After only going away once this year, I was more than due a mini break. And at a time when I’m about to embark on a ‘saving money aside for the Christmas period’ project, going abroad just didn’t make sense. So I decided to head off for a well deserved ‘micro-break’ – otherwise known as those unexpected getaways to a not-so-far-away UK city.
Me and my boyfriend packed up a little case and headed 1 hour 20 down the M62, to the lovely Northern city of Leeds. We booked into the ideally located Leeds Marriott Hotel, which literally has everything you need on it’s doorstop.
One of the reasons I was overly glad to stay in at the Leeds Marriott was because of hearing about their #WeekendSelf initiative. It basically makes you think about what your standard week involves, such as being a cramped commuter, a manic mummy, or a Friday feeler! For me, it’s a non-stop workaholic who spends more time on the M6 than I do in my own house…
Marriott’s have launched this initiative to help you make the most of your free time to rediscover your #WeekendSelf. It might be that you a laid back coffee connoisseur, an irrepressible sensation seeker or an intrepid wildlife explorer (I quoted them from Marriott, I’d call myself a ‘city socialiser!). Either way, with Marriott hotels based across 55 great UK locations, it’s simple to embark on an adventure in a new city, discovering all the hidden gems. So take a read about how I discovered my #WeekendSelf with Leeds Marriott…
Firstly, Leeds is a place I’ve only visited twice before, but both just for evenings out and never to explore it in the day. As part of embarking on more travel journies to cities close to Manchester, yet to be far enough away to make it a real weekend break, I chose Leeds due to it’s endless list of things to do, see and visit. For one, I had no idea just how many interesting museums it is home to!
When it comes to attractions, the Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley tops the list as the number one to visit, followed closely by the Royal Armouries and the Thackray Medical Museum. Each one holds so much history and heritage – I literally never knew there was so much to uncover. The one I’d recommend personally when visiting Leeds is the Royal Armouries, home to the natural collection of arms and armour.
The stunning museum is taken over by six galleries which are all themed to certain time eras. It really is an eye-opening place to visit, and best of all, it’s free! If you’re heading to Leeds and want to break up your day with a culture trip, I’d definitely suggest going for an hour walk around any of these top museums and galleries, which you can find out more about over at Visit Leeds.
Places to Stay
So I mentioned earlier that the Leeds Marriott Hotel played home for the weekend, hand-picked for its fantastic location and grand interior/lovely decor. I researched that this hotel in particular is the ideal place to stay to be nestled in the center, close to all of Leeds hidden gems, such as the museums and art galleries. But it wasn’t just close to all the heritage and tourist sites that sold it for me – it’s also on the doorstep for all the incredible shops, eateries and quirky bars! Which is always important, right?
As you can see from the photos above (which are fairly dark due to my iPhone), the hotel was a perfect little luxury home away from home to explore the city of Leeds. With the Trinity Center across the road (with a huge Urban Outfitters on the corner, may I add) and Call Lane to the right, we literally never had to walk more than 5 minutes to anywhere we wanted to visit! Even the Leeds Corn Exchange and all it’s quirky independent stores was just a stones throw away.
For the evening, you’ve got the hotels trendy Midtown Grill Restaurant, which is well-known steakhouse in the heart of Leeds serving up some delicious steaks. We also headed to the Revolucion de Cuba bar for a bit of a cuban style drinks and dance evening, which again was literally a 5 minute stroll back.
The following morning, breakfast was served as a traditional buffet style where we could help ourselves to as much egg, bacon, hash browns, sausages, fruit, yogurt, toast, cereal, coffee…etc etc, as we liked. I’m such a cereal girl, if I find a hotel which serves up a good selection of breakfast cereals and a strong coffee, I’m sold.
All in all, our stay at the welcoming and super friendly Leeds Marriott was the icing on the cake to a lovely little tourist type weekend in Leeds. The entire hotel – and it sure is a big one- is modern throughout and has that classic, elegant feel to it. I guess I’d say it’s a little bit traditional yet complete with modern touches. And I had the best nights sleep in the huge cloud-like bed!
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
On our way home from Leeds, we took advantage of yet again another hidden gem just 20 minutes down the road, in the form of the popular Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Situated in Wakefield, this place is a huge park area playing home to an open-air gallery, which again costs nothing to go in and visit (you just pay around £5 for parking).
The park would be an absolute dream day out to visit in the Summer, due to it’s acres of land spanning Wakefield and showcasing a range of arty sculptures themed around various artists. From the wild and wacky, to the classically crafted, the sculptures on display are an interesting sight to say the least, making a fantastic addition to any Leeds trip.
In a nutshell, I guess the point of this post is to share just how much fun you can have when you learn the art of micro-breaking, and taking up ‘vacation’ just an hour or so down the motorway! And, if you seek the right hotel, you can find yourself right in the heart of discovering lots of local hidden heritage attractions you never knew existed. Even better when you’re just 5 minutes from everything!