The suburbs always have plenty to offer, but it’s those hidden gems you never knew existed that will keep you going back for more.
Tucked out of the way and off the beaten path, the suburbs are full of hidden treasures just waiting to be found. You can discover an abandoned bath house nestled in the woods, explore an art gallery in someone’s basement or watch a film in the city’s smallest cinema. And that’s just the start, because we’ve rounded up 25 of the best hidden gems outside the city centre.
Wayward is a small shop in Chapel Allerton that specialises in natural and organic wines. They stock a carefully curated selection of bottles that you won’t find in the supermarket. Don’t know where to start? Their friendly experts can help you find your perfect bottle based on your tastes. And if you can’t wait to take your bottle home, you can enjoy a glass in the shop.
Wayward Wines, 1c Regent Street, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4PE.
Fancy a pie? You need to visit Growlers in Pudsey. They’ve mastered the classic Yorkshire pork pie – so much so, they’ve named their charming little shop after its lesser known nickname. But that’s not all they do – you can tuck into everything from steak and kidney to meat and potato pies, as well as non-pie favourites like Cornish pasties and sausage rolls.
Growlers, 159 Richardshaw Lane, Pudsey, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 6AA.
Level Up Academy
If you want to get active, have fun and learn something new all in one place, get down to Level Up Academy in Beeston. It’s a 3,000 square foot urban sports centre which specialises in parkour and free running – you’ll use strength and agility to clamber from one place to another. But that’s not all, because they also do tricking, free running, cheerleading, circus, aerial arts and martial arts classes.
Level Up Academy, Unit 4, Lockwood Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5TY.
Basement Arts Project
You wouldn’t expect to find one of the best art spaces in Leeds in the basement of a terraced Beeston home, but that’s exactly what this is. Local artist Bruce Davies opens up his house, so you can see exhibitions from the best up and coming artists from across the UK. Expect an eclectic array of group shows alongside their solo exhibitions as Davies gets local artists to share their ideas and collaborate on pieces together.
Basement Arts Project, 26 Burton Terrace, Beeston, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5JH.
Haftsin is one of the best Persian restaurants in Leeds, but its intimate Burley home is easy to miss. Get down early to grab a table and tuck into a menu of classic dishes, from grilled fish to meat stews. Kebabs are their speciality, but this isn’t your end-of-the-night takeaway affair – their skewers hold juicy, tender chunks of beef, lamb and chicken, with charred tomatoes and saffron rice on the side.
Haftsin, 60-62 Burley Road, Burley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS3 1JX.
The old Farsley Conservative Club is now home to The Constitutional. It’s a community space from the team behind Trouble at the Mill – they’ve created a venue for their own events, but it also doubles as a local hangout. Head to the bar for a pint of craft beer or a cocktail and settle in for their regular theatre, comedy and jazz nights. You can even end the week on a high with a vegan roast dinner on Sundays.
The Constitutional, 51 Town Street, Farsley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5HX.
Rothwell Country Park
Spread across 60 acres of the former colliery, Rothwell Country Park is a vast nature reserve in South Leeds. You can spend hours wandering around this peaceful oasis, through woodland and into grassland, as you try to spot the birds, toads and dragonflies that call it home. There’s a sculpture trail and a pond trail to explore, or you can cross over the River Aire to see the picturesque Skelton Lake, which is the perfect spot for a picnic.
Rothwell Country Park, Bullough Lane, Rothwell Colliery, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 0JY.
Napoli nel Cuore
Head to Horsforth for a delicious taste of Italy at Napoli nel Cuore. This charming family-run restaurant brings Naples to Leeds, so you can get one of the best pizzas in the city. From the Quattro Staggioni to the Leggera, they have all the classics, but don’t be afraid to be adventurous. They specialise in Bianco pizzas without a tomato base, like the Speck and Zola, which is topped with smoked provola cheese, Gorgonzola blue cheese and speck ham.
Napoli nel Cuore, 30 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4RJ.
The Billing Tea Room
Step back in time with a trip to The Billing Tea Room. This quaint little spot in Rawdon is a vintage cafe that stays true to tradition. Think classic furniture and chintzy wallpaper and plenty of bunting. You can pop in for pastries at breakfast or freshly-made sarnies at lunch – but the star of the show is their afternoon tea, with finger sandwiches, cakes, scones and a classic Yorkshire brew.
The Billing Tea Room, 11a Town Street, Rawdon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS19 6PU.
That’s right, you can go alpaca trekking, right here in Leeds. Head out to Oulton’s Treeside Alpacas for an incredible day out for all ages. This is a family-run, working farm with six alpacas – Bailey, Chester, Ambo, Kimbo, Bruno and Bomber. You can choose your favourite and head out on a walk around the beautiful Yorkshire countryside together.
Treeside Alpacas, Moss Carr Farm, Newmarket Lane, Oulton, Leeds, Leeds LS26 9DW.
The Palace Picture House
Have you ever been to the city’s smallest cinema? You’ll find The Palace Picture House at Armley Mills and it’s one of the most intimate places to watch a film in the UK. Originally opened in 1912 as an 800-seat theatre, it closed in 1964 and only 26 seats were salvaged. They’ve been used to create this mini-cinema that regularly hosts screenings of popular kids’ flicks as well as arthouse movies and retro films.
The Palace Picture House, Armley Mills, Canal Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 2QF.
If you like to get crafty, you need to check out Stitch-Up. It’s a social enterprise that runs workshops, courses and events on knitting and yarn crafts in a converted old church. Whether you’re a beginner or expert, they can show you how to improve your sewing. From embroidery to crochet and macrame, they cover a whole range of techniques to help you master yarn craft.
Stitch-Up Studio, 232 Meanwood Road, Woodhouse, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 2AH.
This Green Moon
Nestled within the trees of Swillington Organic Farm, This Green Moon is an events space like no other. A series of tipis play host to everything from weddings to kids’ birthday parties all year round, but it’s their own events that draw the crowds. They host supper clubs and foodie celebrations for grown ups, alongside special themed family-friendly weekends where the little ones can learn about the nature around them.
This Green Moon, Swillington Organic Farm, Coach Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8QA.
The Pompocali Earthworks are an amazing find. Head inside the picturesque Hetchell Wood and along the nature reserve’s disused railway line to find a series of unusual banked earthworks. Their existence is shrouded in mystery – some say they’re evidence of an old Roman encampment, while others believe it’s the overgrown remains of a limestone quarry. Either way, it’s worth a visit.
Pompocali, Hetchell Wood Nature Reserve, Milner Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6NA.
Stank Hall Barn
Stank Hall Barn is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the oldest building in Leeds – but have you seen it? It was constructed around 1420 from timber left over from Christopher Columbus’ ships. The Grade-II listed structure was built for the Beeston family, but has long since been abandoned. Despite numerous attempts to restore it, it’s future remains uncertain, so check out this historic building while you can.
Stank Hall Barn, Dewsbury Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5DA.
This is one of the city’s lesser-known theatres, but it has a consistently great programme of entertainment throughout the year. In fact, Guiseley Theatre has welcomed touring productions like A Chorus Line, Sweeney Todd and Macbeth over the years. It’s a popular stop for stand-up comedians and tribute bands, while families can enjoy film screenings and activity days.
Guiseley Theatre, The Green, Guiseley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS20 9BT.
Non-League Football Clubs
We all know about Leeds United, but if you’ve not been to see the city’s non-league teams yet, it’s time to go. They are both now competing in the same division, the National League North, and they’re fighting to get into the top tier of the non-league system. Pay a visit to Farsley Celtic at the Throstle Nest Stadium or Guiseley AFC at Nethermoor Park – it’s cheap, it’s full of action and it’s a chance to support two clubs at the heart of the local community.
Throstle Nest Stadium, Throstle Nest, Newlands, Farsley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5BE & Nethermoor Park, Otley Road, Guiseley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS20 8BT.
Kuala Lumpur Cafe
The Kuala Lumpur Cafe is the city’s only 100% Malaysian eatery. Their quaint, welcoming restaurant is tucked away off Otley Road and promises a menu of classic Malaysian dishes. Nasi Lemak is their national dish and their main attraction – you get a bowl of aromatic coconut rice, served with peanuts, sambal, egg and anchovies, which you can get with a host of different meats and sauces.
Kuala Lumpur Cafe, 2-4 Bennett Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HN.
Chunk is a music collective that has its own rehearsal space, recording studio and gig venue in a converted warehouse on the outskirts of Meanwood. The 200-capacity main room has played host to Leeds groups like Super Luxury, Esper Scout and Cattle before they’ve moved on to bigger venues, and regularly hosts gigs so you can check out the next wave of local talent.
Chunk, 275 Meanwood Road, Leeds, LS7 2JD.
Gipton Spa Bath House
If you go deep into Gledhow Valley Woods, you can hunt out an unusual building nestled within the trees. The Gipton Spa Bath House was built in 1671 and although it’s no longer in use, it stands as one of the most unusual historic buildings in the city. It once used ice cold water from a nearby spring to fill a sunken bath, which you can still see, and there was a small fireplace to sit in front of after your dip to dry off.
Gipton Spa Bath House, Gledhow Valley Woods, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4JU.
The Lines Way
The Lines Way is a 4-mile stretch of disused railway line that arcs its way through South East Leeds, close to the city boundary with Castleford. It’s the perfect place to go for a quiet stroll, run or cycle through the local countryside. The route takes you from Allerton Bywater to Garforth, and along the way, you can stop at the three nature reserves it passes – Letchmire Pastures, Town Hills Nature Reserve and Hollinghurst Woods.
The Lines Way, 1 Blands Crescent, Allerton Bywater, Castleford WF10 2AF.
A Casa di Alessia
If you love pizza, a trip to A Casa di Alessia in Otley is in order. You can tuck into traditional square Roman pizza slices – just walk up to the counter where the pizzas are ready-made with toppings like ham, gorgonzola and olives or tomato and buffalo mozzarella. Just choose yours and it will be cooked fresh for you. Fancy something different? Try the Mezze Maniche – they are pizza-style wraps with fillings like pecorino cheese and courgette.
A Casa di Alessia, 5, Orchardgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3NX.
Leeds Urban Bike Park
Want to get on your bike? Get down to Leeds Urban Bike Park where you can spend the whole day riding around this incredible complex on two wheels. From easygoing pump tracks to the more challenging BMX and downhill routes, it has a range of courses for all ages and skillsets. The park is free to use if you have your own bike, and if you don’t, you can hire one while you’re there. There’s even a cafe, where you can grab a brew and a sarnie after your ride.
Leeds Urban Bike Park, Middleton Park Bike Hub Ring Road, Beeston Park, Leeds, LS10 3TN.
Seagulls Reuse is one of the most important social enterprises in Leeds. They tackle needless waste by finding innovative ways of making use of things people would normally throw away. Their Kirkstall warehouse sells remixed and refilled paint pots for a lot less than you’d pay for new ones, so it’s good for your pocket and for the environment. They also run workshops and host exhibitions across the city.
Seagulls Reuse, 3-4 Aire Place Mills, 103 Kirkstall Road, Burley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS3 1JL.
Muddy Boots Cafe
The Muddy Boots Cafe is a charming little eatery at the back of Harewood Village Hall. It’s run by The Harewood Food and Drink Project, so you can tuck into a menu of hearty full English breakfasts, freshly made soups and jam-packed sandwiches, made using produce grown on the Harewood House estate. If you visit on the first or third weekend of the month, they run a special evening menu.
Muddy Boots Cafe, Church Lane, Harewood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 9LJ.