Friday, 24 August 2012

Daytripping: Leeds. . .

I'll be doing a bit of travelling around England in the next few weeks - just day trips to explore cities, art galleries and of course checking out the odd yarn shop.  This week I was off to Leeds, a city I always enjoy visiting, being a Yorkshire lass myself.

First stop was the Art Gallery which is quite small but has a nice collection of Stanley Spencers, Walter Sickerts and a tiny but effective area devoted to artists painting during and just after the First World War - Mark Gertler, Wyndham Lewis, C.R.W. Nevinson  to name a few. I also like peeking at the side display of books from WWI writers just next to the library which is attached to the gallery.

This building also has one of the most stunning cafes of any museum I've been in.

Next door is the Henry Moore Foundation (he studied art in Leeds), that showcases modern sculpters and I popped in there briefly. And then on the bottom floor of the art gallery there's a very cool craft and design shop that sells beautiful prints, ceramics and jewelry. Well worth a browse.  But I had to keep my money in check (although I have my eye on a few possible Christmas gifts), because it was time for a walk through the city in the direction of Headingley. The best way to get to know a city is always to walk it; you just never know what you'll discover. Like many cities in the U.K., Leeds has some interesting architecture. I'm always intrigued by the juxtaposition of new buildings with the preservation of the old, and how they co-exist and sometimes energize the urban landscape.

After about forty-five minutes, walking past the university, a lovely park and popping into the odd vintage and antiques shop, I reached my ultimate destination.

Baa Ram Ewe has to be one of the most lovely yarn shops I've ever been in.  I've subscribed to their newsletter for a few months and I love that they specialize in wools from all parts of the U.K. Their staff are just wonderful - knowledgeable, friendly and just brimming with excitement and enthusiasm for all things woolly.  Though the shop is small, it's just brimming with gorgeous yarns and patterns and I probably spent over an hour just fondling and trying to make up my mind.  And yes, I definitely did come away with some goodies including a very particular yarn that I have a personal connection to.  Photos and story coming soon.

I then took the bus back into town and spent the rest of the afternoon walking through the markets and shopping areas. Leeds is known for its beautiful Victorian arcades and while many of the stores are the chains you find everywhere, there still lurks the odd independent, including a bead store called Yumyum Beads where I stocked up on some interesting colours.

There was also a Harvey Nichols (the equivalent in Toronto would be Holt Renfrew) which Liverpool doesn't have.  I bought some lemon curd and this snack which I'm almost embarassed to say was really, really tasty.

Then it was off to the train station and the two hour ride back to Liverpool.  All in all, a lovely day out.  Oooh and I have some more really yummy wool!

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