Like any big city, Leeds has plenty of surprises for you to discover – so start exploring.
Popular restaurants and big attractions are easy to find, but if you want to truly get to know Leeds, you need to live like a local – and that means hunting out the secrets that only we know about. So today we’re giving all you newbies a chance to discover another side of Leeds, by discovering some of the secrets we’ve uncovered over the years.
The 100% vegan cantina, hidden in a bar
The Cantina is something of a hidden treasure. It’s an all-vegan eatery that’s tucked away in The Old Red Bus Station – and if you were new to the city, you’d never even know it was there. Billy Collins, the man behind street food hit Honest Edibles, has created the menu, giving you a choice of three different burgers, as well as all manner of small plates – how does (veggie) chorizo albondigas, popcorn tofu and pisto frijoles sound?
Cantina at The Old Red Bus Station, 101 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
A rather awesome mural inspired by the city’s past
As part of their Patrons Projects, Northern Monk & CEG have brought in Nomad Clan and Tankpetrol to create a beautiful homage to the city’s industrial heritage. The new mural shows two men – on the right, Tankpetrol’s John Marshall stands tall, while on the left, Nomad Clan have created a personal tribute to artist Hayley’s grandfather, who once worked in the mills. You’ll find the mural on Globe Road, just off Water Lane.
13 Globe Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5QG.
A duo of public herb gardens
Leeds has two public herb gardens, where you can pick up everything from thyme and rosemary to sage, mint and chives. The first is the Leeds Beckett Pocket Beds, which can be found just in front of Dry Dock – but it’s not just herbs here, they also have strawberry plants and even an apple tree. The second is the sustainable garden at University of Leeds, which is tucked away in Chancellor’s Court, which has an edible hedge with hazel, blackthorn, blackcurrant, redcurrant, gooseberry and elderberry, as well as vegetables and herbs.
Leeds Beckett Pocket Beds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AX & Chancellor’s Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9NH.
Our single origin coffee haven
It may be off the beaten track, but when it comes to coffee, it doesn’t get much better than Stage Espresso and Brewbar. This cool-as-heck bar on Great George Street has embraced single origin coffee, and man do they do it well. Our personal favourite is the split shot – you essentially get two drinks in one, because it comes with a shot of espresso and a single shot cortado (espresso with steam milk) – think of it as a deconstructed flat white.
Stage Espresso & Brewbar, 41 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BB.
The boules court tucked away in the business district
A hidden gem, right in the heart of the business district, Bond Court is an attractive space, where you can while away an afternoon playing boules. The space, which has returned to its usual tranquility now that work on the Dakota Hotel has finished, has its own boules court, and you can pick up everything you need to play in nearby La Bottega Milanese.
Bond Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2JZ.
The cocktail lounge inside a hairdressers
The Domino Club is the ultimate hidden cocktail bar. It’s hidden inside a hairdressers in Grand Arcade. You have to pass through Lords Barbering and head down the back stairs, where you’ll find a speakeasy style bar where they serve up cost-price whisky and expertly mixed cocktails to the sounds of live jazz and blues. Later in the evening, the band is replaced by a DJ, taking you into the early hours of the morning.
The Domino Club, Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
Our little slice of green space
Among locals, Park Square is the stuff legends are made of, but if you’re coming in from out of town, you’d never know it was there. Tucked away in the business district, this Georgian Square is surrounded by interesting architecture and quaint townhouses, most of which have now been transformed into offices. On a sunny, weekday lunch, it’s absolutely packed, but head over in the afternoon, on an evening or even over the weekend to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
Park Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2LH.