There are quite a few Beestons across England (Bedfordshire, Cheshire and Norfolk all share a namesake) but the one in our corner of West Yorkshire is the favourite – then again, we are a bit biased.

The suburb has quite a rich history. In the medieval period, the monks at Kirkstall Abbey used to graze over 200 sheep in the township of Beeston, but the population swelled during the Industrial Revolution and was eventually absorbed by Holbeck’s civil parish before finally joining Leeds in 1925.

Over the years Beeston has sadly fallen a little off people’s radar, which we hope to correct with this list of things to do should you find yourself South of Leeds.

 

Cross Flatts Park

 

In a dramatic turn of events during the Second World War, Leeds suffered its worst night of German aerial attacks on the 14th March 1941 with Beeston having more bombs dropped on it than any other area. But in a stroke of luck, it got away with the least damage, as most of them had miraculously fallen on Cross Flatts Park instead.

Since then, the park has become an important green space after undergoing serious and extensive regeneration in recent years, turning areas of derelict wasteland into parkland and cleaning up traditional waste dumping sites into an area for use by the community.

Families can go and enjoy the adventure playground that has since been added, boasting a large multi-use games area plus five-a-side football pitches, basketball courts and tennis courts, and outdoor gym equipment.

The park is also the venue for the Beeston Festival which takes place annually in June, and in summer and school holidays is host to numerous activities for young people. There is also 5km Parkrun held every Saturday morning at 9am, with over 1,000 runners taking part in the event since it began back in 2013.

The park owes a great deal of its regeneration to local organisations The Friends of Cross Flatts Park and Beeston in Bloom, two voluntary-run residents groups working to contribute to the betterment of Beeston.

Elland Road Stadium

 

Football fans are most likely already familiar with this place, especially since it’s been the home of our very own Leeds United Football Club since their foundation in 1919. Elland Road is the 13th biggest stadium in England and has a whopping capacity of 37,890, first known as the Old Peacock Ground when it was first built in 1897.

Since then, thousands of sports games have been played there and numerous concerts, including headliners such as Queen, Kaiser Chiefs, Happy Mondays and U2.

Although former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson apparently said that Elland Road was “the most intimidating venue in Europe” – we’re rather fond of it.

 

BasementArtsProject

 

As the name suggests, you can find a surprising treasure trove of art tucked away in the unassuming basement of a pre-war terraced house in Beeston.

Bruce Davies, the curator and chair of the project said it was born partly out of the frustration of trying to ?nd post-graduate exhibition spaces and came into being in 2011.

At ?rst, using the basement of a terraced property was a mainly practical solution to showcasing art, but over the years it has become the foundation of what they do and often brings visitors closer to the exhibitions.

There are ongoing features from local and international artists, making this rare gem worth the venture down into the bowels of Beeston. 

 

The Shine Nail Bar

 

Fancy getting your nails done safe in the knowledge that you’re giving back to the community? Then look no further than a pamper at the Shine Nail Bar.

The Shine Nail Bar is a beauty pad with a difference. In fact, it’s a social enterprise and every time you treat yourself to a pamper and preen, you support The Shine Project. This helps girls aged 11-18 in LS10 and LS11 through mentoring, workshops and youth groups in the community. The Shine Project also provides volunteering, training and employment opportunities for girls and women in the local area.

They say that their passion is  “for all girls in the local area to know their value, build supportive relationships, and access new opportunities” – which is an initiative that we can all get behind.

 

Leeds is a big, wide city with many wonderful suburbs just waiting for you to discover them. Hopefully you’ll be tempted to seek out the some of the  best of Beeston with this handy little list of some of the many things to do there!