Thursday, 23 June 2016

A Day Trip to York: Historic Outings, Fine Dining and a Vibrant Nightlife

On your next visit to Leeds, as well as discovering the wonderful sites the city has to offer, why not plan a day trip to the nearby historic and picturesque city of York? Located just a 40 minute drive or train journey away, no Yorkshire visit is complete without being immersed in the sights and sounds of the county’s namesake. Explore the city’s fascinating Viking history at the Jorvik Centre (horned helmets optional), wander the medieval passages of The Shambles (watch your head) and experience the colourful York nightlife (don’t forget your feather boa and salsa shoes) on your next stay at 42 The Calls Leeds.

Morning: Trains, Castles and Shambles

Since there’s so much to do during a day in York, getting to the city as early as possible is advisable. If you travel by train, a perfect starting point is the National Railway Museum, which is just next door. This maze of trains big and small, old and new, can be fascinating for all the family – the experience is hands-on and visitors can get up close and personal with the inside of the carriages, climbing aboard to take a look around.

Best of all, this attraction is completely free of charge – unless you buy a cup of Yorkshire tea and a sticky bun from the café, of course. Speaking of charges, if you do choose to drive, parking in York can be pricey – at least £2 per hour – and, like everything in the city, parking spaces are rather ‘quaint’, not leaving a lot of room to manoeuvre larger cars. So it’s worth doing your research about train prices vs. parking costs before you plan your trip.

Heading to the centre (much of which is pedestrianised) through the pretty Museum Gardens, you’ll learn quickly that no matter where you stand in the city, the impressive, gothic presence of York Minster is never far away. This dominant cornerstone in the city’s heritage is a captivating building and has held visitors spellbound for over a millennia. Whether you just fancy a stroll around the exterior – which itself can take around 20 minutes due to the great size and wealth of details to look at – or you pay to go inside, visitors are sure to be awed by the Anglo-Saxon structure.

Tickets cost £15 for adults and £5 for children if you want admission to the whole attraction – minster and tower; however, if you just want entrance to the minster, tickets are £10 for adults and children go free with a paying adult. As well as the minster and tower, guests have access to the crypt, chapter house and gift shop. Getting yourselves on to a guided tour (included in the ticket cost) which run every hour, is a fascinating way of seeing the church in more depth. Offering the opportunity to discover the stories behind the gargoyle faces, famous burials and hidden treasures found in the minster.

As you exit York Minster, you might find you have not quite satisfied your thirst for castles yet – if so, head to the Castle Museum and Clifford’sTower, just a short walk away. Built on a steep hill overlooking the River Ouse and surrounding area, this Norman keep is another famous landmark of the city and hard to miss. It’s been the centre of violence, massacre, imprisonment, torture and plunder over the centuries, but now derelict, it’s a location for visitors to explore. You can climb the hill and ascend to the highest battlements for a breath-taking view over York.

On your way back into the centre, take a stroll along the famous Shambles (entering the quaint passage via the brilliantly named Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate) for a true slice of Medieval England. Once upon a time, all meat markets in the land were known as ‘Shambles’ – these rather gruesome places saw venders preparing animals in the street and throwing their blood and guts into a runnel down the centre of the road (this is clearly where our modern-day interpretation of ‘shambles’ – to mean a mess – comes from.) Nowadays, the quaint, tourist-friendly lane is rather different…

Famed for its historic, old-world charm, the road winds between two larger roads, Pavement and Colliergate, and boasts many tearooms, lunch spots, sweet shops and souvenir stalls along the way. Pretty little wooden boards hang over shop fronts and ancient painted signs inform visitors that these independent establishments have been here a very long time, passed down through the generations. A trip to York isn’t complete without an amble along this row, and picking up a memento – even if it’s a typically touristy piece – is essential.

Afternoon: Teapots and Vikings

A trip to North Yorkshire isn’t complete without a stop-off at one of the world-famous Betty’s tearooms. Whilst the flagship shop is in Harrogate and there are others in Northallerton, Ilkley and Harlow Carr, York boasts two cafes – Betty’s Café Tea Rooms and Little Betty’s – both with a bakers and confectioners attached. Whether it’s coffee and cake, Champagne afternoon tea or a full-blown three-course meal, everything at Betty’s is exquisitely cooked, locally sourced and fairly priced. This is a special outing, like stepping back in time into an upper crust Edwardian salon, so it must be savoured – allow yourselves a couple of hours to indulge in your Betty’s experience fully.

Don’t be put off by the inevitable queue you’ll find emerging from Betty’s doors – this is common any time after 11am, on any given day of the week. Betty’s popularity is internationally recognised but you’ll be encouraged by how quickly the line goes down and menus are promptly handed to waiting guests, giving you time to choose your dishes and duly start salivating. If you have time and are possibly celebrating an occasion, the afternoon tea with a glass of Champagne might be the way to go… exquisite sandwiches, home-made scones with strawberry preserve and clotted cream finished with a selection of miniature cakes will certainly set you up for an afternoon of further exploring in the city.

Alternatively their hot dishes, such as the bacon and raclette rosti or haddock, salmon and prawn gratin are scrumptious. If you run out of space for pudding, grab a sweet treat for later from the bakery section – we recommend a Yorkshire ‘Fat Rascal’, Florentine or Yorkshire Curd Tart (but anything you buy is sure to be delicious.) For a slightly less busy, quainter experience but with all of the charm, head for Little Betty’s which serves the exact menu of ‘big’ Betty’s. It’s on Stonegate – a fantastic shopping street, packed with boutique shops, chic galleries and traditional pubs.

After the gastronomic delights of Betty’s, you’ll be needing some light exercise to help you digest...and we suggest a stroll over to one of the city’s leading museums. Sadly, because of the 2015 floods, the Jorvik Centre has had to close for refurbishment until early 2017, so if you’re planning your visit after this, then you must pay this amazing site a visit. Until then, the artefacts have been set up in temporary exhibitions all around the city – at the moment, they’re being housed at York Theatre Royal, Coppergate (next to the museum) and from 1st August, at the Undercroft in York Minster. 

These exhibitions are split into different topics so take your pick or do all three: Life & Death, Home & Abroad and Treasured & Beliefs. This collection is dedicated to bringing to life the fascinating history of the Vikings who settled in this area over a millennia ago. This isn’t just a venture for kids, although the centre is certainly geared up for younger visitors. You’ll also discover preserved weapons, skeletons, jewellery, tools and even a longboat replica.

Evening: Yorkshire Pud, Cocktails and Salsa

After an afternoon charging around the city, or maybe even hiring boats on the river (follow this link for more information), you might actually be starting to feel a little peckish again. Whether you’re a Yorkshire pudding aficionado or you’ve never tried it (and may think it’s strange to eat something called ‘pudding’ with a main meal), York is the perfect place to sample some of the best in the land. Head to Nineteen for an upmarket traditional Sunday lunch, Royal Oak where roast beef with all the trimmings and home-made Old Peculiar gravy can be enjoyed for £10.95, or the most haunted pub in York – The Golden Fleece – where their Yorkshire pud is hailed as ‘the best ever.’ Whilst you’re in this pub, munching on your giant Yorkshire pud filled with savoury goodness, enjoy the historic surroundings – there’s been a pub on this site since at least 1503.

There is a ghost tour around York that lasts an hour and a half, ending at this spot… so if you still want to work up an appetite before dinner, book yourself a space. Alternatively, the Golden Fleece also boasts many different kinds of local beers and ale for a night-cap. Other city centre restaurants worth checking out are Rustique, The Park or Oscars for delicious food from a range of cultural influences.

Once you’ve eaten, it’s time to hit some bars and see what you make of the lively York night-life. There are endless choices to make it a night to remember with an estimated 365 bars and pubs open in the area – enough to visit a different one every single day of the year! An excellent starting place (though it’s so good, it may be your only place) is The Evil Eye Lounge. Reportedly Johnny Depp’s favourite haunt when he’s in town, if you’re thinking of Tim Burton-style quirk and darkness, you’re not far off. This is a tiki-meets-gothic themed bar with potent cocktails, reclining chairs, and excellent Thai food. It’s a little wild behind the bar – and not unusual to see the staff ringing a gong every time a punter gives them change and downing a swift shot together. Opt for the Caribbean Punch, Mai Tai or Jungle Martini for an exotic wake-up… but don’t try too many of them – they pack a punch.

From Evil Eye, you have loads of choice for a second venue. Nearby is Kennedy’s bar for chic cocktails and great mo-town hits for a dance. While down the road from there you’ll find Bora Bora, a retro Polynesian style cocktail café (think South Pacific) with an outdoor heated area and fresh cocktails that come in at under a fiver. For beers of the world, head to Pivni – a cosy cubbyhole, built in the beamed loft of an old Tudor building. There isn’t a craft beer, whether it’s keg, bottle or cask, that they don’t serve or can’t tell you about. From blond German ales to fruity Belgian beers, dark robust brews to rich ruby bottles, there is something to suit every palate under this roof. For those in search of a good dancefloor before the last train home to Leeds (in reality, they run throughout the night) your final stop has to be Bobo Lobo.

This South and Central American-themed venue screams all things Latino and ‘island paradise’ from the moment you enter. From the friendly Argentinian bar staff, to the voodoo-style cocktails – Zombie, Witchdoctor and Captain’s Grog – this place rocks a salsa vibe. It’s a long thin space with limited seating (though it does go up countless storeys – you may need oxygen masks by the time you reach the top) but there’s sure to be a corner you and your group can settle into. At the very back of the bar is the piece de resistance – the dance floor. It’s compact and, whilst plenty of well-known R&B, hip-hop and soul is played here, the best moments come when the DJ mixes it up with Middle Eastern or South American pop – this is when the bar feels less Yorkshire, more Buenos Aires! 

You can even join in with the Brazilian locals when they get up in pairs to salsa (you’re bound to be offered someone’s hand) or to do their impromptu line dancing – there’s nothing cowboy about this, it’s completely their own form and easy to pick up. This is the perfect way to round off an exciting – and exhausting day in York. Back in Leeds, 42 The Calls is just a 10 minute walk from Leeds station – alternatively taxis aren’t pricey. Shake off your dancing shoes and fall into bed after a day that’s ticked every box…

Friday, 6 May 2016

How to Celebrate Spring in Leeds and Make the Most of Your Sunny Getaway by the River Aire

Here it is - springtime! Sun, warmth and going out with no woolly coat on are the three indicators that spring has finally arrived – and that there is a life outside, different to wrapping up in a blanket, sat by the fireplace. Exciting, right? If just like us, you’ve spent the entire winter waiting for this moment, you’ve come to the right place.

What you need during this sunnier period is a getaway to celebrate the closest thing we’ve had to summer for months. So why not head to beautiful Leeds? The Northern city has everything you’re seeking and more –get ready to discover it all.

Now, get rid of that slightly sad, winter mood and welcome this mild season by exploring the outdoors activities and venues Leeds offers you. From beer gardens to trendy rooftop bars and picturesque stops along the River Aire, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable spring stay in Yorkshire… We’re listing our best tips for you to make the most of your trip! Follow our guide and get ready to join the cool kids of Leeds…

Start With an Al Fresco Breakfast

When waking up to springtime in Leeds, you won’t want to waste a minute of those sunrays piercing the clouds. Jump into whatever clothes you find first in your suitcase and head to Moments Café for a typical English breakfast out on the terrace. If the weather is typically UN-English, you’ll have the joy of a traditional British start but with the weather of our continental neighbours! Enjoy the restaurant’s tasty meals on elegant, trendy wooden tables whilst soaking up the much-awaited sun on your skin.
Once your beans, sausage and bacon are polished off, it’s time to start wandering the streets and open spaces of Leeds. The best way to do it, whilst enjoy a bit of nature, is to follow the Leeds & Liverpool canal which passes by the city centre and goes further out into the countryside. It is mostly paved and easy to walk on, whether there’s just two of you or you’re visiting with children and a buggy. You’ll have outstanding views on the town’s old, red brick buildings depicting the architectural style of the region. You’ll walk under century-old bridges built from stone and ornate with blue and red fencing. On the way, you can stop at the Calls Landing bar for a well-deserved beer and snack.
Boasting an ideal location on the river, Calls Landing offers an outstanding array of craft ales, delicious stews and fresh oysters. The colourful interiors are arranged with vintage furniture, mixing wooden tables, leather sofas and brightly coloured 70s-style chairs. On the walls, old postcards and school maps add to the retro feel. Head to the balcony for a secluded meal,  sitting on a bench facing the river with someone you love. We advise you to try the Lamb Hot Pot, slowly cooked with carrots, bacon, mushrooms and new potatoes in a red wine, minted gravy. Yes, it tastes as good as it sounds.

End With Drinks on a Rooftop

After an afternoon enjoying the sun and warmer temperatures, whilst looking at the barges pass along the Aire, it’s time for a last stop before getting back to the hotel. Angelica’s bar is located in the centre of Leeds, on Boar lane. The simplistic interiors are illuminated by vast windows, candles and is finished with a modern style of furniture.
Relax on the white sofas of the rooftop terrace and enjoy a potent cocktail whilst admiring the city from above. It’s hard to choose from the extensive cocktail list but favourites include:  Beyond the Sky, a fresh lemon, cranberry and Amaretto cocktail, and the Angelica House Punch for a true taste of pre-summer whilst watching the sun set over the Northern city. If you’re hungry after your busy day, the restaurant offers a delicious menu, served until 10pm. Order confit of Gressingham duck leg or langoustines and café de Paris butter sauce for a great end to your trip… you’ll beback at 42 The Calls within a 5 minute stroll through Leeds’ most lively district…

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Musical 'The Girls' to Premiere in Leeds

There’s an air of excitement around Leeds Grand Theatre and the reason involves the Women’s Institute, well-placed sunflowers and well-meaning nudity. Its impressive 19th century surroundings will be hosting the world premiere of Tim Firth and Gary Barlow’s musical The Girls on the 14th of November, followed by a four week run before heading over to The Lowry in Salford. Based on the famous film and play Calendar Girls that drew inspiration from a true story, this is set to offer a heart-warming and laugh-out-loud evening out… and we can’t wait to attend!

For those who don’t know the story behind Calendar Girls and now The Girls, it began in 1998 in Cracoe village in the Yorkshire Dales, when a group of 11 women aged between 45 and 65 undressed for a calendar to raise money for leukaemia and lymphoma research. Tricia Stewart suggested the idea to Rylstone Women’s Institute following her friend’s husband’s treatment of and subsequent death from non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the same year, and the calendar was made with the help of local artist Terry Logan.

The aim was to raise £5,000, dedicate the calendar to the friend’s husband John Baker and interest was expected to pass after three weeks. However, it gained media hype and became a huge success; selling 88,000 copies in the UK that year and 240,000 copies in America the year after… and was even presented to the Queen at Buckingham Palace! To date, the calendar’s success has raised nearly £4 million and has inspired a book, play, film and now a musical too.

Olivier Award winner Tim Firth is behind both the screen and stage play, and has worked alongside long-standing friend Gary Barlow to compose an array of songs including ‘Yes, I’ve Had a little Work Done’, ‘Sunflower, What Age Expects’ and ‘Yorkshire’ for the musical. Having won six Ivor Novello Awards and written 14 number one singles, we can’t wait to hear what we’re sure will be Gary’s latest toe-tapping hits, all of which will be performed by a multi award-winning cast.

Actresses playing starring roles will include soprano singer Claire Moore, who is known for having played the leading role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, winner of two Olivier Awards Joanna Riding and Harriet Thorpe, who alongside being nominated for the 2012 Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, is also an ambassador for ‘Walk the Walk’ breast cancer charity. While actors will include one half of sixties folk duo Chad & Jeremy and grandson of the 7th Duke of Wellington, Jeremy Clyde, alongside newcomers including Josh Benson and Ben Hunter.

We've been eagerly following the flurry of press around the musical and counting down the days until launch night. Covering village life, the events that led to the calendar and the effects it had on not only those involved but also their surroundings families, we think The Girls will provide an emotional, entertaining and ultimately inspiring evening out during a visit to Leeds. With tickets available for between £10 and £45, and the venue only a ten minute stroll from our hotel, we can’t wait to experience this new adaptation of such a wonderful story. We recommend booking as soon as possible if you’re planning on attending as tickets are selling out fast… and if you’d like to combine your visit with a four-stay at our boutique hotel, we have an array of offers and packages ideal for winter breaks here

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Rugby World Cup is Coming to Leeds

Rugby evokes passion in Yorkshire. The county is historically known for spearheading the split from rugby football union and developing rugby league, while the wealth of local talent has meant 1 in 7 England rugby union players now hail from its cities, towns and villages. An invitation to host two Rugby World Cup matches was therefore music to the (cauliflower) ears of Leeds and set in motion the planning for a whole host of celebrations throughout the city. From the chance to chat to sporting legends, to club demonstrations and even theatre productions, find out what’s on offer at three of the city’s leading destinations this September and start planning your rugby retreat to Leeds.

Elland Road

Despite its football ties, Elland Road Stadium actually has roots in rugby. Upon opening in 1897, the ground was solely used to host rugby league matches for both Holbeck Rugby Club and Leeds Woodville, changing hands to Leeds City FC in 1904 and then to Leeds United in 1919. Combine the fact that it hosted a rugby union match between South Africa and England North in November 1992, its renowned, feisty atmosphere and 37,914 capacity, and it’s easy to see why the venue has been chosen for both the Italy vs Canada game on the 26th of September and Scotland vs USA on the 27th. Kick-off is at 2.30pm on both days, leaving plenty of time to enjoy a Full Yorkshire Breakfast and explore the city’s many attractions before heading to the stadium, just a 6 minute drive from our 4-star stay


The 22,000 capacity Headingley Carnegie Stadium holds a special place in the hearts of fans as the only stadium in the world in which union, league and cricket games are played. The rugby stadium was built by the team now known as the Leeds Rhinos in 1889, it hosted the first ever Challenge Cup final in 1897 and its first international rugby league match in 1908. With such a rich history, the ‘home of Leeds Rugby’ is a must-see for any visiting fan and will be offering special edition heritage tours led by dual-code legends, Sir Ian McGeechan and John Bentley. Expect behind-the-scenes insight, a look into the stadium’s history and sporting highlights, and an exclusive Q and A lunch post-tour on the 24th and 25th.

Millennium Square

Missed out on a ticket at Elland Road? There’s no need to panic as 4,000 rugby fans will be descending on Leeds’ Millennium Square to celebrate every day throughout the tournament. Named the ‘Fanzone’, it'll offer the chance to watch matches on the big screen, sample a delicious bite to eat from local street food vendors and a enjoy a variety of family friendly activities. ‘This Girl Can’ and the first mixed ability contact Rugby Union team, the Bumbles will be on-hand to inspire and inform, while local clubs will offer demonstrations. Kids will be encouraged to practise tackling on inflatables, while local creative producers, Dep Arts will be putting on two productions, one delving into rugby’s world history and the other celebrating teamwork using 300 volunteers.  

From the opening ceremony on the 18th of September, to the moment the winning team lifts the gleaming Webb Ellis Cup, we’re expecting an electrifying air of excitement throughout our city. Combining the original features of a historic corn mill and contemporary facilities, we offer a charming getaway with feather duvets, outstanding views over the Aire and an honesty bar in the heart of the city. Find our latest offers and packages here for a luxurious stay during the Rugby World Cup 2015. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas at 42...

The Christmas countdown has begun and with it, party season is officially under way! We love nothing more than entertaining here at 42 and have already begun to serve our delicious Christmas Private Dining menus to eager guests.

Chicken liver parfait, turkey roulade and Christmas cake pops are a few of the many courses that have been created by our very talented chef and kitchen team so far this month…and there are plenty more orders coming in! As anyone who’s ever chosen from the 12 varieties of Lishman's of Ilkey sausages we offer as part of a hearty Yorkshire breakfast will know, we take great pride in showcasing the finest local produce to visitors…try the tempting Yorkshire cheeseboard with menu option two and you’ll soon see why!

Our favourite festive dining course? It has to be the trio of desserts, which we just had to taste test of course! Mini Mont Blancs combine sweetened chestnuts topped with a tower of whipped cream, while the chocolate brownie Santa hat will ensure those with a sweet tooth will feel completely indulged. The pièce de résistance? The candy cane panna cotta! Yum!

While we can accommodate up to 30 guests for dinner in The River Room, if you’re planning a larger gathering we offer elegant cocktail events for up to 50 guests in The Fletland Suite. Our mixologists have been trying festive inspired recipes to come up with our very own 42 Christmas cocktail. Sip from the suite’s private balcony, take in beautiful views over the River Aire and let our team ensure you have a truly stylish celebration!

We’re still taking bookings for last minute Christmas parties, with prices starting at only £20pp – find out more here or call 0113 244 0099 to book now.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Tour De France Fever has Arrived at 42

The Tour De France countdown is well and truly underway at 42 The Calls. Anticipation is growing in Leeds and we can’t wait to join the crowds at the start line on Saturday the 5th of July, which luckily for us is only a short 15 minute walk away from where we’re standing.

We anticipate the celebratory atmosphere to continue throughout the afternoon and into the night in true Yorkshire style! We’ve already been enjoying the cycling inspired events Yorkshire Festival 2014 has offered and are looking forward to so many more. The Cyclism exhibition at Leeds Gallery launched earlier this month with an array of graphic design prints, illustrations, photography, jerseys, custom built bikes… and even delicious bicycle biscuits. With a ‘Bike’ writing competition, a play written in homage to local born world pursuit champion Beryl Burton and even an ‘edible’ bike ride in neighbouring York, stopping at sites of local growing initiatives for veg and herbs, there’s definitely an event for all enthusiasts!

On the big day itself, you can get a little closer to the action by heading down to the start line to see the teams signing in…as the perfect photo opportunity, we might even sneak in a selfie with Froome! It’s no secret that the earlier you arrive to an event of this scale, the better the view, however, even if our soft feather duvets and luxurious cotton bed sheets keep you enraptured a little longer than hoped, there’s no need to panic with a mere seven minute walk from the hotel to the City Centre Loop, which is only half a mile from the starting point.

 Cheers of excitement will be echoing throughout the route in Leeds, however, we recommend The Headrow as the destination for the unmatchable exhilaration of feeling the wheels rush by, seeing the rainbow of jerseys and knowing you were there for the start of the world’s most watched annual sporting event. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a relaxing Tour De France experience Scott Hall playing fields will be hosting a family friendly hub close by to the route, with a large screen ensuring unrivalled views alongside stage entertainment, children-friendly activities from British Cycling Go Ride and local cuisine - all only an 11 minute drive away.

 Much like the teams…however, to a lesser degree, we’ll be stocking up our energy reserves to ensure we can last the distance and wave off our favourite cyclists in what will be an unmissable atmosphere, followed by a day of celebration. From 8am, Team 42 will be sampling seasonal sausages from Lishman’s of Ilkley as part of a full, hearty Yorkshire breakfast and a cup of coffee or two, before the short walk and long wait that’ll be worth every minute.

 We can’t wait to see who’ll be wearing the yellow jersey by the end of the first day…

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Private Christmas Parties and Dinners at 42...

Last weekend we hosted out very first private Christmas party of the season, and what an event it was! The guests were the winners of our competition on Twitter, and we were so excited to welcome them. There was a feeling of excitement in the air, as all of us were keen to share the menu our culinary team have been working on for months now.

Needless to say, the party was a roaring success with many compliments paid to the food, drink and general atmosphere. This party, like the others we have scheduled, took place in the private River Room, which looks over the Aire and is especially pretty at night.

We’ve been getting well into the Christmas spirit and have decided to add a few little extras to our private parties. All of those who attend will now get a glass of warm, comforting mulled wine or some Prosecco to start things off. We’re also offering an overnight stay in one of our luxury rooms for the organiser, which we imagine might come in handy if you’re planning to celebrate with quite a lot of bubbly!

There are still a few spots left, so if you haven’t planned your Christmas party yet, you are in luck. Call us on:0113 244 0099 and we can start to plan your party for you.