Headingley is a beautiful part of Leeds renowned around the country for its sporting reputation.
The vibrant student population and seemingly endless Otley runs mean that there’s never a boring moment, and some things you’ll only appreciate if you’ve lived in Headingley.
The ‘quiet’ trip to the pub
We’ve all been there. A nice sunny day on Saturday afternoon, and someone pipes up: ‘Fancy a pint?’. So you stroll down to have a quiet pint or two at the local, only to be greeted by the hordes of Freddie Mercurys and hawaiian shirts.
You can’t find a seat or a quiet corner, you’re waiting 20 minutes before you even see the bar. Worst of all, every single person seems to have an invisible megaphone strapped to their mouth so you can’t hear yourself think.
You think to yourself that it must be quieter somewhere else, but you’ve been in this situation before and you already know that’s not true - everywhere is the same.
Game day parking
You can sit on your high horse with this one. Living in Headingley, you’ve never had to worry about nabbing a parking space close to the stadium when Leeds Rhinos play because you’ve already got one all to yourself. You can laugh at all the people struggling to jam their cars into portaloo sized spaces on Headingley Lane just to save themselves a five minute walk to the stadium. Perhaps it's quiet retribution for all the times they’ve invaded your local pub on their Otley runs.
You’ve been tempted by a bad takeaway or two
Everyone loves a decent takeaway, so you might be asking ‘what makes headingley so special?’. The key word is ‘decent’. Headingley is filled with cheap food places, some indisputably better than others, and you’ve no doubt tried more than one if you’ve lived in Headingley.
You somehow forget about the one star food hygiene ratings and indulge your inner caveperson as you sample some of the best-worst food Headingley has to offer. However you probably regretted the decision the next day.
Takeaways come and go, but Tariq’s is forever
You haven’t lived in Headingley until you’ve tried Tariq’s. The cheapest but possibly unhealthiest food on the planet. Tucked away behind Skyrack the takeaway serves up the best chips that Leeds has to offer, all served with friendly banter and lashings of garlic sauce. Best consumed when at least mildly intoxicated.
Cheap drinks make for dangerous living
Headingley bars are made for cheap drinks, and if you’ve lived there you’ll have tried them all in search for the best deals and cheapest drinks. Two bottles of Desperados for £5 is only tempting fate at Skyrack, and you can’t go wrong watching the football at The Box with a £3 pint. 2 for 1 deals on cocktails and gin can be found to sup on at almost every place so you’re always spoiled for choice. I Am Doner is the go-to place for some grub to soak up some of the free-flowing juices.
You probably haven’t been to the cricket
Despite being one of the homes of English cricket and world famous in the sport, chances are if you live in Headingley you’ve never actually been to a game. It’s on your doorstep so logic would dictate that you’d go, yet you haven’t even considered it. You tell yourself you’ll get around to it, but in reality you can’t be bothered.
You cannot escape students
They’re EVERYWHERE. There’s upwards of 60,000 students in Leeds at any one time, and sometimes it feels like they’re all in Headingley. Next door neighbour? Student. Bartender? Student. The three people in the queue before you at the barbers? Students. You might even think you’re starting to become one yourself. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
You become lazy
Everything is so close, why put in the extra effort to go elsewhere? Going into the city centre now seems pointless, you have everything you need right in Headingley! It has even got to the point where you’ll go to the little Sainsbury’s because it saves you five minutes, even though it’s more expensive.
You become a grump
If you’re not a student in Headingley, you start to realise you’re turning into your parents. Complaining about the noise at 10pm, wishing that the students down the road would focus on their studies and not their social lives.
Visiting Headingley’s many pubs and bars becomes a chore, you strategically time your shopping so you avoid the crowds, and you don’t mind paying a little extra for a pint if it means that students won’t be there.
You pray for summer because the population of Headingley decreases slightly, not because of the weather. You won’t realise the change is happening until it’s already too late. Sorry.
Every birthday means another Otley Run
“It’s my 20th/37th/72nd/123rd birthday next week and I’m having an Otley Run! It’s 80s themed obviously, so get your wigs out!” The Facebook invite we all dread. Somehow everyone thinks that an Otley run is the only viable option for a party if you live in Headingley. At this point you’ve given up on putting effort into your costume, resorting to last-minute-school-project-DIY instead.
There’s never a dull moment
It doesn’t matter how old you are or who you are, there is always something to do in Headingley. Whether its live music at the Head of Steam, the weekly quiz at The Box, a not-so-friendly game of shuffleboard at Manahatta, or karaoke at Skyrack, you find there are a million and one ways to pass the time right on your doorstep.
It's not as bad as people say
Headingley and Hyde Park get a bad rep for various reasons, and you’d be forgiven for avoiding them because of it. But if you’ve even lived there then you’ll know that it has to be seen to be believed. Headingley is an animated place full of life, there’s excitement to be had wherever you look. Hectic, harmonious Headingley shines brighter when you lived there.