These action-packed days out are the perfect way for the kids to burn off excess energy after months in lockdown.
Now that lockdown has eased, there are loads of incredible family adventures to be had in and around Leeds. You can clamber through the treetops on an aerial assault course, trek across fields with an alpaca in tow or delve into the ruins of a centuries-old castle. Each one is a great way to treat the kids after a tricky few months and will even tire them out for an early bedtime – now that’s a win-win! So go on, take a look and make a plan.
There’s plenty to see and do at Harewood, without even stepping foot into the house. In fact, there are over 100 acres to cover, from the epic adventure playground to the magical Himalayan garden and picturesque lake. The Bird Garden is a must-visit for the family – it’s home to over 40 species, including colourful macaws, strange burrowing owls and playful Humboldt penguins. Three of their family-friendly cafes are open, perfect for when the little ones need to rest after a busy day exploring the estate.
Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 9LG.
If you’re a family of thrill-seekers, check out Go Ape. It’s an aerial assault course hidden in the woods at Temple Newsam. Anyone taller than 1.4 metres can take on their Treetop Challenge, which will see you run and jump across platforms suspended 15-metres in the air. You’ll conquer cargo nets, flying carpets and wobbly bridges, before gliding down the 60-metre zip-line. Got little ones? The Treetop Adventure has all the same thrills, but is specially tailored to younger families.
Go Ape, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AD.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Round up the kids and get ready to explore over 500 acres of rolling parkland filled with incredible artwork at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This massive open-air gallery features sculptures by renowned artists like Barbara Hepworth and Damien Hirst, which will fire the imaginations of youngsters and adults alike. You can bring a picnic or take a pit-stop at the cafe, before hunting out the cool historical marvels that are also buried in the grounds, like the Obelisk and the Shell Grotto.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 4LG.
What’s better than a stroll through the Yorkshire countryside? A stroll with an alpaca, of course! Treeside Alpacas is a family-run farm where you can meet, feed and walk their furry family. You’ll be introduced to the boys, including the gentle giant Chester and the charming young Kimbo, before taking them out for a one-hour walk through the fields. The team will tell you all about the alpacas and you’ll really get to know their quirky personalities, making it the ultimate experience for animal-obsessed youngsters.
Treeside Alpacas, Moss Carr Farm, Newmarket Lane, Oulton, Leeds, Leeds LS26 9DW.
Pontefract Castle is a Yorkshire landmark with a rich history and it makes for a fantastic free day out for the whole family. Built in 1070, the castle was the scene of many grisly sieges – it’s even thought to be the place where King Richard II was murdered. The castle was destroyed in the English Civil War, but you can still delve into the ruins and discover the remains of kitchens, chapels and gatehouses. The keep is well preserved – clamber to the top for fantastic views over the town. The cafe is open for refreshments.
Pontefract Castle, The Lodge Castle Chain, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, WF8 1QH.
If the youngsters need to burn off some energy, Stockeld Park is a great shout. There are loads of activities to get stuck into. The inflatable zone is always popular – the kids will have a ball jumping and tumbling across the air pillow, before whizzing down the giant slide. Or why not challenge the family to a race around the pedal go-kart track? There are six different playgrounds to explore, and after all the excitement you can take a break at the cafe, where they serve pizzas, sandwiches and snacks.
Stockeld Park, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS22 4AN.
Leeds Urban Bike Park
Fancy a two-wheeled adventure? Grab the bikes and head to Leeds Urban Bike Park, where there are mountain bike trails for cyclists of all ages and abilities. The Green Trail is perfect for families and will take you on a quick 2-kilometre route, where you can rocket around corners and whizz down hills. If you want to try BMXing, the Pump Track is a great introduction to jumps. No bikes? No problem – you can hire them from the on-site shop. Refuel with hot drinks and snacks from the cafe throughout the day.
Leeds Urban Bike Park, Middleton Park Bike Hub Ring Road, Beeston Park, Leeds, LS10 3TN.
Ponderosa Zoo is home to over 120 exotic animals from around the globe. The kids will go wide-eyed with wonder as they get up close to reindeer, raccoon dogs and wallabies. Watching the fun-loving otters splash about in the water is a particular highlight! After you’ve met the creatures, the youngsters can go wild on the adventure playground, which even has a zip-line. The zoo is designed to be fully accessible for all ages and abilities, so everyone can enjoy this family day out.
Ponderosa Zoo, Smithies Lane, Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, WF16 0PN.
The Piece Hall
The Piece Hall is a spectacular Grade I-listed building in Halifax and their family-friendly Spring Surprises Trail is a great way to explore it with the kids. It’s an AR trail, so just download the app and you’ll discover an array of virtual characters and fun challenges as you wander across the piazza and along the balcony walkways. You can also do a spot of shopping in the boutiques, sit down for a meal in their outdoor dining area and treat the kids to a scoop or two from the ice cream parlour.
The Piece Hall, Blackledge, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1RE.
Diggerland is a theme park dedicated to, you guessed it… diggers! There are over 20 attractions for construction-loving kids and adults to enjoy. You can ride JCBs, drive mini tractors and race around on go-karts. As for the rides, little ones can have a go on the merry-go-round, while teens will love the adrenaline-pumping Spindizzy, which will see them strapped into a super-sized digger bucket and spun through the air. You can bring a picnic or grab a bite at the cafe when stomachs start rumbling.
Diggerland, Willowbridge Lane, Whitwood, West Yorkshire, WF10 5NW.