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 crafting cafes, 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 acrobatics, circus arts and aerial gymnastics.
Level Up Academy, Unit 4, Lockwood Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5TY. Get the 2 bus to Dewsbury Road/Cross Flatts Park, Beeston.
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. Get the 2, 3 or 3a bus to Harrogate Road/Stainbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton.
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?
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. Get the 74 bus to Sharp Lane School, Belle Isle and then the 9a bus to Wakefield Road/Bullerthorpe Lane, Woodlesford.
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. Get the 33, 34 or 508 bus to ITV Yorkshire/Kirkstall Road.
It might look like just another corner shop, but Raynville Superstore is one of the best craft beer stores in the UK. With over 900 UK and international beers to choose from, it’s the beer equivalent of being in 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. Get the 49 to Broadlea Terrace/Broadlea Mount, Bramley or the 508 to Kirkstall Bridge/Bridge Road.
You might not expect to find a Japanese Garden out in the suburbs, but that’s exactly what you’ll come across 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.
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. Get the 74 bus to Sharp Lane School, Belle Isle and then the 9a bus to Wakefield Road/Bullerthorpe Lane, Woodlesford.
Love video games? Arcade Club could well be your heaven. 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 that gives you access to all their retro games, including the 1972 version of Pong, classic pinball machines and all of the latest generation of consoles.
Arcade Club, Unit 3, Abbey Retail Park, Savins Mill Way, Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3RP. Get the 34 or 508 bus to Kirkstall Lights or the 49, 50 or 50A bus to Kirkstall Lane.
JJ’s Vish & Chips
JJ’s Vish & Chips is the city’s only vegetarian chippy – in fact, it’s pretty much vegan bar for those tasty halloumi fries. The Kirkstall Road chip shop swaps fish for deep-fried fillets of Tofish, made from tofu, or Vish, made using banana blossom. But that’s just the start, because they also do meat-free versions of chippy classics. From Battered Sosage to Scam-pi, Fricken Nuggets and Svam Fritters, these staples pair perfectly with their fluffy chips and moreish sauces.
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-cloud doughnuts and steaming-hot pies, everything they do is made with allergies in mind, but they make sure all their wares are darned tasty, whatever your diet.
Wildcraft Bakery, 6-10 Green Road, Meanwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4JP. Get the 51 bus to Green Road (N Bound), Meanwood or 52 bus to Northside Retail Park, Meanwood.
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, you’re in for a right Yorkshire treat.
Oscar’s, 2A Queen Street, Morley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS27 9DG. Get the 51 or 52 bus to Morley Bottom/Brunswick Street, Morley.
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. Get the 12, 13 or 13a bus to Ravenscar Avenue/Roundhay Road.
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 Yorkshire lamb rump with turnips and anchovy, the next it could be sea bass in beurre blanc. It all depends on the local and seasonal produce they can get their hands on.
Hern, 5 Stainbeck Corner, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 2EY. Get the 2, 3 or 3a bus to Harrogate Road/Stainbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton.
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, in the past, has 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. Get the 508 bus to Water Lane/Town Street, Farsley.
Workshop Sewing Cafe
Workshop is not your usual cafe. You can still grab a quality brew and tuck into a slice of cake, but that’s just the beginning. You see, this is a sewing cafe, complete with six machines, two overlockers and an iron alongside Blending Room coffee and Bird & Blend tea. Know your bobbins from your needles? You can book and get to it, but if you’re a newbie why not join their workshops and meet-ups? You can also pick up fabric, gifts and sewing kits to go.
Workshop Sewing Cafe, 24 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AD. Get the 1, 6, 28, 97 or X84 bus to Otley Road/Headingley Arndale, Headingley.
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 around the picturesque countryside with your new furry pal 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. Get the 74 bus to Sharp Lane School, Belle Isle and then the 9a bus to Calverley Road, Oulton.
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.
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. However, nasi lemak is Malaysia’s national dish and it’s definitely the main attraction. 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. Get the 1, 6, 28, 97 or X84 bus to Otley Road/Headingley Arndale, Headingley.
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 also 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, all of which you can see on a pay-as-you-feel basis.
The Holbeck, Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 9QX. Get the 1, 2 or 3 bus to Sweet Street (S Bound)/Dewsbury Road, Holbeck.
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. Get the 27 or 34 bus to Guiseley Church Street/Town Gate or the 33 bus to Otley Road/Morrisons, Guiseley.
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. Get the 2 bus to Beeston Park Ring Road/Bodmin Road, Middleton or the 75 to Bodmin Road/Ring Road Beeston Park, Middleton.
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 onto 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. Get the 8 bus to Holt Lane/Whinfield, Adel, the 28 bus to Sir George Martin Drive/East Moor Lane, Adel or the X84 Holt Lane/Otley Road, Adel.
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. Get the 2 or 3 bus to Harrogate Road/Potternewton Lane, Chapel Allerton.
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. Get the 508 bus to Water Lane/Town Street, Farsley.Cover image credit: Credit: Alex De Palma, Design Tonic.