Summer’s here and there are loads of fun things to do in Leeds, so gather your pals and get your diaries filled.
Summer brings sunshine, holidays and oodles of must-do days out. You can quaff a few drinks at the city’s rooftop bars, nip to the countryside for an outdoor adventure or head out to huge festivals. Got kids to entertain? Get ready to hunt dinosaurs and explore historic ruins. With so much going on, you’re positively spoilt for choice, so pick your favourites and get plotting.
Sample street food delights. Chow Down promises a celebration of street food at Temple Arches every weekend this summer. From paella to pizza, get ready to devour tasty treats cooked up by street food royalty. Pair your food with beers from local breweries as DJs spin tunes until late.
Celebrate LBGT+ life. After a two-year break, the rainbow-coloured extravaganza that is Leeds Pride is back on Sunday 7th August 2022. Dress up and follow the parade as it weaves through the city centre, before the party starts in earnest with the live entertainment on-stage. This is an all-day, all-night celebration.
Drink on the city’s rooftops. When the sun’s shining, the city’s rooftop bars are the perfect way to while away the day. Enjoy cocktails and panoramic views at Sky Lounge, craft beer and street food at Belgrave Music Hall or champers and fine dining at Angelica – choose your favourite and get on up there!
Take on Leeds Jurassic Trail. You can discover a herd of life-sized animatronic dinosaurs this summer. Back from Saturday 30th July to Sunday 4th September 2022, these incredible dinos will be hidden throughout the city centre – get ready to hunt out a roaring T-rex, a terrifying velociraptor or a docile diplodocus.
Swing through the treetops. If you fancy an adrenaline-inducing day out, visit Go Ape at Temple Newsam. You can take on high-speed zip wires, free-fall Tarzan swings and a host of death-defying crossings. This is an epic adventure the whole family can do together with tailored routes for the kids.
Check out historic abbey ruins. Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most impressive landmarks in Leeds, especially when the sun’s out. Explore the 12th-century Cistercian monastery ruins before you kick back and enjoy the riverside grounds – it’s perfect for a picnic or you can make use of the playground and tennis courts.
Do the famous valley trail. You can enjoy a little taste of the countryside just minutes from the city centre on the Meanwood Valley Trail. This 7-mile route takes you from Woodhouse Moor, along Woodhouse Ridge, through The Hollies and past Scotland Dam all the way up to Golden Acre Park.
Spend a day at the lake. Yeadon Tarnfield Park is great for a summer’s day out. It’s got 17 hectares of outdoor space with a massive lake at its centre, but that’s not all. You can head to the playground, BMX track or the sailing club, which offers all manner of water sports to try out on the lake.
Climb up Cow & Calf. Ilkley Moor is one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful natural wonders, full of heather-covered moors and incredible views. The best vantage point is from Cow and Calf rocks, an imposing outcrop and boulder formation that sits just across the road from the pub that shares its name.
Listen to classics, played by a live orchestra. Opera North will take over Millennium Square from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th August 2022 for three nights of live music. Expect 80s classics, club anthems and opera favourites, played live with incredible guest stars like Belinda Carlisle, Kim Wilde and Ultra Naté.
Go on a summer pub walk. You can treat yourself to a well-deserved pint after a walk in the beautiful Leeds countryside on these pub walks. They will see you visiting everything from sparkling parks to reservoirs, lakes and nature reserves, before enjoying a few tipples at some of the best pubs in Leeds.
Watch blockbusters at Harewood. The Luna Cinema is back at Harewood House this September for two nights of cinematic joy in the great outdoors. You can sit out on the lawn, enjoy a picnic and watch flicks like Grease and West Side Story. You can even book your own super-luxe sofa!
Go on a family-friendly adventure. Stockeld Park is the perfect summer day out! You can visit the Enchanted Forest, which promises playgrounds galore, as well as getting lost in the maze. This year, it’s taking on a superhero theme, so you’ll meet the likes of Spiderman, Thor and Wonder Woman on your adventures.
Take an alpaca for a walk. Treeside Alpacas is a fun day out for all the family. You can visit the pastures they call home and meet the whole gang, from the confident Kimbo to the friendly Chester. Pick one to go on a walk with, stroking and feeding them as you enjoy a short trek in the countryside.
Watch the carnival weave its way through the streets. It’s official – after a two year hiatus, Leeds West Indian Carnival is back on Monday 29th August 2022! It begins with their J’ouvert Morning at 6am before the main parade sets off from Potternewton Park at 2pm in a wonderful procession of colour, music and street food.
Celebrate Mardi Gras. Back for 2022, this outdoor festival will take over Roundhay Park on Saturday 2nd July 2022. Mardi Gras is an all-out celebration of love, music and inclusivity. You can enjoy performances from Clean Bandit, Joel Corry and Raye, amidst cocktails bars, street food stalls and fairground rides.
Spend a day at the cricket. The Hundred is coming coming back to Leeds this August. Emerald Headingley Stadium is home to the Northern Superchargers and they will play seven other teams for supremacy in this family-friendly 100-ball competition, complete with live entertainment and DJs.
Go on a city-wide scavenger hunt. Want to see a side of Leeds that you’ve never seen before? Try a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt. It’s an app-led experience, so just download it to your phone, then solve the clues that will take you from landmark to landmark, completing fun challenges as you go.
Swim outdoors at Ilkley Lido. It’s back, the most wonderful outdoor pool in the land has reopened, so you can make the most of the summer sun by taking a dip. The glorious Yorkshire countryside surrounds you, so bring a picnic and take it all in, before you dive back into the water or play a game of tennis.
Rock out at a music festival. It’s one of the biggest weekends of year as Leeds Festival takes over Bramham Park. This big-time bash is bringing huge names to the city. From Rage Against the Machine to Arctic Monkeys, Halsey and Wolf Alice, it’s one of the best ways to spend the August bank holiday weekend.
Visit a farm in the city. Meanwood Valley Urban Farm brings a taste of the countryside to the city. It’s a 24-acre working farm with everything from yellow-bellied slider turtles to Dexter cows, rare-breed sheep and playful goats. You can also explore the woodland trails and wildlife gardens.
Explore Roundhay Park. It’s one of the biggest urban parks in Europe, so there’s loads to see and do at Roundhay Park this summer. You can visit the Canal Gardens, circle the lakes and seek out the castle folly. Got kids? It’s home to adventure playgrounds and the animal-filled Tropical World.
Discover Chevin Forest Park. You’ll find the Chevin Forest Park just outside Otley and it offers a little taste of the country right on your doorstep. It’s perfect for a summer walk or cycle with loads of trails. Prefer bouldering? Head to Caley Crags. Want to see all the way to York Minster? Try the Surprise View.
Get on your bike. Leeds Urban Bike Park is the ultimate destination for MTB and BMX riders, with something for all ages. You can head out to the BMX track or ride the pump track to practice your skills. Prefer mountain biking? There are four trails, including special routes for beginners and experts.Cover image credit: Bradford Council.