At one time a working brewery, The Tetley is now a centre for a contemporary art, though you can still enjoy a pint of Tetley’s English Ale in its onsite café. (Photo: Bonnie Munday)
After the meal, we stroll back through the bricked lanes, past independent coffee shops, and over the Aire again to take in Trinity Leeds. This four-year-old shopping centre boasts a unique architectural design: while it’s open air, all 120 shops and 40 eateries are protected by an iconic glass dome. Today, the sky is blue through the glass—but on a rainy day, how cool would it be to go shopping “outdoors” while sheltered from the elements? A giant metal sculpture of a packhorse carrying a roll of cloth reminds visitors of Leeds’ history as major centre for the wool and textile industries.
Later, at the Marriott, I get chatting with 24-year-old Lyneese Freeman, a warm and friendly front desk receptionist with a rich Yorkshire accent. (The Leeds Marriott, by the way, gets top marks: it has amazing staff and impeccable service, and the rooms are bright, refined and comfortable.) Lyneese was born in Leeds and has lived here all her life. I ask her what’s new and exciting about her hometown. “Leeds is more vibrant and lively now than ever,” she says. “There’s lots more to attract and entertain students, but also young professionals—Leeds Trinity, Victoria Gate, the casino, and a lot more. There’s a new, good vibe.” She says it reminds her of the type of revival Manchester experienced a few years back and is still enjoying.