The Otley Run is a rite of passage for most students studying in Leeds. A two-and-a-half-mile pub crawl starting at Woodies Ale House in Headingley and ending at The Dry Dock in the city centre (at which point the more seasoned go out out).
There have been a number of alterations and changes to the Otley run. However we are strong believers that there are 15 stops along the route. No More. No Less.
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Honestly, any day is a good day for the Otley Run. But it is worth considering when venues are all going to be open, when everyone is available, and when you will have the most fun. For these reasons the Otley Run tends to be busier on sunny Saturdays. However don't let that hold you back. If you have found a good day to run, lets go!
We would recommend starting the Otley Run any time between 12-3pm. As you get later in the day (between 3-5pm) the route can get very busy and you may end up not getting in to some of the venues. It also makes sense to start earlier as you have more time to play with!
As a general rule it can take all day. If you set off around 1-2pm, you are likely to make it to the Dry Dock at around 11pm.
However it can depend on a number of things. How big your group is. How busy the pubs are. Are you following the traditional rules or having a couple to begin with?
Make sure your group has a leader, to make sure drinks are getting finished and you move on. Otherwise you could get stuck in the sun at the Original Oak!
If you are following the traditional Otley Run rules and finish the whole route, you will be drinking 15 pints. Some people like to switch this up and start introducing spirits and mixers into the equation. We recommend that you know your limits.
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The price can vary as it depends on your choice of drink. However if you are drinking 15 pints and grab a box of chips along the way (you know you will) then the cost will come it between £65 - £90.
Although there is a bit of a walk. You could get the train to Headingley Station. Then follow this route to get to Woodies - Walking route from Headingley train station to Woodies.
The below map shows each stopping point as a red marker. Press the GPS icon to track your progress.
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Tap a marker to show the name of the pub or bar.
There has been some debate on which bars and pubs actually are on the Otley Run. But we know whats what. The 16 pubs listed below are our official Otley Run pub crawl.
The Otley Run begins at Woodies in far Headingley. With a decent sized beer garden out the back, benches at the front and a big old space inside - this is as good a place as any to get the first drink in.
Woodies is a Greene King pub, so expect to see most of their range, including their Progress Pale – 20p from every pint sold goes to an LGBQT+ charity.More Info on Woodies
The Three Horseshoes is one of Headingleys oldest pubs, the second of the Otley Run Pubs, and a very short distance down the road from Woodies.
It has recently been taken over by new management, and had a massive refurbishment. It has outdoor seating, a number of tables inside, and HD TVs for the sports (not that you will be watching!).
The Three Horseshoes has a pretty decent selection of Pub Grub. Not a bad spot for some food to line the stomach before really getting into the Otley Run.More Info on The Three Horseshoes Pub
The first three pubs along the route are nice and close together. The New Inn being the last of the three. Also a Greene King pub, so you know what to expect.
This pub is a little smaller than the first two - and tends to have security on the door to handle the flow of traffic. Unless you have planned when to start carefully, more often than not this pub has to be skipped as the wait is so long.More Info on The New Inn
A bit further down the road (half a mile) and past Burger King and Greggs (quick bite to eat?) is Headingley Taps.
This pub is a real student pub, with a large bar to accomidate the crowds. In 2022 they gave the beer garden a facelift and added a number of benches. Making it a great place to grab a pint in the sun!
Heads up, watch where you are going. The Taps are just off from Otley Road and it is easy to accidentally pass this pub and end up at The Box.
Bit of history. The architecture and name "The Headingley Taps" comes from the fact that the pub used to be a local water pumping station for the area.More Info on The Headingley Taps
Originally called "The Arc", Manahatta joins the Otley Run with a more modern twist. This New York themed cocktail bar is a fancy addition to the most normal "pub" feel of the crawl.
With plenty of space, two floors and a balcony it can be easy to have more that just a pint here.More Info on Manahatta
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A student and sports bar in the centre of Headingley. If you are wanting a short break there are pool tables upstairs and they do a good selection of pub grub.
They serve a decent number of beers, ciders and spirits.
Out the front is a small beer garden with benches, agood spot if it's a sunny day!More Info on The Box
At this point the Otley run tends to slow down a bit. The pub is a little smaller and the queues tend to back up.
Also at this point you will have had 6+ drinks so the group may get a bit wobbly. Do your best to keep everyone together and moving!
There is a small bar garden to the side of the Skyrack. A nice place to pause!More Info on The SkyrackMore Info on The Skyrack
At this point you are over half way through the run.
Known as having one of the best beer gardens in Leeds. Big screen for the sport. And a small upstairs bar where the queues build up.
They do a pretty decent food selection here. Maybe grab something to set you up for the rest of the trip?
Also, prepare youself. There is a bit of a walk from here to the next pub.More Info on The Original Oak
You will likely lose a number of your group before making it here. Otley road is longer than it looks on a map, and not everything can make it on the bus!
However, it's not worth getting a taxi from The Original Oak. Firstly the wait will be ages, secondly the fresh air will properly do you some good.
This pub is a favorite of local students, its location puts it right on the the of Hyde Park (Woodhouse Moor) and all of the student housing that comes with it.More Info on Hyde Park Pub
Not a book in sight here. Situated on the edge of Hyde Park, next to the main Leeds Uni Campus. This is a favourite destination for Students and like minded people.
There’s loads of room indoor and out, and this stop-off often comes with live music or DJ soundtrack.More Info on The Library Pub
Just across the road and a little bit along from the Library Pub sits the Park Horse.
Its a bit of a squeeze here. A small tight bar, generally not much space to spread out. This is a quick in and out pint!
There is a small beer garden, but it makes sense to move on to the Eldon from here.More Info on The Pack Horse
Larger than the Packhorse, this is an unpretentious pub friendly pub on the corner of St Marks Street.
They do offer a great selection of beers and some fantastic bar snacks to help keep you going through the last few pubs too.
Expect dancing, singing, and someone stupidly suggesting shots...More Info on The Eldon Pub
The Leeds University Union stop introduces a decision. Something that at this point in the run is likely to split the group depending on the type of people you are with. This is because the union contains two bars. And you can only visit one!
The first is Old Bar. It has been there since 1939 and is very much a "proper" pub. Wooden stools, pub quizzed and guest beers. It's a cosy stop off, and some may call it a day at this point!
The second is The Terrace. Known for its events, and on a sunny day its large outside area. This is more of a modern vibe with cocktails and a more minimum decor. If you are heading out to the clubs after then this may be more your scene!More Info on Old BarMore Info on The Terrace
One of the friendlier indepentant venues along the Otley Run. Dog friendly, open mic and live music, this is a great pub.More Info on The Fenton
Before its conception as a pub, The Dry Dock was a gravel barge called "Lambda" which was moved to its current spot opposite Leeds Metropolitan University in December 1993.
The do a pretty good selection of food, but it is unlikely you will get here before the kitchen closes. And at this point in the evening it also isn't worth mentioning the rum and cocktails they do. We suggest you stick to what you have been having previously. And some water?More Info on The Dry Dock
If you and a few of your group have made it this far, good job! You have got yourself right into the Leeds city centre. The town is your oyster. Maybe head around to the Uni Union if there is an event on. If the line at Pryzm isnt too long it might be worth checking that out. Cheap drinks and a good dance!
The Otley Run is known for its costume diversity. You don't have to wear a costume, but if your are going to do the Otley Run... You may as well...
At the end of the day, this is a good old fashioned bat crawl. However there are several rules that groups like to throw in to spice things up and keep things moving.
An old classic. Gentlemans rules does what it says on the tin. No pointing, no swearing, only left hand drinking. If one of the group catches you breaking one of these rules - there is a forfeit!
All good plans need structure. When organising an Otley Run someone should be assigned the 'time keeper'. They make sure everyone moves on when time is up. This makes sure a reasonable pace is kepy, and there are no stragglers.
The bigger the group, the more havok this will cause. When someone shouts grenade the whole group must lay down on the floor. The last person standing has to do a forfeit.
Some people say "eating is cheating". And then they get a few pints in them and want a box of cheesy chips.
Many of the pubs along the route do food. Ranging from salt and vinigar crisps to burgers and pizza. However sometimes you want something for the road.
Between The New Inn and Headingley Taps:
By Hyde Park Pub:
By The Packhorse and Eldon:
There are a few locations along the route that don't take too fondly to Otley Runners.
The Otley Run first began in 1964, when the Licensing Act gave Otley pubs favourable hours on market days. Known as the "Headingley Mile", it was originally crawled by farmers who went between each pub by tractor.
In its first version, the Otley run contained pubs from further afield. Over time time the route began to change, adding more venues closer to the city. Tetley was a popular brewery in Yorkshire and because of their high number of pubs, venues such as The Oak Inn - now known as The Original Oak and The Woodman (Woodies) became a part of the crawl.
The trail used to end at a pub called The Pig and Whistle in the Merrion Centre. This pub no longer exists.
As more pubs were added the route changes from being a short crawl to an all day event.
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