You can discover the city’s pubs, museums and family days out with these fun days out on the bus. All aboard!
Travelling in the city has been revolutionised by LeedsCity Buses. Modern, low-emission buses, smart apps that make paying your fare a breeze, onboard wifi and USB chargers – what’s not to love? To celebrate the bus renaissance, we’ve done the hard work and compiled five bus-hopping adventures that will help you explore our fabulous city. Where to go, what buses you need and where you can catch them – just hop on, hop off and have a heavenly day out…
Medical marvels and the perfect picnic
Leeds is studded with lovely outdoor spaces, and there are few better ways to make the most of them than by grabbing a picnic. Stock up on savoury and sweet goodies in the city centre – The Yorkshire Deli in Victoria Gate or Millies on Vicar Lane are full of tempting treats. Cheeseboards, charcuterie, freshly-baked pastries and more are all on the menu.
From there, you’re going to work up an appetite with a visit to the tremendous Thackray Museum of Medicine. You’ll want to jump on the 49 or 50 bus from The Headrow, getting off at Beckett Street next to St. James’ Hospital. Prepare to be seriously impressed by the medical wonders, objects, artefacts and displays within – including Hitler’s very own blood transfusion kit.
By now, your mouth will be watering at the deli delights in your bag. Tuck in by making your way to the serene surroundings of Roundhay Park. The number 49 or 50 from Beckett Street will get you there, jumping off at Easterly Road and strolling down Wetherby Road to where your prime picnic spot awaits. After that, peruse the lakes and explore the formal gardens – there’s 700 acres to get lost in here.
Beer by bus with Kirkstall Brewery
This route is a breeze, giving you and your mates plenty of time to explore the entirety of the Kirkstall Brewery range, their guest beers and whatever else you fancy. If you’re starting in Leeds, get yourself to the Park Row bus stop for the 34, or to The Headrow for the 49. They take a slightly different route to get you to the same place – the Kirkstall Bridge Inn.
Sat next to the River Aire, this wondrous, traditional watering hole has plenty of Kirkstall beers and is famed for its rip-roaring roast dinner on Sundays. From here, you’re only around 10 minutes from your next calling point. The 34, 49 or 508 will all whisk you back towards Leeds city centre via The Cardigan Arms. This is a classic Leeds boozer inside a restored Victorian Grade II-listed building where a cracking atmosphere is guaranteed. It’s all dark wood, snugs and corners to settle into with your beer of choice
But wait, you’re not done yet. Your last stop is the Kirkstall Brewery itself, a five-minute jaunt away on the 33, 34 or 508. This is Kirkstall’s modern side, an American-style brewery with a lovely outdoor space. Sup on Virtuous or Dissolution IPA at the tap, order up some pizza and you’ve got the perfect end to a perfect day.
Bouncing, browsing and beers in South Leeds
There’s a loads of amazing things to do in south Leeds that you can reach by bus. Kick off your adventure in Leeds by boarding the PR1 from Boar Lane. It’s hard to miss your stop – you’ll be getting off at Elland Road before walking a couple of minutes to Jump Inc. This mega trampoline park brings together slides, wipe out courses and fun for kids of all ages. Yep, that includes grown-ups.
If you can pull yourself away from all that bouncy fun, walk up to Gelderd Road and take the 9 bus towards the White Rose Centre. The premier shopping spot in south Leeds has more than just scores of stores for you to explore – there’s The Escapologist escape rooms (all 7 of them), an 11-screen cinema with reclining seats and stacks of restaurants such as Wagamama and Five Guys.
Given your cards enough damage at this retail mecca? Grab yourself a seat on either the 117, 201 or 202 and head towards the city centre. Jump off on Victoria Road so you can end your day in one of the fine pubs on Water Lane. The Midnight Bell, The Cross Keys and Water Lane Boathouse are all well worth your time – craft beers, ace food and atmosphere to savour. Okay, maybe more than one pub then…
Culture and craft beer in Headingley
Amazing parks, wonderful pubs, great shopping and restaurants galore mean you’ve got plenty of options for a Headingley adventure. First, jump on the number 1, 8, 27 or 56 bus from Woodhouse Lane, to go from Leeds city centre to your first stop, Woodhouse Moor, in around 15 minutes. This is a beautiful city park with 27 hectares of verdant green space, sports courts, statues and even a BMX park.
After you’re done exploring, you definitely deserve a drink. Head back to Woodhouse Lane to catch the 1, 6, 8 or 28 bus to a certified Leeds landmark – The Original Oak. You can get off the bus at St. Michael’s Church, a journey of around five minutes. The always-buzzing Oak has a great range of craft beer and spirits, lots of cosy corners and snugs, and a huge beer garden to make the most of the warmer days.
Suitably refreshed, head back to the St. Michael’s Church bus stop and jump on any of the same buses again. Next up, it’s a visit to Cottage Road Cinema, only a couple of minutes up the road. This wonderfully atmospheric picture house shows both the latest blockbusters in addition to classic and indie flicks. It’s also the oldest cinema in Leeds, dating back to 1912, so you can enjoy a true piece of local history.
Pottery and pizza with the family
Hopping on the bus is a great thing to do with kids in tow – especially with group tickets making it even cheaper to see Leeds at your own pace. You can make a real day of it exploring north Leeds by taking the the 12 bus from Vicar Lane towards Roundhay. After around 15 minutes you can get off in Oakwood for stop one – Jackrabbits Pottery.
This cute ceramics studio will let you and your kids take your pick of their pottery before you get creative by painting it whatever colour and pattern you choose. Whether it’s a money box or a teapot, they’ll then fire it for you to collect at a later date. Once you and your little potters are done, get the number 12 north for a short bus ride to Tropical World.
This is the place to spot meerkats, monkeys and rare frogs, before heading into the Butterfly House for the sensory splendour of over 20 species. There’ll be some hungry tummies by now, so head back to Princes Lane to get the number 2 bus, which will curve round to Street Lane, home of the legendary Flying Pizza – reserve a terrace table among the olive trees and refuel the family with tasty pizza pies.*Travel for one single journey on any First Bus West Yorkshire after 7pm except Park & Ride and school services. Tickets can be bought in multiple amounts. Available every day. Cover image © Copyright Leeds-List 2021 by Max Wailes