruins. The Kirkstall Abbey Ruins is one of the very few well-preserved Cistercian architectural marvels in modern times. Though today, it is nearly in ruins, but you can still get a feel of the place. In fact, it is very difficult to not get intimidated by the long walls of the church.
The Abbey is closed on Mondays and open from Tues to Sunday 10 AM to 4/4:30 PM . Entry is free of cost. There are lovely Abbey markets which are held on weekends every month. Since I went on a day which did not host the markets, I missed it . But I would recommend you to plan a trip keeping in mind the markets if possible and to enjoy them as well. Full details and dates for the markets are available at the website: leeds.gov.uk/kirkstallabbeymarket .
After having a quick scan of the Abbey grounds we took another bus to the Leeds City Bus Station. Our next destination was the Leeds Royal Armoury Museum which was at a walking distance from the station. As we were making our way to the Museum, I spotted this unusual sight of graves lying open in a park. This was something which I had never seen before and thus thought of capturing it through my lens.
LEEDS ROYAL ARMOURY MUSEUM
“The Royal Armouries was established in its present form by the National Heritage Act (1983) and is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.” It includes the sights of the Tower of London, The Leeds Royal Armouries Museum and The Fort Nelson near Portsmouth. The Museum in Leeds was the first of its kind armouries museum that I had visited.From battle formations, history of battles fought all over the world and Britain, weapons used, technologies used to lives of soldiers during the war; everything was depicted beautifully through its more than 75,000 exhibits.
Entry to the museum if free of cost. In fact , apart from Tower of London, the other two museums have given free access to its visitors. For more information you can check out their official website at: https://www.royalarmouries.org . It is open Mon-Sun from 10 am to 5 pm.
We took another walk from the Museum to the station and waited for sometime for our coach to come. A one hour journey by coach, this time during dusk , brought us back to Manchester. I would not say I have seen a lot of things in Leeds but I would have to appreciate that making a plan in a jiffy and then visiting three sights on the same day is quite remarkable. However, I plan to be back with friends/ parents/alone and complete the rest of my sightseeing in Leeds.