July. For most people, this means ‘schools out for summer’, baby lambs, and the beginning of the ‘dog days’. For students, it is a glistening mosaic of scantily clothed sunbathing, barbecues, and beer gardens. July seems to erupt the senses, with everyone fighting cunningly for the best summer outfit to show the most legs, or the brightest colour, it seams to be the most sociably sought after month. In this month, the sun is expected to welcome its avid followers to crawl from under the cesspit of work, or, realistically, hangovers, and enjoy the romance of the heat in crowds on the nearest park. During a time under the suns reign, you can often walk past any piece of grass expecting to see people sleepily stretching over their jackets, with a cheeky bottle of fosters at their side.
For me, it usually means an annual trip to St Ives, however, this year, due to unfortunate circumstances, the trip is cancelled. Therefore, in my semi-coma like state of dissapointment, I rolled through all my favorite places to go in Leeds for a nice enjoyable picnic with my friends, or just a nice day out;
A beautiful archaic building, screaming tales about the many possible histories that occurred within those crumbling walls. Surrounded by a picturesque green area with wildlife buzzing with fertility, the river at the bottom of Kirkstall Abbey has been visited many times by my friends and I, looking for somewhere peaceful to chat away whilst munching on our food, but also not be completely isolated. Kirkstall Abbey also hosts many exciting events such as the BBC Three’s ‘Frankenstein Wedding’ which was performed live at Kirkstall Abbey by cast including Andrew Gower, Lacey Turner, and David Harewood. The Abbey is also a venue for music events such as Keiser Chiefs live at Kirkstall Abbey. This building has come a long way since it was founded in 1152, originally by Monks, before it was closed by Henry VIII in 1534 under the ‘Dissolution of Religious Houses’. An popular, eye catching destination for both students, and families in Leeds, it is definitely worth a visit.
Just a few minutes away from my first year halls, this was a very popular spot for fellow first years, wanting an uber cool place to show off their bodies in the sun. Clarence Dock is one of the more up market destinations, and as you walk through this area you are given the false sensation of feeling very cool indeed. The Dock also makes for an interesting sunbathing spot, as you get to watch canal boats pass by dreamily. The cafes/restaurants/bars in this area proudly boast of highly regarded food and drinks, with not so highly regarded prices, however they are worth a visit just to sit in with a small coffee, and take in the stunning surroundings. This place is also amazing at night, with a very christmassy feeling, it is easy to fall in love with what you see.
Sharing its name with the famous park in London, Hyde Park in Leeds is one of the main visits for student sunbathers on a hot day. Propelling you into an almost american world (skate park, tunnels of trees etc) this is the kind of park in which you hope to bag a space on underneath the rays of the sun, listening to everyone chatter away. Situated between both universities and Headingley, a village popular for its second and third year students, it is no wonder that this park can get pretty crammed very easily. The surrounding area of Hyde park also presents students living nearby with some attractions, such as the Hyde Park Picture House, an Edwardian art house cinema, and the Brudenell Social Club, a popular social club widely known for its fantastic list of live acts such as Kate Nash, Franz Ferdinand, and the Kooks.
Originally a hunting park for the De Lacey family during the 13th Century, Roundhay park is one of the biggest city parks in Europe, with 700 acres of parkland, woodland, lakes, and other such secret delights such as a Tropical world under its belt. This park is a fantastic destination for a day out, with lots to take in and explore, it will take more than a day to settle your enthusiasm and intrigue about this place. A simple bus ride from town, this park is a must for every student in Leeds to visit, and to take in that breath of amazement as you look down upon such a vast area of beautiful scenery.
WRITTEN BY CHARLOTTE, LEEDS METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY.