Meanwood is a north-east Leeds leafy suburb with village vibes – great for long walks, lazy days, local drinking and some lush eats. Plus, it’s only half an hour or so from the city on a main commuter route, with easy access to the ring road and motorway system via Sheepscar junction.
Nestled between Headingley, Chapel Allerton and Adel, its residents are a combination of students, families, young professionals and older Leodians. So whether you want to be close to good schools, take relaxing strolls, or have something to do at night on your doorstep, Meanwood has got a little bit of just about everything. Just a little bit.
Waitrose took up residency in the area in 2010 which improved opportunities and property prices in the area, boosting local businesses and communities. The store is a new breed of eco-store, which recycled 95 per cent of the demolished buildings previously on the site. Now they have a grass roof which recycles rainwater and water-cooled fridges which don’t use ozone unfriendly greenhouses gases in their system.
Sympathetic developers Rushbond subsequently developed the old Becketts pub site in close consultation with community groups, creating a mixed-use building housing the popular East Of Arcadia and Zucco, with apartments above.
Looking after the ‘green’ side of things in Meanwood are the Meanwood Valley Partnership and Woodhouse Ridge Action Group – both protecting the village atmosphere and community spirit of the area, improving green spaces, supporting family friendly events such as the annual Ridge Fest, and overseeing the village’s Christmas lights.
Meanwood isn’t a place for hotels, but the Air BnB options for the area range from modern loft apartments to double rooms in family homes to a full ten bedroom mansion house – choices which show off the variety of everything available in the area perfectly.
If you do want a hotel, Otley Road in nearby Headingley is the best direction to aim;
4* Haley’s Hotel is a converted Victorian mansion offering refined rooms with antiques, plus a fine-dining restaurant. Located on a tree-lined road just off the main Headingley part of Otley Road, Haley’s Hotel is 7 miles from Leeds Bradford International Airport, and 3.4 miles from Leeds railway station.
4* Westwood Hall Estate on Otley Road houses a range of casual rooms in a polished hotel with a meeting space, brasserie restaurant and a classic pub. Set on 9 acres of gardens, this traditional hotel in a 17th-century manor is 4.1 miles from Trinity Leeds in the city centre and 4.9 miles from Leeds Bradford International Airport.
4* Village Hotel Leeds North, Otley Road with modern rooms, The Village Hotel has casual dining facilities, and stays includes access to indoor swimming pool and fitness suite. The hotel is situated 0.9 miles from Headingley Carnegie Cricket Stadium, 1.3 miles from Headingley railway station, and 3.6 miles from Leeds Railway Station.
Meanwood seems to have places to eat and drink to fit every pocket, and every taste. Tandem is perfect for coffee lovers who need an arty hangout for a day working from the laptop. Opened in 2017 after a major refurbishment, the ex-bicycle shop (hence the name) promotes independent local artists and makers, as well as supplying home-cooked food and great coffee.
Slightly away from the sometimes bustling village centre is Culto on Stainbeck Road. The double-fronted restaurant has great Italian food available for takeaway too, and easily caters to vegans, and other dietary requirements. If you like a deliciously sloppy fully-loaded vegan pizza this is the place for you!
And after one of those long walks along the Meanwood Valley Trail, the Myrtle Tavern will see your Sunday afternoon out in traditional cosy pub style, with a selection of ales and traditional English pub food. Events at the Myrtle prove so popular that their Bonfire Night event sold out, and Breakfast With Santa sold out barely into November
Meanwood village is also home to Hana Matsuri, Albert’s, Rollette, Maria’s and Hungry Bear – each as different as the next.
The green spaces running through Meanwood make for great days out in themselves. Think long walks, challenging runs, or miles of cycling – Woodhouse Ridge leads to the Meanwood Valley Trail, which passes the disused Seven Arches Aqueduct and heads for Golden Acre Park. Eventually, it joins the renowned Dales Way.
During summer, Meanwood Park is filled with dog walkers, picnickers and all sorts of people escaping the bustle of Headingley or the city centre. A Leeds City Council property, the park sits on the Meanwood Valley Trail, has a nature reserve and a café, tennis courts, bowling green, basketball court and children’s playground. Events run by independent groups around the park and along the Ridge have included bat watching, orienteering and foraging.
Meanwood Valley Urban Farm is a perfect day trip for families, or anyone who likes to learn about unusual farm animals, wildlife, and sustainability. The farm has a bicycle renew and repair shop, sells fresh eggs and rhubarb, takes on teams of volunteers to help with farm tasks, and is also home to increasingly popular The Barn Coffee Shop.
Did you know?
Edged by Meanwood Beck and Stainbeck Road, legend has it that a Civil War skirmish happened in the woods on the Ridge, between Royalist and Parliamentarian forces. The local becks ran red with the blood of fallen soldiers, hence the name ‘Stainbeck’ being prominent in the area.
More recent (and less gruesome) industrial history revolves around the becks being used to power the mills and tanneries in the valley, with a turnpike and trams running along Meanwood Road, and various small quarries dotting the hillside. Landmarks in the area include Meanwood Towers and Carr Manor House, as well as fantastic green spaces like the Urban Farm, Woodhouse Ridge and Meanwood Park.