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Nature vs Culture: Spring in Leeds

Spring has sprung! Heralding the return of soft warm days, luscious green landscapes and kaleidoscopic smatterings of wildflower to Yorkshire’s sweeping countryside. But it’s not just nature that’s in on the act. The season also signals something of a cultural awakening in Leeds, with the city’s eclectic galleries, museums and theatres all unveiling a jam-packed Easter schedule. But how should you spend your luxury spring break at 42 The Calls?

The Eye Test

Yorkshire Dales 530 x 300
Well, a good place for nature-lovers to start is the Yorkshire Dales, where the southern tip of the National Park is just an hour’s drive away. Here, no end of natural beauty awaits amidst impressive patchworks of rolling green terrain, chequered with vivid wildflowers and assorted shades of tree and shrubbery. Further afield, you will also observe a number of white, cloud-like specks against the sea of green. We call these sheep.

But while the Yorkshire Dales is undeniably beautiful, are they as impressive than say the brilliant blues, greens, yellows and reds of André Derain’s Fauvist masterpiece, Barges on the Thames? Which makes its home just a short walk from 42 The Calls, within the hallowed (and recently renovated) walls of Leeds Art Gallery. Culture vultures will also be pleased to know that Derain is but one of the world-famous artists on display in the gallery, where he is joined by the likes of Francis Bacon and Paula Rego, supplemented further by an ever-changing array of eye-opening, temporary exhibitions.

Stop & Smell the Roses, Or the Stuffed Tiger

Ah, the smell of the great outdoors. Which reaches its pungent peak in spring, when the air is tinged with the fragrant odour of freshly cut grass and newly blossomed flowers; evident nowhere more on Earth than the Peak District – reachable in just 50 minutes from 42 The Calls! But while inhaling the copious flora – and various fauna, should they let you get close enough – ought to be high on your list of things to do, if you do get bored of sniffing the grass, there’s much more exploration to be had at the Peak District.

Is this any match for the satisfactory aroma of ancient knowledge, human discovery, stuffed tigers, or a 3,000 year-old Egyptian mummy, however? Some would say not! As there really is no other smell in the world like that of a museum, with the abovementioned odours just a few which contribute to Leeds City Museum’s own singular scent. But just in case that isn’t quite fragrant enough, the Easter weekend will also contribute the smells of chocolate-fuelled fun to the concoction, during the museum’s annual Easter Egg Hunt.

The Sounds of Spring

Ingleton Waterfalls
Dulcet dins of birdsong, gently swaying trees and the distant call of Baxter, the wild Bactrian camel, are just a few of the things to be heard when delighting in Yorkshire’s great outdoors. But there really is no superior sound than the relentless crashing of water against rocks – which you can relish across a series of scenic waterfall walks within the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District this Easter.

Although, those with a lust for culture may feel more at home among the muted conversations and rustling sweet wrappers of a darkened theatre, followed by the sudden silence upon the raising of the curtain. More oft than not, the noises that follow are also quite good (depending on the production) but you can be rest assured that a visit to Leeds Grand Theatre over the Easter weekend, with its unveiling of the musical masterpiece The Band, will satisfy your cultural fix.

The Best of Both Worlds

Can’t decide whether to devote your Easter weekend to Nature or Culture? Discover the best of both worlds at the historic estates of Harewood House and Temple Newsam! Where sprawling lawns, botanical gardens and bountiful wildlife, are accompanied by architectural triumphs and some of Europe’s most admired collections of fine and decorative art.