21 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained in Leeds During the School Holidays

· Joseph Sheerin · Families

Here’s how to amuse the little ones all summer long.

Harewood House

Looking for things to do in the school holidays in Leeds? You’ve come to the right place!

The school holidays have arrived, so you’ve got six weeks of rambunctious youngsters ahead of you. How will you keep them entertained? Wild treetop adventures? Farmyard fun? Family friendly festivals? There’s so much to do in Leeds that you’ll be positively spoilt for choice. Plan one day out, plan two, plan five, you’ll have no trouble keeping the kids happy all through summer.

Hunt dinosaurs

Leeds Jurassic Trail

Credit: Gerard Binks

Leeds Jurassic Trail returns this summer with a dozen dinosaurs for you and the kids to seek out. The 15-metre T-Rex is back at Trinity Leeds but that’s just the beginning. From Nasutoceratops to Triceratops and an almighty Amargasaurus, you’ll find all manner of prehistoric predators on your summer holiday hunting expedition. Look out for pop-up events and even a dino expert ready to share his know-how with your little palaeontologists.

Pick up a Jurassic Trail map from Trinity Leeds or Victoria Gate and go hunting anytime from Saturday 30th July to Sunday 4th September 2022.

Seek adventure

Stockeld park

If you want to wow the little ones with back-to-back adventure playgrounds, buccaneer boats and pedal go karts, Stockeld Park is the place to go. The kids can climb, clamber and chase away the boredom in The Enchanted Forest or lose themselves in The Magical Maze, and if the weather should turn, you can check out the new Playhive – it’s one of Europe’s largest indoor play centres with four interconnected worlds of space, air, jungle and sea.

Visit Stockeld Park’s Summer Adventure any time from Saturday 23rd July to Monday 5th September 2022. Advance booking is recommended.

Bounce about

Left Bank Heaven

As school holiday activities in Leeds go, this is one of the best. Heaven is an incredible interactive work of art, an inflatable playground created in response to lockdown and inspired by the local children’s drawings of heaven. It returns to Left Bank Leeds this summer and you can book a one-hour session for children to bounce away their cares. Got younger kids? Their Toddler Takeover brings together parents and little ones.

Visit Heaven – Inflatable Play Day at Left Bank Leeds on Thursday 11th, 18th and 25th August and Thursday 1st September 2022. Advance booking is recommended.

Prioritise play

Breeze in the Park

This summer, Breeze in the Park will take over the city’s green spaces with a wild and wacky range of activities that will entertain the kids from noon to night. Expect interactive play, art zones, fun fairs and food, alongside bounce-inducing inflatables that are guaranteed to put a smile on little faces. They even have quieter, relaxed open sessions for children with additional needs, including donkey rides, children’s entertainment and crowd control.

Visit Breeze in the Park at open spaces across the city from Wednesday 27th July to Friday 2nd September 2022. Advance booking is recommended.

Scale treetops

Go Ape

With six weeks of quality time ahead of you, you’re going to need a pile of guaranteed energy burners at your disposal and Go Ape is one of them. Hidden in the woods at Temple Newsam, this treetop adventure park is a challenge the whole family can do together. Kids need to be one metre tall to take on the one-hour route, which includes treetop crossings, wobbly bridges and zip wires that get harder as you move through the loops.

Visit Go Ape at Temple Newsam any time throughout the year. Advance booking is recommended.

Weapon up

Royal Armouries

Credit: Royal Armouries

The Royal Armouries is one of the best museums in the UK. It’s packed with cool finds from the National Collection of Arms and Armour. There are over 4,500 objects here, ranging from Henry VIII’s ‘horned helmet’ to a huge set of elephant armour and a handgun that dates back to 1400. The kids will love uncovering the gruesome histories held here and they can also enjoy a summer’s worth of free Elizabethan-inspired holiday activities in Leeds.

Visit the Royal Armouries any time throughout the year or pop by from Monday 1st August to Sunday 4th September 2022 to enjoy their Elizabethan Summer activities. Advance booking is recommended.

Watch movies

Family Movie

This summer, Leeds Libraries are inviting you to join them for their Saturday Family Film Club to see your favourite books come to life on the screen. These free movie screenings will take place at libraries across the city with different films showing on different days. You can take the whole family and cosy up for the show, turning your usual day in into a day out and giving you a chance to see a film without putting your hand in your pocket.

Visit Leeds Libraries Saturday Family Film Club: Movies from the Bookshelves on selected Saturdays at Leeds Central, Horsforth, Huntslet and The Reginald Centre Library. Advance booking is recommended.

Pet animals

Temple Newsam, Home Farm

Credit: Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam has a lot going for it. Oodles of space to run around in, a historic house to explore, and our personal favourite, Home Farm! Here, you can see lambs, goats, piglets and more on a working farm. They’re all rare breeds, at risk or endangered, which makes them all the more special. As you explore, meeting cute and cuddlies along the way, you’ll learn about the history of the farm, see how it once worked and ride Farmer David’s tractor.

Visit Home Farm at Temple Newsam any time throughout the year. Advance booking is recommended.

Swim outdoors

Ilkley Lido

Ilkley Lido is the stuff of school holiday legends. Nestled in the countryside, just on the outer edge of Leeds, it offers stunning views of the moors and a double whammy of pools that will keep the kids splashing come rain or shine. The outdoor pool is the crowd-pleaser here – it has a holiday vibe that takes sunny days to the next level – but the indoor pool is a worthy back up. After you swim, play tennis, bowls or enjoy a picnic on the grass.

Visit Ilkley Lido any day from now until Sunday 4th September 2022. Advance booking is recommended.

Discover Wonderland

For one day only, the streets of Leeds will be transformed into an epic Alice in Wonderland themed escape room all the family can enjoy. The adventure starts at a secret location and will see you tumbling into Wonderland in search of Alice, who’s trapped and needs your help. You’ll need to gather clues, solve puzzles and complete curious challenges if you want to save Alice before time runs out. Don’t be late, it’s a very important date!

Join Clued Upp Games’ Alice in Wonderland adventure at a secret location on Saturday 27th August 2022. Advance booking is essential.

Go tropical

Tropical World

Credit: LCC Tropical World

If you’re looking for rainy days out during the school holidays in Leeds, Tropical World should be high on the list. Our own little mini zoo, it’s packed with weird and wonderful creatures from around the world. You can see everything from clown fish to owl butterflies, giant African land snails to cotton top tamarins. And let’s not forget everyone’s favourite – the meerkats! Remember, it’s super hot inside, so make sure you dress appropriately for it.

Visit Tropical World any time throughout the year. Advance booking is recommended.

Build dens

Den Building Festival in Leeds at The Tetley

Every summer, The Tetley puts on some of the best school holiday activities in Leeds. This year, they’re bringing back their famous den building sessions at Cross Flatts Park, giving you the chance to create your own little home using wood, neon and lots of other exciting materials. Alternatively, take little ones under 5 to The Tetley itself to introduce them to their artist-designed play space where you can touch, climb and slide into a happy holiday mood.

Try Den Building at Cross Flatts Park on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August or visit Tiny Tetley Studio from Wednesday to Sunday.

Discover waterpower

Thwaite Mills

Credit: Leeds Museums & Galleries

Thwaite Mills is the perfect combo of culture, history and nature. It’s one of the last working water-powered mills in the UK, and as such, it gives the little ones a chance to learn about the milling process, as well as the past of site itself. But that’s not all because Thwaite Mills is set on an idyllic island, perfect for picnicking, wildlife spotting and burning off energy. With so much to do, all in one place, it really is a fantastic day out during the school holidays in Leeds.

Visit Thwaite Mills on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year.

Splash around

Here’s something you might not have tried before. The Canal & River Trust is offering paddle boarding and canoeing sessions on the canal. Kids need to be accompanied by an adult, so you can have a go too, and all equipment is provided. Paddle boarding will test your balance as you move from knees to standing and float down the river, while canoeing promises a leisurely and wonderfully scenic ride along the waterfront. Why not try both?

Try paddle boarding from Friday 22nd July to Friday 12th August 2022 or canoeing from 17th to 31st August 2022. Both start from Skinner’s Yard at Armley Mills. Advanced booking is essential.

Rave together

Our Place, Boomchikkaboom

Kids and parents come together to do the things they love at BoomChikkaBoom’s famous family raves. Good vibes, good music and good company – that’s their ethos, so let the music flow through you as the little ones get up to all manner of mischief. Expect snow machines, dance battles and parachute play, as well as singing, pom poms and shakers. It’s fun, it’s active and it’ll set you up for an early bedtime, with happy, content kiddiwinks.

Try one of Boom Chikka Boom’s Family Raves on selected dates from Sunday 26th July to 23rd August 2022.

Climb high

Clip 'n Climb Leeds

Credit: McFade

Got little ones that love to clamber around? Take them climbing! At Clip ’n Climb, it’s easy. After a quick safety video, the kids will be kitted out in a harness that clips onto the safety wire at each climbing wall. There are loads to choose from and they’re all different. Friends can race to the top in a time challenge, lone climbers can take on an ice pick ascent and everyone can take a leap of faith from the Stairway to Heaven. Great fun for all.

Visit Clip ’n Climb anytime throughout the year. Advanced booking is recommended.

Party out

Child Friendly Leeds

One of the biggest events on the school holiday calendar in Leeds is Child Friendly Leeds Live 2022. Hosted by Faye Kenny from BoomChikkaBoom and featuring characters such as Peter Rabbit, Encanto and Frozen, it promises a two hours of live performances and entertainment, with loads of activities to boot. From glitter tattoo artists to sports, climbing, circus skills and more, bring the little ones along to have the time of their lives.

Visit Child Friendly Leeds Live 2022 on Wednesday 3rd August 2022. Advanced booking is essential.

Get outdoors

Roundhay Park

© Copyright Leeds-List 2021 by Ali Turner

If there’s one place in the entire city the kids will never tire of, it’s Roundhay Park. This 700 acre behemoth isn’t just park, it’s a natural playground for kids of all ages. Explore the gorge, venture into the woodland, cross the vast open lawns. Climb trees, play games, have a picnic. And when you’re done, check out the skate park, the adventure playgrounds, the tennis courts and the bowls lawn because even when you think you’re done, there’s more.

Visit Roundhay Park any time throughout the year. No tickets or planning necessary.

Get cultural

Henry Moore Institute Family Workshops

Credit: Henry Moore Institute

The Henry Moore Institute probably isn’t your first thought for school holiday activities in Leeds, but it is a great shout. Their family drop-in sessions are designed to help your little artists explore their creative side and create something unique. They have three for you to choose from – you can make paper buildings, ocean-theme sculptures or prints inspired by black hair. While you’re there, why not explore the gallery and enjoy their exhibitions.

Try one of the Henry Moore Institute’s Family Workshops and Drop-ins on Friday 29th July, Tuesday 16th August or Thursday 25th August 2022. Advanced booking is required for workshops.

Discover history

Leeds Discovery Centre

Leeds Discovery Centre comes into its own during the summer holidays. They open up the store every Wednesday and invite families in to explore the collections and get crafty. This is your chance to see exhibits that aren’t on display to the general public and to bring out the artistic side of your young creatives with messy play. Each session has a different theme, from sports through to African textiles and Skeletons, so repeat visits are a given.

Try one of the Leeds Discovery Centre’s summer workshops every Wednesday from 3rd to 31st August 2022. Advanced booking is necessary.

Go exploring

Make it Harewood

Credit: Tom Arber/Harewood House Trust

There’s no better time to visit Harewood House with the kids than during the school holidays in Leeds. There’s 100 acres of outdoor space to explore here, with loads to entertain you as you go. The kids will love weaving through the wicker maze of Woodland Wonderland and scrambling over the adventure playground. There’s a farm and bird garden too – don’t miss the penguin feeding – and for one weekend only, family tractor rides!

Do summer at Harewood House any time until Saturday 3rd September 2022. Family Tractor Trailer Tours run on Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th August 2022. Advanced booking is recommended.