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5 Active Days Out Around Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

From cycle routes to bouldering, get active on these fantastic days out in Leeds.

The Climbing Lab, Leeds

It’s time to stretch those legs and discover the amazing days out that await in Leeds.

There are loads of cracking things to do in Leeds, and we’re not just talking shopping. You can have a fantastic adventure with everything from nature walks to climbing, trampolining and archery. So what are you waiting for? Make your next day out a little bit more active with these marvellous ideas.

Spend a sporty day in Kirkstall

Now, a trip to Kirkstall might not come to mind when thinking of active days out around Leeds, but it should do, especially if you like trying your hand at extreme sports. Kick things off with a hearty breakfast at Roast and Toast or Cafe Enzo on Kirkstall Road before heading over to Kirkstall Industrial Park where you’ll find The Climbing Lab, an indoor bouldering centre with a unique ‘top out’ climbing experience that offers challenges aplenty, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

They have a lovely social space where you can grab a coffee after and catch up with your mates, so treat yourself to a brew as you recuperate, then head on over to Cardigan Fields. Here, you’ll find Oxygen Freejumping, a huge facility that has over 100 interconnected trampolines, as well as dodgeball, volleyball, a giant airbag, a foam pit, an obstacle course and a one-of-a-kind fitness reaction wall. That’s probably taken it out of you, but the likes of Five Guys, Mod Pizza and Viva Cuba are nearby if you need to refuel. If you’ve still got energy left, head to Lazerzone, a fantastic laser tag venue, or take a leisurely trip along the River Aire back into the city.

Start your day at The Climbing Lab, 14 Kirkstall Industrial Park, Milford Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2AZ.

Explore the great outdoors in Otley

Otley Chevin

Credit: Ali Turner

The great outdoors is right on our doorstep in Leeds, so why not make the most of it? One of the best ways to do so is to head to Otley, which you can get to on the X84 bus from Woodhouse Lane. Before you do though, why not head for breakfast at Hepworth’s Deli? They do everything from French toast to bacon sarnies, all in a petite venue with a homely feel – it’s the perfect pre-adventure energy boost. Once you’ve arrived in Otley, you can wander around the picturesque market town, filled with cool independent shops and cafes to visit.

The real adrenaline rush, however, will come up at the Otley Chevin Forest Park – and you can jump off the bus here if you want to skip the town centre. You can go one of two ways – the West Chevin features around 50 stunning rock formations for bouldering and climbing, while if you head East there a number of walks and cycle routes with stunning views that look out over the town below. There’s a full day of activities here, so bring a picnic for lunch, or head over to The Cheerful Chilli for a bite to eat.

Head to Otley on the X84 bus from Woodhouse Lane with regular buses from the town centre up to the Chevin.

Take on the Meanwood Valley Trail

The Meanwood Valley Trail, Walks in Leeds

Leeds is blessed with nature, and it’s surprisingly close to the city centre, so if you want something a little closer to home, the Meanwood Valley Trail is the obvious choice. Take the short 15 minute walk to Woodhouse Moor from the city centre where the walk starts at the statue of former Leeds Mayor Henry Rowland Marsden. Split into three sections the first will take you through the park, along Woodhouse Ridge and past the old Tannery.

Next up is Meanwood Park, where you can slope off into Headingley for a bite to eat and a brew at the likes of White’s Deli and Sebby’s. Head back to the park, then pass The Hollies, Seven Arches Aqueduct and the Slabbering Baby Well on your way along the route. Then, it’s off through Adel Woods, Adel Beck and Breary Marsh Nature Reserve, before coming into the picturesque Golden Acre Park, where you can treat yourself to a well-earned cuppa in their cafe.

The Meanwood Valley Trail starts at Woodhouse Moor Car Park, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS6 1BJ.

All in at Armley

Archery hen dos in Leeds

We’re starting here at Granary Wharf, where breakfast can be picked up at Out of the Woods – sausage sarnies and breakfast smoothies will provide ample nutrition for a jam-packed day out that starts with a walk along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towards Armley. Twenty minutes later you’ll arrive at the West Leeds Activity Centre, and this is where the fun really begins.

They offer a whole host of activities, from abseiling, archery and bushcraft to go-karting, high ropes, and even sumo suits, as well as crate stacking, water slides, roller blading and nature trails. Whatever you decide to treat yourself to, you’ll get two hours on each, or if you’re in large groups you can run multiple activities at the same time, and they’re suitable for any age. After you’ve worked up a sweat, walk up along the canal to Kirkstall Bridge pub for a well earned pint and a hearty meal, before heading back to the city centre along the River Aire, with the Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve en route to provide some scenery. When you get back into the city, why not stop at SIX for a healthy, organic feast or Lazy Lounge for a glass of wine?

Start your day at Out of The Woods, 2 Waterman’s Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GL, before heading to West Leeds Activity Centre, Lenhurst Avenue, Leeds, LS12 2RE.

Cycle the Tour de France route

Bike riding, cycling

Obviously we’re not suggesting you do the whole route (even the professionals couldn’t do it in a day) but you can enjoy parts of the 17.5 mile journey from Leeds through Otley and Ilkley. You’ll need to fuel up your journey though, so why not nip for breakfast in the city centre? The likes of The Greedy Pig, Mrs Atha’s or Laynes will sort you out. Then you’ll head off through the suburbs all the way to Harewood.

From there you’ll pass through the towns of Pool-in-Wharfedale and Arthington before coming to Otley. You’ve earned a rest so stop at Ramblers Tea Rooms, Quench Coffee Shop or Leeds House Cafe. Of course, if you want something stronger, North Bar Social is well worth a visit. Back on your way, head along the River Wharfe along to Ilkley, where you can get a bite to eat at the likes of Bistrot Pierre or The Olive Branch. Alternatively, visit Friends of Ham’s Ilkley home – if you’re jumping on the train back home rather than doing a round journey on the bike, you can afford to indulge in more than a few of their beers and charcuterie boards.

Start off from The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8EQ.