Known for its famous architecture such as York Minster, Castle Howard, and the City Walls, York is a city bursting with history making it the perfect place to feature on our Skyline Glassware. Read on for a full rundown of each York landmark to make it on to our balloon gin glass and whiskey tumbler.
The unofficial capital of Yorkshire, Leeds is a vibrant modern city full to the brim with history, culture, and natural beauty. Home to one of the UK's largest pedestrianised shopping areas, the UK's third busiest railway station, and the countries most Northerly vineyard, Leeds certainly gives its larger rivals a run for their money!
Read on to discover more about some of our favourite places to visit in Leeds...
For the ShopaholicLeeds is bursting with amazing places for shopping with the Trinity Mall, Kirkgate Market, and Leeds Corn Exchange featuring a mix of quirky independent retailers as well as all of your favourite high street brands. Our favourite shopping destination however, has to be the stunning Victoria Leeds which brings together the Victoria Quarter and Victoria Gate areas into an architecturally striking shopping and leisure centre. The centre features over 90 boutique retail stores, a selection of stylish restaurants, a casino, and the largest John Lewis department store outside of London. The Victoria Quarter's beautiful Victorian arcades are Grade II listed and house Europe's largest stained glass window, by artist Brian Clarke. The coloured roof is over 400 feet long, extending from one end of the street to the other making for a spectacular setting for a day of retail therapy. RANDOM FACT: The Victoria Quarter is also known as the 'Knightsbridge of the North'.
For the History BuffThere's plenty of history to be found in Leeds with a long list of spectacular Victorian architecture to discover including the glorious Leeds Town Hall. A Grade I listed building, Leeds Town Hall is considered Yorkshire's finest ceremony venue. Built between 1853 and 1858 and designed by architect Cuthbert Brodrick, it is one of the largest Town Hall's in the UK. The Hall's Victorian architecture is a reflection of the wealth, power and confidence of the time in which it was created and the building was opened by Queen Victoria herself in one of the city's most important celebrations in history. A multi-purpose building, the Town Hall now plays host to a variety of events including weddings, conferences, festivals, and concerts. RANDOM FACT: The Town Hall held the title of tallest building in Leeds for a record 108 years before being overtaken in 1966 by the Park Plaza Hotel.
For the Theatre LoverIf a night at the theatre is what you’re after then you'll need to head to Leeds' Grand Theatre & Opera House. The Grand Theatre is a 1,500 seat, Grade II listed theatre and opera house in the Briggate area of Leeds which first opened its doors in 1878. At it's opening, the theatre's grand Victorian Gothic style and decorative interiors were deemed to be ‘ahead of its time’. The theatre hosts acts from all areas of the arts including drama from The National Theatre, West End Musicals, and performances from its resident companies, Opera North and Northern Ballet. Famous faces to have graced the Grand Theatre stage include Julie Andrews, Laurence Olivier, and Sting. RANDOM FACT: The theatre's first show was a production of 'Much Ado About Nothing'.
For the CreativeIn every city we visit we love to hunt down the city's best art pieces and in Leeds you'll find them at the Leeds Art Gallery. The gallery is a Grade II listed space with a stunning glass roof where you can view works by both national and internationally renowned artists. The gallery's clock tower makes it one of the stand out figures in the city's skyline and it is also home to one of the most significant collections of 20th century British art in the country. The gallery forms part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, a group of spaces celebrating the world's greatest sculptures, and hosts a vast array of paintings and sculptures from award-winning artists to up and coming talent. RANDOM FACT: Leeds Art Gallery's entrance hall contains Leeds' oldest civic sculpture, a 1712 marble statue of Queen Anne.
For A Night of EntertainmentFor a great night out, see who's playing at the First Direct Arena during your trip. The Arena is Leeds' main entertainment venue and has played host to some of the world's biggest artists including Elton John, Cirque Du Soleil, and Bruce Springsteen. The Arena holds 13,500 spectators and is the first UK arena to have a fan-shaped orientation, allowing all seats to face towards the stage and reduce the viewing distances to create a more intimate space. RANDOM FACT: First Direct Arena has been recognised as one of the country's top five iconic buildings alongside the Gherkin, Sage, Etihad Stadium and Birmingham Library.
For Discovering more about LeedsFinally, if you want to know more about the history of this thriving Northern city you'll not want to miss Leeds City Museum. Located on Millenium Square in the city centre, Leeds City Museum is a free museum located in the former Mechanics Institute made up six different galleries including the Life on Earth Gallery, the Ancient Worlds Gallery, and the Leeds Story Gallery. The most loved of the Museum's exhibits is the 'Leeds Tiger', an Indian Tiger pelt stuffed with straw thought to originate from a tiger who had been shot for spending too much time near an Indian village. The Museum has an ever changing programme of events with regular interactive, family friendly exhibits, offering an educational and fun day out for visitors of all ages.
The iconic Leeds buildings which made it onto our glassware are:
- The Royal Armouries Museum
- Opal House (Silhouette)
- Tetley's Brewery Wharf
- Bridgewater Place (Silhouette)
- Victoria Leeds
- Granary Wharf (Candle Building)
- Kirkgate Market
- Trinity Mall Leeds
- Pinnacle (Silhouette)
- First Direct Arena
- Leeds Corn Exchange
- Leeds Grand Theatre
- Leeds Art Gallery
- Leeds City Museum
- Sky Plaza (Silhouette)
- Leeds Town Hall
- Civic Hall
- Parkinson Building (Leeds University Steps)
The most populous city in the North East, Newcastle is famous for the Angel of the North, the Gateshead Millenium Bridge, and of course it's football team. Our Newcastle skyline gin glasses and tumblers incorporate all of these icons and more and in this blog we go into more depth about the individual landmarks featured.
St James' Park StadiumHome to the city's football team Newcastle United, St James' Park is the seventh largest football stadium in England, seating 52,388 spectators at full capacity. As well as football matches, St James' Park has also hosted Rugby League and Union matches, charity events, and even rock concerts! RANDOM FACT: The location of the stadium was historically a place of execution. In 1650, 22 people went to the gallows including 15 witches. The last hanging to take place there was in 1844.
Life Science CentreThe Life Science Centre is an award-winning science centre home to a variety of hands-on exhibitions created to bring out your inner scientist. At Life, you're actively encouraged to get stuck in to interacting with the exhibits which include a science theatre, planetarium, and 4D motion ride. The centre also regularly hosts science events such as a monthly computer coding club, astronomy evenings, and hands-on science sessions for children and teens.
Grey's MonumentStanding at over 40 metres tall, Grey's Monument acts as the centre point of Newcastle's bustling city centre. Erected in 1838, the statue depicts UK Prime Minister (1830 - 1834) Charles Earl Grey who's government passed the Great Reform Act of 1832 which lead to changes to the country’s unfair electoral system. As a result, the monument was created in his honour by local architects John and Benjamin Green, and sculpted by Edward Hodges Baily, who also created Nelson's statue in London's Trafalgar Square. RANDOM FACT: During World War II Earl Grey’s statue stood without a head after being decapitated by a lightning strike!
Civic CentreThe Grade II listed Civic Centre is the main administrative and ceremonial centre for Newcastle City Council and was first opened in 1968. The grand entrance to the Centre features nine huge flambeaux's which can be lit on demand, a hark back to days past when huge barrels of tar would be lit to draw crowds to council meetings.
St Nicholas CathedralOriginally built as the parish church in 1091, St Nicholas Cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese of Newcastle, of the Anglican Church. The Cathedral forms part of the medieval area of the city with Medieval features including a stained glass roundel of the Virgin Mary, an ornate front cover, and the Thornton Memorial Brass which is the largest Flemish brass in the country. RANDOM FACT: The Cathedral has the finest collection of ‘colours’, or regimental flags, anywhere in the country outside London.
Theatre RoyalRegarded as one of the finest theatre buildings in the country, the Theatre Royal is one of just nine Grade I listed theatres in England. One of the grandest venues in town, the theatre hosts over 300 shows every year, attracting over 300,000 visitors. The Theatre Royal opened in February 1837 with the first show being a performance of The Merchant of Venice and is now home to the Shakespeare Company, Opera North, and the National Theatre.
The CastleOnce part of a large fortress, the Castle is where Newcastle got its name and is one of the city's most historic buildings. Used for defensive purposes in Roman times the castle was also the last line of defense for the town during the English Civil War and graffiti from the eventual stand-off with Scottish forces can still be seen inside. The most prominent remaining features of the site are the fortified stone tower, known as the Castle Keep, and the Black Gate, a fortified gatehouse. RANDOM FACT: In 1733, a showman attempted to make a donkey ‘fly’ from the roof of the Castle Keep. Miraculously, it survived!
Gateshead Millenium BridgeThe Gateshead Millenium Bridge holds the title of the world's first and only tilting bridge. The unique design of the bridge was the result of a competition held by Gateshead Council which gave a brief to create a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists which:
- Allowed ships to pass underneath;
- Did not overshadow the world famous view of the existing bridges;
- Didn't obstruct the Quayside.
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary ArtThe BALTIC is housed in a vast converted flour mill on the South bank of the River Tyne and is the UK's largest dedicated contemporary art institution. Visitors to BALTIC are invited to discover powerful ideas, reflect on provocative new concepts, and experience a collection of innovative international as well as local art. The centre's exhibitions are ever-changing and aim to create greater understanding of the world and which give an insight into the practice of contemporary artists.
Sage GatesheadThe Sage Gateshead is an international music venue and centre for musical education regarded as one of the finest centres for music in the world. The iconic silver curved building was designed by renowned architects Foster + Partners and first opened in 2004. Every year the Sage hosts over 400 concerts made up of international, regional, and local artists as well as over 10,000 music classes and workshops. Internationally famous artists to have graced the Sage stage include Morrissey, James Brown, Nancy Sinatra, and Blondie. RANDOM FACT: The Sage definitely splits opinions with its impressive architecture having won both the Local Authority Building of the Year in 2005 and Private Eye's 'Worst Building of the Year' in 2004.
Tyne BridgeConnecting Newcastle with Gateshead, the Tyne Bridge is a through arch bridge designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson and built by Dorman Long and Co. who later went on to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge was opened on the 10th of October 1928 by King George V and at the time was the world's longest single span bridge. These days, you'll probably most recognise Tyne Bridge from the annual Great North Run which sees thousands of runners pass over the bridge whilst being spurred on by an aerial display by the RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows.
Angel of the NorthPerhaps the most famous of Newcastle's landmarks, the Angel of the North attracts visitors from all over the UK, and even the world, to the city. The giant angel sculpture measures an impressive 20 metres tall with a wingspan of 54 metres and stands proudly overlooking the A1 into Tyneside. Created by Antony Gormley the steel Angel was primarily funded by the National Lottery and is regarded as the UK's most famous piece of public art. RANDOM FACT: Due to its exposed location, the Angel of the North is built to withstand wind speeds of over 100mph! You can see our Newcastle gin glass here and our glass tumbler here. For our full range of Newcastle products, click here.
The perfect partner to your Valentine’s favourite drink? Our Newcastle Gin Glasses are now available online, joining our popular Manchester design. Just in time for a romantic tipple - we think they’re quite the pair! The balloon Gin Glasses are boldly decorated with highlights from both illustrations, meaning next time you enjoy a drink you can also take in the sights of these famous cities. To celebrate, we’ve been searching through the recipe books and have found this winning concoction for the big day...