Whether you’re venturing out to discover new places, or you’re commuting around the area you have lived in for your whole life, often, travelling by bus can introduce you to some of the hidden gems dotted around that may have otherwise gone undiscovered.

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on one of Leeds’ bus routes which connects the north of the city, to the heart of the centre. The number 6 First Bus route is ideal for exploring the lesser-known hidden gems tucked away, just a little off the beaten track. And here, we’ll be giving you a guided tour of some of our favourite hidden gems on the number 6 bus route, and giving you the full insight into where to get off and what you’ll find there. 

And what’s better? You can make this road trip a real bargain. Using First bus’ aptly named ‘Taste of Freedom’ ticket, you and 4 others can enjoy unlimited travel across Leeds for the whole day. Check out the First Taste of Freedom ticket here!

So, without further ado, let’s hit the road once again!

Bus stop: Holt Park

A steady but scenic 25 minute from Holt Park bus stop, you’ll find the breathtaking York Gate Garden; a magical one-acre garden created by the Spencer family between 1951 and 1994. Frederick and Sybil Spencer along with their son Robin, laid out and nurtured what is now one of the finest small gardens in the country. In accordance with Sybil’s wishes, on her death in 1994, York Gate was given to Perennial. York Gate has been granted Grade II national heritage status in a list of post-war gardens and landscapes for England. They now have eight full time staff and over 100 volunteers that look after the garden and visitors. 

As well as the garden itself, York Gate Garden also plays host to a cafe and plant nursery/gift shop. 

Back Church Ln, Adel, Leeds LS16 8DW

Bus stop: Weetwood Lane

The Hollies – You’ll find The Hollies park on the west bank of Meanwood Beck, between Weetwood Mill Lane and Leeds Outer Ring Road.  The main entrance is on Weetwood Lane, however,  there is also access from Meanwood Park (over the Beck) and from the Ring Road. The Hollies is much loved by local residents, and is discovered by students year after year; the park has stunning natural woodland. There are towering beech and oak trees and willow and alder hang over Meanwood Beck. Fern lined, terraced paths with stone steps covered in moss and lichen wind their way through the woods. 

The southern half of the park is a woodland garden, with numerous springs and pathways, and extensive collections of rhododendrons and azaleas, which make an impressive display in May. Here, you can also find the National Plant Collections of Philadelphus and Deutzia, and several tennis courts. It is widely rumoured that J.R.R. Tolkien spent time here and it may have inspired his vision of Middle Earth.

Bardon Grange Lodge, 103 Weetwood Ln, Weetwood, Leeds LS16 5PA

Bare Coffee – Residing on Weetwood Lane, Bare Coffee can often be overlooked due to the popular array of coffee shops and cafes which sit in front, on Otley Road. Bare Coffee is a successful combination of cafe, greengrocers, and bakery. The sheer size of the cafe makes customers feel as though they have come across a real hidden gem. 

Weetwood Ln, Headingley, Leeds LS16 5LX

Cottage Road Cinema – Cottage Road Cinema, which lies hidden on Cottage Road just off the main stretch of Otley Road, is argued to be one of the oldest cinemas in the country, having been continuously showing films since 1912. This independent cinema was formerly known as ‘The Headingley Picture House’, and was not originally purpose-built, and instead, the building began life as a motor garage and motor assembly shop. During the 1900’s, a Leeds local named Owen Brooks took over the garage from the previous owner, and as well as his interest in the vehicles, Owen was also a pioneering film-lover and cameraman. The cinema went on for many successful years before being passed on to another willing pair of hands. Now, the cinema remains an integral part of Headingley Far’s identity and is, and will be for a long time, a cherished and iconic venue in Leeds. 

Cottage Road Cinema, Cottage Rd, Leeds LS6 4DD

Bus stop: Headingley Arndale

HEART – Hop off at Headingley Arndale bus stop and head to HEART; a community venture set up by the Headingley Development Trust in 2011. Located in the old Headingley Primary School in the middle of Headingley, it is run by the community for the community. It provides a vibrant and welcoming space for a wide range of people to meet, mix, work and play. Heart offers rooms for hire, a lively events programme, a business start-up working space (Pulse), exhibition spaces for local artists, and supporting all these, the busy HEART Cafe. You can grab yourself a coffee and a bite to eat whilst supporting a truly brilliant ethos! 

Headingley Enterprise & Arts Centre, Bennett Rd, Headingley, Leeds LS6 3HN

Bus stop: Hyde Park Corner

Leeds Refills – Leeds Refills joined the row of independents on Albion Street, Hyde Park Corner, in April this year. Owner Ian, decided to open the shop using money from an inheritance, he said felt like the money he inherited wasn’t really his, and so decided to put it to good use by opening a waste-free shop.  Ian is passionate about the refill shop becoming a hub for the community, and is keen to work with Leeds’ universities, colleges etc about regularly running litter-picking sessions and other activities to help Hyde Park, and wider Leeds take steps to becoming greener, and more environmentally friendly. Here, you’ll be able to stock-up on all of your household essentials for cleaning, cooking, self-care, and more! 

Headingley Enterprise & Arts Centre, Bennett Rd, Headingley, Leeds LS6 3HN