Itching for some excitement? We’ve got something for water babies, thrill seekers and little adventurers in our handy list.
Whether you’re looking for solo outdoor activities or you’ve got the kids in tow, there’s something for everyone in Leeds. You could be playing a leisurely game of golf amid the greenery, ripping through the woods on a roaring quad bike or hiking up hills in a stunning nature reserve. So grab your gear, let’s go!
Go wild in the tree tops at Go Ape
Got a head for heights? Or maybe you want to push your fears to the limit? Either way, Go Ape at Temple Newsam is the perfect place to go for a tree top adventure. You’ll be zipping your way across the canopy, climbing up to platforms and wobbling across balance boards until you make it to the 13-metre leap of faith. The big question is… are you brave enough? Take the kids too for the easier course, then spend the day taking in the scenery of the Temple Newsam grounds.
Go Ape Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AD.
Master the water at Yeadon Tarn
It’s time to get wet and wild! Head down to Yeadon Tarn for some wicked water sports – it’s a 17-hectare park with a beautiful big lake at the centre of it. It’s home to the Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre and they’ve got loads of stuff you can do, from kayaking and canoeing to paddleboarding, windsurfing and even improvised rafting. They run sessions for kids and adults alike, as well as specialised classes for people with disabilities and women-only groups.
Leeds Sailing & Activity Centre, Yeadon Tarn, Yeadon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS19 7UR.
Swim in stunning scenery at Ilkley Lido
Get the best of both worlds when you head to Ilkley Lido. It’s a huge outdoor swimming pool set against the backdrop of Ilkley Moor, so you get the beautiful scenery and a proper pool. There’s a shallow section for little ones to enjoy as well as a deep end for getting some proper swimming in. You can lay out on the grass afterwards and soak up the sun or nab a picnic table to eat snacks at. Bored of the water? You could have a game of tennis, putting golf or bowls here too!
Ilkley Pool and Lido, Denton Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 0BZ. Open from May to September.
Tackle the trails at the Urban Bike Park
Leeds Urban Bike Park in South Leeds is an awesome free bike park, shop and cafe. Whether you’re a kid getting your first wheels or you’re an experienced mountain biker looking for a new trail to tackle, this is the place to be. They’ve got several trails at different difficulty levels, from family friendly ones to severe black routes, a track to practice BMX skills and a pump track. Need a bike? You can hire one from the shop, along with a helmet and protective gear.
Middleton Park Bike Hub, Ring Road, Beeston Park, Middleton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 3TN.
Play a round at Leeds Golf Centre
Playing a round or two at Leeds Golf Centre is an excellent way to get time in the great outdoors. Whether you know your plus fours from your putting green or you’re just getting started on your golf journey, there’s something for you. Hit the driving range to practice your swing, a 12-hole 3-par course for beginners or a full on 18-hole course that will challenge your skills. Fancy something different? Footgolf is a mix between football and golf – perfect for families.
Leeds Golf Centre, Wike Ridge Lane, Shadwell, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 9JW.
Boulder your way around Otley Chevin
Otley Chevin Forest Park is known for its spectacular views across Otley and the valley below. There are several trails that take you around the wooden sculptures and through the woodland, but did you know there are some prime bouldering spots too? There are loads of boulders to take on, ranging from grade 3 to 8A+, so whether you’re a newbie or an old hand, there’ll be something that challenges you. You can try the orienteering and geo-caching routes too.
Otley Chevin Forest Park, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3JL. For Caley Crags, the best entry point is on the A660, look out for the boulders on the road side, a few miles before you get to Otley.
Cycle the Aire Valley Towpath
If you fancy a fun, full day out, then cycling the Aire Valley Towpath is the adventure to embark upon. You can enjoy rich country vistas, peek at the city’s industrial heritage and even stop in Saltaire for a look around the brewery (and partake in a pint or two of Cascade). The route starts at Granary Wharf and takes you down the Leeds Liverpool Canal towards Bingley. The towpath is wide and flat, making it a leisurely cycle perfect for families.
Aire Valley Towpath Route, Wharf Approach, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WA.
Hike up and enjoy the view at St Aidans Nature Reserve
Looking for challenging outdoor activities in Leeds? The Hillside Hike at St Aidans Nature Reserve is two miles of steep hills and uneven, grassy terrain. At the top, you’re rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area. It’s an RSPB site, so you’ll get to see loads of different types of birds, including bitterns, skylarks, marsh harriers and maybe even short-eared owls. For a longer, but flatter and more relaxing walk, try the 3-mile Reedbed Ramble.
RSPB St Aidan’s Nature Park, Astley Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8AL.
Take a herd of alpacas for a hike
Walking with alpacas has to be one of the more unusual things to do in Leeds. You get to discover the countryside and make friends with a friendly alpaca! What’s not to love? Treeside Alpacas have a whole host of cheeky, yet friendly animals, from the confident and calm Kimbo to the greedy Ambo (he always wants to stop to nibble on the hedgerows!). Your guide navigates the route for you, so all you have to do is enjoy the scenery with your new-found furry friend!
Treeside Alpacas, Moss Carr Farm, Methley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 9DW.
Have an ace time at tennis
Tennis is an excellent way to spend some time outdoors, and Leeds is great for it. In fact, there are over 200 tennis courts across the city. You can book a court to practice your serve, grab some coaching lessons with a professional for your little ones, or join in with a social group and learn some new skills together. There are parks where you can just walk on and start playing as well as state-of-the-art sports centres where you can pay to play on their indoor courts.
There are tennis courts at various parks and clubs across Leeds.
Trek the Meanwood Valley Trail
If it’s an adventure you’re after, then the Meanwood Valley Trail is one of the best things to do in Leeds. It’s a seven-mile route, but it can be broken down into smaller segments for little legs. It’ll take you past the fairytale-esque Seven Arches Aqueduct, magical woodlands filled with flowers and the ruins of an old flax mill. You might even be able to spot the various creatures that call the trail home too, including common lizards, orange tip butterflies and white-clawed crayfish.
Meanwood Valley Trail, Woodhouse Moor Car Park, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1BJ or Golden Acre Park, Off Arthington Road, Bramhope, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 8BQ.
Get on the river with Leeds Canoe Club
Leeds Canoe Club is one of Leeds’ finest outdoor activities – their clubhouse sits on the River Aire in Kirkstall and they have a boat suitable for everyone. You can start canoeing from scratch in the pool at Armley Sports Centre, improve your confidence with weekly river sessions or join a multi-day trip to go whitewater rafting around the country (and even abroad!). If you’re particularly confident on the water, you could join them for exhilarating river running.
Leeds Canoe Club, Kirkstall Training Ground, Bridge Road, Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3BW.
Go back to basics with Bozz Bushcraft
When life gets hectic, it gets stressful, and reconnecting with nature is one of the best things you can do to feel zen again. Bozz Bushcraft is run by John Bosworth, an experienced survivalist and former youth worker. You can take your little ones along for a day of family bushcraft, where you’ll be in the depths of the woods together. Without the distractions of everyday life, you’ll be creating core memories as you build fires, cook food, toast marshmallows and share stories.
Bozz Bushcraft, 32 Osmondthorpe Lane, Osmondthorpe, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 9EF.
Show off your quad skills at Live for Today
One of the best places for outdoor activities in Leeds, Live for Today is a specialist quad biking centre, with two types of bikes and three sessions to choose from. You can get to grips with the basics on a Kymco 150 bike or test your manoeuvring skills with uneven terrain, hill climbs and tricky obstacles on CF450 quad bikes. Set in the tranquil grounds of Hazlewood Castle, they won’t stay tranquil for long as you rev and race your way through the courses.
Live For Today, Hazlewood Castle, Paradise Lane, Tadcaster, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS24 9NJ.
Get tactical at UK Paintball
UK Paintball is one of the best paintball fields in Leeds, with a variety of games to play. You could spend the day smuggling Frodo through enemy lines so he can return the ring to its rightful owner in Hobbit Field or simply defend a church from the enemy in Church Bell. If you just want all-out war, Speedball ensures a fast, furious and intense game that pushes you to the edge of your abilities. Kids over the age of 11 can play too, making it a great day out for families.
UK Paintball, Blackfen Woods, Bramham Park East Estate, South Approach, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS24 9NR.