Sunny days are made for adventures – so get out there and make the most of Leeds…
This is Britain, so when the sun shines, we go out – but it’s not all beer gardens and roof terraces, you can also get involved in a whole host of outdoor activities. From taking on a new cycling route to battling it out with laser guns, take the fun outdoors this summer by working your way through our list of outdoor adventures around Leeds.
Take on the outdoor BMX track at Fearnville
Did you know that there’s an Olympic level BMX track in Leeds? Fearnville BMX is a purpose-built outdoor track that’s open all year round, but best enjoyed in the summer. It’s run by Leeds BMX Club, who host meet-ups throughout the week – you don’t have to be a member to get involved, and they can even provide bikes. It’s a tricky hecourse, with big jumps and tight turns, but they welcome riders of all levels – even kids can have a go, although they need to be accompanied by an adult.
Fearnville BMX, Fearnville Leisure Centre, Oakwood Lane, Fearnville, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 3LF.
Race through the tree-tops at Go Ape
Tucked away in the Menagerie Woods at Temple Newsam is one of the city’s best new adventure attractions. Go Ape promises a network of obstacles, bridges and zip-wires 15-foot above the ground, this is a day out that everyone will enjoy. See if you can make it across the log balance, take on the trapeze and challenge yourself to do the free-fall Tarzan swings.
Go Ape, Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0DX.
Take a leap of faith at West Leeds Activity Centre
West Leeds Activity Centre is undoubtedly one of the best places in Leeds to try a few outdoor activities. They have absolutely loads of ’em – you can go abseiling, take a leap of faith off a 20-foot pole or work your way around their high rope adventure course. Want more? No problem. They do go-karting, motorbiking, BMX’ing and archery – hell, they even have an assault course for you to try, army style. There’s something for adults and kids alike here, so round up a group and get involved.
West Leeds Activity Centre, Lenhurst Avenue, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 2RE.
Try all manner of watersports at Yeadon Tarn
When it comes to watersports, Yeadon Tarn is the place to go. Here you’ll find Leeds Sailing & Activity Centre, one of the most exciting spots in Leeds for adventure-seekers. It has a lot of accolades to its name – it’s a Royal Yachting Association Training Centre for powerboating, kayaking and windsurfing, as well as a British Canoeing approved activity provider and a British Rowing Training Centre. The result is that you can try anything from kayaking to open water canoeing, improvised rafting and windsurfing.
Leeds Sailing & Activity Centre, Yeadon Tarn, Yeadon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS19 7UR.
Cycle the Aire Valley Towpath
This 17-mile route along the Leeds Liverpool Canal is the perfect day out for cyclists, whether you’re a serious biker or just want to take the kids out on a waterside adventure. The route takes you from Leeds to Bingley, passing a host of fabulous attractions, including Leeds Industrial Museum, Kirkstall Abbey, Saltaire (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Five Rise Locks. Not up for the trip home? Jump on a train to hot-foot it back to Leeds.
Aire Valley Towpath Route, Wharf Approach Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WA.
Swimming at Ilkley Lido
It may be in the metropolitan borough of Bradford, but it’s got an LS postcode, so we’re going to claim this one as our own. Ilkley Lido is the perfect day out – especially in the summer, because the outdoor pool is open from May through to September. For just £4.80, you can have a full day of fun in the sun, dipping in and out of the pool. While you’re there, grab a bite at the cafe or in the picnic area, you can even challenge your mates to a game of tennis or check out the putting green.
Ilkley Lido, Denton Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 0BZ.
Make the most of Roundhay Park
Roundhay Park was always going to make an appearance on this list. It is, after all, one of the biggest urban parks in Europe – and it’s home to a whole host of outdoor activities. There’s plenty of exploring to be done in the 700-acre park, whether you take a walk around the gorge, circumvent the lake or stroll through the landscaped gardens. Add a skatepark, tennis courts, football pitches, two adventure playgrounds, an outdoor gym and all the space you need for a good old game of rounders, and you’re set up for a sunny day out.
Roundhay Park, Mansion Lane, Off Princes Avenue, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HH.
Explore Otley Chevin
Otley Chevin Forest Park is the ultimate day out. You can have all manner of adventures here – try one of the self-guided walks, taking in stunning views of the Yorkshire countryside along the way, or bring your bike for a ride along the bridleway. They have orienteering and geo-cacheing routes too – and it’s great for bouldering. You can take on a series of intriguingly named boulder problems at Caley Crags, including Sugar Loaf, High Noon and Martin’s Muff.
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.
Try your hand at combat archery
That’s right. You can go out in the world and shoot arrows at each other. Of course, they’re tipped with foam rather than an arrowhead, but that doesn’t take any of the fun out of it. The pitch is kitted out for your medieval battles with inflatable bunkers and barricades, so after a practice run, you’ll be split into teams and given a mission. Move over paintball, we’ll take combat archery any day.
National Archery, Redcote Lane, Off Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2AW.
Play a round at Leeds Golf Centre
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, Leeds Golf Centre is the perfect place to play a round or two. They have two courses for you to choose from – Wike Ridge, their championship 18-hole course, and The Oaks, their 12-hole, par-3 course. The result is a well-rounded experience for golfers of every ability – and if you are just starting out, they also offer lessons with their Leadbetter qualified instructors. Want something a little different? Try Footgolf, a new game that combines football and golf into one hell of a day out.
Leeds Golf Centre, Wike Ridge Lane, Shadwell, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 9JW.
Test your skills at the Urban Bike Park
Leeds Urban Bike Park is a free facility for bikers of all levels, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned off-road pro. You’ve got four different trails to choose from here. They range from simple routes designed for families to severe off-road trails for experienced mountain bikers. Prefer BMXing? You can tackle one of three different jump trails. If you don’t have a bike, you can hire one, and if you do, you can have it serviced to make sure it’s in tip top condition.
Middleton Park Bike Hub, Ring Road, Beeston Park, Middleton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 3TN.
Challenge your mates at Battlefield Leeds
Round up your mates and get ready for the fight of your life, because Battlefield Leeds will pit you against your bessies in a laser combat adventure. They use state of the art equipment, including SATR weapons, to create a realistic experience, as you either attack or defend against the opposing team on your mission. Kids aged 7 plus can play along, so why not let the youngsters show you how it’s done with a big family battle?
Battlefield Leeds, Castle Gate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8HE.
Enjoy a family adventure at Stockeld Park
If you’ve got kids to entertain, Stockeld Park is a great shout. They’ve got loads of outdoor activities for you to try, so you’ll have a whole day of fun ahead of you. Explore the maze, tackle the adventure playground, try the bumper boats or go roller skating – all outdoors in the sunshine. If you’re feeling really adventurous, get yourself down to the go-karting course and see who can reach the finish line first.
Stockeld Park, Off the A661 Wetherby Road, West Yorkshire, LS22 4AN.
Get active with Live for Today
Live for Today is probably the most famous activity provider in Leeds. Their base of operations is Hazlewood Castle, a beautiful Grade I listed building set in 77 acres of parkland. There are some serious adventures to be had here, with everything from axe throwing and paintballing to quad biking and air rifle shooting – why not make a day of it and book a couple of activities, back to back?
Live For Today, Hazlewood Castle, Paradise Lane, Tadcaster, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS24 9NJ.
Take a hot air balloon ride over Leeds
As outdoor activities go, it doesn’t get much better than this. You can see the city from above on a leisurely hot air balloon ride over Leeds. It sets off from Temple Newsam, giving you a unique angle on the 18th-century estate, before you head out into the Yorkshire countryside. It doesn’t come cheap though. Prices start from £117 per person, but if you want to fly on the weekend, you’re looking at £157 or more – you do get a champagne toast though.
Virgin Balloon Flights set off from Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, off Selby Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AD.
Follow the whole Meanwood valley trail
Sometimes walking is the best activity of them all – especially when it means exploring the Meanwood Valley Trail, a 7-mile route through the Leeds countryside. It starts at the H.R. Marsden statue at the very south corner of Woodhouse Moor and takes you through Woodhouse Ridge, The Hollies and Scotland Mill’s Dam to the Seven Arches Aqueduct, Slabbering Baby Well and Golden Acre Park. You don’t have to do it all in one day, but the challenge is there.
The Meanwood Valley Train, Woodhouse Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2NW.
Go riding with Think Like a Pony
This one is for the kids. Think Like a Pony is a riding centre that aims to empower children by teaching them empathy, understanding and communication through their work with the horses. The kids will learn to ride through a series of one-to-one sessions with a qualified instructor, before they move on to join a small group – and as they develop their own skills, they’ll also get to know the horses and begin to understand the way they think.
Think Like a Pony, Woodlands Farm, Occupation Lane, Bramhope, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 9HS.
Get your adrenaline pumping at Herd Farm
It may be called Herd Farm, but it’s actually a Grade II Listed barn that’s been converted into a 50-bed residential and outdoor activity centre. You can stay over night or for a few days, but if you just want to take advantage of the activities on offer, they provide half and full-day experiences too. The more adventurous among you can take on climbing towers, zip wires and high wires, but they also have BMX tracks and assault courses.
Herd Farm Activity Centre, Eccup Reservoir, Harrogate Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 7RJ.
Practice your shooting at The Big Shoot
Now then, this is a proper Yorkshire activity. A day of clay pigeon shooting will see you handling a real gun, firing at clay discs launched into the sky at speed. Sound good? Then you’re in luck, because Yorkgate Gun Club will show you how it’s done. You’ll find their firing range in Otley, where you can enjoy the views while you learn how to shoot from an expert instructor, before testing your skills against 25 or 50 clay pigeons.
York Gate Gun Club, York Gate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3DG.