A Christmas Stroll Part 1 – The Civic Quarter

As I write, we’re on the threshold of December, when you might be getting into the Christmas spirit, and where is there a better place to celebrate the Festive Season than Leeds? The great thing about our wonderful City is that you can indulge in all things seasonal within just a few square yards.

Beginning outside the Town Hall you will see that the Wheel of Light has been erected, which not only provides panoramic views but is also an attraction in itself, with its lights constantly changing colour. At a fiver a time it is much cheaper than the London Eye and that doesn’t even offer a view of the Headrow!

After a spin or two, it is just a short walk to Thor’s Tipi Bar, which is a Scandinavian version of the traditional wooden framed native North American and Canadian tent, also known as a teepee. To say that it is a version of a tipi is to say that a marquee is a version of a tent – it is huge inside!  A tipi differs from a wigwam in that it has smoke flaps at the top which means that even in the cold December weather it is toasty inside, thanks to the open fire. There is a bar selling a range of craft ales and mulled wine and hot cider, so just the thing. I partook of a pint of Thor’s Pale Ale which, as the evening was not overly chilly, I took outside to consume. This was not because I am a fresh air freak but it is where the Mussel Pot and Grill is situated and I was getting peckish.

I perused the menu and from the range of burger, bavette steak, chicken, raclette etc I thought that I would try the speciality, so ordered moules mariniere. Although the food stall is owned by a different concern the food is available to be taken into the tipi, so don’t worry if it is freezing out. The mussels were brilliant and came with three chunks of French bread and an offer of some more if needed.   I did need as I was desperate to soak up the wonderful, creamy, sea flavoured sauce.

After a good feed, I walked past the Henry Moore Institute where the Christkindel Fair was situated. Being a little on the large size for dodgems and carousels, I turned left along Cookridge Street to Millennium Square where the German Christmas Market was in full swing. This has now become as much a part of Leeds Christmas as Santa Claus and Rudolph.

There were the usual stalls selling gifts and German Christmas fare, such as filled bagels, sweets, honey and trinkets. I eschewed the delights of these attractions and decided that, having had my fish course I would go for the meat, so I headed for a sausage stand. I managed to find one, not difficult I admit, but this was situated next door to a bar, so I ordered my favourite wurst and got a pint of weissbier to have with it. Not only was there a bar and sausage stand but also a small covered area in which to consume my goodies, so I had a few minutes’ rest.

Just a tip for those of you who have not visited the German Market before – most stalls only take cash so be sure you have already paid a visit to the cashpoint.  I came to the conclusion after a further meander around the area that if there is one thing I like more than Christmas, it is Christmas in Leeds.

Have a Cool Yule.

Feature photograph by Paul Simon.  All other photographs by Stan Graham.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *