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Headingley is a wonderful place not many people have heard about. A lively suburb outside of Leeds, we wanted to put together some information for those who might like to visit or relocate to this fun, interesting place. It’s one of the most popular suburbs of Leeds and you’re sure to enjoy it!

A Little History

Headingley was first mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086.  The town’s name was listed as Hedingelei or Hedingeleia. It’s believed the name is derived from Old English Head(d)inga, meaning descendants of Head(d)a’+ leah ‘open ground,” which put together means something like “the clearing of Hedda’s people.” It’s not clear who Hedda was, though she may have been Saint Hedda.

In Viking times, the town was the center of the “Shire Oak,” a place that referred to an oak tree used as a meeting place to settle legal issues, or sometimes used to raise armies.

Over time, the small town continued to be important to the history of the area. These days the area is home to the Headingley Stadium, which hosts rugby league matches. It’s also a popular location for students who attend Leeds Beckett University or the University of Leeds, as both are nearby.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you’re sure to enjoy this fair suburb! Following are some of the highlights or best bits of Headingley.

1). Heaney and Mill

This is the go-to place for fine dining. You’ll find a relaxed restaurant with food sure to delight your taste buds. The restaurant’s fine menu includes aged lamb rack served with creamed red chard. Another yummy dish is their pan-fried stone bass with steamed prawn dumplings.

While the menu is fine, you’ll find the prices are very affordable. You’ll also enjoy the atmosphere.

2). The Original Oak

This is a pretty beer garden, one that’s unlike any other place near Leeds. This is a place for everyone to go and enjoy some sun, good food and drink in a pleasant outdoor environment.

It’s more like a park than a beer garden; it’s a place where you’re sure to find a decent pint, good food all in a fun atmosphere.

3). Headingley Community Orchard

Started by local residents back in 2020, the Headingley Community Orchard is a unique place. It’s actually more than one orchard. It was created as a way to improve the environment and increase biodiversity, while encouraging healthy eating. It’s also used as a place of education.

The group behind this orchard project works to identify under-used plots of land, where they then plant fruit trees and bushes. They take care of all the digging, weeding and pruning.

Anyone can join the group and participate in their work. They have monthly working groups, often on Sunday mornings from 10 to 12.

They meet behind the Natural Food Store, or near St. Chads, at the Shire Oak Primary School and on Woodhouse Ridge.

4). Otley Road

Here you’ll find Headinley’s shopping center filled with wonderful specialist shops, along with bars, pubs and restaurants.

You’ll find two of the best fish restaurants: Bretts Fish Restaurant in North Lane and Bryan’s Fish Restaurant in Westwood Lane. There’s also a lovely Italian restaurant just off Otley Road. And be sure to check out the pubs and bars in the area; but be warned—they are full of students!

5). Charity Shops

You’ll find a wealth of charity shops in Headingley. This area is rich with wonderful pre-owned items. You can find everything from vinyl records and books, to furniture and fashion.

If you’re looking for a special gift, or enjoy shopping for retro treasures, you’ll hit the jackpot here. It’s a great way to help the environment, as many of these items would end up in landfills. And what’s more, the money you spend goes to a good cause!

6). Nightlife

Headingley will surprise you with its popular nightlife—you’ll find great bars and pubs. In fact, it’s a part of the Leeds pub-crawl, which is also known as the “Otley Run.” It takes you through the center of Headingley, where you’re sure to enjoy the venues all along the way.

You may even get to enjoy some fancy dressed patrons as you visit the bars and pubs. But don’t worry—they’re quite safe! Just enjoy your pint. Some of the favorites to visit include The Head of Steam, Headingley Taps and Arcadia, and more.

7). Beckett Park

If you enjoy city green spaces, then you won’t be disappointed in Headingley. Beckett Park is the best place, where there’s something for people of all ages. Located near the university campus, you may even luck out and see some one-day sports stars practicing and training.

This community parks sits on a high ridge between Headingley and Kirkstall. It offers one of the best views to Kirkstall valley. You’ll find lovely parkland and woods here, where it’s possible to catch beautiful sunsets.

You’ll also find places to enjoy a walk, cycle and more. The park offers free tennis courts, outdoor fitness equipment, a skate park, children’s playground, etc. We told you there was something for people of all ages!

8). Summers are Quiet

Once summer arrives, you’ll find that Headingley become really quiet. If you need some peace, then summer may be a good time to visit. The reason for the peace and quiet? It’s because the students have gone home for the summer holidays.

You may think you’re in a Doctor Who episode when things become eerily quiet. But never fear—no space aliens are around! It’s just the students are away.

You’ll find that being served in the local restaurants is much faster, and you won’t have to deal with queues for anything, including shopping!

Be aware that summer goes quickly, and the students will soon descend once more. So be sure to enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts!

As you can see, Headingley has a lot to offer anyone who visits or decides to move to this charming suburb. You’ll find everything you enjoy here—from green spaces to shopping and great restaurants. You won’t want to leave!