It can be difficult sometimes to escape city life, especially when you live and work there. In Leeds though, you never have to go far without seeing some greenery as there are truly fantastic parks and gardens tucked away in the urban landscape. We’ve listed the best ones that that will make you feel like you’re taking a country stroll within the heart of Yorkshire.
Roundhay Park is great for so many reasons: it’s huge, spectacularly beautiful, surrounded by quaint country pubs and home to the fantastic Tropical World. If you want a day out we recommend starting at Tropical World to check out the meerkats, tropical birds, butterflies, reptiles and even a crocodile! Tickets are a bargain at £5 and you can easily spend a morning ambling through this spectacular slice of paradise. Afterwards head to one of the many surrounding pubs for a proper pub lunch before strolling through Roundhay’s 700 acres of parks, lakes and woodland. Alternatively, pack a picnic on a sunny day and find one of the many secluded glades tucked away in pockets of woodland to enjoy a relaxing afternoon away from the city.
Opening hours: Tropical World is open Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs 8am-4:30pm, Fri 8am-4pm and closed at the weekend.
Whenever the sun comes out, Woodhouse Moor comes alive in the most spectacular fashion. Located in between the universities, these fields are hugely popular during the summer months. If you are a student then you are probably already familiar with Woodhouse by its other name ‘Hyde Park’, but if not then don’t feel excluded; the park is also hugely popular with local residents and is a great place to take a blanket and a book for the afternoon. Woodhouse Moor isn’t just for summer however, as every 5th November they hold a spectacular bonfire and fireworks display where you can treat yourself to toffee apples, crepes, donuts and ice cream whilst watching the spectacle. Again, the park comes to life so it’s worth getting down early with a couple of beers to find your spot next to the bonfire.
Opening hours: Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs 8am-4:30pm, Fri 8am-4pm and closed at the weekend.
The outskirts of the city may be pretty green, but as you get into the centre green spots are hard to come by. That’s why Park Square is a treasured gem nestled right in the heart of the business and financial district. It has historical significance being a Georgian Square, and is therefore surrounded by classic architecture that transports it away from the urban surroundings. Park Square is a dedication to meticulous landscaping and care and is always immaculate. If you work in the City then this is the place to lunch or just take a break and enjoy the scenery. The historical architecture also makes it a must visit for any tourist looking to see a little something different during a day trip or city break.
Built in 1975, Harewood House is a member of The Treasure Houses of England and is a great example of beautiful historical architecture. It is one of the Britain’s most treasured stately homes and is surrounded by over 100 acres of award-winning, lovingly maintained garden to get lost in. The excitingly named Himalayan Garden and Walled Garden are hugely popular and the Bird Garden is home to many exotic species including penguins, flamingos and parrots. The house itself is also home to several art collections, books, sculptures, ceramics, wallpapers and much more. With regular buses from the city centre the park is easily accessible and a highly recommended day out. There are events running throughout the year so it’s worth checking the website before you visit.
Tucked away in the developed urban area of Meanwood you can find a little strip of woodland locally known as ‘The Ridge’. If you are local to Meanwood and Headingly you may already know of this park but if not then it is definitely worth a visit. Notable for its mature woodland, Victorian bandstand, WWII air raid shelter and packhorse bridge, this little strip of countryside is the perfect escape for anyone feeling suffocated by the urban surroundings. Woodhouse ridge forms part of the Meanwood Valley Trail, a 7 mile walking route for the more ambitious walkers among you. If seven miles sounds a bit much then just join the trail at the ridge to soak up the beautiful greenery and spectacular grasslands that overlook Chapel Allerton and Roundhay.
If you have lived in Leeds for longer than a year and not visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park then now is the time! Accessible by bus from Wakefield, the sculpture park is a little out of the city but still an essential visit for anyone looking to witness some of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. The clue is in the name as this is literally a park full of truly spectacular sculptures by renowned artists such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. There is also an indoor museum and a rotation of exhibitions so it’s always worth checking what’s on before you visit. Packing a picnic is certainly recommended as the park is huge and requires at least a full day to appreciate. Watch out for the shell grotto, tucked away next to the lake and the birdhouse which gives you an idyllic view of undisturbed wildlife. Admission is free but you have to pay for parking so it’s worth looking into travelling by bus.