Indies, Unexpected Finds & an Old School Cinema – The Best Bits of Headingley

· Andrew Porter-Emery · Culture

Headingley is one of Leeds best suburbs – and here's exactly why.

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Long a thriving part of our great city, Headingley is a suburb with so much to offer both residents and visitors. Just minutes from the city centre, it’s a buzzing area packed with great restaurants, independent cafes and bars, shops and culture galore. It’s also home to the city’s most legendary pub crawl – you know the one. It doesn’t stand still either, with plenty of new faces and places since you last went, so hop on the bus and see what’s going on.

Cottage Road Cinema

cottage road cinema

Leeds’ oldest cinema has been packing them in since it opened as Headingley Picture House back in 1912. As a result, it has been a key cultural part of many lives in this part of Leeds, and is fondly regarded by those who’ve been there, whether as children, students or grown-ups. It’s a family friendly place, with a repertoire of blockbusters, Indies and children’s movies. Buy a ticket, grab an ice cream and sit back in a throwback piece Headingley history.

Cottage Road Cinema, Cottage Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4DD.


Salvo's, Leeds

40 years strong, Salvo’s is still turning tables and delighting diners with superior Italian food. This family-run gem could pack them in just delivering the Italian trattoria classics, but they take care to change up their menu, offering regular regional menus, while the ingredients are all carefully sourced and wholly authentic. Come for pasta, pizza or something a little more ambitious and you’ll go home happy.

Salvo’s Restaurant, 111-115 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3PX.

The Vinyl Whistle

The Vinyl Whistle

Former Premier League referee Jon Moss traded blowing whistles for flipping vinyl at his Headingley record shop. He sells a brilliant mixture of new and second-hand releases, and it’s a great place to pick up all the Record Store Day releases every year. It’s more than a shop though – they host in-store performances, serve beer and coffee and host an ‘open decks’ night every Wednesday, so you can have a drink, a dance and a bit of a DJ.

The Vinyl Whistle, 12 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AB.

The Otley Run

Otley Run

The legendary Otley Run goes nowhere near the town it shares a name with – instead it’s based on Otley Road in Headingley, leading you from Woodie’s Ale House down to The Dry Dock in Leeds city centre. On the way, you’ll have to grab a drink in over a dozen pubs and bars to truly complete the run, ideally in fancy dress. It’s also a great spectator sport – go out in Headingley on a Saturday night and you’ll spot dozens of runners who couldn’t handle the pace.

The Otley Run begins at Woodie’s Ale House, 104 Otley Road, Far Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5JG.


Arcadia Headingley

© Copyright Leeds-List 2022 by Katie Nicole

If you’re in the mood for cracking craft beer and some respite from the Otley Run crowds, dip in to Arcadia. They don’t take part in the infamous pub crawl, instead focussing on serving up an ever-changing range of ales, with half a dozen cask and 10 keg lines on the go, as well as fridges heaving with beer from all around the world. Work your way through a few of them on a Monday night, when their excellent quiz kicks off at 8pm.

Arcadia, 34 Arndale Centre, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2UE.

Headingley Stadium

headingly stadium

While some sporting grounds are in the middle of nowhere, Headingley Stadium feels like a real part of the community. Walk the streets of the suburb and, if there’s sport on at either the cricket or rugby ground, you’ll be able to hear the cheers and spot the fans. Whether you want to see the Leeds Rhinos playing rugby league, Yorkshire CC playing cricket or if England are in town for a test or one-dayer, a day at Headingley is a rite of passage for all sports lovers.

Headingley Stadium, St Michael’s Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3BR.

A wealth of charity shops

Oxfam Charity Shop in Headingley

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Bargain hunters rejoice – Headingley is home to a raft of excellent charity shops. Whether you’re in the market for some pre-loved clobber, vintage records or CDs, knick-knacks, homeware, furniture or books, you’ll find it all at Mind, Martin House, British Heart Foundation and two branches of Oxfam. You’ll be able to grab a bargain while doing good for local causes, and if you’re having a clear-out, they’re all happy to take your donations as well.

Oxfam, 13-15 and 45-47 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AB; Martin House, 5 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AA and British Heart Foundation, 28 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2UE.


Manahatta Headingley

With a plush, luxe interior, Manahatta is a great place for a glamorous night out in Headingley. Put on your glad rags and you can party the night away in this American-inspired bar and club with a bit of an art deco vibe. They host lots of events throughout the week, with specials such as £2 drinks on Tuesdays and 2-4-1 cocktails from Sunday to Friday. The bottomless brunch is a banger too, with prosecco and spritzes to wash down hot dogs and fiery fried chicken.

Manahatta, 19 Ash Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3JJ.

The Original Oak

The Original Oak, Headingley

The Original Oak is a landmark pub in Headingley. Inside, there’s a two-sided bar with a warren of little nooks to set up your stall in. But it’s what’s outside that really draws the crowds. The huge beer garden is more like a mini park, and it’s heaving with people on sunny days, or when England are playing cricket at Headingley. Grab a pint of Sharp’s Doom Bar or Beavertown Gamma Ray, order up a sourdough pizza and grab a bench in the sunshine.

The Original Oak, 2 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2DG.

Fika North

Fika North Brunch

Take life at a more glacial pace by spending some time at Fika North in Far Headingley. They’ve taken a page out of the Scandi-cafe manual here, so you can take a pause from the stresses of life with world-class coffee, perhaps a cocktail, even a craft beer. There’s fresh patisserie and truly wonderful bagels. Smoked salmon and cream cheese is a classic done perfectly, but how about nduja and avocado or spicy sriracha prawns?

Fika North, 94 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4BA.

Heaney & Mill

Heaney & Mill

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It’s worth a visit to Headingley just to dine at Heaney & Mill, the quintessential neighbourhood eatery. They do brilliant breakfasts – the Eggs Benedict are exemplary, the loaded pancakes a thing of joy – superb Sunday lunch and then, every evening, dinners that are ideal for date night, a treat or a casual evening with friends. The steaks are served how you like, with rich sauces you’ll want to dredge your crispy fries through, the pizzas are an exercise in foodie delight.

Heaney and Mill, 48 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AL.

Headingley Community Orchard

Apples in Orchard

The Headingley Community Orchard was set up by local residents in 2012 to create a number of orchards to benefit the people of Headingley. There are sites at St. Chad’s, Woodhouse Ridge and Shire Oak Primary School, with volunteers tending to the site, pruning the trees and organising events such as ‘Apple Day’, where the harvest is juiced. They’ve recently helped to plant Japanese cherry trees to add cherry blossom and fruit near the War Memorial.

You’ll find Headingley Community Orchard sites across the area.

De Baga

De Baga

Credit: Reza Gorji Hassani

De Baga’s Headingley outpost has a different menu to their Chapel Allerton branch, but it’s equally delicious – elevated Indian fare that’ll have you coming back time and time again. Arrive hungry, as you’ll want to order up a whole heap of fragrant joy, perhaps starting with the Mankios Fry, squid golden fried, seasoned with chaat masala and utterly delicious. The Lamb Xacuti is the the pick of the mains, but there’s not a duff dish to be found on the menu.

De Baga, 9 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AA.

Trad Collective

Trad Collective

Credit: Trad Collective

Trad Collective is all about promoting sustainable fashion, up-cycled garments which you can buy in their Headingley shop. They’re accompanied on the shelves with hand-selected, pre-loved clothes, with an emphasis on recycled materials, as well as jewellery. Got something in your wardrobe you love that needs fixing? They also have a tailoring service where you can get alterations done, such as seams being taken in, zip replacements and more.

Trad Collective, 4 Headingley Central, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2UE.

The Cat’s Pyjamas

The Cats Pyjamas Headingley

The home of Indian street food in Headingley, The Cat’s Pyjamas has a deceptively simple combo – fresh, well-spiced food combined with craft beer. Grab a pint of something craft to quench your thirst as you work your way through Mushroom Pakora in a crisp chickpea batter, warming Railway Potato Curry and plenty of great tandoori meat. The Yorkshire cheese naan is a must-have side, while the relaxed, sociable vibe makes the evening fly by.

The Cat’s Pyjamas, 53 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AB.

HEART Centre

HEART, Headingley

Credit: Sun Cliff Media

The Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre is a community-focussed organisation that has taken an old, disused primary school and turned it into a hub for local people. There’s a cafe inside, groups and classes, film screenings – including film and food events – as well as art exhibitions and The Green Yard, an independent plant shop. It has an affordable shared workspace called Pulse, plus room hire, all within an eco-friendly community building.

HEART Centre, Bennett Road, Headingley, West Yorkshire, Leeds, LS6 3HN.

Jino’s Thai Cafe

Jino's Thai

Jino’s Thai Cafe has got better and better since it moved to its North Lane home, although the basics of the menu haven’t really changed for years. Start off with crispy spring rolls or tiger prawns encased in batter, perfect for dipping. There are Thai salads with real zing, curries full of aromatic notes and truly addictive chicken wings. You can bring your own drinks, although they do have a wine list and Thai beers on hand if you don’t want to.

Jino’s Thai Cafe, 38 North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HU.

I am Doner

I Am Doner

The Berlin kebabs at I am Doner are far from filthy. They’ve won awards for their fresh wraps – sink your teeth into a classic and you’ll taste why. Doner meat is combined with coriander, pickled red cabbage, feta, tomato, red onion, carrot, chilli sauce and garlic mayo for a veg-packed sensation. There are chicken, halloumi, seitan and falafel options, so all diets are catered for. Don’t want it in a wrap? You can have your choice of topping in a refreshing rice or salad box.

I am Doner, 23 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AA.

Loaf Far Headingley

Loaf Headingley

An oasis of calm in Far Headingley, this charming independent cafe is the perfect marriage of Dark Woods Coffee and homemade cakes. It’s in the former Sebby’s and is a welcoming, family run affair. Grab a seat on the plush velvet sofa and make the most of the simple pleasures of a toasted teacake dripping with butter. For those feeling a bit hungrier, the sourdough toasties are perfection – beef and beer onions with Emmental is a particular highlight.

Loaf Far Headingley, 90-92 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4BA.

Woodies Craft Ale House

Woodie's Ale House

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There’s rarely a dull moment at this buzzy Headingley watering hole. For starters, it’s where the Otley runners are put under starting orders, so expect fancy-dressed patrons galore on a Saturday lunchtime. But it’s more than that, as it’s heaving when there’s big-game on, it boasts a lovely beer garden with outdoor screens and the ale range is top notch. They’ve upped their food game too, with bao buns, chicken wings and dirty fries providing session fodder.

Woodies Craft Ale House, 104 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5JG.

Bottle Chop

Bottle Chop

For those who want to broaden their wine palate, look no further than Bottle Chop. Occupying a corner spot on Weetwood Lane, it comes from the same people who brought us Fika North, and they specialise in natural wine from small producers. Take your pick from an eclectic range that includes plenty of orange wines. Sample some along with a deli board (and world class Torres crisps), then grab some to take away. They also sell craft beer from local brewers.

Bottle Chop, 14 Weetwood Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5LX.

Ecco Pizzeria

Ecco Pizzeria

It’s authentic Neapolitan pizza all the way at the much-loved Ecco Pizzeria, probably the best place for a slice – or a whole pie – in Headingley. The crusts are a thing of joy, and while you can get your classic Marinara or Margherita, they also go a bit off-piste with their signature creations, such as the original and delightful Pear & Walnut or the Lombardini with its combination of sautéed leeks, artichoke, green beans and more. Pizza is never boring at Ecco.

Ecco Pizzeria, 93 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3PS.

The Bowery

The Bowery

The Bowery is a coffee shop-cum-gallery that has injected real life into Headingley’s creative community. Pop in for Allpress coffee, accompanied by their home-baked pastries, savouries and cakes, or go for a sandwich or salad bowl. The gallery showcases emerging local talent, with a lively calendar of exhibitions. There are also workshops for you to join, ranging from drink and draw through to coffee school, life drawing and even arm knitting.

The Bowery, 54 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AL.

Beckett Park

Leeds Beckett Park University

This community park is part of the Leeds Beckett University’s Headingley campus, but it’s free and open for everyone to visit 24/7. The views over the Kirkstall Valley are to be treasured, and it’s a great place for a picnic, a wander or even cycling. Take a hike into Queen’s Wood in search of the Victoria Arch, and admire the shifting colours of the seasons – bluebells in the spring, the russet colours of autumn.

Beckett Park, Churchwood Avenue, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5LF.

Kuala Lumpur Cafe

Kuala Lumpa Cafe

Since it opened in 2019, Kuala Lumpur has become a cheap eats staple in Headingley, serving up Malaysian food in a relaxed space with a bring-your-own-drinks policy. The Nasi Lemak – Malaysia’s national dish – is the star of the show, but with everything on the menu coming in at a reasonable price, you can affordably work your way through a menu studded with highlights like Nyonya Lime Curry and the sweet and sour flavours of Masak Merah.

Kuala Lumpur Cafe, 2-4 Bennett Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HN.