From bottomless brunch to pantomimes: Let's explore all Leeds has to offer as restrictions ease - YEP opinion

Soggy menus, families huddled under umbrellas and freezing hands nursing a cold pint - it’s been a sight to behold in Leeds city centre over the last few weeks.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 4:45 am

The commitment to support outdoor hospitality has been astounding, and often hilarious, in the face of an unwelcome cold snap in Leeds.

Now pubs, bars and restaurants are preparing to reopen indoors on Monday after getting the green light from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The next step of the road map will mean we no longer need to plan our social life around the unchanging British weather; we can meet indoors and hug our loved ones again.

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The next step of the road map will mean we no longer need to plan our social life around the unchanging British weather

It’s a big step for the country and welcome news for Leeds businesses.

Despite the impressive commitment of customers to drink and dine outdoors, many pubs and restaurants are operating at less than 20 per cent of their overall capacity.

Without the privilege of outdoor space, some haven’t reopened at all.

Businesses have taken a huge financial hit this year. Sadly, some haven’t survived, and there’s a long way to go before many small venues can make a profit again.

The crew at the Armley Interplay theatre who are busy rehearsing for their first live performance this year

As our favourite Leeds restaurants and boozers spring back to life, they’re counting on us to keep up the momentum.

Booked in for a haircut this weekend? Stop by a pub for a pint or two.

Heading to the shops to collect an order? Why not make a day of it - meeting friends for a bite to eat.

It’s little steps like these that will help to drive the economy forward as Leeds starts to recover from a turbulent year.

Of course, it’s not just hospitality that will reopen indoors on Monday.

The arts and culture sector, which has been hugely disrupted by the pandemic, will welcome people back to museums, theatres and art galleries in the city.

In this weekend’s magazine, our reporter Immy Share caught up with the crew at the Armley Interplay Theatre who are busy rehearsing for their first live performance since the curtains were closed in March last year.

Those looking for a spark of inspiration can browse the Spring exhibitions at Leeds Art Gallery, before grabbing a coffee in the Tiled Hall Café with its grand marble columns and stunning mosaic ceiling.

The Thackray Museum of Medicine will reopen following a £4million renovation programme, after operating as a temporary vaccination centre for months.

There’s a sense of optimism that the end is in sight, with the most vulnerable people in the city now protected by the vaccine.

From Sunday dinners and bottomless brunch to ballet performances and pantomimes, Leeds has so much to offer.

It’s time to start exploring our city again, without the rain dampening our plans.

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