By Claire Schofield
For those that are reluctant to loosen their purse strings for fear of over-spending, here are a few things which will ensure a good time but won’t break the bank.
1. Cottage Road Cinema/Fish and Chips
If you haven’t yet paid a visit to this quaint little cinema then you are missing a treat. At 102 years old, it is the longest standing cinema in Leeds and as you step through the old wooden doors into the small foyer, it is almost like taking a step back in time.
Located just outside the heart of Headingley, Cottage Road still does things the old fashioned way. On entering the theatre, you immediately get a sense of the history of this place. The olde-worldy charm is captured by the wooden furnishings, the old ticket booth, the red velvet seats and the wooden piano which is neatly tucked away in the corner. At the front, the cinema screen sits on a large stage hidden behind a giant cinema curtain which creates a great sense of occasion as it pulls open, like at the grand opening of a play.
Prior to the start of the film, a member of staff will appear at the front of the theatre carrying a tray filled with tubs of ice-cream and lollies for purchase in a delightful little throwback to a by-gone era. And, as an added bonus, Cottage Road doesn’t bother with assigned seating – so you won’t be forced to put up with noisy wrapper rustlers or chatter-boxes next to you.
This is the proper way to enjoy the movies, and with its affordable prices, you may as well ditch the multiplex and bask in the charm of this truly enchanting cinema. And if you fancy a change from the same old, Cottage Road hosts a classics night every month, giving movie-lovers the unique opportunity to see big screen favourites such as Back To The Future, The Sound of Music and Ghostbusters in a rare to chance to watch the hit films from the past.
After rounding off your dosage of entertainment, you can head just a short walk around the corner to The Fisherman’s Wife restaurant to indulge in some good ol’ fish and chips. What could be finer?
Cinema ticket – Adults: £6 / Small Haddock and a cone of chips – £3.68 OR Lightly battered pork sausage, chips and mushy peas (£0.99) – £3.77
Total price: £9.68 / £9.77
2. Salsa Dancing / Wine
If your week has been a little on the dull side, why not bring a bit of spark to it and spice up your night with a spot of salsa dancing? Distrikt Bar is a unique underground venue which is the host of lively salsa classes every Tuesday. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a master hip shaker, you are welcome to attend. And while the classes will put you through your paces to learn the techniques, the emphasis is on having fun and enjoying the socialising.
It makes a welcome change from the same old music at the same old club and with the fun Latino music and a new crowd of people, it is a great way to let loose and have a laugh with friends – or quite possibly at yourself – and break the routine.
If you need that bit of Dutch courage to get up and shake it on the dance floor, head to the bar and treat yourself to a large glass of red. Give it a bash.
Distrikt Bar, 7 Duncan St, LS1 6DQ (0113 243 3674, www.distrikt.co.uk)
Salsa class – £5 / Large glass of Solandia Nero d’Avola Sicilia Red Wine £4.80
Total price: £9.80
3. Tropical World / The Garden Room Restaurant at The Mansion
After a hectic working week, a peaceful and relaxing day might be just what you need – so take solace in the tranquillity of Tropical World at Roundhay Park. With more than 700 acres of parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens, this picturesque haven is one of the biggest city parks in the whole of Europe and is home to an array of wildlife, including penguins, lemurs, turtles, crocodiles and meerkats.
The park has three glasshouses to visit, each representing different climates from around the world. These consist of the Desert House, Parts of the Jungle, and the Butterfly House, in which between 30 and 40 varieties of butterfly can be seen. After spending the day exploring the tropical and exotic habitats in the park, head over the road to the Garden Room Restaurant at The Mansion where you can enjoy a hot toasted teacake with butter and a refreshing cup of tea. As you dine you can enjoy the superb views of The Mansion’s expansive grounds, or perhaps eat out on the terrace if the weather is permitting.
But this is England, so don’t hold your breath.
Tropical World – £3.40 / Toasted teacake £3.25 + cup of tea £2.30
Total price: £8.95
4. Royal Armouries / Brasserie Forty 4
Take some time out to soak up a bit of history and culture at the Royal Armouries, which is home to the UK’s National Collection of Arms and Armour. The admission is completely free so why not take full advantage and spend the day perusing through the museum of interesting artefacts dating right back to ancient and medieval times?
More than 8,500 objects are displayed over five different galleries, consisting of War,Tournament, Oriental, Self-defence, and Hunting, and it is also home to the national collection of artillery at Fort Nelson. The museum also hosts an exhibition of military and sporting skill at arms, including jousting, in the arena which runs alongside the River Aire. Special events are also hosted regularly so keep checking the website before your visit to see what’s on.
After a relaxing day exploring the galleries, head over to Brasserie Forty 4 where you can take in the stunning views of the river from the restaurant’s outdoor balcony, and enjoy the ultimate indulgence with a chocolate fondue and a cool glass of Chardonnay. It’s a treat too good to miss.
Royal Armouries, Armouries Dr, LS10 1LT (0113 220 1999, website)
Brasserie Forty 4, 44 The Calls, LS2 7EW (0113 234 3232, www.brasserie44.com)
Royal Armouries – Free admission / Brasserie Forty 4’s chocolate fondue (served with fresh fruit and marshmallows) (£5.60) + 175ml glass White Chardonnay ‘Mountain Range’ 2013 – Concha y Toro, Chile (£4.40)
Total price: £10
5. Curious about Leeds walk / Aire Bar
Explore the fine city of Leeds and all it has to offer with this intriguing little walk around the city’s best hotspots. Download a booklet from the Curious About…?website and follow the guide, which will take you on a walk of discovery around the city.
Choose from one of two unique walks, one beginning at the Art Gallery and ending at the River Aire, and the other taking you from the river to Park Square, and read stories and interesting facts from the guide booklet as you go. Travel from one landmark to the next and have fun finding answers to clues which reveal more, giving you the chance to look at a familiar city in a new way. Along the route you will pass some of Leeds’ greatest landmarks, including the Civic Hall, the Corn Exchange, Victorian arcades, the grand art gallery and the bustling Kirkgate Market. At 1.3miles the walk is not too exhaustive, so you can bask in the fresh air and enjoy the stroll at your leisure without feeling too weary at the end.
When your travels have reached an end, head off to the Aire Bar, over-looking the River Aire, to enjoy a refreshing pint and devour some delicious French fries from the best view in the house. And with two walks to tackle, you can always save one for another day.
Aire Bar, Sparrow Wharfe, 32 The Calls, LS2 7EW (0113 245 5500, www.airebar.co.uk)
Download leaflet £4.99 / £3.50 pint + £1.50 portion of French fries (www.curiousabout.co.uk/leeds )
Total price: £9.99