Leeds is full of nooks and crannies that hide a multitude of treasures, so no matter how long you’ve lived here, you’re never done exploring.
Even if you’ve lived in Leeds all your life, there’s always something new to discover, with a host of hidden treasures you might not find on your own. From public art tucked away where you’d least expect to it to cafes off the beaten track and intriguing little stalls easily missed in the maze that is Europe’s biggest indoor market – it’s time to start exploring.
1. The Dominio Club
A secret cocktail bar and jazz lounge hidden beneath a hairdressers in Grand Arcade – The Domino Club is one of the city’s newest and best hidden treasures. You’ll have to go through Lords Barbering and head down the back staircase where a speakeasy style bar awaits. It’s brimming with character – think exposed brickwork, cosy booths and neon signs, with a mix of jazz, blues, funk and soul artists on the stage. They excel at cocktails here, but the real star behind the bar is their cost-price whisky.
The Domino Club, Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
2. Tick, Tock, Unlock
You could pass this popular Leeds attraction every day and never know it was there. Tick, Tock, Unlock is an escape game, nestled on the third floor of Kings House, just minutes from the station. Round up your friends and book a slot – you’ll have one hour to escape the room, working together to find and solve the clues that will unlock the door.
Tick, Tock, Unlock, Third Floor, Kings House, 1 King Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HH.
3. Leeds City Varieties
At first glance, Swan Street looks like just another alleyway, but there’s a hidden treasure here that you absolutely have to seek out. Leeds City Varieties is one of the last remaining Victorian Music Halls in the UK – and it has maintained much of its original charm, creating a unique space to catch a show, gig or stand-up performance.
Leeds City Varieties Music Hall, Swan Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LW.
4. The water taxi
Down on the waterfront at Leeds Dock or Granary Wharf, you’re likely to stumble upon a marvellous find – the water taxi. It’s not just a quick and easy way to get from A to B, it also offers a unqiue perspective on the city, giving you the chance to see the waterfront from a new angle.
You can catch the Water Taxi from Leeds Dock or Granary Wharf – look out for the yellow flag.
5. Patrons Project Mural
Northern Monk’s latest Patrons Project in collaboration with CEG is a huge mural on Globe Road. Nomad Clan and Tankpetrol have come together to create a homage to the city’s industrial past. The former is an artistic duo made up of Hayley Garner and Joy Gilleard, and their figure has a very personal significance – ‘Jimmy Boy’ is a portrait of Hayley’s grandfather, a man who once worked in the city’s famous mills. He’s accompanied by pioneering industrialist, John Marshall, created in Tankpetrol’s signature style with a mix of free hand and stencils.
13 Globe Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5QG.
Leeds has plenty of public art for you to discover, but you often have to seek it out. Take Crown, for example, Faith Bebbington’s bright white sculpture is tucked away on Leighton Street. It depicts four figures, each reaching back, chests in the air, fists touching, and is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing ‘Vetruvian Man’.
Nuffield Health, Leeds Hospital, 2 Leighton Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3EB.
7. Leeds Beckett Pocket Beds
The brain child of Feed Leeds and maintained by students at Leeds Beckett University, you’ll find this public herb garden near Dry Dock. It’s got everything from basil and parsley to wild strawberries and even an apple tree, so you can forage for fresh fruit, herbs and veggies for free.
Leeds Beckett Pocket Beds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 3AX.
8. Roxy Lanes
Few bars are as well hidden as Roxy Lanes. This marvellous little venue has made bowling cool again, introducing four full sized lanes into a modern bar venue that brings together four of our favourite things – pizza, craft beer, cocktails and bowling. They even do kids sessions, so you can have a cool day out with the family.
Roxy Lanes, 1st Floor The Podium, Bond Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5BQ.
9. Roland’s beer garden
You’ve likely stumbled upon the bar itself, it is after all, on Call Lane, but Roland’s is hiding a secret – its beer garden. Tucked away outside, is a little slice of heaven, at least on sunny days. By day, you can fill your belly with frizza (deep fried pizza) and beer, while at night the fairy lights come out to make it a magical place for a drink.
Roland’s, 9 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.
If you like your tea, this little cafe-cum-shop, tucked away in Kirkgate Market, is a must-visit. Teapot offers a delectable range of teas, with unusual blends that you might not find elsewhere. They’ve got a fabulous selection of blooming teas, which will come to life in your cup, as well as fruit, herbal and flower-based brews – all of which can be enjoyed at the cafe or taken home.
Teapot, Kirkgate Market, 28-34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
11. The North Bar Stone
Uncovered by the new Victoria Gate development, the North Bar Stone marked the city’s northern boundary (rather than the drinking hole) and has been found on Vicar Lane. It will now be preserved, like the important part of the city’s history it is.
The North Bar Stone, on the old bus station on 104 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
12. The Ivanhoe Clock
The Ivanhoe Clock is an attraction in its own right. Made by William Potts and Sons, it sees characters from Sir Walter Scott’s novel strike the quarter hours, with Robin Hood, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Friar Tuck and Garth the Swineherd all doing the rounds.
Thornton’s Arcade, just off Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LQ.
13. The Arch Cafe
This self-confessed ‘cafe with a social conscience’ is a real find. Once a Charity School, it’s now Grade II Listed and lovely to behold. Even better, it’s run by Age UK, and all profits go directly to the charity, so you can have your cake, and make a difference too. Be sure to try their afternoon tea, it’s absolutely divine.
The Arch Cafe, Mark Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JA.
14. The Mabgate Mural
Tucked away on Mabgate is a mural that’s really quite spectacular. The building, which used to be a stone cutting mill, was redecorated in 1987 by Surmak Products. What makes it particularly special, is the fact that the people in the windows were based on their employees.
Mabgate Cafe, 97 Mabgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 7DR.
Whitelock’s is both a favourite and a hidden treasure. You’ll have to seek it out, it’s tucked away on Turk’s Head Yard, a little alleyway just off Briggate, but once you’ve found it, you’re sure to come back. It’s thought to be one of the oldest pubs in Leeds and prides itself on serving up some of the finest real ales in the city alongside a menu of hearty pub grub. With loads of character and a real old-school vibe, it’s a must-do.
Whitelock’s, 4 Turk’s Head Yard, City Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HB.
16. The Turk’s Head
Whitelock’s lesser known sister venue is just next door – and it’s the opposite of Whitelock’s in every way. The Turk’s Head deals in craft beer rather than ale and small plates rather than loaded plates of hearty grub. They even dabble in cocktail making, using a small, handpicked selection of spirits. The decor is old meets new, with an apothecary theme that makes it stand out on its own.
The Turk’s Head, 4 Turk’s Head Yard, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HB.
17. Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery
Hidden within the University of Leeds campus, Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery is the city’s newest museum. Here you can lay your eyes on some real gems, including a Babylonian clay tablet that dates back to c.2500 BC, the first collected edition of the plays of Shakespeare published in 1623 and the compass used by Bertram Ratcliffe to get back to England during the First World War.
Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, Parkinson Building, Woodhouse Lane, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT.
18. Entrance to the Empire Palace Theatre
The Empire Palace Theatre has long since transformed into luxury store Harvey Nichols, but one remnant of its history still stands. Venture into the Victoria Quarter and you’ll find the old entrance to the theatre on Cross Arcade, with the name still emblazoned on the stonework.
Harvey Nichols, Cross Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AZ.
19. The Lifting Tower
The Lifting Tower was once used to hoist wagons between the viaduct and the ground-level goods yard, when the old Central Station was still in use. It’s now all that remains of the station, and it’s been given pride of place at the heart of Tower Square at Wellington Place.
The Lifting Tower, Wellington Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AJ.
The address says Duncan Street, but if you’ve ever been to Distrikt, you’ll know that the entrance is hidden away down an alley leading off the main street, which makes it a little too easy to miss. But if you venture inside, you’ll be rewarded with delicious tapas, cracking cocktails and world class DJs.
Distrikt, 7 Duncan Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DQ.
21. The Grand Arcade Clock
The Grand Arcade Clock is something to be seen. Another of William Potts and Sons’ incredible creations, you’ll want to time your visit right, because now that it’s working again, you can see the knights strike the hour. Popular with tourists and locals alike, this is something everyone should see at least once.
Grand Arcade, Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
22. The Tiled Hall
The Tiled Hall has always been a hidden treasure, but with Leeds Art Gallery closed until October 2017, it’s even more so. The stunning cafe, with its beautiful tiled walls, remains open, serving up tea, coffee, sandwiches and soups to the adoring masses, with a delicious array of cakes for those of you with a sweet tooth.
The Tiled Hall, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AB.
Another piece of public art worth seeking out, this little fella can be found at Marshall’s Mill. It was inspired by nearby Temple Works, where sheep once grazed on the grassy roof. The reason? It was decked out in grass to help maintain the humidity within and the sheep kept the grass under control, naturally. The piece itself stands at 4 metres high and was made by Leeds-based artist Antonia Stowe.
Marshall’s Mill, Marshall Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 9YJ.
24. The Cantina
Upstairs in The Old Red Bus Station, you’ll find a very special addition to Leeds – The Cantina is Leeds’ first 100% vegan eatery, and it serves up a menu of utterly delicious dishes for the city’s vegetarian diners. For once, vegans have oodles of choice with a trio of burgers alongside small plates like popcorn tofu, quinoa falafel bites and creamy daal.
Cantina at The Old Red Bus Station, 101 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
25. Blind Tyger
It’s easy to miss Blind Tyger. This little pre-prohibition cocktail bar is hidden above Chida Cantina, with just a doorway to mark its presence. Wander up the stairs and you’ll find yourself in an old school drinking den where they serve up a small selection of one-off cocktails made with a homemade syrup and premium spirits.
Blind Tyger, 5A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
26. Poetry on Kirkgate
Next time you’re out shopping on Briggate, fighting your way through the crowds, turn off onto Kirkgate and take in a little art, built into the very ground you’re walking on. You’ll find words carved into Kirkgate’s bricks, making up the poems of local wordsmiths Anthony Dunn and Peter Spafford. How’s that for an injection of culture?
Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6BY.
27. Cha Lounge
Cha Lounge is the perfect little hideaway. Inside, you’ll find a colourful decor contrasted against the building’s beautiful exposed brickwork, with a menu that will make you want to stay for another. It’s a cafe by day, so expect a delicious array of teas, with Indian-fusion food perfect for lazy lunches, while at night it turns into an intimate bar space – look out for their live jazz sessions.
Cha Lounge, 24 Dock Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JF.
28. Sous le Nez
The name, translated, means ‘under the nose’ – and indeed, Sous le Nez is hidden right in plain sight. It’s tucked away in the basement of the ever-impressive Quebec Hotel, but while you’ll have to hunt it out, you won’t be disappointed by what you find. Homemade French food, an exceptional wine list and a quaint restaurant await those who venture within.
Sous le Nez, The Basement, Quebec House, 9 Quebec St, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HA.
29. The old cells under Leeds Town Hall
Everyone should visit the prison cells beneath the Town Hall at least once, whether it’s on their monthly tours or during one of the more creative events they hold there. Leeds International Beer Festival, Cocktails in the City and Sneaky Experience have all made the most of them in the past, creating a unique experience in a stunning landmark.
Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AD.
30. Holbeck Underground Ballroom (HUB)
Home to one of the city’s most-loved theatre companies, Slung Low, HUB (or Holbeck Underground Ballroom if you want to use its full name) is hidden under the city’s famed railway arches. As well as rehearsing their own productions, they offer travelling companies an affordable space to showcase their work, bringing cutting edge shows to Leeds on a pay-as-you-feel basis.
HUB, 67-71 Bath Road, Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 9UA.
A gem of a find, hidden away in the heart of the business district, Wino is a cute, quirky hangout, with hand painted murals on the walls and all manner of vino behind the bar. Their small collection of wine is handpicked by the owners, who are always on hand to help you find your perfect tipple. Alongside the wine, you can also indulge in cheese and meat boards.
Wino, 69 St Paul’s Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2TE.
32. Sheaf Tree
You may well have missed this intriguing work of art – it’s hidden behind Ciao Bella on Dock Street. Inspired by the city’s industrial past, the leaves that peel away from the top of Chris Knight’s sculpture represent the barley used in brewing, while the cutting hints back to the pattern making of the leather industry and the materials speak of the city’s engineering past.
Behind Dock Street, Brewery Wharf, Dock St, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JF.
33. Live Art Bistro
One of the more interesting additions to Leeds over the last few years, Live Art Bistro is a theatre of sorts, but the breadth of work on show here is truly staggering. They specialise in performance art in all its guises, creating a space where artists can rehearse and showcase their work, which means you could see anything from circus acts to visual arts and immersive cinema experiences – it is, however, off the beaten track, so you’ll have to hunt it out.
Live Art Bistro, Regent Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7QA.
34. The Maven
The city’s original secret cocktail bar, The Maven has nothing more than a doorway to mark its presence – but word of this popular Call Lane nightspot has spread nevertheless. Inside, you’ll find an incredible pre-prohibition drinking den, where suited and booted mixologists whip up cocktails for their thirsty patrons. The music is one of the secret highlights here – like the bar, it’s old school, so expect to find yourself dancing.
The Maven, 1-3 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7DH.
35. Leeds Civic Trust Bookshop
Ever wanted to delve into the city’s past? Then you need to hunt out the Leeds Civic Trust Bookshop. To say it’s off the beaten track is an understatement – you’ll find it down by the waterfront, where they’ve filled their petite little unit with books on everything from the architecture to the city’s gory past.
Leeds Civic Trust Bookshop, 17-19 Wharf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EQ.
36. Windows of Leeds
One of the latest additions to Leeds Train Station is Windows of Leeds, an art installation designed to brighten up your commute by showcasing the work of local artists. It’s made up of five massive, 2-metre high letters spelling out Leeds, but as always, it’s what’s inside that counts. They launched with a diverse array of work from Something More, Kristyna Baczynski, Alphabet, Hungry Sandwich Club & Idiot’s Pasture – but you can expect the displays to change and evolve over time.
Leeds Train Station, New Station Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4DY.
37. The Jungle Garden
No one could expect you to find this one on your own – the Jungle Garden is, after all, just someone’s back yard. But what Nick Wilson has created here is so incredible that he’s opened it up to the public through the National Gardens Scheme, a charity that allows you to visit private gardens for a small donation. This one is definitely worth seeing – think multiple levels, jungle plants and a series of boardwalks and bark paths.
The Jungle Garden, 76 Gledhow Wood Avenue, Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 1NX.
It’s easy to believe that Kirkgate Market is full of butchers, greengrocers and fishmongers – and it is. But you’ll also find some rather surprising stalls, like Aryan, a tantalising stall jam-packed with everything from baklava and Turkish delight to olives and stuffed vine leaves. Check it out.
Aryan, Leeds Kirkgate Market, Kirkgate, Leeds, LS2 7HN.
39. The ‘You Are a Rock’ stone
You’ll really have to hunt this one out, but it’s guaranteed to make you smile. It’s a normal paving stone, engraved with the words ‘You Are a Rock’, and was created by Pippa Hale in 2005, in collaboration with David Hawkins and Stuart Tarbuck, as part of a project that saw thirteen texts pop up around the city.
Outside Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AH.
A friendly basement cafe tucked away in the business district, Tribeca is the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch. They’re committed to using top quality, locally-sourced ingredients – and you can taste the difference. Try the scrambled eggs, you won’t believe how good they are, or nip by for a tasty salad box at lunch.
Tribeca Cafe, 2 Park Square East, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2NE.
41. Penny Pocket Park
If it’s green space your after, Penny Pocket Park is the perfect choice. It sits across the road from Leeds Minster, offering beautiful views and a little R&R in one sitting. But that’s not the only reason to visit. Penny Pocket Park also has a few unusual traits – when the railway was built in 1866, measures were taken to maintain the old graveyard, which is why the gravestones slope up to the railway tracks above.
Penny Pocket Park, St Peters House, Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
42. My Thai
My Thai have a habit, it seems, of picking restaurants that are just a little bit off the beaten track. Their first is nestled on the outside of the Merrion Centre on Wade Lane, while their second now lives in a basement restaurant in the business district. Both offer a plethora of Thai dishes, packed with flavour and served up for a bargain price.
43. Guardian Angels
Believe it or not, Leeds General Infirmary is home to some of the most interesting modern sculptures in Leeds. Inspired by ancient myths, Tom Lomax’s Guardian Angels watch over patients and their loved ones – each piece is unique and deserves attention in its own right.
Jubilee Square, Leeds General Infirmary, Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3EX.
44. The Basement Arts Project
This art gallery really is hidden in someone’s basement. It’s the work of local artist and curator Bruce Davies who seeks out the best and most creative artists he can find, and provides a platform for their work. Davies works with them to help develop their artistic practice, by creating a support structure and putting them in touch with other artists who they can share their ideas with. The results are there for all to see.
Basement Arts Project, 26 Burton Terrace, Beeston, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5JH.
45. Headrow House
Little sister to Belgrave Music Hall, Headrow House is another multi-floored venue with a diverse offering. It’s got its own little restaurant on the ground floor – Ox Club has a Grillworks Grill and uses it in new and exciting ways to create a menu of tasty fodder. Alongside that, you’ve got a beer hall, a cocktail bar and two terraces, with a music venue somewhere in the midsts of it all.
Headrow House, Bramley’s Yard, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PU.
46. The Bike Tree
Tucked away behind The Midnight Bell is another hidden gem, this time in the form of The Bike Tree. It’s made of 37 recycled bicycle wheels, looks a lot like a tree (hence the name) and was created in response to 2014’s Tour de France, which kicked off in Leeds.
The Bike Tree, 101 Water Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5QN.
47. Lazy Lounge
You’d be forgiven for missing this one, it’s hidden behind the mammoth Central Square development, but Lazy Lounge is well worth seeking out. They specialise in wine, with a vast array of tipples for you to try, although if you prefer gin, you might well be surprised by the selection on offer.
Lazy Lounge, Unit D, West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds, LS1 4JY.
48. The Hyper Reality Experience
Hidden amongst the shops of Trinity Leeds is a UK first – The Hyper Reality Experience is a virtual reality game that will see you unravelling clues within an imaginary world that you can see, touch and even smell. You’ll work with a team to complete your mission, but you’ll have to be quick, because you only have 15 minutes to do it.
The Hyper Reality Experience, 27 Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5ER.
49. The Leeds Local & Family History Library
This one’s an absolute gem, so we’re always surprised when we hear that folk don’t know about it. Upstairs in Leeds Central Library, they have an entire department dedicated to local and family history, so you can uncover all kinds of intriguing facts about Leeds or hunt down those long lost relatives.
Leeds Central Library, Calverley Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AB.
An art shop with a difference, ArtOfficial is the kind of treasure trove you’ll want to spend time exploring. As well as art supplies, including spray paint, markers and the largest selection of Posca pens in Yorkshire, they sell clothes and the art itself – it is, after all, run by famed street artist Bretski.
ArtOfficial, 28 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DR.
You’ll find this intriguing little sign along the Leeds Liverpool Canal, but don’t expect to be able to read it at first glance, because you can only read it in the reflection. Turn your eyes to the water, where you’ll see the words, “The remains of a wooden icebreaker lie submerged”.
Leeds Liverpool Canal, by Armley Mills.
Standing tall against the backdrop of Kirkgate Market is Cornucopia, a ginormous mural painted by Graeme Willson. You’d be surprised how many people have never noticed it – it did, however, attract attention in 1990, when it was awarded the Leeds Award for Architecture and the Environment.
Cornucopia, 14 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DN
53. The Foundry
Hidden with the criss-crossing paths of the Round Foundry, this rustic little bistro is quite the find. The Foundry prides itself on serving up quality food, bringing classic British dishes to life with locally-sourced ingredients – expect the likes of baked stuffed aubergine and pan fried calves liver, all washed down with something from their impressive wine menu.
The Foundry, 1 Saw Mill Yard, Round Foundry, Water Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WH.
54. The Swine that Dines
The Greedy Pig may be one of the most famous cafes in Leeds, but its alter-ego isn’t as well known. The Swine that Dines is an incredible off-shoot of their daytime offering, and gives them a chance to flex their culinary muscles with a creative supper club that takes place every Friday and Saturday. Expect a nose to tail approach that makes the most of every part of the animal, except on veggie weekends, when it’s roots to shoots.
The Swine That Dines, 58 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
55. Colours May Vary
Off the beaten track is putting it mildly for this indie store, and yet Colours May Vary inevitably wins over its customers, tempting them back again and again. You’ll find it nestled in Munro House, where they sell a hoard of intriguing publications, covering everything from art and photography to design and interiors. Add a fabulous array of stationery and gifts, not to mention regular events, and you’ve got a real hidden treasure.
Colours May Vary, Munro House, Duke Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 8AG.
Some would say that Teppanyaki is in one of the hottest parts of Leeds right now – and they would be right. Yet, it’s tucked away out of sight and that means its easily forgotten. Go against the grain, check it out and you’ll be treated to a show with your dinner, as their expert chefs cook up a storm in front of you, turning dinner into a game you won’t want to miss.
Teppanyaki, Belgrave Hall, Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8DD.
57. Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery
Leeds University probably isn’t the first place you’d look for a gallery, but that’s exactly what you’ll find here. The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery showcases items from the University Art and Special Collections, with everything from paintings to ceramics waiting to be seen. They also tempt in an array of contemporary exhibitions, like Michael Lyons: Freeze Frame, which charted the evolution of his sculpture Lenten Cover.
Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, Parkinson Building, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT.
Moments istucked away on Swinegate, just opposite Malmaison – and trust us when we say that once you’ve tried it, you’ll surely want to go back. Whether it’s the perfectly brewed coffee, the expertly cooked full English (complete with homemade brown sauce) or the scrumptious burgers (handmade with Sykes Farm beef) – there’s a lot to love about this little independent.
Moments, 8 Swinegate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AG.
It’s probably one of the most unlikely locations to find a piece of art in the city, and yet Leeds Train Station is home to not one, but two new pieces of public art. SuperLeeds is the work of illustrator Supermundane, otherwise known as Rob Lowe. It’s made up of 12 glass panels that stretch across a massive 14 metres, with colourful vinyl patterns that look different depending on the angle you view them from.
Leeds Train Station, New Station Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4DY.
It’s a monumental addition to the city, because it marks the beginning of the Kirkgate regeneration, but that’s not the only reason to visit Wapentake. This little cafe, bar and bakery is an absolute delight. Inside it’s all vintage chic, with eclectic furniture and quirky prints on the wall – the menu, however, is something else entirely. We’re talking traditional eats, like loaded Yorkshire puddings and proper crisp sarnies. Yum.
Wapentake, 92 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
61. Cafe Moor
It’s easy to think that Kirkgate Market is just for shopping, but actually, there’s a lot more to be found here – including some incredible eateries, one of which is Cafe Moor. They serve up a menu of North African and Middle Eastern street food, with the likes of shawarma, falafel, baba ganoush and more – not to mention some mighty fine baklava.
Cafe Moor, Kirkgate Market, 34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
62. A Spire
Leeds University is home to a number of pieces of public art, for those of you who are willing to search them out, and one of the most recent is A Spire. It’s the work of artist Simon Fujiwara, who wanted to give a nod to both the city’s past and its future. It’s a chimney, recognising our industrial roots, but it will change and evolve with the years, just like Leeds has.
A Spire, 166 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9HB.
63. The White Rabbit
A little basement bar that’s tucked away in the business district, The White Rabbit is exactly what the name suggests – an eclectic drinking den that’s full of surprises. The decor is cool and retro, with anatomical prints, taxidermy and gig posters all muddled in together. The bar makes a statement with an extensive selection of beer and spirits for you to choose from. They also do food, think pizza, pasta and salad, Italian style.
The White Rabbit, 11 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2DS.
64. Global Tribe
Not only is Global Tribe a marvellous little find on Swan Street, but you’ll also get two for the price of one. Downstairs, their cool, new-age shop, sells crystals, incense and more, while upstairs there’s a lively vegetarian cafe that will be happy to serve you up a tasty lunch, with Indian platters, stew and jerk rice vying for your attention (not to mention all manner of cakes).
Global Tribe, 18 Swan Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LG.
65. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Never heard of Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun? It’s time to change that, as this little known art space puts on a range of exhibitions from their new home on East Parade. They have a project space and a gallery, with an annual programme of events that range from exhibitions by emerging artists to film screenings.
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, 18 East Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2BH.
66. Sheaf Street Cafeteria
One of the more recent additions to Leeds, Sheaf Street Cafeteria is a laid back cafe that lies off the beaten track. The food comes courtesy of Grub & Grog, an indie set-up, famed for their love of creative dishes and ethically, locally sourced ingredients. At night, Sheaf Street Cafe transforms into a laid back bar, where you can hang out with friends while enjoying their handpicked selection of beer, cider and spirits.
Sheaf Street Cafeteria, 3 Sheaf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1HD.
67. Park Square
Park Square is such a find. This beautiful city centre park is well kept, with flowers blossoming from spring through to summer. Right now, it’s got stunning rosebeds, while in the spring, you’ll be treated to daffodils and crocuses – either way, it’s a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, especially on sunny days.
Park Square , Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2LH.
68. 51% Bourbon
If you like your whisky, 51% Bourbon is definitely worth a visit – but it’s not exactly easy to find. Not only is it hidden down an alleyway, but it’s also on the second floor, above Hirst’s Yard. Once inside this old school drinking den, you’ll find yourself absolutely spoilt for choice with a huge array of whiskies for you to work your way through – definitely enough for more than one visit.
51% Bourbon, 11-15 Hirst’s Yard, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NJ.
69. Sociable Folk
If you don’t work at Wellington Place, you may not have stumbled upon Sociable Folk yet. Perched on the edge of Tower Square, it offers up a mix of hot, cold and alcoholic drinks, with tasty nibbles to go alongside them. From superfood salads to bagels and Thai curry, there’s sure to be something you want to tuck into.
Sociable Folk, 10 Wellington Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JP.
70. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
You could pass this towering mural without even realising it was there, but raise your eyes and you’ll be treated to an impressive work of art. It’s the work of EndOfTheLine, and was commissioned by Konami to launch their new game, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Fun fact for you – it’s one of three, with similar works in Liverpool and London.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, White Cloth Gallery, 24 Aire St, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4HT.
71. North Brewing Co.
North Brewing Co. is a hop, skip and a jump (albeit a very long one) away from Merrion Street. You’ll need to plough past The Reliance and The Brunswick, but if you do, you can taste the wares of the new brewery, which comes from the folk behind North Bar and Belgrave. The bar tap is open Fridays and Saturdays, so add it to your bar crawl.
North Brewing Co. Unit 6, Taverners Walk Industrial Estate, Sheepscar Grove, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 1AH.
It’s on one of Leeds’ most popular streets, and yet Fairuz is easy to miss. The Lebanese restaurant is tucked under Fairfax House and promises a down to earth dining experience with a mix of dishes that will sate the appetites of veggies and carnivores alike. From halloumi salads to shishtawok, samak and makdous, it’s time to embrace your adventurous side.
Fairuz, Lower Ground Floor, Fairfax House, Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JU.
73. Bond Court
Bond Court is a wonderfully tranquil square in the heart of the city. It has its own pétanque court, that’s the French version of boules, so why not bring your friends for a game? You can pick up a boules set at Costa Coffee and something tasty to eat at Bottega Milanese, which means you’re all set for an afternoon (or even just a lunch break) in the sun.
Bond Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2JZ.
74. Tiki Hideaway
Nestled above one of Call Lane’s most popular bars is the Tiki Hideaway. It’ll transport you to warmer climes, with a bamboo bar, mood lighting and a selection of tropical cocktails that will have you believing you’re on holiday. This Maori paradise is a must-visit, especially when you’re looking to break from the norm.
Tiki Hideaway, Call Lane Social, 38 Call Lane, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DT.
75. Northern Monk
It may be out of the way, but Northern Monk is worth seeking out. It’s a brewery where they create a selection of old favourites and new brews, but they also have a tap room that boasts twenty draught lines, including ten or so of their own beers, with the rest dedicated to Yorkshire’s finest. You can also choose from a rather impressive range of bottles – and tuck into delicious food too.
Northern Monk Brewery & The Refectory Tap Room, The Old Flax Store, Holbeck Urban Village, LS11 9YJ.
Lorne McKean’s bronze sculpture takes pride of place in City Square. The tarnished metal birds spiral around each other, standing in stark contrast to the ultra-modern building they sit in front of. Although it looks like a flock of birds, it actually depicts one bird’s movements as it flies through the air.
1 City Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2ES.
You’d be surprised how few people know about &Model, and yet this little gallery on East Parade brings a host of local, national and global talent to Leeds. Housed in a three-storey, nineteenth century building, it’s a unique space that allows them to bring in a mix of traditional and modern art, including groundbreaking immersive installations.
&Model, 19 East Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2BH.
Not only is Fabrication one of the only remaining shops in The Light, which is now full of tasty restaurants, but it’s also an absolute treasure trove of handmade finds. They’ve brought together a host of independent designers, all under one roof, so you can pick up everything from notebooks to art.
Fabrication, Unit A20, The Light, Leeds, LS1 8TL.
79. Out of this World
This friendly little fella marks the southern gateway to Quarry Hill. Clambering out of a column of Woodkirk Yorkstone, the painted metal sculpture is the work of London artist Ray Smith, who was commissioned by Leeds City Council in 1995. It’s one of the more intriguing sculptures to adorn Leeds’ streets and one that deserves a double take.
Out of this World, Quarry Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7UP.
80. Le Keux Vintage Salon
Now for something a little bit different. Le Keux is a vintage salon that specialises in the styles of days gone by. Ladies can get a host of stylish dos, from victory rolls to waves and curls, while the fellas will be treated to a proper barber experience. They also do make-up, along with a host of party options, including pin up photo shoots, princess parties and more. You will, however, have to seek them out – they’re tucked away above Cath Kidston on Lands Lane.
Le Keux Vintage Salon, Second Floor(above Cath Kidston), 24b Lands Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LB.
A street food vendor turned permanent Leeds resident, Bangwok prides itself on serving up some of the best Pad Thai in Leeds – but if you want to tuck in, you’ll have to head to a rather unusual location. You see, they’ve made their home under the arches of Sovereign Place – hunt them out and you’ll be rewarded with a delicious street food feast.
Bangwok, Arch 1, Sovereign Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4SP.
82. Spice Corner
You might be more accustomed to buying your herbs and spices from the supermarket, but head into Kirkgate and you’ll find a stall that’s much better for it. Spice Corner import all manner of delicacies from around the world, and you can buy as much, or as little, as you need. Alongside the spices, they also sell fresh produce, like aloe vera.
Kirkgate Market, 28-34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
83. Mans Market
A basement restaurant that offers a new take on Chinese food, Mans Market is a must-visit. Venture down the staircase, which is bedecked in waving cats, to discover a surprisingly modern restaurant. The open kitchen is where the magic happens, as they cook up traditional dishes in new ways – think beef in black bean, served in the shell of a pepper, or a sweet and sour chicken hanging kebab.
Mans Market, Unit F, Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JJ.
84. Chancellor’s Court
One of the early adopters of the public herb garden, the University of Leeds has been supplying Leeds folk with fresh ingredients for years. You’ll find The Sustainable Garden in Chancellor’s Court where they have an edible hedge that includes hazel, blackthorn, blackcurrant, redcurrant, gooseberry and elderberry, as well as vegetables and herbs.
Chancellor’s Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9NH.
85. Bluebird Bakery
In amongst the butchers, greengrocers and fishmongers of Kirkgate Market is a new artisan bakery that you’ll want to seek out. They use time-honoured traditions like long-fermentation and handcrafting to make ‘real bread’ – which means you have a real treat ahead of you. They do everything from white and wholemeal to sourdough, rye and spelt – try their pastries for a tasty alternative, the spinach & chickpea is to die for.
Bluebird Bakery, Kirkgate Market, George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.