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Pheobe Ryan

Pheobe Ryan

Regular Leeds Visitor, Copywriter
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Leeds Train Station’s City Centre exit

Leeds Train Station, New Station Street, Leeds, UK

Coming out of the city centre exit makes me smile every time. Welcome to Leeds! First off, you get hit by the weather - whether it’s blue skies or glowering with rain. I always head right, straight into town. On that road, you’re immediately faced with Laynes (amazing coffee), ID aromatics (an odd-looking toiletries shop but basically a covert version of London favourite Aesop’s), Friends of Ham...it’s great. Since I’ve always travelled in and out a lot by train, it really is the moment I realise I’m back in Leeds.

Park Square

Park Square, Leeds, UK

I felt like I alone discovered this square, as a student. Stupid really, as it is surrounded by legal firms and fancy office buildings! But, hidden in a Georgian square opposite the town hall, Park Square isn’t somewhere you ‘stumble across’ too easily. It was one of the only nice green spaces in central Leeds, a few years ago. Now that we are seeing some large-scale urban development (eg the Tetley Triangle), we will see more and more bits of urban green space, as planners begin to realise how important it is, but Park Square was a really precious patch of park for me (I even built a snowman there on my 21st birthday!)

Kirkgate Markets

Leeds Kirkgate Market, George Street, Leeds, UK

I always got all my fruit and veg from the markets, and really miss it now I don’t live in Leeds. You can get a whole week’s-worth to fill the fruit bowl and the fridge for a tenner. There are some great meat and fish vendors too. Occasionally traders would be desperate to shift crates of unsold stock at the end of the day - I’d pick up a pallet of slightly battered mangoes for £2,and make jars and jars of fresh mango chutney, or take punnets of apricots home to make compote (stick a piece of thyme in it and it tastes like summer!). You see people from every age group, sex and national identity there, and everyone is treated the same. I think the city centre can feel a bit exclusionary for some folks, so it’s really nice to experience a space where everybody is represented and welcome. With HOME planning to take over several units inside the market over coming months, I’m mega-excited about what the future has instore for Kirkgate.

Central Road

Central Road, Leeds, UK

This was my home for a decade, so I will always harbour a soft spot for this (usually) quiet road in the hustling centre of town. Just off Briggate, it now hosts amazing beerhub Brownhill & Co as well as the old fave Mrs Atha’s, but Little Tokyo is definitely quirky (and tasty) enough to warrant a visit, and Out of this World is a great shop for organic, ethical and alternative dietary ingredients. Cut through House of Fraser (or Central Arcade) and you’re smack-bang in the centre of Briggate!

Brotherton Library

Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, UK

Having studied for both my Undergrad and Master’s at the University of Leeds, the Brotherton Library has always been an awe-inspiring place for me. Filling up the space under that iconic white pinnacle on the horizon which you can see from most places in Leeds - the Parkinson tower - the Brotherton is a cavernous circular space set over several floors. All polished wood and echoing floors, it is full to the brim with every book, journal or document you can imagine. Their Special Collections house hundreds of thousands of rare manuscripts too, from +300 incunabula (books printed before 1501) to works by Shakespeare, Byron, Wordsworth, Dickens...the list goes on. It’s a magical space - and I wrote my Master’s dissertation here, during the first trimester of being pregnant. So it harbours a lot of memories!

Bench on Briggate

Briggate, Leeds, UK

All life is here. If you sit on one of the benches on Briggate for just ten minutes, you’ll see how vibrant and diverse Leeds life is. Unfortunately, the past five years or so has seen a really marked increase in homelessness, thanks to government policy and spending cuts. Briggate is a real eye-opener in this regard - you’d see one or two guys a few years ago; regulars who you would recognise. Now there’s someone sleeping in every doorway, almost. It’s uncomfortable to see when you’re privileged enough to have a home to go to, but it is a reminder of the society we live in at the moment, and the problems people are suffering with which we should be doing more to help. Alongside the homeless guys (and ladies) trying desperately to make a life on Briggate, you’ll see some of Leeds’ wealthiest visitors nipping into the Victoria Quarter and Harvey Nichols, you’ll likely see LeedsBID ambassadors (in their smart coats and bowler hats), guys after work nipping into the sidestreet pubs for a swift pint (Whitelock’s and Turk’s Head, but also The Packhorse and Angel), students and young professionals, kids showing off to each other after school, charity muggers fundraisers, people striding quickly between meetings...for a city centre road, I feel like you will see a lot of what makes Leeds tick by taking a moment to sit here. Best done on a sunny day, with a bacon butty and coffee in hand!

Leeds Train Station’s City Centre exit

Coming out of the city centre exit makes me smile every time. Welcome to Leeds! First off, you get hit by the weather - whether it’s blue skies or glowering with rain. I always head right, straight into town. On that road, you’re immediately faced with Laynes (amazing coffee), ID aromatics (an odd-looking toiletries shop but basically a covert version of London favourite Aesop’s), Friends of Ham...it’s great. Since I’ve always travelled in and out a lot by train, it really is the moment I realise I’m back in Leeds.

Park Square

I felt like I alone discovered this square, as a student. Stupid really, as it is surrounded by legal firms and fancy office buildings! But, hidden in a Georgian square opposite the town hall, Park Square isn’t somewhere you ‘stumble across’ too easily. It was one of the only nice green spaces in central Leeds, a few years ago. Now that we are seeing some large-scale urban development (eg the Tetley Triangle), we will see more and more bits of urban green space, as planners begin to realise how important it is, but Park Square was a really precious patch of park for me (I even built a snowman there on my 21st birthday!)

Kirkgate Markets

I always got all my fruit and veg from the markets, and really miss it now I don’t live in Leeds. You can get a whole week’s-worth to fill the fruit bowl and the fridge for a tenner. There are some great meat and fish vendors too. Occasionally traders would be desperate to shift crates of unsold stock at the end of the day - I’d pick up a pallet of slightly battered mangoes for £2,and make jars and jars of fresh mango chutney, or take punnets of apricots home to make compote (stick a piece of thyme in it and it tastes like summer!). You see people from every age group, sex and national identity there, and everyone is treated the same. I think the city centre can feel a bit exclusionary for some folks, so it’s really nice to experience a space where everybody is represented and welcome. With HOME planning to take over several units inside the market over coming months, I’m mega-excited about what the future has instore for Kirkgate.

Central Road

This was my home for a decade, so I will always harbour a soft spot for this (usually) quiet road in the hustling centre of town. Just off Briggate, it now hosts amazing beerhub Brownhill & Co as well as the old fave Mrs Atha’s, but Little Tokyo is definitely quirky (and tasty) enough to warrant a visit, and Out of this World is a great shop for organic, ethical and alternative dietary ingredients. Cut through House of Fraser (or Central Arcade) and you’re smack-bang in the centre of Briggate!

Brotherton Library

Having studied for both my Undergrad and Master’s at the University of Leeds, the Brotherton Library has always been an awe-inspiring place for me. Filling up the space under that iconic white pinnacle on the horizon which you can see from most places in Leeds - the Parkinson tower - the Brotherton is a cavernous circular space set over several floors. All polished wood and echoing floors, it is full to the brim with every book, journal or document you can imagine. Their Special Collections house hundreds of thousands of rare manuscripts too, from +300 incunabula (books printed before 1501) to works by Shakespeare, Byron, Wordsworth, Dickens...the list goes on. It’s a magical space - and I wrote my Master’s dissertation here, during the first trimester of being pregnant. So it harbours a lot of memories!

Bench on Briggate

All life is here. If you sit on one of the benches on Briggate for just ten minutes, you’ll see how vibrant and diverse Leeds life is. Unfortunately, the past five years or so has seen a really marked increase in homelessness, thanks to government policy and spending cuts. Briggate is a real eye-opener in this regard - you’d see one or two guys a few years ago; regulars who you would recognise. Now there’s someone sleeping in every doorway, almost. It’s uncomfortable to see when you’re privileged enough to have a home to go to, but it is a reminder of the society we live in at the moment, and the problems people are suffering with which we should be doing more to help. Alongside the homeless guys (and ladies) trying desperately to make a life on Briggate, you’ll see some of Leeds’ wealthiest visitors nipping into the Victoria Quarter and Harvey Nichols, you’ll likely see LeedsBID ambassadors (in their smart coats and bowler hats), guys after work nipping into the sidestreet pubs for a swift pint (Whitelock’s and Turk’s Head, but also The Packhorse and Angel), students and young professionals, kids showing off to each other after school, charity muggers fundraisers, people striding quickly between meetings...for a city centre road, I feel like you will see a lot of what makes Leeds tick by taking a moment to sit here. Best done on a sunny day, with a bacon butty and coffee in hand!

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