Posts Tagged ‘Leeds’

Top of the pubs in Leeds


I’ve spent the summer in Leeds teaching English for Academic Purposes to students from around the world. As well as seeing the Tour de France in it’s Yorkshire incarnation, as I wrote about earlier, I have had the opportunity to do a number of things. During this time I have been working though and this week we have been working particularly on a project related to supermarkets. Students have a question related to it, we give them information, they find information and then give a presentation on the matter with their take on the answer to the question. They then get assessed on their presentation which accounts for some percentage of their marks for the course.

2014-09-05 11.34.27Friday, as last year, myself and another teacher took the students to the local Morrisons.(Pictured left) Not, as they had done so often, as consumers buying, but to analyse the way the shop worked. Afterwards for feedback we went to a local pub. Quite often, after shopping at the same supermarket, as it is my closest I too have gone to the same pub for a rest before heading back up the hill with my gatherings. It turned out that a number of the students had not been to a pub in England before, so it was useful for that. Whilst there one student  asked me what was my favourite pub in Leeds and, not having thought about it before, I answered the Whitelock’s Ale House. Now that I have had time to think  about it my answer would have been different, so here are my top three and a highly commended.

P11301721.  Brewery Tap. It’s not a traditional pub having only been open four years. Inside the decor is very wood, it sells a range of always good beers and the staff are always friendly and helpful without being invasive. It has an upstairs and roof-garden (Pictured right) and when there at the weekend to research this piece it was nice to go outside, in between the showers. P1130170There is a mixture of regular clientelle and, being close to the station, people newly arrived in Leeds or groups of friends meeting up after arriving in Leeds separately. I was able to drown my sorrows with a fellow blue after City’s defeat against Stoke. It is a comfortable place to go for a drink whether with friends or on your own.

P11301642. Whitelcok’s Ale House. I found this pub last year. There are a number of pubs like this where the street they were built upon no longer exists apart from the alley giving access to them from either the main shopping street, Briggate or another street. In this case it is almost hidden away by the back entrance to Marks and Spencer (Pictured left). P1130173When you go down the alley you turn left then right and you come out into Turk’s Head Yard and there it is , facing the back of shops. It means there is a nice area to sit outside in the summer and not raining. It too does good beer and food and well worth taking time out from shopping to visit.

P11301743. The Pack Horse. As one of two pubs that are close enough to be my local it’s not one I visit a lot. It was towards the end of my first contract in Leeds that I discovered this real old boozer. The beer is good and it has a great jukebox. As I am in Leeds outside term time I have not experienced it when the students are around I should imagine it is full with them as it is across the road from the University.

P1130163Honourable mention. The New Conservatory. Describes itself as a Cafe-bar which gives a clue that it is not really a boozer but a place where you can go for a coffee, something to drink or some food. In a basement on different levels including an area made out like a library and another with a pool table, it has a nice atmosphere as a place you can meet someone. I hadn’t visited it until I had a visit this summer from JTO, who found it and it seemed to quickly become a favourite of hers.

Le tour diary 1.


I’ve lived in France for seven years, more or less, now. During that time I’ve worked in the UK every summer. Initially at a summer school teaching teenagers from all over Europe or the world general English and last year and this at a university (pictured left) teaching students, about to start a Masters course at the university, how Academic English is different from the general English they learnt before, or what they did to earn their qualification to get to the university. I do that because people in France go away for July or August so you cannot organise classes in those months and now, increasingly working at the local university, courses finish mainly at Easter with a few lasting into or to the end of May and not starting until the middle of September.

Over time I’ve increasingly become interested in cycling. Initially, as a result of working on it for my job in the early part of this century, in track cycling – I saw races at the Manchester Commonwealth Games and at my local track when living in Reading. Over time this moved to interest in road racing, particularly the Tour de France. I even got to the last two and had an interview to manage the administration for Team Sky three or four years ago. In 2012, whilst working in the UK, I followed the race every day, when work had finished obsessively watching the races as the first Englishman and the first English based team went on to win the Tour de France. It wasn’t quite as obsessive, I had a new job in a new environment so hadn’t the time available, but I still followed the race last year and the second victory.

In seven years living in France I had never seen the race in the country that is my home. I had hardly seen the French TV coverage of the race. My knowledge of it came from the UK coverage on ITV4 and the previous coverage on a number of channels. You would think the tour coming to Leeds for this year would make me excited. I would be happy to be getting a chance to see it at last. Not, at all, it seemed wrong. So, it was with an ambivalence about this aspect that I returned to Leeds just over a week ago.

Thursday and work finished and preparation for Friday done so I went shopping to get a few things. Before leaving work I had talked with a few colleagues about the parade of teams which was taking place that evening through the streets of Leeds before they were presented at the Firstdirect arena.  Having finished shopping I noticed my route home was being closed off with barriers. I spied what would be a good spot to see the riders coming up from Millennium Square. So, I hung around in that spot and was joined by a flatmate and we saw the teams on their way from Millennium Square to the Arena. The one pictured are the Cofidis team. Whilst there I was given a ‘Spectator Guide‘ for stages 1 and 2 which led us to talk about the possibility of going to the ‘Grand Depart’ and possibly going out of Leeds to visit somewhere of interest and also take in stage 2.

On Friday further discussions took place and it was decided to go down to the centre of Leeds at 10ish on Saturday morning. Before that happened though I was wakened by a din from people playing popular beat combo music and talking French. But I’d left all that behind. was this some nightmare with my French living come to haunt me in Leeds? No. In seven years living in France I’d never seen the Tour De France and here theP1120919 caravan was going past my window. As well as the music there were vehicles advertising Haribo, ibis hotels, sugary fizzy drinks (pictured) and, best of all I thought, Yorkshire Tea. The last seemed so out of place with the rest but quite cool that it was present, like a very English intervention in the Tour de France.


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