This month will be the second anniversary of me and the girlfriend bundling our things into a rented van, spending nine hours on the M1 and moving into our flat in Leeds.

Over the last two years I’ve found Leeds to be an amazing place to live, full of great shops, amazing people and a much better quality of life than London offers so I thought I’d do a post about what Leeds has to offer.

Shops

My life generally revolves around drinking coffee, coding and playing games, Leeds has many shops that cater for my needs, here’s my favourites.

La Bottega Milanese — A great little coffee shop based in Bond Court just off Park Row (there’s also another in The Light) which since I discovered it last year I’ve been to at least once a day. It’s a great little coffee shop with a great atmosphere, good quality coffee and most importantly it’s dog friendly which means you’ll normally bump into someone fluffy.

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They’re good bois Brant

Geek Retreat — A relative new addition to Leeds which has become the home of many a gaming community. The Geek Retreat has a simple policy, you can play whatever you want as long as you buy a drink or something from the menu. They have a number of games in their library that you can pick up and play plus a loads of games to buy in store, they also have a very packed calendar of events for all kinds of games so you’ll never struggle for someone to play with.

OK Comics — This comic shop somehow manages to cram in so many comics it’s ridiculous, I’m not an avid collector but since discovering the shop I’ve started reading comics again as the staff are really helpful when finding what you want. They also have a bunch of local independent comics and events in store which sets it apart from the bigger chain comic shops in town.

Unfortunately it’s no longer open but Eden was an amazing gaming bar opposite Leeds minster that was open for about a year that I spent many a night in before it closed and I hope that something pops up soon to fill it’s place.

Meet ups

It took me a while to get into the meet up scene in Leeds but here’s the ones I’ve been enjoying so far.

Leeds JS — I’ve been working with JavaScript for the last year and it’s been good to find a group that has talks about not only the language but also the tools and techniques around it. Talks in the past have been around how OnePass uses Selenium for testing and writing performant JS.

Ministry of Testing — One of my favourite meet ups, not just because I’ve moved to test but because the talks and the post event social are very good. The organisers are energetic which really helps considering it’s after work so it’s good to get you out of the slump and pay attention to the presenters.

Northern UX (NUX) — The NUX meet up has some really insightful presenters that really drive home how UX, service design and design thinking are key to ensuring products deliver value.

Code & Coffee — I’ve only recently started attending this meet up but it’s a really great way to start the day. They meet at 8am every Wednesday at La Bottega (yet another reason to love that place) and for an hour just write and talk about code and different tech, if like me you’ve always got a side project on the go it’s a really good excuse to work on that while socialising.

Pokemon Go — I’m a little biased as this is something that I help run but the Pokemon Go community in Leeds is really strong. We get at least 100 people turn up for Community Day and host 3 different PvP tournaments each month.

Written by

Technical Lead at BJSS. Interested in Automated Testing, Dev practises, Metal, Chiptune. All views my own.

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