Being a second year linguist preparing for next year’s compulsory study abroad placement, the reality of not coming back to Leeds next year is starting to dawn on me. I know I am not alone in this; during term time this city is our home for 3, 4 or 5 years, but many of us will move away after graduation. Whilst the future is an exciting prospect, it is sad to think that our time in this city could be limited. This bucket list contains things I think it is virtually impossible to leave Leeds without experiencing. It may give you some ideas of things you’re yet to try, or simply act as a reminder for all the great stuff this place has to offer.
1. Do a full Otley Run
I don’t think I’ve met anyone at Leeds who has not partaken in this tradition at some point. Fancy dress clad students in varying states of disarray descending upon the pubs of Headingley cannot end in anything but hilarity. Whilst the much disputed route really comes down to personal choice, the general consensus seems to be that if you haven’t made it to Dry Dock, you haven’t really finished. One guide to the route can be found here.
2. Go to see a live band
In our parents’ student days The Who and Led Zeppelin played in our very own Refectory and to this day Leeds remains an excellent city for live music. With 02 Academy and the University venues hosting major UK and International acts, monthly Hospitality nights for Dubstep fans, and smaller but by no means less talented acts frequenting Brudenell Social Club, there’s something here for every taste. Prices are reasonable too! Leeds Tickets has listings.
3. Become a regular at Fruity
Despite our city’s excellent music credentials, your time in Leeds would not be complete without a fair few trips to our very own Fruity Fridays. It’s crowded, sweaty, and the music is pure cheddar cheese, but if you can’t tell which song is going to play next in Stylus, you haven’t been enough times yet.
4. Go and see a student production
When else in your life are you going to have this much talent on offer to you for just £5? I’m convinced that most of the cast of OperaSoc’s Don Giovanni could sing professionally and Dance Exposé’s recent show got great reviews. So next time someone pushes a flyer in your face in the Union, why not take it and give their show a chance?
5. Go to Carnage
Dressing up in the same oversized T-Shirts and completing a marked out bar route has a way of making people talk to each other. Be prepared to make lots of new drunk friends and wake up with random stuff scrawled on your limbs in Sharpie.
6. Explore Yorkshire
According to a YouTube video I watched recently “If it’s outside of Yorkshire, it’s not worth visiting.” This county does certainly have a lot going for it, and it’d be a shame not to get out of Leeds during your time here. Take a break from the city with a walk on Ilkley Moor, try the Yorvik Viking Centre or grab a pot of tea and some cake at a Betty’s Tea Room, only located in Yorkshire. There’s also a huge indoor ski centre in Castleford for snowbiking, boarding and tobogganing amongst other things (ironically the last time I went it snowed so hard whilst I was in there that I needn’t have spent money to use the artificial stuff, but it’s great in the summer!)
7. Go to Summer Ball
It may not be to everyone’s taste, but getting dressed up with your friends and going to a huge organised event does seem like one particularly fitting way to round of the year. It will be interesting to see how things fare this year with the venue change to Campus.
8. Swim in the Roger Stevens fountain
Some would say. HC Leeds, of course, does not condone rule breaking…
9. Appreciate a busker
I’m someone that usually feels a bit awkward when someone starts singing in the street, but Leeds has some exceptionally good buskers. There’s nothing like sitting outside a café on a nice day getting a concert for free!
10. Window shop in Harvey Nicks
The closest most of us poor students will get to designer labels for a good few years.
11. Get involved in some charity work
The fund-raising powerhouse that is RAG offers tonnes of great activities that you can do for charity. But if trekking to Everest Base Camp or biking across Europe doesn’t appeal, then there are lots of other charities operating on campus that are worth taking a look at. A couple of examples are Homed, who work with three hostels for homeless people in Leeds, and STAR, who amongst other things hold English classes for asylum seekers and refugees.
12. Dance on benches at the Bierkeller
Located under the Shooters bar near the station, this is truly a hidden gem. Serving German beer in traditional Steins (Litre glasses), alongside more typical British bar favourites, this place draws a crowd on weekends so it’s advisable to book in advance if you want to go with a large group. An Oompah band plays on Saturday nights, and dancing on benches is almost obligatory.
13. Partake in some friendly rivalry with our Met counterparts at Varsity
The most anticipated Rugby match of the year tops of a range of Varsity sports clashes. Met’s team is generally always superior to ours, but everyone loves an underdog (and we actually won this year!)
14. Finish an Old Bar pub quiz without cheating
It’s tempting to assume that the teams who beat you clearly just had better signal/faster internet capabilities on their smart phones, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to make this sore loser’s assumption knowing your own conscience is clean? And if your general knowledge minus your iPhone isn’t exactly up to scratch, you might just score the least amount of points and be asked to choose a round for the next week’s quiz- creatures that live underground was one particular highlight from this year..
15. Try a society
It goes without saying that your time at Leeds is somewhat lacking if you haven’t a least once given one of our ridiculously extensive range of societies a go. I could go on forever, but see for yourself here.
16. Sunbathe in Hyde Park and endure the long, long queues for the ice-cream van
Well, Woodhouse Moor to be precise. Amidst the stressful haze of the final weeks of the year there is no better way to relax than by catching some rays on the grass. Bonus points if you do so in true northern form: when there is merely a hint of sun and your less acclimatised southern friends are complaining that it is in fact still cold.
So there you have it. I know I’m going to miss Leeds, and I’ll only be gone a year! Good luck to all you finalists and I’ve hope you’ve enjoyed your time here as much as I have so far.