Whether you have lived here all your life, you’re a fresher who has moved away from home, or just the occasional visitor to this fantastic city, Leeds has a lot to offer that you may not even be aware of. This city might seem to be all hustle and bustle all the time, but I can guarantee you that there are a few special, secret spots hidden in and around the chaos that can offer you an escape. I fell in love with Leeds the first time that I visited, motivating me to move here for university – a decision I am full-heartedly grateful I made. So whether you’re looking for something new, or have been searching with something more specific in mind, have a browse through my personal selection of the city’s best hidden gems that I hope will ignite an interest in you to give them a visit!
For the nature lovers…
Location: 5 minute walk from Leeds University
This scenic public park is famous for hosting the annual Bonfire Night fireworks as well as a fairground that usually makes an appearance once or twice throughout the year. It is a beautiful area to go for a run, walk the dogs and, if the weather is nice enough, even to have a picnic. During the summer this park is a regular spot for student barbeques and bike riding couples. With gorgeous views all year round, I would definitely recommend a walk in the park. For those looking for a little more action, there are basketball courts and tennis courts located at either end!
Location: 10 minute drive outside of the City Centre
This enchanting natural space is one of the biggest city parks in Europe and is visited by thousands of people every month. It offers tranquil views of the lake, an arena for open-air concerts, a golf course and the must-see Tropical World with a huge variety of animals and plants that you can visit. Not only would this be a great day out for the family but it would be a fun trip with friends as well.
For those with a sweet tooth…
Location: Down the side road next to Primark on the Headrow in the city centre.
If you’re ever craving a crepe or a nice dessert to top off an excellent meal, then this is the right place for you. This coffee lounge not only offers a large variety of hot and cold drinks, including smoothies and milkshakes, it also has cakes and fresh waffles for those looking for something more filling. Open Monday – Saturday until 8pm I would urge all dessert lovers to pop in and visit!
Location: City Centre, opposite HMV near The Core
Chocolate! That is the only word needed to convince you to visit this gem of a café. With their handpicked selection of Belgian chocolates priced at around 50p each, I don’t know how anyone could say no. From dark chocolate to chocolate with orange, the choice is yours. This place is a great alternative to your standard Costa or Starbucks serving great quality hot drinks and snacks.
Sometimes it is just too cold, rainy or snowy to venture outside the comfort and warmth of your own home. So I’m letting you in on the best kept secret in Leeds. Get Baked allows you to order online and will deliver your desserts to your door! Open until late at night, this is the perfect reason to feel lazy and splurge out on some yummy treats when you need that late night sweet fix.
For the artsy type…
Leeds Art Gallery
Location: next to Leeds Town Hall, City Centre
Right in the heart of the city, this building is not only beautiful on the outside, but the exhibitions and artwork inside are just as great. Whether you are a modern art expert or not, this is a wonderful place to walk around and get lost in. With a children’s art area (not just fun for children), a gift shop, and a cute café, there is something for everyone. I would definitely recommend a visit for anyone staying in the area, especially if you’re on a budget because its free entry!
The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery
Location: inside Parkinson Building, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane.
With different exhibitions being held here throughout the year, there is bound to be something that catches your eye. For those interested in international art, the next exhibition to be held here focuses on the 50th anniversary of East Asian Studies at the university. This is a nice spot for a quiet afternoon if you want to just surround yourself with some fantastic art pieces.
For the tea addicts…
Pickard’s Tea Room
Location: opposite the steps of the Parkinson Building.
Despite being set amongst a row of takeaways, sandwich bars and newsagents, this cute little tea place is perfect for a cosy cuppa on a cold winter’s day. Served in traditional English china, this little tea room offers both classic and unique flavoured teas, as well as serving original freshly made sandwiches.
So that concludes my personal selection of secret spots that I have found over the past year while living in Leeds as a student. I hope that some of you give them a try and you might be surprised! Leeds is a great city no matter what it is that you’re interested in. It has something to offer for everyone, so you might just need to go out and discover!
1. My own
2. A friend