For a small, historically working class village which often goes overlooked, Farsley has a lot to say for itself. It’s with thanks to it’s industrial heritage that this village is now a spectacle of charming terrace rows, religious architecture, and astonishing mill complexes. With that being said, the rich tapestry of history which this quaint village carries does not make it synonymous with a typical sleepy village, instead it only adds to the vibrance of this up-and-coming suburb of Leeds.
Over the past decade, Farsley’s independent business scene has blossomed, largely due to the regeneration of Sunny Bank Mills, one of the most famous family-owned mills in Yorkshire. The mill, which has a renowned reputation for the production of fine worsted cloth, was given the green light for a multi-million pound regeneration programme in 2010. Ten years on from the beginning of the development work, cousins and owners of the mill, John and William Gaunt are successfully creating not only a hotspot for quality independent businesses but more importantly, an ongoing initiative to generate a multi-purpose creative space with community at the heart of it.
But Farsley’s charm doesn’t quite end there; the village plays host to a number of pubs, eateries, parks, shops, a farmers market and even a comedy club; Farsley’s potential is truly one which needs to be witnessed first-hand. The easiest ways to reach Farsley from Leeds city centre is either by car or bus, with a number of buses running frequently throughout the day. A modest 20 minute car or bus journey shall see you well on your way to discovering just how much this humble village has to offer.
As we’re now heading in to what will likely be the longest summer holiday for the kids that there ever has been, now is a good time to suss out the attractions that you can easily call upon for a well deserved break. In Farsley, the reliable go-to spots are Jackaboos soft play centre and West Royd Park as well as Hainsworth Park. Jackaboos soft play centre can be found in the Old Combing part of Sunny Bank Mills; they welcome kids under the age of 8 to have a day filled with fun with their many slides, ball pools and play areas. At West Royd Park and Hainsworth Park, the whole family can enjoy an inexpensive day outdoors, enjoying the well-kept gardens, tennis courts and the lovely West Royd House which sits at the centre. If you time your visit right, you may catch the brass band which plays regularly at West Royd House.
The Constitutional and Get Cooking are two of Farsley’s alternatives for a slightly more mature day-out, or night out. The Constitutional is not only a successful combination of comedy club, bingo hall, and venue of music, quizzes, theatre and spoken word, but also a successful combination of contemporary and old-school; the decor and atmosphere is reminiscent of a retro cosy comedy club. With events every week, The Constitutional is a reliable spot for some light-hearted fun and some delicious craft ales.
Get Cooking offers a range of cooking classes, courses and workshops for both novices and experienced foodies alike. Options for cooking classes and courses include Mediterranean, Spanish, Latin American & South Asian cuisine, as well as bread-making and herbalism. But the classes aren’t strictly limited to cuisine; lampshade making courses are also available at this space in Farsley’s Springfield Mill.
On the topic of food, Farsley certainly does not lack when it comes to its food and drink scene. Sunny Bank Mills plays host to two of Farsley’s popular eateries, Mill Kitchen cafe, offering healthy and hearty food, and Grumpy’s, infamous for their delicious wood fired pizza, craft ales and more. For food from further afield, Sabroso Street brings authentic Mexican street food to the streets of Farsley, serving mouth-watering tacos, chills and burritos. For even more international cuisine, try Olive and Feta, specialising in traditional Turkish and Italian food with an added Mediterranean twist; their menu boasts various shared meze plate options, piled high with dolma, halloumi, koftas and more.
And for that all important pint or two, Farsley offers a perfect mix of oldy-worldy pubs such as The Fleece and The Village Wine Bar, and contemporary bars, such as Number Thirty Three as well as newcomer to Farsley, Amity Brew Co.
Considering Farsley’s history of textile production, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the village plays host to a number of crafty and creative independent shops. The Jewellery Makers, based in Sunny Bank Mills create bespoke handmade pieces of jewellery which they sell online, as well as offer classes to learn to make your very own. Also based within the mill is Scrap Creative Reuse Arts Project, a space full to the rafters with discarded materials such as textiles, paper and card, plastics, metals, rubber, and lots of other miscellanea, originally destined for landfill. The store also doubles up as a refilling store, where customers are welcomed to refill cleaning and self-care products, as well as purchase eco-friendly items.