1. Yorkshire Sculpture Park
OK – so this spot isn’t technically in Leeds but it’s just a short 40 minute drive away, we promise. Expansive grounds allow you to roam free and really escape Leeds city life, meaning your bound to get some inspiration for any upcoming website development projects. You’ll be able to feel the fresh country air and visit the park’s rotating exhibitions which means there will always be something new coming up to look forward to. That, combined with Yorkshire’s charming changing seasons, will make this a place you keep returning to as different web projects pop up and you’re in need of renewed creative ideas.
2. Merrion Centre MFA Bowling Alley
Our second entry isn’t a traditional quiet retreat, but sometimes it’s a good idea to focus on something completely unrelated to the website-related task at hand, in order to get some clarity. Putting your attention on getting three strikes in a row might unlock some brain power you thought you’d run out of for creating a new web design! Physical exercise can be a great way of kickstarting your mental focus – and who says it has to be boring. Plus, it’s an absolute bargain and can be a savvy way of switching off whilst staying social, meaning it’s an escape you can enjoy with your web design colleagues.
3. Tropical World
This has to be one of our favourite spots to visit when we’re in the midst of a busy website development project – the team has been here many times over the years! You’ll get distracted by butterflies in the butterfly house and can meet the meerkats too. Plus, Tropical World is nestled just over the road from Roundhay Park, so you can always take a long stroll there after if you’re craving some tranquil distraction from that looming web development deadline. And it’s safe to say, with over a million visitors a year, this may be one of the not-so-well-kept secrets on our list of escapes.
4. Ilkley Moor
Part of the breathtaking Dales, Ilkley is one of the best places to escape to in the whole of the country, not just Yorkshire! It’s one of those spots where you can really take some time out to reflect, where the open sky and broad horizon is there for you to lose yourself in and you can refocus on what really matters. If after a long walk you’re in need of some refuelling before returning to that pending web design brief, then make sure to hot foot it to the Cow and Calf pub which serves up excellent, tried and tested, pub grub. There’s even a wood fire to warm yourself up near in the winter! Be sure to book a table if you can as the dining area fills up fast.
5. Leeds Art Gallery
For those of us working in website design, having a creative eye is an absolute must. If you’re feeling a bit lack lustre as of late then perhaps drawing inspiration from fellow artists and creatives will get the juices flowing again. Head into town and immerse yourself in paintings, sculptures and prints at Leeds’ Art Gallery and you might just find that web design idea you’ve been searching for. If you’re really out of steam then you can drown your sorrows in a delicious slice of cake and hot cup of coffee in the sultry Tiled Hall cafe.
6. Leeds-Liverpool Canal
If you’re idea of switching off is heading somewhere that feels less urban, but you’re stuck in the middle of Leeds and don’t have oodles of time, then this is the spot for you. A world away from the online realm and web development projects, the canal is a super place to escape the city whilst actually remaining in Leeds. Walk, run or cycle your way along (we wouldn’t advise attempting a dip!) and you might even see some wildlife. So don’t forget to pack the binoculars and that secret birdwatching book we all know you have! You’ll be sure to unwind and return to work refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to take on that meaty web project.
7. Kirkstall Abbey
You’ll have 9 acres of woodland to let out some steam and run wild in with a visit to Kirkstall Abbey and it’s surrounding grounds. A time warp away from all things modern including website design, this spot will give you a chance to head back in time and imagine yourself living it up in the 12th century. It’s always a welcome escape from the office and we never miss out visiting the neighbouring River Aire which helps to wash all those web development worries away!
8. Henry Moore Institute
This gallery space nestled in Leeds city centre is a tranquil place to distract yourself from any brain blocks of the website design sort. Located on the Headrow, it shouldn’t be too hard to get to and once inside you’ll have instantly left behind the hustle and bustle of Leeds’ keen shoppers. The shapes and curves of Henry Moore’s coveted sculptures are bound to inspire you, plus there’s plenty of exhibitions to keep an eye out for as the institute has a busy, carefully curated, calendar.
9. Leeds Cathedral
Whether you’re religious or not, you’ll definitely find some solace in this spectacular building. The architecture and design make it one of the most awesome Catholic cathedrals in the UK, and you can take a pew and hope (or pray!) that the interior inspires your website design woes. Plus, it’s probably one of the least likely spots you’ll bump into anyone if you’re hoping to get some true peace and quiet.
10. Brudenell Social Club
Sometimes the only way forward is to mull everything over with the help of a perfect pint. One of our favourite drinking spots, Brudenell Social Club never ceases to provide distraction when we need it as there’s a food truck outside, a great selection of beverages, table football, snooker in the back, and live gigs too! If you’re looking to let loose and take some time out from a busy website development schedule, then you’re bound to find something you like here.
So there you have it – the 10 best spots in Leeds to get some inspiration for those website development worries and web design woes. Remember that the key to great web design is something that is user-friendly and intuitive, so stepping outside of your everyday work space can sometimes be the most productive way to make progress. It forces you to step outside of your go-to safe choices and think a little differently. You wouldn’t have thought it would be so easy! And a little note to all those website development company bosses out there – don’t blame us when you catch your colleagues adding their bowling shoe hire receipts to their expenses, it’s all in the name of creating worthy website designs!
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.