From ruined abbeys to tropical lakes, these are the very best picnic spots Leeds has to offer.
It’s a gloriously sunny day, the hamper’s ready and the blanket is rolled up in the back of the car. But where should you head to for the perfect picnic in Leeds? We’ve rounded up 10 of the finest beauty spots where you can enjoy an outdoor feast with family and friends. Get the sandwiches made, strawberries packed and Pimm’s prepped because your next picnic is going to be epic.
Set in 1,500 acres of parkland, it’s safe to say you won’t be short of a sunny spot or two to lay down your blankets at Temple Newsam, especially with their dedicated picnic area, cafe and shop. Once you’ve had your fill of sandwiches and sweet treats, there’s loads of natural beauty to explore across the landscaped grounds. From the colourful walled gardens to scented rose beds, woodland trails and three different lakes, it’s a day out for the whole family.
Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Selby Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AE.
Harewood House’s Lakeside Garden gives you the chance to enjoy your picnic next to a 32-acre tropical lake, with swans gliding past and towering oak trees providing dappled shade by the water. Or you can head to the Himalayan Garden instead, where you can recline on the grass with a Scotch egg or pork pie surrounded by blue poppies, pink primulas and over 50 types of rhododendron. Afterwards, you can walk off your feast across the 100 acres of grounds and gardens.
Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 9LG. You need to book ahead online.
From the grassy woodland spots to car-free picnic and play spaces, it couldn’t be simpler to find a quiet space to enjoy your sandwiches in Lotherton Hall’s gorgeous grounds. Once you’ve had your fill, there’s tonnes to explore. You can make your way around the expertly landscaped Edwardian gardens before popping by the apple orchards, scattered woodlands and deer park. Come for the beautiful picnic spot, stay for a packed family day out in the sunshine.
Lotherton Hall, Off Collier Lane, Aberford, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS25 3EB. You need to book ahead online
If you’re looking for a scenic picnic spot, you can’t go wrong with Roundhay Park. One of Europe’s largest urban parks, you’ll find a slew of picnic-friendly locations across this 700-acre space. While you’re there, there’s plenty of natural beauty to explore. As well as the rolling parkland, you can bob into the woodlands, follow a secret path around the stream that feeds one of its two lakes and take in the glorious beauty on the gorge walk.
Roundhay Park, Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2ER.
Colourful and drenched in sunshine, Park Square proves you don’t have to leave the city centre to find a picture-perfect picnic spot. Just a stone’s throw from Leeds’ business district, this landscaped oasis has been a popular spot for relaxing since 1788. Find a shady spot under a tree or sit out in the sun and feast your eyes on the roses blooming all around you. Don’t want to sit out on the grass? There’s plenty of benches for you to take, from which you can see right across the square.
Park Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2NY.
Kirkstall Abbey was always going to be on this list. Where else can you find a ruined 12th-century monastery and the most picturesque riverside picnic spot in Leeds? You can sit in the shadows of ruins or settle down by the River Aire to enjoy your favourite picnic fodder. After you eat, why not take a walk around the park or challenge your dining partners to a game of tennis on the local courts? And if you fancy a pint after, Kirkstall Bridge Inn’s huge beer garden is just around the corner.
Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3EH.
Just 25 minutes from Leeds city centre, Yeadon Tarn offers plenty of picnic spots, from family-sized picnic tables to acres of lush green grass. all overlooking the 7.5-hectare lake. There’s always plenty happening on the water, so stretch out and watch the wildlife or enjoy the local adventures as they use it for sports. If you need a walk after eating, there’s a long, scenic path around the lake to take in everything you might have missed.
Yeadon Tarn, Yeadon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS19 7UR.
Golden Acre Park
Stretching a massive 55 hectares, there’s plenty of exploring to do around Golden Acre Park and more than a few picnic spots to find. From the cherry orchard to the heather garden, wildflower meadow and wildfowl lake, you’ll be spoilt for choice, with gorgeous scenery everywhere you look. If you’re still full of energy after your picnic, why not take the short walk to the Breary Marsh or Adel Dam nature reserves for a completely different adventure?
Golden Acre Park, Off Arthington Road, Bramhope, Leeds, LS16 8BQ.
Leeds’ best-kept picnic secret, Eccup Reservoir is ideal for getting away from the city with the whole family. It’s the biggest single stretch of water in West Yorkshire, and you can perch yourself anywhere along the 5-mile lake trail to tuck into your homemade picnic – all while watching the wildlife mill about. Protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, there are over 150 different bird species to spot on a post-picnic walk, from the standard herons and swans to rare red kites and kingfishers.
Eccup Reservoir, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 7PL.Cover image © Copyright Leeds-List 2021 by Contakt Photography