The people have spoken, and they’ve named the five best things to do in Leeds… is it what you expected or is your list a little different?
There’s no shortage of things to do in Leeds, with everything from shopping to adventure activities, but some things are more popular than others – and when it comes to TripAdvisor’s top 5, that is abundantly clear. The five attractions below are permanent fixtures, they’ve held their place for quite some time and it’ll take something remarkable (Victoria Gate is the closest competitor) to knock any one of them off the list.
1. Royal Armouries
Does this one surprise you? It shouldn’t. Although Royal Armouries is tucked away at Leeds Dock, it is without a doubt one of the best attractions in Leeds. It’s the northern sibling of The Tower of London and Fort Nelson, housing 8,500 pieces from the National Collection of Arms and Armour in a stunning, custom-built venue.
Spread across six themed halls, covering everything from Hunting to Self Defence, War to Peace, it makes for an intriguing day out, with all sorts of weird and wonderful things for you to see while you’re there. Look out for the biggest animal armour in the world, and don’t miss the Hall of Steel, a beautiful tower of glass and steel that’s home to 2,500 exhibits.
Royal Armouries, Armouries Drive, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1LT.
2. Roundhay Park
Okay, some fun facts for you. Did you know that Roundhay Park covers 700 acres? That makes it twice the size of Hyde Park in London and one of the biggest urban parks in Europe. It’ll come as no surprise then that it’s high on TripAdvisor’s list of must-visit attractions.
But Roundhay Park isn’t just about green space. It’s also home to a host of attractions that will fill your days with variety. Your explorations will bring you to mansions, castles and landscaped gardens – or you can get active, by taking advantage of the tennis courts, football pitches and skate park. For those of you with kids in tow, there are also two adventure playgrounds, two cafes, and of course, Tropical World.
Roundhay Park, Mansion Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HH.
3. Temple Newsam
The outdoorsy theme continues at Temple Newsam, where you’ll find a stunning country mansion surrounded by 1,500 acres of beautiful parkland. The outdoors is as important as the indoors here – landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the grounds are filled with stunning vistas, scenic lakes and interesting walks, so be sure to go exploring while you’re here. There’s even a farm, which the kids are sure to love.
Inside, the beautifully restored Tudor-Jacobean mansion is filled with over 500 years of history. They have one of the most important collections of decorative art in Britain, as well as historic furniture, textiles and silver that will give you a glimpse into the building’s long past as a family home.
Temple Newsam, Templenewsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AE.
4. Kirkstall Abbey
For us, having a favourite attraction is a bit like choosing your favourite child, and yet, Kirkstall Abbey owns a special place in our hearts. Built in 1152, it was once one of the most important Cistercian abbeys in the country, but while time and circumstance may have ravaged it, it remains one of the most complete.
Nowadays, when you visit, you’ll be met with ruins, but they’re beautiful ruins filled with the stories of the past. And of course, it’s not just the abbey itself – you’ve got 24 hectares of parkland to explore here, with riverside picnic spots, nature trails and tennis courts, not to mention the Abbey House Museum across the road.
Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3EH.
5. Golden Acre Park
This one was a surprise to us. Not because it’s not awesome, but because people seem to underrate it – except on TripAdvisor, it seems. Golden Acre Park comes in at a massive 55 hectares, that’s a huge amount of space just waiting to be explored.
You’ve got heather gardens, wildfowl lakes and woodland gardens – there’s even a cherry orchard on the grounds, if you’re willing to venture a little further afield. It’s the perfect place to go wildlife spotting, with kingfishers, swans, woodpeckers, herons and more calling it home. And if you want more, Breary Marsh and Adel Dam nature reserves are temptingly close. Of course, if you stick around, you could always treat yourself to a scone or a slice of cake in the cafe too.
Golden Acre Park, Off Arthington Road, Bramhope, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 8BQ.Cover image copyright Temple Newsam.