Want to escape the city? Here’s our favourite places for a day out near Leeds

A Yorkshire pub + good grub = the perfect day out

One thing that students really don't make the most of in their time at Leeds is exploring the surrounding areas of the city. There are so many places that are but a short train journey away, filled with different things to do that make for a refreshing change from the city centre.

This year, we've made it our mission to explore as much of Yorkshire as we can (while trying to refrain from spending the entirety of our student loan), and we've started with the following places below.


Although its city centre is surprisingly small, Harrogate is a gorgeous day out. Its detailed, historical architecture (everything from houses, to castles, and abbeys) is beaten only by its beautiful countryside, which you can see as early as on the train journey there. If you’re into gardens and parks, some light shopping, and small-town Yorkshire charm, then Harrogate is definitely for you.

Our favourite pub: Blues Bar

Our favourite grub: Betty’s Café & Tea Rooms

Our favourite thing to do: Walking through Victoria Gardens on a sunny day

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Ilkley is only eighteen miles away from the bustling city centre of Leeds and is really popular among walkers, hikers, and cyclists. There is also a fantastic food and art market that happens each month in the town centre.

Our favourite pub: The Cow & Calf

Our favourite grub: The Box Tree

Our favourite thing to do: Getting lost on Ilkley Moor

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The land of the Vikings. From countryside walks to urban art galleries and shopping trips, York has to be one of England’s most century-defining cities. There is always something to do there: York Minster, the city walls, the Shambles, and some of the best pubs you’ll ever visit.

Our favourite pub: The Punch Bowl

Our favourite grub: Goji Vegetarian Café & Deli

Our favourite thing to do: Visiting all the independent shops along the Shambles – the winding streets thought to have inspired Diagon Alley in Harry Potter

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Knaresborough is most famous for its classic views of the hills and the viaduct, but there is much more to this town than taking a quick snap for Instagram; and the castle grounds are just the beginning. The rowboats, which are available to hire out, are perfect for photo ops.

Our favourite pub: Mother Shipton’s Inn

Our favourite grub: Carriages and Marigolds Ice-Cream Parlour

Our favourite thing to do: Eating our body weight in ice-cream

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Hebden Bridge

Perfectly positioned between Manchester and Leeds, our favourite thing about Hebden Bridge is that it is completely devoid of big-name chain stores. Instead, you’re welcomed by lots of local and independent clothing, record, and food shops. The town as a whole is a refreshing change from Leeds city centre, and you'll always come away with an absolute bargain.

Our favourite pub: Stubbing Wharf

Our favourite grub: Greens Vegetarian Café

Our favourite thing to do: Rummaging through the sale stands in the independent vintage clothes shops

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Wherever you go and whatever your budget, there's something for everyone outside of Leeds. But nothing can ever compare to sinking a couple of tinnies in the sunshine on Woodhouse Moor with your mates.