After landing the role at the YEP in the Autumn of 2022 I was thoroughly excited to get out of the painstakingly nice environment of York and head down the A64 to start my new life.
Having lived in seven different towns and cities in the 10 years prior (yikes) I was also hoping that this would be the place where I could call home and settle for an extended period.
And though some aspects have given me cause for concern, all in all I’ve been delighted with my first year and have no immediate plans to move to any of the few northern cities I have left to try.
So with that in mind, here’s 12 things that have stood out to me over the last 12 months:
1. A year in the life
Here's 12 things I've found from one year of living in Leeds Photo: National World
2. The roads are not for the faint of heart
This is one I was well aware would be an issue ahead of moving, having driven through and visited Leeds on plenty of occasions previously. The abrupt exits off the dual carriageways and winding, overwhelming road system is something that I've struggled to get used to and that has caused many a heart-in-mouth moment. Photo: James Hardisty
3. Live music
Less in-your-face than Manchester and with more variety and ability to attract the best artists than Sheffield, the live music scene in Leeds is unrelenting. With some of the country's best venues in the form of the Brudenell Social Club, Belgrave Music Hall, Irish Centre, first direct Arena and now new addition Project House, it seems that there's always something demanding your ears' attention Photo: Mark Bickerdike
I've never known a city - either lived in or visited - so overrun by roadworks. It's almost become an intrinsic part of its identity for me. When did they start? Has it always been like this? Is there an ending to it? Photo: James Hardisty
5. The city centre
Though I'm virtually allergic to shopping, once the roadworks have been navigated I've found that Leeds has a tremendous city centre. The variety of independent stores, exceptional use of spaces like the Corn Exchange and Kirkgate Market and boundless options for eating spots make it a great place to shop around - less overdeveloped than Manchester and less touristy than York, where most visits to the city centre become a headache. However, there's one thing I've found that it's lacking... Photo: Gerard Binks
6. Where are all the book stores?
While the city centre in York seems to have a book shop at every turn, the lack of spots to browse and potter around in in Leeds hit me like a copy of War and Peace to the head. A visit to Truman Books in Farsley at least reassured me there was some great independents available, but being able to stumble from one to another has definitely been missed. Photo: Google