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This year, The Times voted Leeds the number one cultural place to live in Britain above London, Manchester, Brighton, et-personal-al.

Though I hadn’t been back for almost two years, the year I spent living in the city centre left a lasting impression on me. The food, drink, and people are – in my opinion – second to almost none.

When asked to return to the city for work, I couldn’t help but turn business into pleasure and book myself in for a little staycation.

The second I booked in at the Crowne Plaza Leeds, I felt I was home.

Though the 135-room hotel is far from small, the high (and noticeably Northern) level or service made the stay feel rather intimate.

Arriving before our room was ready, we were welcomed into their beautiful club lounge (part of their recent £4.5 million refurbishment and a special hideaway for those in executive suites) for refreshments before being taken to our insanely affordable little suite.

After a few hours in bed (the novelty will never wear off), we headed out to luxuriate in Leeds’ electric landscape. The hotel is within walking distance of the First Direct Leeds Arena, Headingley Cricket Ground, Kirkstall Abbey, and my forever-beloved street food kitchen at Trinity Leeds – to name but a few.

We were out too long to get acquainted with the hotel’s Spirit Health and Leisure Club but I have already earmarked a full morning to enjoy the large indoor heated swimming pool, gym, and spa during our inevitable follow-up visit.

From king-sized bed to rainfall shower, I developed a hell of an appetite for breakfast so booked it for the hotel’s Bar & Kitchen @ LS1 for a locally-sourced Full English.

Or, as the bridal party across from us kept cooing, a “bloody grand Full Yorkshire”.

Not an attribution too different from the Crowne Plaza itself.

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new york city tou
There are few places in this world as intoxicatingly vibrant, inclusive and diverse as New York City and nowhere else could compare as the crescendo of Lela Takes The Crescent.

Ironically, the cross-country sleeper train adventure also marked the five year anniversary of my first trip to the Big Apple as a Sex and The City repeat-obsessed twentysomething. A trip that had such a profound effect on me I have designed countless excuses to return to the city every time I cross the Atlantic.

I know Manhattan well. Very well. I know where the local foodies eat (don’t worry – a food guide is coming shortly!), which streets to avoid when tourist-dodging, what residential buildings have better views than the Empire State, and then some.

But I didn’t know it like I now do after Accomplice The Show.

Accomplice New York – an immersive theatre adventure through downtown Manhattan – was the irrefutable highlight of my time in the city and one of the best ‘tours’ I have ever experienced.

Without giving too much away, Accomplice blends all the best parts of theatre and scavenger hunts so seamlessly you feel as though the journey is a fundamental part of the city’s unique and ever-altering complexities. Like Mission: Impossible. Albeit with less risk and more alcohol.

Over the course of three hours, the city’s iconic streets become part playground, part playhouse. With some of the most hilariously quick-witted actors to guide you along the way.

Whether you’ve never hit US soil or you’re a New York native, I can almost guarantee you a fabulous time. I will cherish the adrenaline-pumping afternoon spent with Accomplice for my entire life.

(Note: All photos featured are a selection from Accomplice and my general time in the City to keep spoilers at a minimum. The starting location will be revealed a day or two before your event via phone call and varies dependent on the show of your choice.)

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As politically-driven as I am, it seemed improbable I managed to avoid a stop in Washington, DC over ten years of travel to a number of the capital’s neighbours.

Thankfully, Lela Takes The Crescent provided the perfect Amtrak-convenient opportunity to immerse myself in the most American flag-packed streets one could imagine.

Read on for secret Capitol tours, the best sandwich in North America, impromptu trips to Virginia, and more…

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“They live in Athens?” I questioned, momentarily wondering whether my sporadic decision to spend a long weekend in a city I couldn’t point to on a map was all that bright.

“Let’s do it!”

Recalling my whirlwind adventure in Athens Athens less than a year ago, I could hardly refuse getting to know its denominative twin (albeit, as a consolidated city–county in Georgia, an inevitable contrary to twindom in every other way).

True to ‘all good decisions find their way to the blogiverse’ form, you can rest assured Athens USA – differences abounding – had plenty to offer of its own…

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atlanta
Though Stop Two of Lela Takes The Crescent technically registered as Atlanta, I spent a total of approximately 24 hours in the city before shooting off to Athens for the majority of my Georgia-dwelling days.

Nonetheless, I didn’t want a waste a moment in the state’s capital – especially as it was my first time exploring more than its airport – so set off to experience Athens in a guide-worthy manner…

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