Horsforth has always been considered as one of the largest and most popular suburbs of Leeds, and was once described as “the largest village in England” as it had such a high population. And there are many reasons why the town of Horsforth remains so popular; ideally situated between the busy centre of Leeds and the sprawling greenery of North Yorkshire, Horsforth has the ability to make even lifelong Leeds locals feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, whilst only a ten-minute train journey away.
One of the suburb’s main attractions, and often the reason why so many city dwellers regularly make the short journey to Horsforth, is its traditional high street, brimming with independent businesses. From traditional butchers such as Morton’s, sweets and confectionary shops such as Marples, to coffee shops such as Woodlawn Coffee, the main high street, which resides on Town Street, is easily accessible from all transport links, and proves to be a real destination spot for locals and visitors alike.
Where many suburbs may struggle, Horsforth has been successful in retaining its own identity of village-like charm and character, and the Horsforth Village Museum is dedicated to showcasing exactly that. Managed and run by volunteers since 1998, the museum is housed in the former council chambers and can be found at the bottom of Town Street. With inspiration drawn from all aspects of life in and around Horsforth, the museum has an ever-changing array of fascinating exhibitions which prove to be an absolute must for anyone interested in learning more about Yorkshire’s humble beginnings.
Despite being so close to popular walking spots such as Otley Chevin and the Ilkley Moors, Horsforth also plays host to its own picturesque greenery. Horsforth Hall Park, which can be found on Hall Lane, is a community park through-and-through; with playgrounds for children of all ages, a skate park, cricket pitch, and even a meticulously well-kept Japanese garden, the park proves to be a go-to day out for many Leeds locals.
If you’re escaping Leeds city centre’s busy high-street in the hopes of finding hidden gems tucked away in independent shops and boutiques, then you’re in luck. Dotted around the town are plenty of friendly and often family run independents offering something a little different. A prime example of this is the Cave, a treasure trove for unique and bespoke furniture, antiques and accessories.
On Town Street, Keith James Menswear is an iconic local retailer that has remained truly independent for over 40 years; selling British and European menswear, here you won’t struggle to find quality service and expert knowledge. A few steps further down you will find womenswear boutique, Very Stylish Girl. Taking pride in catering for style-conscious women, the shop offers a beautiful range of simple, modern fashion pieces. Providing the goods for special occasions are Cards Etc and Card Hosforth, the former as a quality card and giftware shop, and the latter as a successful combination of giftware and card retailer, and chocolatiers.
For a cup of tea and bite to eat, or a pint of something stronger, Horsforth can offer a whole host of cafes, restaurants and cosy pubs to tuck in to some delicious, and often locally-sourced offerings. The Queen’s Arms and the Old Ball are two of the local’s favourites, just a stone’s throw away from each other, you’ll find it hard not to try one without the other. The Queen’s arms, a traditional 17th century pub, is family run and is always likely to serve you a warm welcome alongside a whole host of delicious cask ales.
The Old Ball, a popular pub amongst students at Leeds Trinity University, serves hearty meals, puts on regular quiz nights as well as live sport. For light bites, lunches and delicious coffees, head to Truly Scrummy on Town Street, where you’ll find an extensive menu deli-style lunches and sweet treats galore. But fear not vegans and vegetarians, vegan restaurant the Greenhouse Horsforth is only a few steps away, serving not only delicious, but beautifully presented cakes, breakfasts and lunches. For a quick sandwich stop off, try Hamilton’s Sandwiches just further up the road on Town Street. Here, you’ll find a whole host of hot and cold deli-style sandwiches and butties, perfect for a quick pit-stop on a busy day out.