Hidden gems in Leeds

The best hidden gems in Leeds might be a little harder to spot than you think. You might walk past them each day without realising it — or you might not even know that there is anything worth seeing at all! Nowadays, it's hard to keep up with all the cool places around. They're popping up everywhere and new ones are appearing every month. But where can you find them? From hidden bars to historic architecture, this blog will help you find the cream of the crop!


Whitelock’s is a 1715 pub tucked away in a narrow alleyway just off Briggate high street, which offers cask ale and beer battered haddock and chunky chips. With its traditional pub interior and quaint courtyard, this pub is a stark contract to the modern high street it is part of. If it wasn’t for marketing or word of mouth, you would most definitely walk by this hidden treasure!

The Ivanhoe Clock

If you’re a Leeds local, you will most likely have walked through Thornton’s Arcade countless times, however how many times have you looked up? The Ivanhoe Clock was built in 1877 and features wooden life size characters from Robin Hood, Richard the Lion-Heart, Friar Tuck and Gurth the Swineherd. When the quarter hours strike, each character moves before your eyes.

The Leeds Town hall organ

Leeds Town hall itself is a prominent building within the city centre, however how many times have you been inside? In the basement, lies the 12 meter high and 12 meter wide organ, first played in 1858 when the building was first opened. In more recent times, the organ is played by leading organists from around the world, and has also been a part of Leeds International Concert Season, Leeds International Film Festival and Leeds Light Night.

The Tetley

Looking for something to do on a rainy day? The Tetley is a contemporary art gallery in South Bank, along with a café, bar and kitchen. Formerly the Tetley Brewery, the space is home to emerging artists, free exhibitions and a place to help communities and young people. You can also find creative workshops and courses to join to enhance your skills and meet new people.

Abbey House Museum

If you’re into your history, you’ll love stepping back in time to wander through the mock Victoria streets and peer in the shops and houses in this interactive and immersive Victorian museum. Abbey House Museum is situated directly across the road from Kirkstall Abbey, so why not spend the morning in the museum walking down memory lane, then get some fresh air around the Abbey grounds in the afternoon.

Leeds is a city rich with culture and hidden gems when you know where to look, so throw yourself into the New Year and keep your ears to the ground for the ever-growing list of hidden gems.

Published on: 13 Jan 2023