Get ready to seek out the hidden treasures you never knew existed in Leeds’ suburbs…
Whether you’ve just moved to Leeds or lived here all your life, there’s always something new to discover, especially if you venture out to the suburbs. Tucked away, off the beaten path, you’ll find a raft of hidden gems that are well-worth seeking out. From secret record stores to games arcades, oriental gardens and Yorkshire vineyards, it’s time to get back on board and start exploring.
Level Up Academy
Ever wondered how you get into the world of parkour? Level Up Academy is the answer. This non-profit community organisation runs a 3,000-square-foot urban sports centre in Beeston where you can give both parkour and free running a try. You’ll build up your strength and agility as you move at speed from one spot to the next. But that’s not all – their wide-ranging activity programme offers everything from cheerleading to ninja fit and tumble classes.
Level Up Academy, Unit 4, Lockwood Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5TY.
The Little Bookshop
The Little Bookshop is the only independent children’s book shop in Leeds. Their team are experts in children’s literature and they pride themselves on finding new ways to encourage young people to read. Their collection is vast, stocking everything from picture books to short stories and young adult novels. Need a recommendation? Just ask a member of their team. Keep an eye out for special story time sessions and events with popular children’s writers.
The Little Bookshop, 47 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3PD.
Kanyu is one of the most inventive escape rooms in Yorkshire, so it’s well worth a trip out to Boston Spa. You’ll find it in a Grade-II listed Georgian gatehouse, which has been transformed into a suite of escape games by film set designers, Fusion LX. They’ve created three realistic puzzles that will put you to the test. Choose from the oak-panelled old study, the abandoned laboratory and their outdoor poacher’s camp – will you manage to escape within 60 minutes?
Kanyu, South Lodge, Moor End, Boston Spa, Wetherby, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6ER.
This Green Moon
Nestled within the trees of Swillington Organic Farm, This Green Moon is an events space like no other. It’s made up of a series of stylish woodland tipis that play host to a diverse programme throughout the year. Family-friendly weekends give the little ones a chance to learn about the natural world through fun-filled workshops and activities. Grown-ups, meanwhile, can look forward to outdoor theatre performances, pop-up supper clubs and all-out foodie feasts.
This Green Moon, Swillington Organic Farm, Coach Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8QA.
A not-for-profit that brings the community together with regular film screenings, Oakwood Cinema is a cracking find. It’s a big screen experience in the suburbs, complete with ice cream, popcorn and a fully-licensed bar, but it’s also delightfully old fashioned. There’s an intermission, where you can meet and mingle with your neighbours, and you may even get to hear from the filmmakers. The film calendar is varied, filled with old favourites and undiscovered gems.
Oakwood Cinema, Roundhay Parochial Hall, 5 Fitzroy Drive, Roundhay, Oakwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 4AB.
Seagulls Reuse is one of the most important social enterprises in Leeds. They tackle needless waste by finding innovative ways to make use of things people would normally throw away. Their main focus is paint – they take old, half-full pots, remix and refill them for you to purchase at a bargain price from their Kirkstall warehouse. They also sell crafting kits that let you to get creative using reclaimed lino and tiles or you can join one of their mosaic-making workshops.
Seagulls Reuse, 3-4 Aire Place Mills, 103 Kirkstall Road, Burley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS3 1JL.
It might look like just another corner shop, but Raynville Superstore is one of the best craft beer stores in the UK. With over 1,000 UK and international beers to choose from, it’s the beer equivalent of a superstore. You can play it safe with oodles of local favourites, like North and Kirkstall. But if you want to expand your horizons, Raynville is the place to do it, with an impressive selection of rare brews and one-off collaborations from around the world.
Raynville Superstore, 14-16 Raynville Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 2TF.
You might not expect to find a Japanese Garden out in the suburbs, but that’s exactly what awaits at Horsforth Hall Park. Restored in 2009 after years of neglect, the gardens offer an abundance of horticultural beauty with an oriental vibe. Enter through the kanji-inscribed walled garden gateway and enjoy a leafy hideaway complete with a waterfall, pond and customary red bridge. It’s the perfect spot to admire traditional plants like bamboo, maple and vermillion torii.
Japanese Garden, Horsforth Hall Park, Hall Lane, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 5JE.
Yorkshire might not be known for its vineyards, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have them. In fact, Leventhorpe is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Open since 1985, it’s one of the most Northern commercial vineyards in the UK. Its five-acre plot sits on a low-altitude, south-facing site that’s perfect for growing grapes. From the Yorkshire brut to the West Riding red, you can visit the site to pick up their wares directly or even book in for a cellar tour.
Leventhorpe Vineyard, Newsome Green Road, Off Bullerthorpe Lane, Woodlesford, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8AF.
Love video games? Arcade Club is your heaven on earth. They have over 250 old school games spread across three floors, so whether you’re a Pac Man fan, a Sensible Soccer fiend or a Zelda nut, they’ve got you covered. It’s £16 for a full day of fun, £8 for kids and under fives go free. The entry fee gives you access to all their retro games, including the 1972 version of Pong, classic pinball machines and all the latest generation of consoles.
Arcade Club, Unit 3, Abbey Retail Park, Savins Mill Way, Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3RP.
From the folks behind Headingley’s Fika North, Bottle Chop is one of the coolest bars in Leeds and you’ll find it just around the corner from its sibling. It has something for everyone, as a natural wine cellar, beer shop, micro deli and bar, all rolled into one. They take huge pride in sourcing quality products, from local quaffage to artisan produce. Pop in for a bite to eat and the perfect matching tipple or get yours to take away – their refill bottles are very handy.
Bottle Chop, 14 Weetwood Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5LX.
Wildcraft is more than just a bakery. It’s an award-winning, gluten-free cafe in the heart of Meanwood. It’s run by Mina Allsopp and Samantha Havis, two coeliacs who struggled to find suitable bread and cakes anywhere else, so decided to bake for themselves. From fresh loaves to soft-as-a-cloud doughnuts and steaming-hot pies, everything they do is made with allergies in mind, but they also make sure their wares are darned tasty, whatever your diet.
Wildcraft Bakery, 6-10 Green Road, Meanwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4JP.
When Anton Welburn and Emily Youell left Wapentake, they didn’t leave the bar business for good – instead, they moved out to Morley to take over the famed Oscar’s Bar. This petite watering hole is a gem of a find that celebrates all things Yorkshire. You can look forward to local beers, from Anthology’s New England Session Pale to their own house cask made with Sunbeam Ales. Add locally sourced spirits, coffee and cakes, and you’re in for a right Yorkshire treat.
Oscar’s, 2A Queen Street, Morley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS27 9DG.
It’s time to let your imaginations run wild and put your art skills to the test at Jackrabbits. This little ceramics studio, tucked away in Oakwood, runs pottery painting sessions for both kids and adults (they even do BYOB sessions). You can choose your own piece of pottery, with everything from mugs and plates to money boxes and teapots ready for you to paint. When you’re done, they’ll glaze and fire it for you, ready to pick up a week later.
Jackrabbits Pottery, 633a Roundhay Road, Oakwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 4BA.
It might look unassuming, but appearances can be deceiving, especially when it comes to Hern in Chapel Allerton. This petite restaurant packs a punch, serving tasting menus chock full of fine dining flair. No two menus are the same, so no two visits will be either. One day, you could be tucking into pork collar with braised fennel, fine beans and berries, the next it could be surf clams in oxtail sauce. It all depends on the local, seasonal produce they get their hands on.
Hern, 5 Stainbeck Corner, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 2EY.
The Old Woollen
The Old Woollen is one of the coolest live music and arts venues in Leeds. It comes from the team behind The Constitutional and Trouble at the Mill. They’ve transformed part of the historic Sunny Bank Mills into a cool 600-capacity events space. It’s a must-visit for culture vultures, with a packed line-up of events that has something for everyone. In the past, it’s included everything from bands like The Futureheads to comedians like Justin Moorhouse.
The Old Woollen, Sunnybank Mills, 10 Town Street, Farsley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5UJ.
Fancy a day out with a difference? Head to Treeside Alpacas! This Oulton farm has six wonderfully wooly pals – Bailey, Ambo, Kimbo, Bruno, Chester and Bomber. Head over to meet and greet these friendly, gentle alpacas, then after you’ve said hello, pick one to take out on a walk around Moss Carr Farm. You can wander through the picturesque countryside with your new furry friend in-tow and enjoy a memorable adventure, what’s not to love?
Treeside Alpacas, Moss Carr Farm, Newmarket Lane, Oulton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 9DW.
The Tiny Tea Room
The Tiny Tea Room is unique. There’s no other cafe like it anywhere else in Leeds. You’ll find it in an old stone shed next to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in Rodley. When the sun’s out, it’s the perfect place to stop for a cuppa on one of their benches as you look out across the water. They’re famed for their cream teas, which include Yorkshire or herbal tea, with a scone, jam and cream. There’s coffee, cakes and Yorkshire Dales ice cream to scoff too.
The Tiny Tea Room, Calverley Bridge, Rodley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS13 1NF.
Kuala Lumpur Cafe
A quaint, cafe-style restaurant just off Otley Road in Headingley, Kuala Lumpur Cafe is the city’s first Malaysian eatery. They serve authentic dishes that pack a punch, including classics like rendang curry and goreng noodles. Nasi lemak is Malaysia’s national dish and it’s definitely the main attraction here. Get ready to dive into a bowl of aromatic coconut rice, served with sambal, peanuts, anchovies and egg, topped with meat and homemade sauces.
Kuala Lumpur Cafe, 2-4 Bennett Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HN.
The Holbeck is the oldest social club in Britain and a treasured local watering hole at the heart of the community. It’s now managed by Slung Low, an innovative theatre company that uses the venue as a development space for artists and actors. They put on their own shows here, as well as offering their stage to small productions from local and national theatre groups. And the best bit? Tickets are sold on a pay-as-you-feel basis to make it accessible to everyone.
The Holbeck, 3 Jenkinson Lawn, Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 9QX.
Shed Load of Vinyl
This little-known pop-up shop is a must for music lovers. Local muso Mick Carter has created the smallest (and maybe even coolest) record store in Leeds in his garden shed. He opens its doors every weekend, so you can dive into an impressive collection of vinyl. Pop, rock, indie, hip-hop, whatever you’re into, there are gems to pick up. The prices don’t break the bank either, with records from the likes of Elton John, Kiss and The Who for less than a fiver. Bargain!
Shed Load of Vinyl, 5 Wells Road, Guiseley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS20 9AE. Closed until September 2022, viewings on request.
Leeds Urban Bike Park
Tucked away in Middleton Park, Leeds Urban Bike Park is the perfect place for an epic day out on two wheels. You can conquer fast-paced pump tracks on your BMX or try their custom-built mountain bike trails. There are 6 kilometres to tackle in total, across four different routes – the green and blue are perfect for beginners, but if you’re more experienced, you can give the red and black routes a try. Don’t have a bike? Hire one from their visitors centre.
Leeds Urban Bike Park, Middleton Park Bike Hub, Ring Road, Beeston Park, Middleton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 3TN.
York Gate Garden
This one-acre stretch of greenery is a gem of a find. Planted by the Spencer family between 1951 and 1994, York Gate Garden is one of the most beautiful small gardens in the UK. Take the almost-hidden pathways to explore this patchwork of interlocking ‘rooms’, each with its own theme and feel. From the formal herb gardens to the secret Dell and on to the new sunken Mediterranean garden, you’ll find it all nestled behind the St John the Baptist Church in Adel.
York Gate Garden, Back Church Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 8DW.
Caspar’s Bottle Shop
Love craft beer? Make a beeline for Caspar’s Bottle Shop. It’s a proper hidden gem, tucked away at the very bottom of Chapel Allerton, in a spot you could quite easily miss. Not that you should, of course. Their craft beer selection is mightily impressive. Local favourites like Meanwood, Anthology and Kirkstall are all accounted for, as are global tipples from the likes of Norway’s Amundsen and Denmark’s Mikkeller. They even have taps for keg-fresh growler fills.
Casper’s Bottle Shop, 65 Potternewton Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3LW.
Amity Brew Co
Amity Brew Co is Russ Clarke’s dream come true. After working for the likes of BrewDog and North Brewing Co, this local lad started his own brewery at Sunny Bank Mills. It has a 2,500-square-foot taproom where you can enjoy their classic beer styles in a cool, industrial-chic setting. Try everything from the Sunnybank American Pale to the Elastic Robot Orange IPA or indulge your adventurous side with one-offs, collaborations and guest brews.
Amity Brew Co, Sunny Bank Mills, 83-85 Town Street, Farsley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5UJ.