Roundhay Park and Tropical World
Once our vehicle has been given the all clear, we can hit the road to a city better known for its industrial heritage and famous football club. Our destination is Leeds in the western part of Yorkshire, and our first port of call is Roundhay Park and Tripical World just outside of Leeds. The original estate was purchased in 1872 by the City of Leeds and the original purchase was heavily criticized by the general public as a waste of tax payer’s money. The Lord Mayor of Leeds was steadfast in his conviction, and slowly developed the estate into a popular recreational park.
Today the park covers an area of over 700 acres, which makes it one of the largest urban parks in the world. It consists of lakes, parklands, woodlands, canal gardens and a tropical world section.
This 'tropical world' section is a group of glass structures and each area is representative of different world climates. These structures house aquariums, a butterfly house, a humid jungle, a desert section with meerkats and even a nocturnal abode for bats.
There are also a vast amount of tropical plants, birds, monkeys, reptiles, snakes, spiders and the most beautiful butterflies.
One could spend days enjoying the sites and just taking in all the wonders of this park. Roundhay Park served us well by clearing our minds of the riggers and torments of every-day life. When we left Roundhay Park and Tropical World, it already felt as though we had a new lease on life.
The following day we headed out on an hour’s journey north, to an intriguing site called Brimham Rocks, which is a 400 acre site on Brimham Moore. There we found the most amazing scenery of balancing rocks ranging over 30 meters in height. These rock formations were carved by glaciation, water and wind over many, many centuries. The amazing shapes are something to behold and very unique. Many of Brimham Rock formations have been named by people with rather vivid imaginations. The names range from The Camel and the Dancing Bear, to The Sphinx, The Turtle and even The Watchdog.
Taking a guided walk gave us the opportunity to take in most of this beautiful, yet bizarre sight. For the more adventurous at heart, rock climbing is a fun activity if you are a rock climber with a fair amount of know-how and experience. A sense of amazement, peace and tranquility is what I came away with and any thoughts of one’s normal life back home were banished during the hours spent admiring the power and the wonders of nature.
Day one and two were spent nurturing our spiritual and emotional well-being and now that we had achieved this, we spent day three nurturing our taste buds and external senses by visiting Europe’s largest covered market. The Leeds Kirkgate Market boasts over 800 stalls, selling everything imaginable from the most scrumptious foods and drinks from around the globe, to clothing, fabrics such as M & S and electrical goods to name but a few.
Depending on what day of the week you visit the market, you can experience an Asian Bazaar, a World Feast and a Farmers Market to name just a few. It would be best to check Kirkgate events calendar to see what is on offer each day. Our senses were both excited and numbed simultaneously by the massive range of quality foods and physical goods which one is able to purchase. There is literally something for everyone and it is almost impossible to take the journey back home without having spent some of one’s hard earned pounds at this wondrous market.
With all our taste buds having been tested and pleased and a sense of peace having taken over our being, we returned home with a clear mind, ready to take on the rigors of everyday life. While driving back home, we let our minds run wild and began planning our next short, exciting getaway.
My name is James Smith. Traveling and taking full throttle adventures in life has always been my stimulant.
(Photo by midland.road via Flickr)