Walking in a Winter Wonderland
26th November 2020
Leeds is full of opportunities for a festive stroll or a bracing winter walk, in the city or the countryside.
(Temple Newsam, credit Carl Milner)
Leeds is full of fascinating historical areas to experience a wonderful winter walk. The ruins of the 800 year old Kirkstall Abbey, just 3 miles out of the city centre is an amazing place to walk through parkland and the grounds of such an outstanding collection of buildings that look truly magical when covered in frost or bathed in winter sunlight. On the opposite side of Leeds, you could take a ramble around the landscaped grounds of Lotherton or Temple Newsam. The grounds of both are open throughout the winter and you can get a bite to eat and a warming drink from there cafes’ takeaway options. Roundhay Park is one of the biggest city parks in Europe. There are over 700 acres of parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens to be explore. The Lakeside café is open for warming takeaway snacks.
Oulton Hall, a grand hotel, is set in over 300 acres of gardens; the perfect place for locals to enjoy a walk. They are also offering refreshments from 11am-2pm every Saturday & Sunday.
(Lotherton Hall at Christmas, credit Carl Milner)
If you would prefer a Leeds city centre winter walk why not take an easy stroll along and near the waterfront and spot the many street art murals and installations along the way? If you’ve walked along the waterfront before, it’s worth a revisit as new artworks are still being added such as the Leeds Wall, which is constantly updated, along with established favourites such as Athena Rising and Grey Heron which also serves as a water level marker. Looking for a warm drink to power you along your walk along the river? Kapow Coffee can be found along the route at 46 the Calls, just off Centenary Bridge. Or try Laynes Espresso just opposite the City station which is built above the waterfront.
(Granary Wharf, credit Carl Milner)
Leeds is more than just the city centre and is one of the greenest cities in the country, with many parks and green places to such as Pudsey Park and Golden Acre Park. Another such delight are the grounds of Harewood house where the manicured gardens and more wilder countryside of the estate are ready to discover. Pre-booking at harewood.org/visit will give you access to the award-winning, popular gardens including the Terrace and Himalayan gardens plus facilities such as take-away hot drinks, snacks and those all-important loos! Dogs on a lead are also welcome.
For those that really want to stretch their legs then the 7 miles, Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve may be the answer. Starting just on the northern outskirts of the city centre, this signposted walk takes you from an urban landscape into meadows, along water courses and into woodland. Look out for glimpses into the areas industrial past as well as the areas wonderful wildlife.
(Harewood House, credit Carl Milner)
If you’re a seasoned walker who wants a real, full day challenge during this winter then the Dales Way Link Is the perfect route to take. This 20 miles walk links to the even bigger challenge of the Dales way which finishes in the Lake District. The Dales Way Link from Leeds takes you north up through Leeds northern greenspaces, the Market town of Otley, through valleys and up into the Dales, ending up in the picturesque town on Ilkey on the Leeds/Bradford postcode border at the famous Cow and Calf Rocks. Pick a crisp, frosty morning and set off at dawn to finish the walk before sunset. A regular bus or train service will get you back to the start in Leeds.
Wrapping up for a winter walk is a great mood booster but, if you prefer to stay cosy, you can Enjoy Leeds at Home too.