From gardens to playgrounds, and wildlife to water, there are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had in Leeds and the surrounding area.
Roundhay Park in Leeds is one of the biggest city parks in Europe. It has over 700 acres of parkland, lakes, woodland and award-winning gardens. The park is one of the most popular in Europe.
In the park you can find an abundance of wildlife including woodpeckers, swans, rabbits and squirrels. Enjoy a game on one of the sports pitches for football, rugby and cricket as well as a grass cycling track.
Roundhay Park is also home to Tropical World, a tropical island adventure which is fun for all the family. At Tropical World you can take a trek through the rainforest and experience tropical wildlife at night before a quick excursion through the desert all in the same morning!
Come and explore one of the great country houses of England set within a Capability Brown landscape surrounded by beautiful parkland which includes a working rare breed’s farm.
Temple Newsam has so much to offer visitors. See a variety of rare breed animals, wander around the beautiful gardens, enjoy some leisure time and book the football pitches, or enjoy a round of golf, climb on the playground, and walk in the woods to discover the folly and explore the bridle paths.
Temple Newsam plays host to a variety of events throughout the year including races, open air theatre and festivals.
NEW: Go Ape recently opened their new Park Adventure!
Explore one of the most complete examples of a medieval Cistercian abbey in Britain. Set in wonderful parkland along the banks of the River Aire, Kirkstall Abbey boast historic architecture amid a haven of wildlife and greenery.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the grounds and wonder at the Abbey, or walk along the river bank and see if you can spot the ducks.
There is also a market to browse; Kirkstall Abbey Markets run one weekend per month between March and November from 12 noon to 3pm.
With events from outdoor cinema to family fun, and Abbey House Museum just across the road, Kirkstall Abbey makes for a great day out!
Experience fabulous family days out within the beautiful woodland of Stockeld Park, located between Leeds and Harrogate.
In Spring and Summer enjoy outdoor and indoor fun whether rain or shine, including go-karting, roller-skating and inflatables galore. Try the outdoor roller rink, maze, go karts or explore, climb and play in the Enchanted Forest as you discover sculptures and themed adventure playground areas. Jump and slide in the inflatable zone or drive the electric scooter* trail!
If you’re into something a bit spookier then the Autumnal Halloween Spooktacular is for you. Throughout Winter, walk or ski around the Enchanted Illuminated Forest or skate on their real ice rink.
*Additional charges for the Electric Scooters; £5 per circuit. Age/height restrictions apply.
Otley Chevin Forest Park
The Chevin is a great place for visitors to do lots of different activities and is open all year round. Overlooking the market town of Otley with magnificent views of the Wharfe Valley, you’ll feel at one with nature as you take in the scenery.
There is a good network of paths to make your own circular walk, but if you want to follow a themed trail there is a Geology Trail, Heritage Time Trail and a route for tree spotters. Don’t miss the ‘Surprise view’ over Yorkshire!
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the picturesque market town of Otley. From restaurants and award-winning fish & chips shops, to tea rooms and cafes, there’s something to suit all tastes. Be sure to visit the many traditional pubs and inns too!
Flamingos in Leeds?! You’ll find them at Lotherton Hall along with over 480 individual birds, from more than 130 different species in their brilliant bird garden!
Enjoy the popular adventure playground (for the under 8s) with climbing frames, zip wire, swings, roundabouts and plenty of seating close to the Stable Courtyard. Or visit the Woodland Play area, designed for older children, this picnic and play area offers great fun and exercise in a woodland setting.
Put on your walking boots and discover the wonderful gardens, spread over 8 acres.
Beyond the formal gardens, there is so much to see and do. Walk quietly along the perimeter fence of the Deer Park and watch the herd of red deer grazing. Saunter due south, off the beaten track onto Ranger’s Walk; or continue beyond the Bird Garden entrance, and the countryside is only footsteps away.
Golden Acre Park
This popular park in North Leeds is renowned for its wonderful gardens, popular tea rooms and circular lakeside walk. At 55 hectares in size, it is located near to two of Leeds’ most treasured nature reserves, Breary Marsh and Adel Dam. It’s also on the route of both the Leeds Country Way and the Meanwood Valley Trail.
Golden Acre Park is Home to many varieties of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants as well as a host of native animals and wildfowl.
A walk around Wildfowl Lake is the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. The gardeners try to add something new every year so you’ll want to keep coming back for a visit.
The Capability Brown landscape of Harewood House is breath taking. The grounds are home to numerous gardens including the Lakeside Garden and Himalayan Garden. The adventure playground offers hours of fun for children of all ages.
Harewood Bird Garden is home to exotic species of birds; you’ll see Penguins, Flamingos, Owls and Macaws and to name a few. You can even get up close to the penguins by helping the keepers feed them.
New for 2016 is the Harewood Farm Experience. Young farmers can meet friendly alpacas, learn about our family of pygmy goats and see our pot bellied pigs enjoy a spot of lunch.
Yeadon Tarnfield Park
Yeadon Tarnfield Park is extremely popular with people of all ages and open to the public 365 days a year. Younger visitors can enjoy the playground and BMX track whilst other visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll around the tarn, a relaxing game of bowls or spend a Sunday afternoon enjoying one of the Summer Bands in the Park with entertainment from some of the region’s leading brass bands.
For the more active visitor to the park the tarn, the main feature of the park, is used for various water sports activities and is the base for the Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre.
The park is also an excellent location to get great views of the planes taking off and landing at Leeds and Bradford Airport.
York Gate Garden
York Gate Garden is a one-acre garden tucked away behind the ancient church in Adel. It may be one of the smaller destinations on our list but no less beautiful, winning several awards.
The garden is divided by yew and beech hedges into a series of smaller gardens, each with its own theme and style. This is the perfect destination to spend a few peaceful hours in the sunshine. There’s even a shop and newly-refurbished tea room on site.
The garden is open 27 March – 30 September, Sunday-Thursday.
Every Wednesday in June the garden is open in the evening- 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Venture a little further to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield. Set in the beautiful grounds and gardens of a 500-acre, 18th century country estate, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is one of the world’s leading open-air galleries, presenting a changing programme of international sculpture exhibitions.
The park is currently home to an exhibition by the renowned American artist KAWS, whose wide ranging practice includes painting, sculpture, graphic design, toys and prints. He has collaborated with industry leaders including Nike, Vans, MTV and Kanye West. See this exhibition 6th Feb – 12th June 2016.
Herd Farm Residential Activity Centre
Herd Farm is a grade two listed converted barn transformed into a 50-bed residential and outdoor activity centre for children and adults. With a full range of outdoor pursuits from high wire challenges, to giant swings, leap of faith, and many more on the ground activities including BMX bikes, assault course, bush craft skills and archery there is sure to be something available for everyone on site.
Why not stay over? The Centre can provide informal comfortable residential experiences for groups of families and friends whilst enjoying a rural setting!