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Luxury Travel


Luxury Travel

48 hours in Leeds

This bold and brilliant regional capital is the perfect place for a weekend break, whether you’re looking for shopping and pampering, or eating and drinking, says Sally Bendell

Check in to The Queens. Up front and central, Leeds’ biggest hotel has the whole city on its doorstep. And thanks to a £16 million transformation, there has never been a better time to stay here. A familiar landmark next to Leeds train station, The Queens transports you back to the golden age of the railways, with all the glamour of art deco style and a first-class service

This is a feature from Issue 10 of Charitable Traveller. Click to read more from this issue.

Friday afternoon

Kick off with a Leeds Food Tour. There are six stops, each serving some of Leeds’ best food, plus drinks at three venues, and the tour guide Nell will furnish you with interesting facts about the city and its history. Tours start at 12 and last around 4 hours, giving you time to get your bearings.
Alternatively, families can hop on a water taxi from Granary Wharf to the free Royal Armouries, where you can survey its collection of armour, weapons and battle scenes. Time it right and you can even catch knights jousting on horseback!
ead to Junkyard Golf for crazy golf in a neon nightclub-like atmosphere, or one of the city’s three Roxy venues, which mix drinks with games like pool, shuffleboard, ping pong and bowling.

Saturday Morning

Savour the breakfast at The Queens or enjoy a lie-in and have a decadent brunch at the Grand Pacific restaurant (think Singapore’s famous Raffles Hotel, thanks to art-deco style, but unmistakably Yorkshire), all without stepping outside the hotel.
If you are looking for a family day out, try Temple Newsam Estate, which has a kid-friendly farm, gorgeous gardens and a Go Ape; Roundhay Park, which has lakes, two playgrounds and a mini train; or the 18th century Harewood House, which has a bird sanctuary, pretty grounds and a huge play area.

Saturday Afternoon

If you enjoy the finer things in life, make a beeline for the spa at the Leeds Lush store. With treatments to suit every budget, it’s one of only eight in the UK. I recommend The Good Hour treatment, a 70 minute massage delivered in a room like a ship’s quarters, bathed in a mystical green ‘sea mist’ and with the soothing sound of sea shanties.

Shopaholics head to Victoria Leeds (incorporating Harvey Nichols and John Lewis) for designer brands and Briggate or the Trinity Shopping Centre for high street names. The Leeds Corn Exchange has tonnes of independent shops stuffed with hand-made jewellery, vintage fashion and more. For souvenirs, stop at The Great Yorkshire Shop, or you’re a daft ha’p’orth (Yorkshire slang for ‘foolish person’).
Want some culture? Leeds Art Gallery and The Henry Moore Institute on The Headrow host many fascinating exhibits or The Tetley and Left Bank Leeds have a fantastic programme of eclectic events.

Saturday night

Families, head to Leeds City Varieties, The Playhouse or Everyman Cinema for entertainment. A plethora of food options, satisfying even the pickiest of palettes, are available at Trinity Kitchen. For a classy child-free dinner, book the Man Behind the Curtain by Michael O’Hare (do it weeks ahead). This Michelin star restaurant serves up a tasting menu of delectable Asian and European flavours in classy surroundings. I also love the showstopper Dakota Grill in the Dakota Hotel. There’s a sophisticated buzz about it and a live pianist adds to the ambience as you dine on stylishly-presented comfort food. If you want to hop from bar to bar, Leeds is a perfect place to be and Call Lane, Merrion Street and Trinity will all oblige. Leeds has several speakeasy-style bars and Domino Club – accessed through a barber’s shop – has extra-special cocktails and live music.

Sunday morning

Time it right and you’ll catch the artisan bakeries and butchers at Briggate Farmers Market (every first and third Sunday) down Leeds’ main shopping street. It’s the perfect spot for an al fresco breakfast and some people watching. If you need to be inside then Moose Coffee has one of the biggest breakfast menus I’ve ever seen. Blow the cobwebs away with a stroll around Kirkstall Abbey or the amazing York Gate Garden, both of which have darling little tea rooms.
If you have room for a Sunday dinner then an old-school classic is The Mustard Pot in Chapel Allerton – they’ve been serving Leeds foodies for over 30 years. Alternatively, Whitelock’s is the oldest pub in the city and famed for its Yorkshire puddings. A top-notch vegan roast can be found at Meat is Dead. If you need a sweet treat, stop in at the Instagram-worthy Fleur Café for a chocolate fondant

Sunday Afternoon

Stock up on souvenirs from the independent shops and cafes in Bamburgh village and then drive up the coast towards the island of Lindisfarne, or Holy Island. You’ll need to check tide times before visiting as the island is cut off at high tide. Here you can see Lindisfarne Castle, the spooky ruins of Lindisfarne Priory, two beautiful gardens and the Lindisfarne Nature Reserve, with its picturesque dunes, mudflats and saltmarshes which are home to numerous sea birds, seals and unique orchids. Finally, toast your successful trip with a sample of the famous Lindisfarne Mead from St Aidan’s Winery.

The Holiday Insider's Club

This feature comes to you via the The Holiday Insider’s Club. Free to join, this all-female members’ club and travel concierge service empowers women to dream, plan and book amazing holidays that can’t be googled. Run by travel industry experts, The Holiday Insider’s Club  is a network of women sharing reviews and recommendations and offers unbiased advice, travel guides, itineraries, offers and discounts. Charitable Travel is the official partner of The Holiday Insider’s Club, meaning members can seamlessly book incredible holidays via the club – and of course give money to their favourite charity.

This is a feature from Issue 10 of Charitable Traveller. Click to read more from this issue.