Ruth, whale watching in Iceland. Photo taken October 4, 2012.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A surprise trip to the theatre!

Yesterday morning, we sat down with Wendy from the Leeds Tourism office. The city of Leeds itself is not really a tourist destination, however three things attract people to the area. First, Leeds is a big University town, with a huge student population during the school term. This brings lots of parents and relatives to visit. Next, Leeds is around the halfway point between London and Edinburgh, Scotland so people driving will often use Leeds as a stopover. And third, while Leeds itself is not a tourist destination, there is a lot to see and do in the surrounding area of West Yorkshire, and this makes Leeds an excellent place to use as home base.

Wendy surprised us with an offer to join her for the evening at the West Yorkshire Playhouse where they have started a six week run of the musical production Looserville. We had nothing planned for last night, so we welcomed the opportunity to do something different. More about that later!

Having coffee with Wendy from Leeds Tourism.

But the weather was not so-operating on Friday. In fact, there was a cold wind and it was raining most of the day. I think the high temperature might have been 13C (56F). Kind of reminded us of being in Nova Scotia last June! So we used yesterday as an indoor day, although we did get outside for short periods when the rain let up.

Leeds is a city of 800,000 people, but it’s downtown section is fairly compact and easy to navigate. Plus, they have a lot of downtown shopping streets that are covered and that means you can explore the architecture of some of these buildings without worrying about the rain.

On the right is the library and town hall.

Our first stop was the library, art gallery and town hall. We don’t have internet access where we’re staying so the Leeds Library has granted us free tourist access to the internet for two hours per day each. The building itself is really neat, especially on the inside where there is a lot of old tile work on the floors, walls, and ceilings. Also, there’s a local branch a short walk from where we’re staying so we can use that too for internet.

Inside, even the cafeteria is interesting!

Lots to see on the inside.

Then we made our way to the downtown shopping area. One of the first stores we went into we ended up buying a small day backpack. Our travel backpacks are too big for day excursions so we wanted something small and inexpensive. We found a nice little one on special for only £6.00 ($9.84) so if we ever have to leave it behind, it won’t be a big loss.

Some of the streets downtown are closed to traffic.

One of the shopping arcades.

Beautiful architecture!

Make sure you visit Charbonnell Et Walker in the County Arcade for some chocolates!

Bought a special bag of chocolates for £1.00 ($1.64)! Happy Ruth!

One of our favourite spots of the day was Leeds City Markets. Also commonly known as Kirkgate Market. There are several different halls inside the huge market building, as well as an oudoor area. Even in rainy weather, the outoor area is busy too, with covered stalls. And prices were fantastic! Leeds is certainly less expensive than London. And Canada! Just about everything we saw, from meat to fish, and fruits and veggies were far cheaper than in Canada. For example, we bought our lunch at the market…two vegetable quiches for a total of £1.50 ($2.46). They also had chicken and asparagus, or salmon quiche. And of course many other food stalls selling lunchable items. And we bought a quart box of strawberries, and one of cherries for total of £1.50 ($2.46). The cherries alone would have cost more than that in Canada!

Leeds City Markets.

Colorful market.


Fish and seafood anyone?

How about fruits and veggies?

We were looking for somewhere to sit and eat our lunch so we went over to the Corn Exchange building. The old corn exchange has been turned into boutique shops and it wasn’t very busy in there. It’s a beautiful setting though, and they have these comfy chairs to relax in, so that’s where we had lunch.

Outside of the Corn Exchange

The public transportation for Leeds and surrounding area is plentiful and easy to use. Throughout West Yorkshire the train goes just about everywhere, and if the train doesn’t, there will be a bus that does. We’re trying out the Family DayRover Pass from West Yorkshire Metro. For two adults (and up to 3 children) you can travel anywhere all day for £10.30 ($16.90). If a family wants to get away for a day, this is how to do it! We used it yesterday to take the train from Burley Park, and then we used the bus to get back home. And then in the evening we hopped on the train again to get to the theatre, and returned that way as well. But we’re doing some longer journeys over the next four or five days so we’ll be giving you a good idea of just how versatile these passes are for a couple or family.

And speaking of the theatre, last nights production of Looserville at the West Yorkshire Playhouse was absolutely fantastic. The storyline itself could be described as a combination of Grease meets Back to the Future! I thought the props and set design were excellent and considering it was over two hours long, there wasn’t a boring moment. Lots of singing and dancing and we found it really entertaining. Well worth the visit if you’re in the Leeds area. The show runs until July 14.

Check out more about Leeds here...

Today, we’re heading out to explore some of the smaller surrounding villages of Ilkley and Otley! And maybe a stop at the historic Kirkstall Abbey ruins.


  1. Too many things to comment on, so I'll just say yes, a girl likes her chocolate.

    1. Funny as it sounds it was actually Kevin that noticed the sign and suggested we get some, totally not like him to do that.

  2. Wow another busy day exploring, love the markets and great prices, looks like a nice place to visit too.

  3. What a wonderful city! Yikes and chocolate to boot!

  4. I'm a french student and i'll be studying in Leeds next year, your post is so reassuring and makes me want to be here already. And awesome photos !

    1. Thank you very much for your comments. I am sure that you wil enjoy yourself here. There really is so much to see and do in the area and if you like hiking there is plenty to be found. We have only touched on a little bit of what this area has to offer.

  5. What a great day you had! Looks like you will never run out of things to do.

  6. Brenda and CalvinJune 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Excellent just excellent. Great photo's, I love the buildings there, they are gorgeous! Leeds looks like a very nice place to spend some time. The markets are incredible aren't they, one of my favourite things to do, very interesting and great buys. Thank you for the reports, really enjoying them.

  7. Great post, excellent pix, thanks for sharing!

  8. I couldn't find a Looserville, but there is a link to Loserville:'s-on/2012/loserville/

    1. Yes, you are correct Pete, slight spelling error on our part, the show was called Loserville. We only had limited time on the internet and we were trying to get the blog on there quickly and didn't proof read enough.

  9. butterbean carpenterJune 23, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Howdy R&K,
    Thank you, Kevin for letting me know that Ruth is getting SOMETHING! to eat!! From your comments about the prices I can see why y'all kind of 'snacked' during the day and ate at the aunt & uncle's!!
    I kind of think Ruth is a 'chocoholic', like me; THAT'S A BEAUTIFUL SMILE, Ruth!!! Why is there a Corn Exchange; their season isn't long enough to grow corn is it?? Thank you, for the London tours and now,I for one wish to see some of the country-side and farms, if you can. You do know I'm a rancher!!!
    If you go upcountry by electric train please, shoot the cattle and sheep in the fields.. Will you make it to the Dartmoor area??
    Am so enjoying 'our' tag-along with y'all... Thanx!!

    1. We'll have lots of time to get pictures of the countryside along with the cattle, sheep and horses when we head to my cousin's place in Somerset/Dorset area in a few days time.

  10. Great tour of Leeds. If it isn't a tourist destination, you just made it one. Please don't shoot the cattle and sheep in the fields, you might get arrested.

    What's up with Australia? Did I miss the announcement??

    1. We really wish we had more time to explore the area properly. We have definitely been enjoying our time is the area.

      There has been no anouncement on the winner of the Australia contest. We haven't been contacted by them so we are assuming that we didn't win :( Not really happy with the way they have gone about things since the contested ended. They won't even release names of the top nine finalists.

  11. I LOVE the header photo.
    Beautiful architecture is an understatement. This area is GORGEOUS!
    Corn Exchange is awesome! Love the inside.

  12. Leeds sounds like the leading place to be:) It seems to have something for everyone, love the low prices.

  13. Great buildings and surroundings.. .and glad you get internet connections to share with us!

    Yummmm chocolate!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard


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