One of the most accessible areas for outdoor walks of all lengths is Ilkley Moor. Although the moorland is spectacular throughout the year, an early autumn visit will treat you to a panoramic view of purple heather, stretching as far as the eye can see. Among the many walks on the moor, the most iconic has to be the Cow and Calf, a large millstone boulder with a smaller version nestled beside it. For the most impressive views, climb up onto the small cliffs along the route.
Located to the east of the city, Temple Newsam may be best known for its Tudor-Jacobean stately home, but its grounds offer the perfect setting for a relaxing stroll. The three lakes are surrounded by lush gardens, rolling green meadows and a beautiful rhododendron walk, providing an abundance of colourful blooms during the spring and summer months. Keen gardeners and plant lovers will find a walk around the mansion’s grounds especially beautiful.
Golden Acre Park
The perfect place for escaping the busy heart of the city, Golden Acre Park is a nature lover’s paradise. Located to the north of the centre, this large park is one of the best places to walk your dog or simply enjoy a solo stroll. A variety of animals reside within the park itself (including deer, birds and rabbits), and the adjacent Breary Marsh Local Nature Reserve offers more opportunities for wildlife sightings. The scenic ornamental gardens feature waterfalls, fountains and wildflower meadows, making this a popular spot on sunny days.
The River Aire runs right through the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey, making this iconic landmark even more picturesque. The ruins of the Abbey are frequently visited by tourists and locals alike, offering a mix of history and nature close to the city centre. Part of West Leeds Country Park, the grounds of the Abbey are ideal for a slow Sunday stroll or an evening dog walk, providing a relaxing countryside atmosphere near the heart of a metropolis.
Just north of the city, past Leeds Bradford airport, lies one of the best places to admire panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Otley Chevin Forest Park offers 700 acres of woodland, perfect for locals seeking a place to walk their dogs or simply get a little fresh air. Walk up to the overlook known as Surprise View to take in the vistas across the Wharfe Valley — on a clear day, you can even see the iconic white horse on the hillside at Kilburn. Continue strolling down into Otley to walk along the river and admire the small market town.