My top ten... Headingley
Want to get to know Headingley a little better before you buy? Local resident Laura Gardiner spil the beans on the best places to eat, shop, visit and much more...
1. Where do you stop for a local bite to eat?
I would say Salvos every time. The award-winning contemporary Italian eatery has a 40 year history here in Headingley and is lovingly run by the second generation of the Dammone family. Their southern Italian heritage inspires the menu; from creamy king prawn risotto laced with prosecco to mouthwatering calzone, stuffed with chicken and garlic butter.
2. Which local watering hole floats your boat?
We tend to head to The Original Oak, just a stone’s throw from the town’s station. While popular for its many events (quizzes, live music and comedy clubs, to name but a few), one of the biggest draws to the pub is its sprawling beer garden. The vast space comes with plenty of seating, heated umbrellas and a BBQ, making it no surprise that it has been voted amongst Britain’s best beer gardens by Q magazine.
3. Where’s the best place to play?
Meanwood Park is a lovely place to go when the sun is shining. This local community space is part of Meanwood Valley, which stretches seven miles from the heart of Leeds out to the local countryside. The park is bursting with history - the remnants of mill works and tanneries still stand. But today the area is a nature reserve.
4. Which is your favourite local shop?
Sue Ryder Vintage & Retro is my number one stop - I stumbled across this gem and it’s quite the vintage haven. The charity boutique specialises in items from the 1920s to the 1990s, with fashion, accessories and homewares. You’ll also find plenty of vinyl too; everything from jazz to pop.
5. Which attraction gets your vote?
Headingley Farmers’ Market - it’ll win the heart of any foodie; my husband and I included. The award-winning monthly event brings droves of food vendors to the ‘burb, along with live music for all to enjoy. Go armed with your shopping bags, there’s plenty of local produce, including Hebden’s Fish with Whitby’s finest fresh catches, an abundance of cheese from Cryer and Stott and stacks of loaves from Bondgate Bakery.
6. What’s unique about your neighbourhood?
Headingley LitFest takes place every March, run by local community volunteers and inspired by literary greats that have lived and stayed in the area, including JRR Tolkien, TS Eliot, George Orwell and Alan Bennett. Talks, panels and performances take place across the month-long event.
7. Who’s deserving of your back-patting?
Headingley Community Orchard. This thriving project isn’t just located in one spot - you’ll find mini orchards dotted in formerly neglected spaces all around town, including St Chad's church, Shire Oak primary school and Headingley war memorial. An active group of volunteers have been busy with the project since 2010, planting fruit trees and bushes. Locals are encouraged to help themselves when it comes to harvest time.
8. Which community gatherings rock your world?
The HEART Centre has become central to our local community. The enterprise and arts centre run by local residents encourages creativity in the area, with a workspace, events and classes, not forgetting a brilliant cafe, too.
9. Which ride gets you from A to B without scoring an F?
I tend to cycle where possible, although the number 1 bus service into the centre of Leeds is very reliable, too. It’s fairly easy to navigate your way around Headingley, with plenty of marked cycle paths and routes.
10. Which school gets your vote?
I would say Spring Bank Primary. The school received a ‘good’ rating in its last Ofsted inspection and provides a welcoming learning environment for its pupils. Plus, learning isn’t just saved for indoors; the children often venture out of the classroom for Forest Schools and to get involved with the school’s allotment. Spring Bank’s PTA is flourishing, too, with a range of fund-raising events for all the family throughout the school year.
Read more about this area, with our guide to Headingley.
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