Up away from Leeds’ bustling centre, beyond the pearlescent walls of the Parkinson Building and grasses of Hyde Park, nestles the quaint streets of Headingley. Renowned as Otley Run territory, and an epicentre of sport both locally and regionally, this suburb is often perceived to be one of the city’s most prominent student hubs. Yet it is so much more than that. Headingley is its own microcosm of creativity and life; a mecca of independent eateries and secluded coffee spots, glossy hair and beauty salons, and fashionable shops whispering stories of their owners and the people who run them. Here’s what to do and where to grab a bite in the vicinity of Leeds’ undiscovered gem.
Hyde Park Book Club
Upon entry into Headingley rests the Hyde Park Book Club; a quirky eatery-come-hang-out space which boasts an eclectic events calendar, and an equally impressive vegan and vegetarian dining menu. They have everything happening, from topical conversations on current affairs, to art installations and image exhibitions. There’s live music gigs, intimate DJ sets, creative workshops, film screenings and discussions, and fundraising events. It’s really up to you how you wish to broaden your horizons, but HPBC have a little something for everyone. Settle down under the naked yellow lights and indulge in a freshly brewed North Star coffee and cake, or sip on an exotic craft beer from Northern Monk Brewery. Giving Veganuary a whirl? Make sure you try their Healthy Porridge for a nutritious and delicious breakfast, or devour a Veg butcher burger which ‘really have to be tried to be believed’. Brunch or lunch, dine or wine, this red roost has you covered. HPBC’s bold exterior makes it hard to miss, and you’ll regret it if you do.
Cottage Road Cinema
Cottage Road Cinema is Headingley’s answer to Hyde Park’s Picture House. Tucked on a street branching off Otley Road, this original theatre is a real treat for cinephiles and first-timers alike. The preserved condition of Cottage Road creates the illusion of travelling back to 1912 when it opened; very little structural work has been done in 106 years, except a refurbishment of the auditorium in the early 1970s. The foyer is a portal into the cinema’s first active years; ornate red carpet under foot, dark wood panelling on the walls and duck egg blue paintwork. Even the traditional concierge box remains to the left as you walk in, where you can purchase tickets at a very reasonable price of £7, with cheaper options available for children, students and senior citizens. There is only one screen at Cottage Road, so current titles are often restricted to two at a time, which are advertised on an antique placard outside above the doorway. The nostalgic charm and serenity of this cinema is enough to make your visit worthwhile, so if you’re up that way and fancy a film fix, Cottage Road is the place for you. Current titles showing: Stan & Ollie and Mary Poppins Returns.
Vintage and Charity Shop Trail
If there is one thing this suburb has an abundance of, its charity shops. The area is peppered with charity outlets and vintage emporiums along Headingley Lane and Otley Road, waiting for you to take a glimpse and discover your next steal. Submerse yourself in donated dresses and vintage crockery. Scope the rails of sheepskin coats and gaudy knits, and browse the forgotten vinyl and nests of necklaces hanging on the wall. You could even find that piece of furniture you didn’t realise you needed, and it’s all for charity – you can feel good about shopping! From Oxfam and British Heart Foundation, to Sue Ryder Vintage and Mind; you name it, Headingley has it.
This sweet spot is a new joint on the block, having only opened its doors last September. It is a shop, a café and a studio space all rolled into one, with a mission to get you on board the textile train! Whether you’re a dab-hand seamstress or novice embroider, Workshop have classes for people of all capabilities and ages, teaching you how to create tote bags, cushion covers, plant pot holders and so much more. Pop in and peruse their gift shop, offering ceramics, prints and artwork from independent artists and designers. Or if it’s a tea break you’re after, the lovely owner, Aliss, will be there to answer your prayers. Enjoy a good brew and a little slice of artisan baking from The Porterhouse Cake Company, or a bite of vegan goodness from That Old Chestnut, both of which are local and well-loved independent brands. To see Workshop’s extensive list of classes, events and meet-ups, visit their website at www.helloworkshop.co.uk.