How much of West Yorkshire have you discovered? Tick off our bucket list and make the most of everything the region has to offer…
There’s loads of exploring to do in West Yorkshire and no better time to do it than when you’re young, so make the most of your free time by working your way through all these adventures before you hit 25. From music festivals to virtual reality gaming and an outdoor swimming pool that looks out on the moors beyond, you’d be amazed at all the incredible things you can do so close to home.
1. Go bouldering at Caley Crags
Otley is a half hour bus ride away and it has some of the best bouldering problems in Yorkshire. Make a beeline for Caley Crags, in the Otley Chevin Forest Park – it has something for everyone, whether you’re a total beginner or an absolute pro. In fact, the choice is mind-boggling – there are over 600 different problems here, from the reassuringly easy Flue Crack to the ridiculously difficult No Pebble Wall. Need to learn the ropes before you go? Try The Climbing Lab in Kirkstall.
Caley Crags, Otley Chevin, Pool in Wharfedale, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3BP.
2. Scare yourself silly at Yorkshire Scare Grounds Scream Park
Zombies, vampires, ghosts – it’s time to live out your worst nightmares at Yorkshire’s most frightening attraction. The Yorkshire Scare Grounds Scream Park is like a real-life horror movie and it’ll take you inside a series of spine-tingling tales. They think up new scares every year, so you could do anything from venturing into a haunted house to tip-toeing around a creepy slaughterhouse. Expect CGI, moving sets and live actors to make the whole experience feel real – so you’re in for a terrifying treat.
Yorkshire Scare Grounds Scream Park, Horse Race End, Hell Lane, Heath, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 5SG.
3. Immerse yourself in your favourite films at Kirkstall Abbey
Have you heard of Sneaky Experience? They create immersive cinema experiences in unusual settings – and you simply have to try it. This summer, they’re bringing a medley of classic movies to life at Kirkstall Abbey – you could see Ghost Busters with ectoplasm shots and giant inflatables or catch Interview with a Vampire surrounded by the undead. It’s the perfect excuse to take in the scenic surroundings of one of the best remaining examples of a Cistercian abbey in the UK.
Sneaky Experience at Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3EH.
4. Go swimming outdoors at Ilkley Lido
You don’t get many open-air swimming pools in the UK – and you probably won’t find another as scenic as this. Ilkley Lido isn’t like other pools, it’s nestled in the middle of the Yorkshire countryside with the Moors as its backdrop, so you can expect stunning vistas while you swim. They have two pools, a massive 45-metre number outside and a smaller 25-metre pool inside, so if it does rain, you can retreat indoors. While you’re here, you can picnic, play tennis or even have a go at bowls – it’s a ready-made day out.
Ilkley Lido, Denton Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 0BZ.
5. See a trio of firsts at the National Science & Media Museum
You’d be amazed at what you can find at the Science & Media Museum. They have over 3 million items in their collection, and while they aren’t all on display, you can see some seriously cool artifacts, like the oldest surviving negative in the world, the earliest television footage, and the camera that made the earliest moving pictures in Britain. And that’s just a taste of what you can see here because they continually attract and create interactive exhibitions to tell the story of image and sound technology.
The National Science & Media Museum, Pictureville, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1NQ.
6. Try virtual gaming at VR-Immersion
Virtual reality gaming has arrived in Yorkshire. VR-Immersion uses the latest HTC Vive technology to transport you to another world – you can hurtle into the future where robots have replaced humans, step into the ring and try your hand at boxing or venture into space to fight aliens. They even have the world’s only VR-climbing game. And with a mix of one-player and multi-player games, you can come alone or round-up your mates for an incredible day out.
VR-Immersion, Black Dyke Mills, Brighouse Road, Queensbury, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD13 1QA.
7. Go on a treetop adventure at Go Ape
Tucked away in the Menagerie Woods at Temple Newsam, you’ll find the new Go Ape Adventure Park. It’s exactly what you’d expect – an obstacle course of stepping stones, Tarzan swings, log-balances and zip wires high in the treetops. If you’re feeling brave, take on their Tree Top Challenge – it’ll give you access to their toughest loops, which sit 15 metres above the ground, and you’ll get 3 hours to scramble, balance and jump your way through it.
Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AE.
8. Make clubbing colourful at Holi Festival
Although Holi originated in India, you don’t have to travel quite that far to celebrate the ‘Festival of Colours’. Every year, Leeds Holi Festival brings the colour for a night of DJs, live entertainment and street food. You’ll find yourself in a feel-good party atmosphere where balls of paint powder are thrown willy-nilly in every direction. Come in a white t-shirt, leave in a rainbow of colours.
Church, 177-179 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AR.
9. Get a proper roast dinner for a bargain price at Man v Roast
If you haven’t tried the roast dinners at Man v Roast yet, you need to get on it. It’s a carvery with a focus on quality ingredients – they get all their meats from Sykes House Farm, so you know it’s the good stuff. You can get all your favourites, from pork loin, turkey breast and rotisserie chicken to shoulder of lamb and gammon. Coupled with proper roasties, a huge Yorkshire pudding and all manner of veg, it’s a real treat – and you can have it any day of the week for just £7.
Man v Roast, 144c Cardigan Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1LU.
10. Go BMXing at Leeds Urban Bike Park
Middleton Park is home to an unmissable attraction. Leeds Urban Bike Park is a custom-built mountain biking trail with 6 kilometres of tracks and trails to take on. They also have a mini and full-sized pump track with everything from switchbacks to tabletops, berms and roll downs, so you can put your BMX skills to the test. Don’t have a bike? You can hire a BMX or mountain bike at the centre.
Leeds Urban Park Bike Hub, Ring Road, Beeston Park, Middleton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 3TN.
11. Unleash your inner child at Eureka!
Eureka! is the National Children’s Museum, and usually, it’s all about the kids, but once every 6 months, it becomes a playground for grown-ups. Eureka! Lates gives you the chance to explore at your own pace, with no kids around, and have loads of fun while you do it. You can look up a giant nose as you learn about the body, create noises with Orby the alien in the Soundspace and play cool technology games in the Spark Gallery. To top it off, they serve up street food and alcoholic drinks.
Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Discovery Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 2NE.
12. Roam free amid the art at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
We’re very lucky that we have one of the most impressive art galleries in the north right on our doorstep – and it’s a little unconventional. You see, this is a 500-acre park complete with scenic vistas and roaming highland cattle. As you wander around, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with incredible works of art by the likes of Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Joan Miró, but they also attract modern artists, like Ai Weiwei, who’s displaying his dramatic group of 12 bronze animal heads amidst the greenery.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 4LG.
13. Speed down the slopes at Snozone
Ever tried skiing? Now’s your chance because you’ll find one of the country’s best real snow slopes just 40 minutes away in Castleford. Snozone is a winter wonderland all year round, with fresh powder laid every morning. If you’ve never been before, you’ll need to book a lesson, and you can try either skiing or snowboarding, whichever you prefer. Once you’ve learned the ropes, you can go it alone or even try their freestyle sessions.
Snozone, Colorado Way, Glasshoughton, Castleford, West Yorkshire, WF10 4TA.
14. Escape the room at Kanyu
It takes just under an hour to get to Wetherby and it’s home to one of the best escape games in Yorkshire. You’ll find Kanyu in a Grade II listed Georgian gatehouse – it’s been converted by film set designers Fusion LX who’ve created two incredibly realistic puzzles and challenges. Choose from the oak-panelled study or the abandoned laboratory, and work as a team to make your escape within 60 minutes.
Kanyu, South Lodge, Moor End, Boston Spa, Wetherby, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6ER.
15. Go bouncing around Jump Arena
Jump Arena is like an adult-sized adventure playground. Step inside and you’ll find yourself surrounded by 50 inter-connected trampolines, spread across a 50,000 square foot hall. But that’s only the beginning. They have foam pits and dodgeball courts for you to play on as well as basketball nets all along the perimeter. They even host fun-filled party nights, where you can bounce around as DJs play massive hits.
Jump Arena, Redcote Lane, Leeds West Yorkshire, LS4 2AL.
16. See your favourite bands play live for half the price of Leeds Fest
It may not be as famous as Leeds Fest, it may not even be as big, but for half the price and with a line-up that’s downright impressive, The Bingley Weekender ain’t pulling any punches. It takes place at Myrtle Park on the first weekend in September, tickets cost just under £100 for the entire weekend and you can see the likes of Doves, James, Tom Grennan and Circa Waves. This is the full festival experience for a bargain price.
Myrtle Park, 45 Back Sycamore Avenue, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 1HH.
17. Take on Greasy Pig’s Full Paralyser
This is immense! Greasy Pig’s Full Paralyser is the ultimate hangover cure, so round up your mates and turn breakfast into an almighty challenge. This bigger-than-big Full English comes with four bacon rashers, four sausages, four fried eggs and four hash browns, but that’s just the beginning. You can dig into toast, mushrooms and a tub of Heinz beans too. If you can finish it in less than 12 minutes, it’s free, otherwise, it’ll cost you £12. Anyone fancy sharing?
Greasy Pig, 74 Victoria Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1DL.
18. Spend a day exploring Roundhay Park
It may sound obvious, but this is a right of passage if you’re new to Leeds. There’s more to Roundhay Park than meets the eye, so don’t think you’re done with one visit – this is one of the biggest urban parks in Europe and it covers a massive 700 acres. Within that space, you’ll find rolling hills, two lakes, a skate park and a whole medley of landscaped gardens. Plus, there’s a castle folly, a wonderful gorge walk and the famous Tropical World – not just for kids, this is your chance to see piranhas up close and fall in love with their resident meerkats.
Roundhay Park, Mansion Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HH.
19. Follow in the footsteps of three of the world’s greatest novelists
Ever wanted to see the moors that inspired Wuthering Heights or the place where the famous Brontë sisters grew up? You can do it all in one day with a trip to Haworth. First, head over to the Haworth Parsonage – it’s been turned into a museum and it’s filled with a treasure trove of letters, papers and early edition novels that will give you a unique glimpse into the sisters’ lives. Afterwards, take a walk to Brontë Falls, Brontë Bridge and the Brontë Stone Chair.
Brontë Parsonage Museum, Church Street, Haworth, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD22 8DR.
20. Have a wild time playing bingo
Bongo’s Bingo has descended on Leeds, so get those dabbers at the ready and prepare to play as never before. This is club night meets bingo hall, with all the excitement of a full house and all the revelry of a night on the town. Expect club bangers, spontaneous dance-offs and big cash prizes, along with their ‘$hit’ prizes, of course. Trust us, it’s an unforgettable night out and a must-do.
Canal Mills, Brandon Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 2EB.
21. Immerse yourself in modern art at The Hepworth
The Hepworth’s reputation precedes it. The gallery itself is a work of art, created by David Chipperfield, and it has a sculptural design that mimics the displays inside – it truly lives up to the name bestowed on it, that of Wakefield-born Barbara Hepworth. Inside, you’ll find Wakefield’s art collection, alongside an ever-changing array of international and contemporary art. Now that’s got to be worth a visit, right?
The Hepworth, Gallery Walk, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 5AW.
22. Take your pick from over 100 bands at Live at Leeds
Live at Leeds is one of the biggest events of the year. It’s a day of bar-hopping, as you jump from one gig to the next. This is your chance to see the big hits of tomorrow played in an intimate space, as well as catching top bands like Circa Waves, Peace, The Horrors and British Sea Power. Live at Leeds takes over a host of city centre and suburban venues, so be prepared to hot-foot it from O2 Academy to Brudenell Social Club at record speed.
Live at Leeds takes over venues all over the city on the first May bank holiday.
23. Stay up until the AM for Night of the Dead
Have you done Night of the Dead yet? It’s part of Leeds International Film Festival and will see you holed up in the cinema overnight for a horror movie marathon. But these aren’t your usual Hollywood blockbusters – they bring together the best foreign, low budget and critically acclaimed films, as well as a series of shorts to take you from night into day. There’s nothing quite like an overnight movie fest – and you might never get another chance to see these films on the big screen.
Night of the Dead, Hyde Park Picture House, 73 Brudenell Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1JD.
24. Take a stroll with an alpaca
This is Yorkshire, so you’ve got plenty of options if you want to take a stroll in the countryside, but this is more than just a day of rambling. At Apple Tree Farm, you can go out with one of their alpacas. Everyone on your walk will get their own alpaca and you’ll have a chance to get to know their likes and dislikes before you head out. The walk itself is about an hour long and it’ll give you a chance to take in the beautiful scenery of the South Pennines and Calder Valley, while getting to know your new friend.
Apple Tree Farm, Davey Lane, Blackshawhead, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7JG.
25. Explore the only remaining great eighteenth-century northern cloth hall
Built in 1779, The Piece Hall was one of the great eighteenth-century northern cloth halls and it’s the only one that remains today. Back then it was used for trading ‘pieces’ of cloth, which at the time was the name for a 30-yard length of woven or woolen fabric produced on a hand loom, but it has since been transformed into a modern meeting place where people can eat, drink and shop together. It’s worth going just to see this stunning Grade I listed building, but with a mix of record stores, ice cream parlours and gin bars inside, you’re sure to come back.
The Piece Hall, Blackledge, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1RE.