Places to relax and take a break on campus
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to eat your lunch, study or just to sit for a while and watch the world go by, our beautiful campus has it all. With over 1400 trees, these green spaces provide many benefits to people and vital habitats for wildlife. Urban vegetation stores carbon, helping to mitigate climate change, and reduces the likelihood of flooding by storing excess rain water. Green spaces can improve air quality, limit the impact of heatwaves, encourage people to undertake physical activity and reduce depression.
Next time you’ve got a few minutes, why not head out and explore and find your new favourite place to unwind and take some time for yourself?
Roger Stevens pond
When the Roger Stevens building was built in 1970, this was the cooling pond (although we can’t find any evidence of it ever being used to cool anything down). Today, with its floating islands, visiting family of ducks and fish swimming beneath waterlilies, you’ll enjoy sitting on the benches around the water’s edge. It’s also used by School of Biological Sciences, School of Geography and the School of Civil Engineering to promote biodiversity and scientific research.
St George’s Field
Hidden in the heart of campus is St George’s Field, a peaceful and green space that was once Leeds General Cemetery. Now a habitat for birds, bats and bees (there’s a few hives in a quiet corner), originally this Victorian cemetery would have been the final resting place for many. It’s history is fascinating, and you can search the burial records online. It’s very much an oasis of calm today, and just the place to take some time out from a busy day.
Nestled next to the Great Hall is Clothworkers Court, a sheltered spot that’s perfect for a quiet spot of reflection. Even though you’re seconds away from the hustle and bustle of the main routes across campus, it’s always peaceful here, which is why Quentin Bell’s “The Dreamer” is still asleep. The Virginia Creeper, which climbs up the red brick tower of the Great Hall always looks different depending on the season — late summer and early autumn is our favourite when it turns a deep red!
The precinct outside Leeds University Union
Outside the Leeds University Union (LUU) building is the precinct, right in the heart of campus. It’s a bustling, busy place to be, often with pop up tents and marquees, the farmer’s market or fairs. You may even spot Hugo, a quirky Citroen van from 1973 serving hot and cold drinks and pastries. However, look closer and you’ll find benches all the way along, dotted amongst the trees and perfect to sit and people watch, or daydream under the fluttering bunting above!
Made up of different sections (organic vegetable beds, a herb garden, a forest garden, an edible flower garden and a salad garden), the Sustainable Garden is a tranquil spot for taking it easy and catching your breath. Run entirely by volunteers, you can pick the fruit and veg when it’s ready and also get involved yourself.
If you’re a Business School or Law student, you’ll be familiar with this place, and yet many don’t know it exists. Western campus is a vibrant and interesting place, with the old buildings standing proud next to the space age Charles Thackrah building. There’s benches and outdoor seating, and if you’re over here in the winter on a clear day, you’ll rewarded with breathtaking sunsets as the day ends.
Outside the Roger Stevens lecture theatres
Surrounded by impossibly cool Brutalist architecture, this is a great spot to check out. This is somewhere that’s ideal for meeting up with classmates to study, or if you fancy a spot of working without walls. It’s a great place to hang out, and with other places like the sustainable garden, Roger Stevens pond and Chancellor’s court nearby, you’ll usually find a spot to kick back and take time for you.
Behind the Union
Behind the Union near Stage@Leeds is a quiet spot with benches, grass and wildflowers in the summer. There’s a wonderful carved ash tree trunk designed by students, Dual Form, a sculpture by world renowned Yorkshire artist Barbara Hepworth and our own version of the Louvre (actually the roof of Pyramid Theatre).
Surrounded by the wonderful brutalist 1960’s buildings, lush green planting softens those hard edges, casting shade and creating a serene and calming feel. With big stones, benches and grass to sit on, it’s just the job for taking some time out for yourself, or catching up with a friend.
One of our newest spots on campus, outside Nexus is fast becoming a new fave for many. Tall grasses provide year round movement, and in the spring the cherry blossom looks wonderful. With benches and grass, this accessible spot is one you might not have tried before — why not give it a go?
The Sensory Garden
Another recent addition to campus, this hidden step free spot behind Charles Morris halls of residence has been designed to be fully accessible with beautifully scented plants and tiny insect hotels to shelter the insects who work hard to pollinate the flowers. It’s lovely in winter too, and with seating and things to look at all year round, it’s a firm favourite for those in the know.
Edward Boyle library
So many studies have shown how important spending time outside is, and if you’ve been hard at work in the nearby Laidlaw library, or in the Edward Boyle, then why not take some time out on the benches outside the Edit Room, or relax on the grass in the summer. With plenty of shade for hot days, you’ll feel refreshed after spending time here.
Next time you’re on campus, go and find somewhere to sit and think. Even a few minutes of relaxation and peace can make such a difference to how you feel.
Sometimes a chat with a friend or a moment of reflection can be just what you need, but there might be times when you’re struggling with life at University and would like some more support. Whatever your situation, we’re here to help. Students can talk to their personal tutor. You can find out more about student support and wellbeing. There is also support available for staff.