While living in Leeds, I’ve had the chance to explore and appreciate amazing towns and spots that the region has to offer.
One of my absolutely favourite places is York. I have been there a few times during the years, sometimes with friends and others as an International Student Ambassador during the usual trip in Freshers Week.
When I was leading the group with my fellow ambassadors, we even had a private tour arranged by the University around the whole city. Firstly, we visited York Minster, one of the world's largest Medieval Gothic Cathedrals, and we walked all the way up to Clifford’s Tower, which is the oldest remaining part of York Castle. The tour was very interesting, and our guide made it even more real by wearing the typical historic costume of the locals. Then, we walked around the “Snickelways”, which is a collection of small streets and winding footpaths connecting the old city, situated in the “Shambles”. The Shambles is the main tourist attraction in York and consists of a narrow 14th-century thoroughfare with lovely overhanging timber-framed buildings. While in the past, there used to be butcher shops and stalls (tourists still notice the meat hooks outside many shop fronts!), nowadays this area hosts shops, restaurants, tearooms, and boutiques.
After having lunch in a local diner, we went to appreciate the nature into the Museum Gardens, home to more than 40 species of birds, with various species of trees, shrubs, and flowers under the ruined walls and arches of the medieval St. Mary's Abbey. Then we walked across nearly three miles of the medieval city walls, which is the longest circuit of walls in UK, built mainly in the 14th century, from where we could enjoy the amazing views on the city. I really enjoyed this day as it was not only a great chance to bond with the other international and home students met over the previous days but also an occasion to explore and discover York.
Other times, I came back to York with my closest friends. We would usually go after the exam period in January, before the next semester began, so that we could have a day to relax and release the stress accumulated during the preparation of the exams. Another place I spotted was the 15th-century All Saints Church in North Street, particularly for its stained-glass windows. York is such a cute place and we loved chilling into cosy cafes and chatting for hours after long walks in the town centre.
Yet again in the role of International Student Ambassador, I went with a group of students to Ilkley, a civil parish in West Yorkshire. We had a very long hike; the landscape was stunning, and we spent an amazing day amongst nature. Ilkley Moor is a mass of heather and gritstone which forms a bulky boundary between the West Yorkshire valleys of Wharfedale and Airedale. The walk took about two and a half hours (obviously not counting the stops we made for taking pictures of the view 😊) and it let us admire archaeological areas of impressive beauty. After climbing up the moor, we headed back to the town and we enjoyed roaming around the main streets brimming of local shops and boutiques.
These were just few of the experiences that let me discover how lovely it is to live in Yorkshire, but I know there are many more towns and much countryside worth visiting and I can’t wait to explore some more!