Kirkstall Abbey in the snow - Zagni Photography


Walks In A Winter Wonderland

23rd November 2023

There’s nothing quite like a bracing winter walk to blow away the cobwebs. Whether you’re wanting a stroll in the city or the countryside, you’ve got lots of choice in Leeds.  

With captivating historical areas to experience, the ruins of the 800 year old Kirkstall Abbey, located just 3 miles out of the city centre, is an amazing location to explore on foot. See the outstanding collection of buildings in their most magical form when covered in frost or bathed in winter sunlight. 

On the opposite side of Leeds, you could ramble around the landscaped gardens of Lotherton or Temple Newsam. Both grounds are open throughout the winter season and you can grab a bite to eat with a warming drink with their cafes’ takeaway options (and there’s plenty to discover inside the houses too). 

Alternatively, Roundhay Park is one of the biggest city parks in Europe. There are over 700 acres of parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens to be explored, with the Lakeside Cafe providing a variety of warming, takeaway snacks. 

If you’d prefer a city centre winter walk in Leeds, then why not take a relaxing stroll along and near the waterfront and spot the many street art murals and installations on the way? With new artwork additions, there’s plenty to discover. Looking for a warm drink to fuel 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 around the corner from Leeds train station, which is built above the waterfront. 

There’s so much more to explore outside of the city centre and Leeds is one of the greenest cities in the country, with many parks and green spaces to discover such as Pudsey ParkandGolden Acre Park. Another highlight are the grounds of Harewood House where the beautifully maintained gardens and wilder countryside of the estates are ready to explore. Pre-booking on Harewood House’s website will give you access to the award-winning, popular grounds including the Terrace and Himalayan gardens plus facilities such as takeaway hot drinks and snacks. Dogs on a lead are also welcome. 

For those who would really like to stretch their legs, the 7 mile Meanwood Valley Local Nature Reserve walk may be the perfect winter stroll for you. 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 area’s industrial past as well as its wonderful wildlife. 

If you’re a seasoned walker who fancies a real, full day challenge this winter, then the  Dales Way Linkis the perfect route to take. This 20 mile walk links to the even bigger challenge of the Dales Way which finishes in the Lake District. From Leeds, the Dales Way Link takes you north up through Leeds’ greenspaces, the market town of Otley, through valleys and up into the Dales, ending at the famous Cow and Calf Rocks in the picturesque town of Ilkley, located on the Leeds/Bradford postcode border. Choose 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 where you started in Leeds. 



  • * This blog was originally posted in November 2021 and has been updated.