2nd March 2016
Kirkstall Abbey is the main focal point in Kirkstall, and if you’re wanting a lovely stroll with the dog on a weekend a walk around the Abbey grounds is always a delight. In spring the grounds are ablaze with daffodils and crocuses and in the height of summer the trees provide you with intermittent shade. The brown hues of autumn leaves tell you winter is around the corner, yet even winter looks nice around the Abbey when the snow is lying deep, and crisp and even!
Although most famous for its Cistercian monastery, Kirkstall Abbey which was established on its present site in 1152 by a group of 12 monks from Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire, the area of Kirkstall was mainly fields and tiny hamlets until around 1600, when it became a Borough in its own right. The Borough grant by Charles I placed Headingley-cum-Burley and Kirkstall adjacent the Leeds Parish. It was able to make its own laws and levy its own taxes. Although the Abbey was still the principle driver of industry, manufacture and innovation, development continued slowly with this new independence.
But turning from the Abbey, what else is there in Kirkstall? Eateries, bars, pubs, shopping, coffee shops, sports grounds, swimming pools, gyms, cycle routes on the tow-path, bus routes to everywhere and anywhere and trains from Headingley and Kirkstall Forge in easy reach. You name it – Kirkstall has it on the doorstep. Kirkstall even has its own M&S Food Hall now.
Kirkstall’s increasing popularity has been enhanced by the recent opening of Kirkstall Bridge Retail Park with its wide range of shops and leisure facilities, including Pure Gym. Further information is available below:
Opposite Kirkstall Bridge Retail Park is a complex with Morrisons, Matalan and Boots stores and further along Kirkstall Road towards the City is Cardigan Fields leisure park – with the likes of Virgin Gym and Vue Cinema.
Horsforth is a 10 minute drive away, Headingley is 5 and it takes approximately 15 minutes to drive into the City Centre (outside of rush hour), making Kirkstall a great place to live for commuters.
Kirkstall Forge train station opened in June 2016, located just off Abbey Road. This line offers connections on the Wharfedale line, initially having one train per hour in each direction. Trains will run between Leeds and Bradford Forster Square and Leeds and Ilkley. More trains will run at peak times.
Headingley Train Station is within walking distance of most parts of Kirkstall and is located just off Kirkstall Lane, in Kirkstall, opposite The Cricketers. There is just one stop, at Burley Park, before Leeds City Train Station.
There are four highly regarded primary schools in the area: Beecroft, Sacred Heart, St Stephen’s and Kirkstall Valley; and the nearest secondary school is Abbey Grange at West Park.
Pubs of notable interest are West End House, Kirkstall Bridge and The Vesper Gate – all do a great Sunday lunch!
Kirkstall Abbey plays host to a deli market which takes place one weekend per month between March – November from 12noon – 3pm.