Looking for things to do with the kids during the school holidays? We’ve rounded up 21 of the best activities and attractions in Leeds to help you keep ’em entertained.
The summer holidays are well underway and if you need a few ideas to keep the kids busy, we’ve put together a life-saver of a list to help you do it. There are loads of things to do with the kids in Leeds, from a day at the beach to ancient sword-fighting, storytime sessions and climbing adventures. For family days out you’ll remember all summer long, try one of these…
Take a scenic walk through Leeds’ past
Shaped like a leaping fish, the Meanwood Valley Trail combines stunning scenery with a glimpse at Leeds’ fascinating history. Kick off your walk just minutes from the city centre at the southern corner of Woodhouse Moor, where you’ll find a statue of Leeds’ historic mayor H.R. Marsden. Follow the trail past Woodhouse Ridge to the Seven Arches Aqueduct, which is a triumph of Victorian engineering. You can even divide the walk into sections to make it easier, or start at Golden Acre Park for a bite to eat in their picturesque cafe before setting off.
Meanwood Valley Trail starts from Woodhouse Moor Car Park, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS6 1BJ or Golden Acre Park, Off Arthington Road, Bramhope, Leeds, LS16 8BQ.
Explore the wonders of nature at St. Aidan’s
St Aidan’s Nature Park is one of the city’s best family-friendly secrets, a 400-hectare reserve filled with wildlife, and the best place to go during the school holidays for an up-close and personal look at nature. Don your walking boots or bring the bikes so you can take on the 12 kilometres of trails. As you go, you’ll be able to spot the local wildlife and even visit Oddball, a coal dragline excavator that’s the biggest digger they could dream to see.
St Aidan’s Nature Park, Allerton Bywater, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8DD.
Enjoy storytime at The Little Bookshop
The summer holidays are the perfect time to get up to speed on reading, so head to The Little Bookshop for their storytime sessions. It’s the city’s only dedicated children’s bookshop and they welcome renowned authors to read from their latest books at their special events. They also host regular craft workshops, so your little artists can get messy and creative.
The Little Bookshop, 47 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3PD.
Find the secret owls hidden across the city
Owls are part of the city’s coat of arms, which is why there are so many of them in Leeds. You’ll find 25 of them hidden in nooks and crannies all over the city and seeking them out is an adventure in itself. If you want the perfect excuse to show your family more of the city, pick up a Leeds Owl Trail map from the Art Gallery. Be warned, some of them are tough to find, so make sure you look up!
The Leeds Owl Trail starts at Millennium Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BH.
Get back to nature at Skelton Grange
An eco-centre that’s dedicated to preserving wildlife and the natural world, Skelton Grange Environment Centre is a great day out for the whole family during the school holidays. They run nature-based art workshops throughout the year, alongside special one-off sessions that will see the little ones tackle everything from bushcraft to bug collecting.
Skelton Grange Environment Centre, Skelton Grange Road, Stourton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1RS.
Enjoy messy fun with the whole family at The Tetley
There’s always tons of family-friendly fun throughout the summer holidays at The Tetley, one of Leeds’ most popular art galleries. For toddlers under 5, their Tiny Tetley classes are perfect for messy fun, with finger painting and big drawings. If you’ve got older children, why not do a Family Art Workshop together? From picture printing to design-your-own robots, their classes are run by real artists, so you can learn from the best.
Tiny Tetley and Family Art Workshops take place at The Tetley throughout the year.
Visit the beach without leaving the city
It wouldn’t be the summer holidays without a trip to the beach, and you don’t even have to leave Leeds. City Beach takes over Victoria Gardens just outside Leeds Art Gallery every summer. With deck chairs, ice cream stalls and fairground rides, it’s the perfect place to take the whole family on a sunny day.
City Beach takes over Victoria Gardens every summer.
Travel back in time at this island watermill
Looking for something a bit different? Spend the day on an island museum at Thwaite Mills Watermill, one of the last of its kind in the UK. You can take a tour around the Georgian Grade II Thwaite House, discover how the mill workers lived and get hands-on with the machinery – before tucking into a picnic by the water or enjoying a scenic stroll along the River Aire.
Thwaite Mills Watermill, Thwaite Lane, Stourton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1RP.
See meerkats and more at Tropical World
Tropical World is definitely one of the best family days out in Leeds. You’ll start in the tropical heat of the Butterfly House, where colourful insects flutter overhead, before moving onto the snakes, spiders and lizards at Creature Corner. No trip to Tropical World is complete without a visit to the Meerkat Enclosure and the Aquarium, complete with clownfish and crocodiles, before finishing at the Nocturnal Zone, where bats and armadillos skitter about.
Tropical World, Princes Avenue, Roundhay Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2ER.
Visit The Rainbow Factory’s colourful storytime experience
For a completely different day out during the school holidays, check out The Rainbow Factory. Using live theatre, crafts and music, they bring classic kids stories to life right in front of your eyes. You can explore the deep dark woods in The Big Gruffalo Hunt, create your own mini feast for The Tiger Who Came To A Tea Party, or make a delicious chocolate treat with Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Adventure.
The Rainbow Factory, Springfield Commercial Centre, Bagley Lane, Farsley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 5LY.
Spend an action-packed day at the Royal Armouries
Family days out don’t get much better than the Royal Armouries. It’s the home of the National Collection of Arms and Armour, so you can see everything from samurai swords to a huge elephant armour, with artefacts from every corner of the globe. But that’s not the only reason to go. They run a host of family-friendly events throughout the year. You can learn about history’s most murderous monarchs, have a go at archery and watch live combat demonstrations.
Royal Armouries, Armouries Drive, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1LT.
Become a rock star in a few short days
If you’ve got young musicians in the family, why not take them to one of Leeds Music Academy’s school holiday camps? The Guitar Boot Camp caters for both Beginners and Intermediates, while Music 4 Kids will help 3-7-year-olds increase their skills with rhythm and creativity classes. Finally, Rock Camp is a four-day crash course that’ll take your child from fan to rock star, with a live concert for parents at the end.
Leeds Music Academy, Ashbrooke Business Park, Parkside Lane, Hunslet Carr, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5SF.
Reach dizzy new heights at Clip n’ Climb
If you want the little ones to learn something new during the school holidays, head to Clip n’ Climb. This family-friendly climbing centre is suitable for kids aged 4 and above, the children can scale the heights on their brightly coloured climbing walls. There are 32 different challenges to master, but they can try them all with confidence as the clip-on safety system keeps them secure at all times.
Clip n’ Climb, Unit 3, Tristram Centre, Brown Lane West, Gelderd Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 6BF.
Make the water home at Yeadon Tarn
If the kids love playing in the water, spend a day at Yeadon Tarn during the school break. Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre runs special events and courses for the little ones during the holidays – they can try everything from canoeing and windsurfing. There’s a playground and BMX track too. Don’t forget your post-activity picnic because this is a beautiful spot.
Yeadon Tarn, Cemetery Road, Yeadon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS19 7BB.
Explore goats, slides and much more at Harewood House
Harewood House is always packed with activities for the kids throughout the summer holidays. From the farm’s pygmy goats and giant rabbits to the incredible adventure playground with slides, swings and climbing frames – there’s something for the whole family to enjoy. Make sure you stop by the bird garden before you leave to see their adorable colony of Humboldt penguins – you can even feed them.
Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 9LG.
Jump for joy at Oxygen trampoline park
If you’re looking for a peaceful evening, knacker out the kids with a day of fun at Oxygen Freejumping. This massive trampoline park has over 100 interconnected trampolines across 10 different jumping zones, which means there’s something for everyone. From obstacle courses to dodgeball and giant airbags, the whole family will be bouncing about with a big grin on their faces.
Oxygen Freejumping, Cardigan Fields Leisure Park, Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2DG.
Get your skates on at Woodhouse Moor
Got a budding skater in the house? If so, get your safety pads on and head down to Woodhouse Moor Skate Park for one of Leeds’ most thrilling family days out. The park is packed with ramps, rails and pipes, so there’s nowhere better to practice. There’s a BMX park for older children, as well as swathes of green space to explore afterwards.
Woodhouse Moor Skate Park, Hyde Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2NW.
Splash around Ilkley Lido
Open from May to September, the summer holidays are the perfect time to spend a day at Ilkley Lido. This outdoor pool is one of the best family days out in Leeds, because you can splash around in the water as the sun shines – make sure you pack your suntan lotion. They also have tennis courts, a cafe and a picnic area. If it does start to rain, there’s an indoor pool to retire to.
Ilkley Lido, Denton Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 0BZ.
Find one million unusual objects all in one place
Meteorites, masks and scary animals – Leeds Discovery Centre has a surprise or two saved up for the summer holidays. Home to over one million objects from Leeds’ museum collections, the centre is free to visit as long as you book in advance, and believe us it’s worth it. From mummy bandages to dollhouses, it’s the perfect way for kids to get hands-on with history – especially with family events every week throughout the school holidays.
Leeds Discovery Centre, Carlisle Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1LB.
Visit a menagerie of rare animals at Temple Newsam
Temple Newsam’s Home Farm is one of Leeds’ most popular family attractions. From pigs to cows, goats and sheep, it’s home to a host of kid-friendly animals. That’s not to mention all the chickens and piglets that roam free around the yard. It’s not just animals, they also run a series of special events and craft workshops on a weekly basis during the school holidays.
Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AE.
Swing like a monkey at Go Ape
It’s not just the farm at Temple Newsam, as there’s an amazing adventure playground among the treetops that the kids will love too. Welcome to Go Ape, a family-friendly mid-air obstacle course set amongst 1,500 acres of parkland. There are three different levels to choose from, each one getting higher than the last – all leading up to The Plummet, a 46-foot sheer drop that will get the little one’s hearts racing.
Go Ape, Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AE.