Head to Otley in search of cosy cafes, a plethora of pubs and a great independent shopping scene.
Tucked away in the Wharfe Valley north of Leeds, Otley is home to a lot more than its famous Chevin, the picturesque ridge that rises above this pretty market town. It’s a place known for its fairs, its place in history and its vibrant market place. Oh, and any number of pubs – quite possibly too many to count. It’s also at the end of one of the most scenic bus routes in the city, so jump on the X84 and discover a most lovely suburb…
One of the wonders of Patisserie Viennoise is that you can see the patissiers at work through the windows on Westgate. Watch as wondrous wedding cakes come to life, then enter the door to the tiny shop on the right. Inside, you’ll be tempted by handmade chocolates, fresh cream cakes and even their very own ice cream – the Turkish delight flavour is sensational. It’s the perfect place for everything from wedding favours to Christmas gifts.
Patisserie Viennoise, 32-34 Westgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AS.
The Curious Hop
Wander down the narrow but always fascinating New Market and you’ll find The Curious Hop, one of the best bottle shops in Leeds. Run by Marcus Garcia, it’s a treasure trove of curated beers from around the globe, with popular names sharing shelf space with rarer bottles. You can get a growler filled up here, and they also do a mean line in charcuterie and cheese – a whole Tunworth, perhaps? It’s perfect for pairing with a bottle of something special.
The Curious Hop, 18 New Market, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AE.
The Old Cock
A warning to tall people – step into The Old Cock, as you certainly should, and you’ll have to watch your head. This old stone building might have low ceilings, but that just enhances the cosy charm, especially in the colder months when the log-burner is crackling away. It’s full of friendly locals, walkers who’ve descended from the Chevin for a restorative pint and those who know that this is one of the best beer pubs anywhere near Leeds.
The Old Cock, 11-13 Crossgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1AA.
Coffee, wine, charcuterie, cheese – Fare really knows how to speak the language we all love. From the good people behind Boss Burgers, Fare is a deceptively simple place, which trades showiness for expert knowledge. In other words, the cheeses here don’t come out of a tube – the Baron Bigod brie is worth the journey alone – the brews are proper and the wines are wonderfully selected. Drop in for a bit, or book in for one of their expert tasting nights.
Fare, Unit 13, Orchard Gate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3NX.
Sift Cafe & Bakery
This vegetarian and vegan cafe is a real comfort blanket of a place. You’re met by a quirky mix of seating – if it looks full, don’t worry, there’s more room upstairs – and a tempting array of home bakes. The coffee is the real deal, as are the brunch and lunch dishes that run from classics such as avocado toast and a grilled cheese, to a wonderful peanut butter and jam toast. The cakes are a delight, with all manner of gluten-free goodness thrown in.
Sift Cafe & Bakery, 11 Manor Square, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AP.
The Junction Inn
Arrive from Leeds on the bus and The Junction is the first pub that greets you. To be fair, you may not get any further into the town if you stop here. All wood, stone and low ceilings, it’s dripping in charm and with a bar that’s well stocked in your staple drinks as well as some unusual craft ales. Head to the back for a game of darts, warm yourself by the open fire in winter and enjoy the live acts that are a regular fix of the calendar at this beloved local boozer.
The Junction Inn, 44 Bondgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1AD.
Spread over two floors, The Rookery combines a cosy bar at ground level with a gig space up the wooden stairs. There’s a hidden beer garden for when the sun peeks out, Black Sheep cask ale behind the bar and some excellent cocktails with which to see the night away. The owner Greg is well connected in the music industry, so expect regular shows from the likes of The Dunwells, Mark Morris from The Bluetones and more.
The Rookery Bar & Venue, 12 Kirkgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3HJ.
The Bookshop on the Square
Over the last few years, The Bookshop on the Square has been transformed from a pretty anonymous place for discount books, into a charming shop with real character. As well as a great range of classics and the latest bestsellers, there’s also a curated selection of local authors and books about God’s Own County, aimed at the many visitors to this part of the region. Throw in prints, gifts and a great collection for children and it’s hard to leave without buying.
The Bookshop on the Square, 28 Market Place, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AQ.
Wander past Bondgate Bakery in the wee hours and you can smell the magic at work. The wonders they create in the dark fly out of the shop in the day, with a magical array of breads, cakes, homemade quiches and more. You can grab a healthy salad if you’re being virtuous, but why step into a bakery if you’re not going to take home a sausage roll or a slice of perfect Yorkshire curd tart? Additive and chemical-free, this is the perfect community bakery.
Bondgate Bakery, 30 Bondgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1AD.
Head through an archway on Westgate and you’ll discover Courtyard Planters, a verdant paradise of plants, flowers and everything the green-fingered person could possibly need. They’ve got everything from shrubs to bedding plants, hanging baskets to seed potatoes and, if you feel your gardening skills need a polish, they run a range of classes that cover everything from the basics through to flower arranging.
Courtyard Planters, 9 Westgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AT.
Just a few doors up from The Curious Hop, Chez Vin is an independent wine shop run by the friendly David Lawson. It’s an Aladdin’s cave for oenophiles inside, with a judicious selection of bottles, all hand-selected. Whether it’s a red for night in front of the telly or something a bit special, you can get sage advice on what to go for. There’s a great gin and spirit selection too, with support for plenty of local producers.
Chez Vin, 24 New Market, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AE.
North Bar Social
North Bar Social is a slice of craft beer heaven in Otley. It’s incredibly friendly too, decorated with vintage furniture across a small downstairs bar and an equally snug room upstairs. There are even benches and tables outside, perfect for al fresco drinks. As you’d expect, they serve a great range of North’s own beers on offer, plus an ever-shifting range of guests. It’s a dog-lover’s delight too, with many a regular dragging their pooch in on the way back from a walk.
North Bar Social, 8-10 Bondgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AB.
Otley is spoiled for butchers, and there’s a hot competition for the best pork pie in town. Is it the one offered by Middlemiss across the square, or do the queues outside Weegmanns at lunchtime tell their own story? Make your own mind up by trying both, while also picking up a great range of meats, prepared cuts and deli-counter deliciousness such as dripping and potted beef. If a pork pie isn’t your thing, Weegmanns do stacked roast meat sandwiches as well.
Weegmanns Butchers, 6 Market Place, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AQ.
Like Nana Did
Like Nana Did is a refill and reuse shop that is championing sustainable shopping in Otley. Bring in your containers and fill up on flour, pasta, spices and more, or get your empty oil bottles refilled, all cutting down on waste. They have everything from coffee beans to pet food, Le Puy lentils to toilet roll. You can even get sustainable straws, household goods and gifts, and they can provide containers if you don’t have your own.
Like Nana Did, 14 Orchard Gate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3NX.
The Art Works
If you’ve got a picture or print that needs framing, look no further than The Art Works. The problem is, you probably won’t be able to leave without buying another print, or a card, or something else that champions local artists and artisans. It’s that kind of place. The custom and bespoke framing they offer is excellent, which is why they have numerous corporate clients and why Olympians such as the Brownlee brothers head here to get their memorabilia framed.
The Art Works, Courthouse Street, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AN.
The Underground Bakery
Prepare to drool over the deliciousness because The Underground Bakery has unveiled its baked genius to the people of Otley – who have responded by queueing out of the door. Everything from cruffin to croissant is freshly baked, and the sourdough is superlative. Don’t miss the Marmite rolls which fly out, or sweet treats such as a blood orange meringue tart. Throw in great breakfast sandwiches and you’ll be joining the queue too.
The Underground Bakery, 10-10A Boroughgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AL.
Nostalgia Tea Rooms
Tucked away in Bay Horse Court, Nostalgia certainly lives up to its name. Tables are properly dressed with stiff linen, gilt frames line the wall and there’s a seemingly endless selection of fine China both for sipping tea out of and for sale. The tea service is perfect, as are the cakes, sandwiches and homemade soups. Grab a table outside and watch the bustle of life in this quaint corner of Otley while you enjoy sweet treats galore.
Nostalgia Tea Rooms, 7 Bay Horse Court, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1SB.
Combine a cuppa at Nostalgia Tearooms with a browse and a rummage in this cornucopia of vintage wonders. It might be petite, but there are treasure to be uncovered at Vintage Squirrel, with everything from China tea sets to crystal decanters, steampunk gadgets, lace, glassware and more. Prices are more than fair, making this the place to find something from the past that’s truly unique, such as a John Dyson cutlery set manufactured in Leeds.
Vintage Squirrel, 7 Bay Horse Court, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1BQ.
Long a local favourite, Buon Apps has gone from strength to strength since relocating to its current riverside home. The outdoor terrace is the perfect place to be on a sunny day, while the addition of a deli means you can get some wonderful Italian grub to take home. The restaurant still does all the Italian classics with aplomb, while specials such as hake fillet with guanciale ham and the vegan wellington show they’ve got tricks up their sleeve too.
Buon Apps River Lounge & Italian Restaurant, Hartley House, 50 Mill Lane, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1FE.
Origin Fine Foods
Jenni Weaver’s shop is her second venture, the first being the sister shop in Clayton, Bradford. It takes the same approach – this is all about showcasing the range and quality of Yorkshire produce, from artisan gins through to biscuits, crisps, preserves and even locally roasted coffee. Dip in for a one-off treat, or ask them to put together the perfect gift hamper for you, full of cheese, chocolate, Henderson’s relish and other life-affirming essentials.
Origin Fine Foods, 11 Market Street, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AF.
Tapas & Tunes
Delivering exactly what is says on the tin, Tapas & Tunes offers the taste of Iberia downstairs, with a lively music spot upstairs. In doing so, it has plugged a couple of gaps in the Otley scene, making it a great place for a whole night out. Dine on top tapas – punchy pimientos de padron are highly recommended – and perfect pinxtos, then head upstairs to see a local band, open mic nights or tribute acts. Boquerones and banging music? Sounds like a plan!
Tapas and Tunes, 50 Kirkgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3HJ.
The ideal of a local deli, S&B tempts you inside with a window display bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s only half the story. Inside, you can get everything from freshly-squeezed orange juice to frozen pizza dough, antipasto boards to freshly-baked bread. They’ve got a solid gluten-free range, Mexican snacks and a fresh deli counter packed with well-chosen cheeses, olives and everything else you could need for an Otley picnic.
S&B Deli, 14 Boroughgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AL.
Who would have thought that a cafe run by Terrorvision lead singer Tony Wright would be so lovely? Tony isn’t just the owner here, but is regularly behind the counter serving up sandwiches, top notch coffee and cakes, while there’s also lots of letterpress and woodcut gifts to take away. This former coach house is also home to great regular music events, with Tony himself often playing along. Recent guests have included the stellar Johanna Warren.
Bloomfield Square, 28-30 Gay Lane, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1BR.
Lined with pretty chocolate-box houses, Wharfemeadows Park is one of the prettiest places to pootle in all of Leeds, never mind Otley. There are landscaped gardens to one side, the river to the other, with swans and ducks splashing around. You can join them with a boat ride, or wander further down the river, past the dramatic weir, for a waterside walk, play park and the Riverside Cafe, offering snacks and ice creams.
Wharfemeadows Park, 1 Farnley Lane, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 2AB.
A converted 19th-century magistrate court – complete with cells – Otley Courthouse opened in 2004 as an arts centre, since when it has been a key part of the town’s cultural life. A comprehensive, diverse program of events covers everything from comedians to film screenings, music and lunchtime recitals. It hosts events such as Otley Science Festival, and draws names such as Rob Newman, Henry Normal and Robin Ince.
Otley Courthouse, Courthouse Street, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AN.
A Casa di Alessia
With a kitchen overseen by the oh-so-Italian Alessia herself, A Casa di Alessia is a friendly and informal eatery where Roman pizza is the main event. The menu changes regularly, but expect to find the likes of spicy salami with pecorino and wild mushrooms, an addictive spicy broccoli and Italian sausage or the veggie artichoke with tomatoes and olives. There are also soothing pasta dishes, awesome arancini, excellent coffee and a mouthwatering range of Italian desserts.
A Casa di Alessia, 5 Orchard Gate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3NX.
The Horse & Farrier
The Horse and Farrier has managed to retain the stone-built charm of its former incarnation – The Three Horseshoes – but has added craft beer and a handful of en-suite bedrooms should you wish to stay the night. After an evening working your way through their cask and keg offerings, that might be advisable. It’s family and dog-friendly, with a cracking Sunday roast best enjoyed on a comfy leather sofa with a pint and the papers.
The Horse & Farrier, 7 Bridge Street, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1BQ.
Up the hill on the way out of Otley, The Roebuck is well worth the diversion from the town centre. Inside it’s all wooden beams, wooden floors and wooden chairs, a roaring fire and the smell of something good coming from the kitchen. They’ll pull you a pint of Black Sheep or something from Saltaire Brewery to enjoy while you wait for one of their justly celebrated pies. The slow-cooked steak and real ale pie is a winner, but there’s not a duff choice on the menu.
The Roebuck, 1 Roebuck Lane, Newall with Clifton, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 2EY.
Get the bus to Otley from just £2
In the midst of a cost of living crisis, we’re all looking for ways to save money, so why not swap the car for the bus? The trip to Otley could be cheaper than you think – and if you’re wondering what bus to catch, it’s the 33, 34 or x84 from Leeds city centre.
- Get a FirstSingle ticket to use on any First Bus in West Yorkshire for £2 on the app
- Pick up a FirstDay for £4.50 and get unlimited travel across West Yorkshire
- Buy tickets and plan your journey on-the-go with the First Bus app