For the opening week of the (BA) Creative Mind series, I will be unveiling to you a secret student spot, with the perfect balance of creativity, culture, and university life. If you’ve ever taken a walk through Burley, you may have noticed a beautiful converted church building sitting prettily on Cardigan Road. Stroll past the Little Free Library and grassy picnic plain to the building’s mouth; these large double doors are your invite to a taste of newfound artistry. Ideal for second and third year students based on its location but inclusive to all, Left Bank is a place of creative workshops, study sessions and so many unique events!
Step inside to explore the church’s heart: Left Bank is naturally lit through its church windows but has a little help from some aesthetic fairy lights and lanterns. Its atmosphere is relaxed and charismatic, like a contemporary spin on a candlelit setting. Upon entering, you are greeted by an array of canteen-style tables, perfect for group study sessions or catch-up coffees. There is a ping pong table set to one side which is great for study breaks. Background music plays on a low volume and combines with the light hum of chatter and laughter, making Left Bank a perfect place to concentrate on work, or just escape reality for a couple of hours. To your left is a bar, with a menu ranging from breakfast pick-me-ups to late night spirits and mixers – this place is an immediate go to social space, and that’s before I even disclose their events calendar…
Left Bank is home to a huge range of innovative events, meaning their opening hours can vary through the day and night. Their website helps students like myself navigate my timings and book tickets for events that fit my schedule and taste, including dance or yoga classes, Creative Wednesdays (which host a wide range of artistic activities, from life drawing to textile activities to clay modelling), vintage sales, night markets, art exhibitions… the list goes on! If you consider yourself a creative person, inside or outside of your education or career, Left Bank is guaranteed to inspire you in some way. A simple but inventive strapline, ‘This is your place’, advertises the venue as a multipurpose attraction, attracting an imaginative community of people to its doors.
I have visited the Left Bank several times now, but one of my most enjoyable experiences there took place on a frosty February morning when I attended my first Wednesday Wake Up Yoga class. All of Left Bank’s events are set at affordable prices, making them perfect for university students. The class begins at 8am every week (I’m envisioning the grimaced expressions on my fellow students’ faces as you read that line!) but the feeling of relaxation and accomplishment at the end is so rewarding. It is a beginner-friendly activity, perfect for burnt out students in need of a de-stress break from academic pressure. Additionally, there is a free hot drink on offer to all ticket holders when the class finishes – this was very comforting for the walk home through a chilly Hyde Park! My personal go-to? It has to be the caramel latte, which, with just the right blend of foam and sweetness, is good to the last drop.
Overall, Left Bank is certainly a social place to ‘bank’ on for all of my Creative Mind readers, with the perfect balance of student life, work, prices, and artistic hobbies. Paid events are worth every penny and there is always something new and original planned for upcoming months. You can even hire the venue for big events such as weddings, gigs, food festivals, and celebrations. Got any friends in Leeds turning 21 this year? I can’t think of a more unique, never-done-before place to host a popping party. Extra perks of Left Bank include mini plant and print sales; these appear to be a permanent feature, meaning there is always an opportunity to take a slice of growth and creativity home. Left Bank is also dog friendly, which is ideal both for students who like to play with puppies and owners who need a break from entertaining them. I would advise keeping the venue a secret amongst your close friendship circle (‘This is your place’ now, anyway, as their motto says), as this way you’ll always be guaranteed a spot. From artists to writers, students to exercise early-birds, and daylight to late-night drinkers, Left Bank brings something to the table for all creative enthusiasts.
Written by: Ella Gale
Edited by: Joanna MacInnes