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Pub Crawls, Indies & Unexpected Finds – The Best Bits of Headingley

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

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

Charlie Bretts

Make the most of everything Headingley has to offer as we reveal the best bits of the Leeds suburb.

Headingley has long been one of Leeds’ most popular suburbs. For the past 200 years, it has acted as a welcome alternative to the city centre, and there’s plenty to show for it to this day. From sports stadiums to continental restaurants, classic pubs and the oldest cinema in Leeds, Headingley has loads to offer – but have you tried it all?

Cottage Road Cinema

Cottage Road Cinema, Headingley

Credit: Katie Nicole

It’s not just Hyde Park that has a historic cinema – Headingley has its own to crow about. It’s the oldest cinema in Leeds, having continuously shown motion pictures since 1912. They’re showing no signs of stopping either, thanks to its small, but well-curated programme of indie films and big blockbusters.

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

Heaney and Mill

Heaney and Mill

Heaney and Mill is the place to go for fine dining in Headingley. It’s a relaxed restaurant with a menu of creative and refined dishes. You could go for salt aged lamb rack served with creamed red chard, black olive mash and salsa verde or try their pan-fried stone bass with steamed prawn dumplings, samphire and langoustine bisque. This is good food done well, for a surprisingly affordable price.

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

The Original Oak

With a beer garden like the one at The Original Oak, how could it not be in here? When the sun shines, there are few places like it anywhere in Leeds as the masses pile into what would probably be better called a little park. The food and drink serve a purpose rather than pushing boundaries, but it’s all about a decent pint, proper feed and a bustling atmosphere.

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

I Am Döner

I Am Doner

I Am Döner is more than just another kebab shop. Owner Paul Baron has worked in Michelin-starred kitchens, but he decided to apply his talents to a new challenge – by reinventing the humble kebab. There are six different ones to try, all made with top quality, locally-sourced meat freshly prepared each day. Whether you go for the traditional döner, the roast lamb steak or the seitan döner, it’ll come loaded with salad, cheese and sauces.

I Am Döner, 23 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AA.

Headingley Community Orchard

Headingley Community Orchard

Back in 2010, local residents came together to form the Headingley Community Orchard. It’s unique because it’s not just one orchard, in one place – they’ve planted trees all over the Leeds suburb, from St Chad’s Church to Shire Oak Primary School. Not only has it improved the biodiversity of the area, but it’s given locals a source of fresh fruit they can pick freely.

You’ll find the Headingley Community Orchard across the town.

Art &… The Secret Garden Cafe

Secret Garden Cafe

This gallery-cum-cafe is a hidden treasure of Headingley with a unique collection of art hanging from its walls and a quaint cafe inside – it certainly lives up to its name, as few know about it. Perfect for a quick coffee or spending an hour in their, well, secret garden out back when the sun shines, Art &… The Secret Garden Cafe is well worth seeking out.

Art &… The Secret Garden Cafe, 6-8 Weetwood Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5LS.

Beckett Park

Beckett Park, Leeds

As university grounds go, few are as impressive as Beckett Park. The Headingley campus of Leeds Beckett University is here, but it’s the acres of lush greenery around it, perfect for a Sunday stroll or a post-work run, that make a visit to Beckett Park a worthy attraction.

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

Sebby’s Deli

Sebby's Deli

Sebby’s is an amazing find. This stunning rustic cafe is perfect for breakfast, with eggs five different ways, a full English or avocado on toast to choose from. Come lunch, you can tuck into sandwiches, wraps and salads, as well as hot dishes like jambalaya and mac ‘n’ cheese. They also make their own cakes fresh each day and their coffee is award-winning.

Sebby’s, 90-92 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4BA.

Manahatta

Manahatta

Manahatta has brought a taste of NYC to Headingley. Inside it’s all plush seating and industrial detailing, but you don’t go for the decor. Their American-inspired menu has all our favourites, with burgers, pizzas and loaded fries galore. Wash it down with creative cocktails while you play shuffleboard, catch the match or dance the night away to their DJs and live performers on the weekend.

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

An abundance of great charity shops

Oxfam, Headingley

We’d be mad to focus on one when Headingley is home to some of Leeds’ finest charity shops. From Oxfam’s two shops to the likes of Martin House, Sue Ryder and British Heart Foundation, the area’s chock full of pre-loved finds. You can get everything from books to vinyl records, furniture and fashion, and every penny you spend goes to a great cause.

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; Sue Ryder, 57 Otley Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AB and British Heart Foundation, 28 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2UE.

Beer Ritz

Beer Ritz, Headingley

If you’re after quality craft beer, but don’t fancy going out, Beer Ritz has long been one of the finest specialist beer shops in the country – and long may it continue. You’ve got the finest local breweries on the shelves, from North Brewing Co to Northern Monk, as well as rare finds that they’ve shipped in all the way from the likes of America, Japan and Australia.

Beer Ritz, 14 Weetwood Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5LX.

Santorini

The Agora, Leeds

Santorini is by no means the biggest restaurant in Headingley but it might just be one of the tastiest. Serving up amazing Greek and Turkish cuisine, with treats like kleftiko, stifado and baklava, Santorini prides itself on providing an authentic atmosphere to go with its amazing food. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

Santorini, 55 Otley Road, Leeds, Headingley, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AB.

The Head of Steam

Head of Steam Headingley

If you love craft beer, you need to check out The Head of Steam. They have a huge selection, which will take you on a beer tasting tour from Yorkshire to Japan, Argentina and South Africa. The Belgian beers are well worth trying – they have a wide array for you to choose from, both on the taps and in the fridges. If you get hungry, you can line your stomach with ribs, wings and steaks in their Smokehouse restaurant.

The Head of Steam, 11-13 North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HG.

Charlie Bretts

Charlie Bretts

Charlie Bretts has been a Headingley favourite for nearly 100 years. Still in the same cottage it opened in back in 1919, you can get your battered haddock and chips to go, but it’s the restaurant you should really visit. They do more than just fish and chips here – you can tuck into the likes of roasted fillet of salmon and new potatoes or masala fish goujons with skinny fries.

Charlie Bretts, 12-14 North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HE.

Bare Coffee

Bare Coffee

Out in Far Headingley, Bare Coffee is a bit of hidden gem. It’s only small, but it’s full of charm, and as the name suggests, you’ll get a good brew. They use coffee from Leeds’ own North Star, which will go down nicely with a bite to eat – they make all their sandwiches, cakes and pastries fresh each day.

Bare Coffee, Weetwood Lane, Far Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5LX.

Cricket and Rugby at Headingley Stadium

The Ashes Series 2009

Credit: Gareth Williams

Headingley is at the heart of sport in Leeds and it’s an iconic destination for both cricket and rugby league. Headingley Stadium and Cricket Ground back onto one another, with big expansion plans in the next few years. They’re home to two of the region’s most loved sporting sides – Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket, who help to make live sport a year-round pursuit in Leeds.

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

Red’s True BBQ

Red's Ribs

Red’s have been branching out with their BBQ’d American goodness since starting a meat-based revolution in the city in 2012. Their more intimate second Leeds home is in Headingley, but in no way does its size affect what we all love most about Red’s – that menu, which is backed with belly-busting brilliance, from burgers to ribs, pancakes and pork scratchings.

Red’s True BBQ, 6A Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AA.

Salvo’s Restaurant and Salumeria

Dishes at Salvo's, Leeds

Credit: Helen Turton

Salvo’s is something of a Leeds legend. In their refined Italian restaurant or in their homely Salumeria cafe, they serve up some of the finest Italian cuisine you’ll find in the city. Whether it’s pasta, pizza or one of their special mains like braised ox cheek with truffled mash, confit shallot, Jerusalem artichoke and mushroom jus, there’s good reason for it being so well renowned – it’s really, very good.

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

The Otley Run

The Otley Run, Headingley

Say the word ‘Otley’ and more often than not, it will be followed by the word ‘Run’ – this jaunt is probably one of the most famous bar crawls in the country. It starts from Woodie’s Ale House in Far Headingley and ends up in town, but we all know the most fun is enjoyed at the likes of The Skyrack, Headingley Taps, The Original Oak and The Three Horseshoes.

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

Jino’s

Jino's Thai Cafe, Headingley

Jino’s is a small cafe on Otley Road with no airs or graces, but the food that comes out of the kitchen is worthy of something much grander. From Pad Kee Mao to Gaeng Matsaman, they do it all for a bargain price, and you can even bring your own booze to enjoy with it for no corkage fee.

Jino’s, 46 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AL.

JRR Tolkein’s Old Gaff

2 Darnley Road, Headingley

Credit: Sagarjethani licensed for commercial reuse via Creative Commons.

It’s a well-known fact that The Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkein once lived in Leeds and it is here that the inspiration for his world of Middle-Earth began to take shape. His former home at 2 Darnley Road commemorates that literary history with a blue plaque emblazoned on its front.

2 Darnley Road, Far Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5JF.

Arcadia

Arcadia

There’s one pub that likes to stand out from the rest in Headingley. Arcadia is one of the few places that doesn’t take part in The Otley Run. It’s a craft beer and real ale haven, where you can get delicious brews from as near as Kirkstall and as far as Japan. And if you don’t know what to sip on, just ask the staff behind the bar as they certainly know their stuff.

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

Headingley War Memorial

Headingley War Memorial

Just outside St Michael’s Church and across from The Skyrack is the Headingley War Memorial. The obelisk statue remembers the 125 men from Headingley who lost their lives during the First World War, while also serving as a potent reminder of our nation’s history.

Headingley War Memorial, Junction of St MIchael’s Road and Headingley Lane, Headingley, West Yorkshire, Leeds, LS6 3AW.

HEART Centre

HEART, Headingley

The HEART Centre is right at the heart of Headingley’s community. An enterprise and arts centre run by local residents, it provides a space for local businesses and creatives to make their next important steps. The licensed cafe has quickly become a favourite, there’s a plant shop to decorate your home and they run a slew of art, music and theatre events to keep folk coming back.

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

Wildcraft Bakery

Wildcraft Gluten Free Bakery

Credit: Morgan O’Driscoll

Wildcraft Bakery is the best place to get gluten-free bread in Leeds, never mind just Headingley. It’s run by Mina Allsopp and Samantha Havis, two coeliacs who’ve struggled to find suitable bread and cakes elsewhere. Their ‘allergy-conscious baking’ sees them cook up a host of gluten-free treats, from pies to bread, doughnuts and brownies, but they also cater for other allergies too, like egg or peanut.

Wildcraft Bakery, 13 Penraevon Industrial Estate, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 2AW.

Piattini

Piattini

Piattini is a family-run restaurant that brings a taste of the Mediterranean to Headingley. It’s a cool venue, all exposed industrial fittings and leafy plants, but it’s the food and drink you really come for. You can keep it simple with pizza, pasta and risotto, or try something from their small plates menu, like the roasted baby aubergine or The Piattini Meatball. They have their own bar and you don’t have to eat there to enjoy it, so why not stop by for one of their signature cocktails?

Piattini, 6 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AA.

The Bowery

The Bowery, Headingley

Bringing together art, food and drink, The Bowery is one of Headingley’s best-kept secrets. Here, artists can display their work in supportive surroundings and locals can take part in an array of creative workshops. There’s also a coffee shop which is the perfect place to stop for a cuppa and a bite, in a cool, artistic environment.

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

Thai Sabai

Thai Sabai, Headingley

Down on The Parade, amongst a slew of nondescript shops, lies one of Leeds’ finest Thai eateries. Thai Sabai is all about strong, South East Asian flavours in a small but welcoming venue where you can tuck into a host of amazing dishes that are well worth venturing to Headingley for. From the Thai red curry to the khao pad, you’ll quickly see what all the fuss is about.

Thai Sabai, 2 The Parade, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HP.

Artisan Bakery

Artisan Bakery, Headingley

A proper, independent bakery is something you just don’t see all that often these days. But just on the corner of North Lane and Otley Road, the Artisan Bakery is making an effort to change all that. The smell of fresh bread will quickly lure you into a world of loaves, cakes, pies and more – a classic art is well and truly alive here.

Artisan Bakery, 9 North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HG.

Rude Tattoo Studios

Rude Studios Tattoo and Piercing

Tattoo fans should pick their next design and make a beeline for Headingley, because Rude Tattoo has an envious reputation as one of the best in Leeds. As well as tattoos, they offer services like piercings, semi-permanent make up, tattoo removal and scarification, so even if you’re not going for a tattoo, you might still find a reason to visit.

Rude Studios Tattoo and Piercing, 13B North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HG.

Ecco Pizzeria

PIzza at Ecco Pizzeria

If you’re looking for the best pizza in Headingley, look no further than Ecco Pizzeria. It’s cooked in the traditional Neapolitan style, in their roaring wood-fired oven. You’ve got all the classics, from the Margherita to the Napoli, but they like to mix it up here – how does the Bombay sound, with its mix of tandoori chicken breast, roasted peppers, red onion, fresh chillies and coriander? Follow it up with their traditional gelato too.

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

St Chad’s Church

St Chad's Church, Headingley

The spire reaches 186 feet into the sky, so it’s safe to say St Chad’s Church is a familiar sight across the Headingley skyline. Much of the area around it is also dedicated to St Chad, the former Bishop of York, but the grade II* listed building, with its instantly recognisable orange slate roof, is at the heart of the community.

St Chad’s Church, Otley Road, Far Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5JT.

Bryans at The Fisherman’s Lodge

Fish & Chips

Bretts isn’t the only fish and chip shop vying for your attention. Bryans at The Fisherman’s Lodge is just as worthy of your wooden fork. You can tuck into a proper chip butty or jumbo haddock with mushy peas, but that’s not all they do. Push the boat out with pan grilled Scottish salmon or Whitby breaded scampi – they’ve even got a seafood tapas menu which features dishes like popcorn shrimp, salt & pepper squid and prawn Kievs.

Bryans at The Fisherman’s Lodge, 9 Weetwood Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5LT;

The Bear Pit

The Bear Pit, Headingley

Credit: Ali Turner

Did you know that Leeds once had a Zoological and Botantical Gardens? Well, back in 1840 that was the case, however it didn’t last very long, and to be honest, the zoological aspect was clutching at straws. The only animal there was a brown bear and its home is still visible on Cardigan Road, even if it is a long time since the rest of it was there.

The Bear Pit, Cardigan Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 1LU.

Growlers

Growlers

Growlers is packed full of craft beer from breweries like Magic Rock and Flying Dog. They’ve got them in cans, bottles and on draught for you to fill up in one of their, wait for it, growlers. And don’t worry if beer’s not your thing, because they’ve got a decent selection of wine too.

Growlers, 29 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AA.

Cat’s Pyjamas

Cat's Pyjamas Leeds

Indian street food is immensely popular right now and Cat’s Pyjamas is one of the best places in Headingley to get it. The wonderfully named restaurant has a menu of classic Indian dishes created by Michelin star chef Alfred Prasad. You’ve got an incredible array on offer, from the Kolkata chaat to the saag paneer, Amritsari fish and Goan chicken cafreal – it’s a real taste of India.

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

Audio Projects

Audio systems, hifi, tuner

Credit: Drew Patrick-Miller

If you want to kit out your home or car with a quality sound system, Audio Projects is the place to go, they’ve been a Headingley mainstay since 1970 and you’ll soon see why – they’ve got everything from hifi systems to turntables, speakers and amplifiers. And if you want a multi-room system, where speakers, hifi set-ups and home cinemas are all connected around your home, these are the guys to speak to.

Audio Projects, 45 Headingley Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1DP.

Sukhothai

Sukhothai, Leeds

Credit: Barnaby Aldrick

More Thai food? You’re in luck – Sukhothai is a well-known favourite in Leeds and their Headingley home is no different. Expect a buzzing restaurant decked out in Thai statues and knick-knacks, where you can choose from Satay Gai, Pad Prik Yourk and Weeping Tiger, as well as signature dishes like the Phed Ma Kham, a roast breast of duck served with mixed vegetables and topped with tamarind sauce.

Sukhothai, 4 St Anne’s Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3NX.