With all due respect to the previous commentators on Leek, some may have had bad experiences granted, but for the most part it’s just like any other midlands town.
I’ve lived here on and off over the years. I haven’t actively sought out Leek as a natural habit but I know plenty of people that would do just that. People from outside of Leek usually find it to be a quaint little market town with lovely cobbles, comfortable cafes, a substantial interest in art (due in part to William Morris passing through) and a lovely mixture of independently owned shops to browse through.
Granted the cobbles are a pain the arse whilst venturing out in heels ladies. Please be aware of that. I’ve seen many friends taken down, sober as well as drunk, whilst attempting to negotiate their way towards the Red Lion on a Friday or Saturday night. They will entertain kids in a pram through because its bumpy for them and makes their teeth chatter.
The comfortable cafes are overpriced but they’re meant to be for tourists passing through/the extremely wealthy. Costa at the top of the market place will cater to whatever overpriced whim you’d like with the added extra of bad service so, on comparison, at least paying £2.50 for a sludge like coffee in a paper cup that comes with a smile from someone independent is better than some spotty teenager texting whilst pretending to a barista and getting your order wrong anyway. The same could be said about Subway versus a sandwich from Coffee Beans Cafe. Don’t ever expect a McDonalds because there’d end up being a lynch mob burning it to the ground with the poor unfortunate manager tied to a stake inside. Apparently McDonalds is the devil in these parts.
The interest in art has been celebrated on and off but seems to have hit its highest peak just recently. The revamp of an old bar (now turned into a hipster style gallery and cafe) gives Leek a slight edge of ‘culture’. You’ll be frowned at as you walk in but its something to do if you have a spare half an hour and doesn’t usually cost anything to see the ‘art’ on display. Just don’t expect Picasso. Speaking of culture the current Secretary for Culture is the MP for the area although in honesty the woman probably wouldn’t know what culture was if it hit her in the face like a brick.
The independently owned shops come and go as their various owners run out of money or ‘move online’. They don’t contain anything of remote use apart from potential gifts. There seems to be an aversion to shops that the population of Leek may actually need or desire. Be sure to save your money so you can spend £8 on an artisan postcard to tell relatives how glorious the town is though.
There was a mention of Chavs in some other posts. Yes. The never abating pest. It doesn’t matter which end of town you live in (Westwood being considered the ‘posh’ end and Haregate reserved for scumbags) there will always be a chav or two about. They like to breed in Leek. It seems to be some form of mating ground for them. Still, if you leave them alone they tend to leave you alone. Just don’t expect them to let your 2 year old on the basket swing at the park.