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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Saving Brass in Leeds

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of many countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood whatever the weather. This post is from Nicola

Essential Leeds – a tourist guide available from www.visitleeds.co.uk – offers a guide to 24 hours in the city either splashing out or reigning in. Inspired I adapted the reigning in version – which involved a lot of eating plus strolls in Roundhay Park and late night live music at The Cockpit, Swinegate – for daytime with kids.

The bus station (a 30min ride in from Wakefield) is right by Kirkgate Market which has more than 800 stalls. I knew it was good but was stunned by the range of goodies sold. It feels very continental – a Sunday in Lille even – wandering around the market where we goggled at fruit, African home foods, a Polish deli, baji stall, cheese counters, olive and nut emporiums, embroidery kits and wrapping paper. Did we buy? Yes three buttons (at 25p each) and two 100g bags of sweeties for 80p each. It’s all on line now too, so you can visit virtually if you want to at http://www.leedsmarket.com/.

Next stop was Friends of the Earth’s Leeds office , also in Kirkgate, which provided a nice cup of tea and directions to Leeds Art Gallery. Here we slithered across the grandest tiled hall (lost for 50 years behind bookshelves and now a cafe); used the free internet access at next door’s library and enjoyed the collection of pictures. The girls particularly liked Anthony Gormley’s bigger than lifesize figure made out of bricks and then did their own abstract works at the art cart area upstairs. Next door is the Henry Moore Institute with an excellent craft shop – it's one of the venues where you can buy real art by real artists from as little as #45.

On our way back to the bus we were entertained by buskers near Albion Street and then spent a happy quarter of an hour washing and rewashing hands at Lush.

Total cost of day: return bus tickets #7, mementoes (those buttons!) 75p, grapes #1.40 = happiness for less than a tenner. We are also very lucky at the moment to be staying in a lovely house in Wakefield gratis (though we would like to do some babysitting!), many thanks to Mary & Adrian.

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