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Kirkstall Area Guide for Students

A great choice for those looking for cheaper accommodation. 

Kirkstall is a suburb in Leeds with a population of nearly 20,000 located about two miles from the city centre. It is nestled between the River Aire and Headingley to the north, Horsforth to the west and Burley to the east. It is a great choice for those looking for cheaper accommodation.

Typically you will find Victorian terrace housing, which is perfect for student house shares. It also has a good stock of semi-detached properties at affordable prices. In and around Kirkstall there are plenty of local pubs, restaurants and takeaways. There are regular buses into Leeds city centre.

About Kirkstall

One of the most visually stunning areas of Leeds, Kirkstall is home to some of the city’s most iconic sights. It also has plenty of places to enjoy a night out and study in peace, as well as great bus connections to the three universities. It’s also pretty close to the city centre too, handy if you need to do the big shop.

Things to do in Kirkstall

Kirkstall Abbey

Founded in 1152, the ruins of this famous abbey and the surrounding park have since become a major tourist attraction. During the summer, concerts and open-air theatre performances are regularly held there, while it’s a nice place for a leisurely stroll all year round.

Cardigan Fields

Although strictly in nearby Burley, this shopping, leisure and entertainment complex has all you could possibly need for a day or night out. A gym, Vue Cinema, several restaurants serving a range of cuisines and a few bars to boot mean you can spend all night in Cardigan Fields without wearing your shoes out!

Abbey House Museum

Situated near Kirkstall Abbey, this fun, quirky museum has plenty to entertain newcomers to Leeds and locals alike. Interactive exhibitions and lifelike Victorian-era streets help to give you a glimpse into what life was like in Leeds back in the 19th century. A must-visit for history students.


University of Leeds

Address: University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT

Tel: 0113 243 1751

Location: Just off Woodhouse Lane, around 1.5 miles east of Kirkstall

The largest university in Leeds, it’s also the oldest. On the main campus, there are plenty of places to eat, shop, write and revise, while there are good bus links to and from Kirkstall too. The 97 bus to Guiseley stops near Kirkstall and the Parkinson Building.

Leeds Trinity University

Address: Brownberrie Ln, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS18 5HD

Tel: 0113 283 7100

Location: Around three miles north-west of Kirkstall, to the north of Horsforth town centre

Trinity is the smallest of Leeds’ three universities, but it’s also surprisingly easy to get to from Kirkstall. It has quiet spaces for study, a state-of-the-art sports and fitness centre and, if you find Leeds City Centre a little too hectic, a peaceful vibe which allows you to get on with work and talk to your mates without fear of interruption.

Leeds Beckett University & Headingley Campus

Address: Church Wood Avenue, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS6 3QS

Tel: 0113 812 0000

Location: Approximately one mile north-east of Kirkstall, just off Otley Road in Headingley

The Leeds Beckett Headingley Campus is small yet perfectly-formed, offering a great place to study and chill out. Decent transport links and walking routes to and from Kirkstall make it a convenient place to study as well, particularly if you’re into sport.

Working in Kirkstall

Most of the jobs going for students in Kirkstall are in retail. The recently-opened Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park has plenty of vacancies going at the start of every academic year, while there are also seasonal roles going in and around Kirkstall Abbey during spring and summer. Post-graduation, opportunities become greater in retail and service roles.

Getting around


The 19/19A, 49 and 50/50A go along Burley Road and Kirkstall Hill towards Horsforth and Tinshill in one direction and Garforth, Seacroft and Harehills in the other. Bus routes on the A65 Commercial/Abbey Road include the 33/33A to Otley and 757 to Leeds Bradford Airport. Typically, buses take around 15 minutes to get to the City Centre.


Kirkstall doesn’t have a train station of its own yet. However, Kirkstall Forge station is due to open at some point in the next year. In the meantime, Headingley Rail Station is less than a mile from the centre of Kirkstall, with regular trains going to Leeds in one direction and Harrogate/Knaresborough in the other. It takes 11 minutes to get to Leeds from there.

Sports and leisure

Kirkstall Leisure Centre

Address: Kirkstall Lane, Leeds LS5 3BE

Tel: 0113 3782086

Location: Just near the crossroads with Commercial Road and Kirkstall Lane

Run by the council, this leisure centre is pretty cheap to enter. If you want a swim, gentle workout or play sports such as football and tennis, this is one of the best-value and most convenient places in Kirkstall.

Milford Sports Club

Address: Beecroft St, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS5 3AS

Tel: 0113 226 3030

Location: Just off Commercial Road

This down-to-earth club is home to the famous Milford Marlins amateur rugby league club, as well as classes for things like Zumba and yoga. Membership fees are low, while it’s conveniently located in the centre of Kirkstall.

PureGym Kirkstall Bridge

Address: Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park, Leeds LS5 3BL

Tel: 0845 901 1059

Location: On the first floor of Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park, a few minutes from Morrisons

Newly-opened, this branch of PureGym offers over 50 different classes to new and existing members. It’s also close by to bars and restaurants in the area, while if you’re into weightlifting, this is just the place to go to when needing to let off some steam.


Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park

Address: Bridge Rd, Leeds LS5 3BW

Tel: 08458387627

Location: Just opposite the Kirkstall Valley Retail Park (Morrisons)

Opened in late 2015, this new shopping area has chain stores, a gym and places to eat on an evening. BHS, Home Bargains and Marks and Spencer are among the high street names based here, while more are due to arrive in early 2016.

The Bookshop Kirkstall

Address: 10 Commercial Rd, Leeds LS5 3AQ

Tel: 0113 278 0937

Location: At the crossroads of Commercial Road and Kirkstall Lane

This independent bookshop sells antique and modern titles, many of which might come in handy for your studies. It also hosts book readings from local authors, so if you consider yourself a bookworm, there are certainly worse places to visit!

Kirkstall Valley Retail Park

Address: Savins Mill Way, Leeds LS5 3BW

Website: N/A

Tel: N/A

Location: Opposite Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park

This shopping area is home to a Morrisons, where you can get all your essentials in one place. There’s also a Dunnes department store for home furnishings, which is quite similar to M&S, while it’s handy for getting a bus back home.

Nightlife and entertainment

Kirkstall has a handful of traditional pubs and trendy cafes for students and locals alike. Most of them are near Kirkstall Bridge and along the A65 Abbey Road/Commercial Road, the most famous being the iconic Kirkstall Bridge Inn, run by the Kirkstall Brewery. Cardigan Fields further down the A65 has numerous bars including Control.


Gallery FortyOne

Address: 41–43 Commercial Rd, Leeds LS5 3AW

Tel: 0113 274 0041

Location: Just round the corner from Milford Sports Club

This cozy Italian restaurant is just a stone’s throw from all Kirkstall’s shops, but it has a rustic, charming aura that lends itself to a great night out. The menu includes authentic pizza and pasta dishes, as well as an extensive wine list, while early bird specials mean you can save a few quid by coming in straight from the last seminar of the day.

Kirkstall Bridge Inn

Address: 12 Bridge Rd, Leeds LS5 3BW

Tel: 0113 278 4044

Location: Next to the Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park, just by the River Aire

This pub looks pretty traditional on the inside, but there’s more to it than real ale! Special menus, pub quizzes every Wednesday night and Wings nights make it the place to be, particularly if you’re fortunate enough to live within a short walk and have no other plans on a night.

Number 55 Sandwich Bar & Coffee Shop

Address: 55 Kirkstall Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS5 3BE

Tel: 07805 408448

Location: At the crossroads of Kirkstall Lane and Kirkstall Hill, near the newsagents

As cafes and sandwich shops go, few are quite as homely as this one. It’s handy for anyone studying at the Headingley Campus of Leeds Beckett University as it’s easy to get to and from there by foot. The menu features sandwiches, wraps, salads and even jacket potatoes to go, while you can dine inside in peace too.

Parks & Green spaces

The space around Kirkstall Abbey and Kirkstall Valley is ideal for a Sunday morning walk, not to mention a jog. Further north, Bramley Fall Park is a quiet space where you can get away from the buzz of the main roads, while just behind Morrisons, there are a few playing fields where you can have a kickabout with your mates.

Hospitals and emergencies

Leeds General Infirmary

Address: Great George St, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 3EX

Tel: 0113 243 2799

Location: Just south of the main campus of Leeds Beckett University, around a mile east of Kirkstall

Kirkstall Health Centre

Address: 15 Morris Lane, Leeds LS6 3DB

Tel: 0113 843 2700

Location: Just off Church Street, near the bus stop

Leeds Central Police Station

Address: Park St, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 3BY

Tel: 0113 238 2017

Location: Just next to the Combined Courts, just off Westgate. Around a couple of miles south-east of Kirkstall.

Our student accommodation in Kirkstall

Kirkstall has a mix of flats, terraces and detached/semi-detached properties, all of which lie in one of Leeds’ safest areas. For student flats in Kirkstall, you’re spoilt for choice, whether it’s something in a quiet spot or close by to the major bus routes and shops.

Popular areas around area name

Hyde Park

Just to the north-east of Kirkstall, Hyde Park is one of the most popular parts of Leeds with students. Plentiful bars, shops and cultural venues and, of course, being close by to the university district, make this area an ideal place for living and studying in.


For fans of sport, fresh food and the arts, living in Headingley makes perfect sense. It lies just to the north-east of Kirkstall, being close by to the Abbey and sharing some bus routes too. Most of the iconic Otley Run of pubs are in Headingley too.


Burley is right next to Kirkstall, sitting at the lower end of the Kirkstall Valley. It’s home to Cardigan Fields, lies on the same bus routes and is easy to get to from Leeds and the two main university campuses.

Kirkstall Abbey
Kirkstall Abbey