Whether you want to make learning fun, inspire the kids’ creativity or help them burn off some of that boundless energy, check out this list of incredible family days out in Leeds…
Planning a family day out? You won’t have to go far because there are loads of wonderful things to do with the kids in Leeds. From zoo visits to alpaca treks, treetop adventures to pottery painting, you can pick a different attraction every week. So what will you do first? Delve into the gruesome history of Victorian medicine? Put your heads together to escape the room? Or literally bounce off the walls at a trampoline park? The choice is yours.
Choo choo! All aboard the world’s oldest working railway! That’s right, Middleton Railway was founded in 1758, over 260 years ago, and it’s still going today. It’s a little slice of history that chugs its way down a mile-long former colliery line from Moor Road to Park Halt. You can take the kids for a ride, indulging their love of all things mechanical, before venturing into the museum where you’ll find a massive collection of old-school steam, diesel and electric trains.
Middleton Railway, Moor Road Station, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 2JQ.
Clip ’n Climb
Got a head for heights? You’ll love this. You can take the whole family on an incredible, wall-scaling adventure, with an instant clip-on support system that makes those heady-heights feel like a breeze. It retracts as you climb, then gently lowers you down to the ground when you take that leap of faith. They have 32 different routes for you to choose from, including race-to-the-top challenges, ice-pick climbs and crazy twisting overhangs, not to mention a vertical slide.
Clip ’n Climb, Unit 17, Station Plaza, Station Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8HF.
St Aidan’s Nature Reserve
For little ones with boundless energy, a trip to St Aidan’s is in order. Once an open-cast mine, this RSPB nature reserve has been transformed into a natural playground packed with wildlife. It has over 12 kilometres of trails, much of which is toddler and buggy-friendly, so you can take the whole family on an outdoor adventure. Wander through wildflower meadows, venture into woodlands and pass whispering reedbeds as you spot rare birds along the trail.
St Aidan’s Nature Reserve, Allerton Bywater, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 8DD.
Tropical World is, without a doubt, one of the best family days out in Leeds. From creepy crawlies to bats and monkeys, this mini-zoo houses all manner of creatures. You’ll venture through the desert, the rainforest and ocean, you’ll step into a hall filled with butterflies and travel under the cover of night to see their nocturnal inhabitants. It’s a glorious adventure, full of astonishing facts and unusual discoveries. Learning has never been so much fun!
Tropical World, Princes Avenue, Roundhay Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 1DF.
Family days out don’t get much better than this. Otley Chevin is a natural playground with loads of space to explore. Trails weave between woodland, heathland and meadowland, giving you plenty of options and making repeat visits a must. They have an orienteering trail to put your noggin to the test, as well as seven geocaches to seek out. The Chevin’s bridleways are great for cycling and horse-riding, while the unusual rocks at Caley Craggs are popular with boulderers.
Otley Chevin Forest Park, Johnny Lane, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3JL.
Leeds City Museum
Turn history lessons into an adventure as you hurtle back in time to discover a world of prehistoric beasts, fascinating fossils and ancient skeletons at Leeds City Museum. Showcasing the very best of their 800,000-strong collection, this magical mystery tour covers everything from life on earth to ancient worlds. The kids will love Nesyamun, their 3,000-year-old mummy, but that’s just one of the exhibits that makes Leeds City Museum a must-visit.
Leeds City Museum, Millennium Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BH.
Got little video game addicts at home? You’re about to win parent of the year! Arcade Club is vintage gaming heaven – it’s got three floors of old-school arcade machines for you to try. They have family-friendly days on Saturdays and Sundays, so you can introduce the kids to your old favourites and challenge them to beat your best scores. With everything from Pac-Man to Space Invaders, as well as modern Xbox and PlayStation consoles, this will be a long day of fun.
Arcade Club, Unit 3, Abbey Retail Park, Savins Mill Way, Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3RP.
The Big Depot Leeds
If you’re looking for a high-octane activity that will tire out the kids, The Big Depot Leeds is just the thing. It’s a state-of-the-art climbing centre with colourful holds as far as the eye can see. Those heady heights could fill even the most fearless parents with a sense of trepidation, but don’t worry, because their experts are on-hand to help. Sign the kids up to an hour of safe, supervised play at their Kids Club or go for full-on NICAS coaching, the choice is yours.
The Big Depot, 100a Geldard Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 6BY.
Meanwood Valley Urban Farm
A real-life farm in the heart of the city – Meanwood Valley Urban Farm is one of the top attractions for kids in Leeds. They have all kinds of animals for you to meet, from alpacas and donkeys to sheep, cows and chickens. Download one of their print-at-home activity booklets to keep the kids entertained while you’re there. Got little ones with limitless energy? Check out the bike track, the playground and the woodlands, which are full of exploring potential.
Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, Sugarwell Road, Meanwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 2QG.
No list of the best family days out in Leeds would be complete without Roundhay Park. At 700 acres, it has oodles of space for exploring. You can stroll around the gorge, visit a fairy village in the woods or check out one of the many mountain biking trails. Two lakes offer plenty of duck-feeding opportunities, while the adventure playgrounds are perfect for burning off excess energy. With tennis courts, football pitches and a skate park, you’ll never run out of things to do.
Roundhay Park, Princes Avenue, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 1DF.
Who doesn’t love soft play? Rambunctious kids can run off their energy on Jackaboos’ indoor play area. Watch them climb from one platform to the next, dodging punchbags, bouncing on trampolines and whizzing down slides, while you enjoy a coffee in the relative calm of their seating area. This is little kids play, so they have a maximum height restriction of 148 cm (approx 7 years old). While you’re here, why not pop next door to the gallery?
Jackaboos, 10a Sunny Bank Mills, 83-85 Town Street, Farsley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5UJ.
There are loads of things to do with the kids at Harewood House. You can explore the grounds, weaving your way through the lush Himalayan Gardens and trekking into the depths of the woods, or head inside the house itself, which is full of history. But that’s just the beginning. From adventure playgrounds to boat rides and afternoon tea, the little ones will be clamoring to try it all. Make sure you leave time for the bird garden, ideally when the penguins are being fed.
Harewood House, Sandy Gate, Harewood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 9LG.
Adventure playgrounds, enchanted forests and magical mazes – Stockeld Park has it all. Every twist and turn leads to a new discovery. One minute it’s talking trees, the next fairy villages – and because the focus is on interactive play, your little ones will be entertained every step of the way. Activities range from adrenaline-pumping pedal go-karts to giggle-inducing outdoor inflatables and high-flying treetop obstacle courses. A truly awesome family day out in Leeds.
Stockeld Park, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS22 4AN.
Leeds Art Gallery
Got little painters at home? It’s never too early to introduce them to Leeds Art Gallery. Inside, you’ll find a wonderful array of paintings and sculptures from world-renowned artists like Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and L.S. Lowry. Wander the halls, picking favourites and pointing out the most colourful, clever and downright wonderful pieces you can find, then go home and turn all that inspiration into your own works of art. Look out for their school holiday activities.
Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AA.
History is brought to life in epic style at Royal Armouries, where they showcase an enormous collection of arms and armour. You can see swords wielded by knights, samurais and executioners, alongside guns used by whalers, gangsters and secret agents. Henry VIII’s tournament armour is here, as is his longbow, and they have an almost complete set of elephant armour that weighs a whopping 118 kilograms! Plus, you can see real Stormtrooper blasters!
Royal Armouries Museum, Armouries Drive, Leeds Dock, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1LT.
Round up your little monkeys for a day of treetop fun at Go Ape. They’ve created three routes, each more daring than the last, so there’s something for big kids and small. Climbers need to be at least one metre tall to tackle their easiest route, which promises a mix-and-match adventure complete with Flying Carpet crossings and zip wires. The bigger you get, the higher you can go – expect platforms 15 metres above the ground and a heart-stopping 13-metre plummet.
Go Ape, Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AE.
Leeds Urban Bike Park
Once the safety wheels are off, a trip to Leeds Urban Bike Park is in order. It’s the ultimate mountain biking destination with trails to take you from beginner to dare-devil. Kit up for an epic family day out, then head out to the BMX track or the pump track to practice your skills before you take on one of their green, blue, red or, if your bike-obsessed brood has progressed from hobbyists to absolute pros, the steep jumps and technically demanding twists of the black run.
Leeds Urban Bike Park, Middleton Park Bike Hub, Ring Road, Beeston Park, Middleton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 3TN.
Thackray Medical Museum
Little scientists and wannabe doctors will love Thackray Medical Museum! It’ll take you on a whirlwind journey through medical history as you step onto the cholera-ridden streets of Victorian Leeds and discover the horrors that await in a 19th-century operating theatre. After a stop at a 1970s sexual health clinic, you can learn about the medical breakthroughs that have transformed the way we diagnose and treat patients, bringing you all the way to the modern day.
Thackray Medical Museum, 141 Beckett Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS9 7LN.
The little ones can bounce, bob and boing their way to happy exhaustion at Jump Inc. This hybrid mega park boasts 50,000 square feet of fun – we’re talking interconnected trampolines, inflatables and obstacle courses. There are loads of things to do with the kids here. You can walk the wall, jump off the tower and cart-wheel down tumble tracks, you can whizz down slides, dive into the foam pit and literally bounce off the walls! What’s not to love?
Jump Inc, 1 Benyon Park Way, Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 6DP.
History and nature sit side-by-side at this unmissable attraction. Set on an island, wedged between the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, Thwaite Mills is one of the last working watermills in the UK. Watch the cogs and pulleys in action as that humungous water wheel turns rock to stone and putty before your eyes. While you’re here, pay a visit to the house, a Grade II-listed Georgian building, carefully restored to tell the story of the mill workers.
Thwaite Mills, Thwaite Lane, Stourton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1RP.
17 hectares of outdoor space, with a great big lake in the middle – that’s Yeadon Tarn. It’s the ultimate picnic spot, with enough grassy lawns and shady groves for everyone, but that’s just one reason to visit. The Tarn has a playground, a BMX track and all the leisurely strolls you could want, buggy-friendly, of course. It’s also home to Yeadon Sailing Club, where you can give the little ones their first taste of adventure with a range of waterspouts on the lake.
Yeadon Tarn, Cemetery Road, Yeadon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS19 7BB.
For a fun-packed family day out in Leeds, head to Hope Pastures. They rescue and rehabilitate horses, ponies and donkeys. Before they find their furry friends a forever home, they invite the public to come and meet them. This isn’t just a petting farm – the kids can learn how to care for these beautiful animals in a fun, supportive environment. Entry is free, which means it’s a super-cheap day out, but you’re encouraged to give what you can to help them do their vital work.
Hope Pastures, Westwood Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5PH.
Leeds Industrial Museum
Once the largest woollen mill in the world, Armley Mills is now bustling museum filled with remnants of the city’s industrial past. You can see spinning wheels and working looms close-up with live demonstrations that will take you back in time to the industrial revolution. Plus, catch a film in the Palace Cinema, discover the pioneers of high street fashion in the Tailoring Gallery and check out the steam engines in the Power House. You can even have a picnic outside.
Leeds Industrial Museum, Canal Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 2QF.
Temple Newsam is one of the best family days out in Leeds. Outside, there’s oodles of space for the kids to run off energy – take a walk around the Menagerie Ponds, play a game of rounders on the lawn or scale the heights of the adventure playground. And indoors? More fun awaits. The house is teeming with history, so you can learn as you go from one beautifully decorated room to the next. The farm next door has every cute and cuddly animal you could ever wish to see.
Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AE.
Got animal-obsessed youngsters at home? Take a trip to Swithens Farm! From pigs to sheep, cows to chickens, you can see all your favourite farmyard animals. They have rabbits and guinea pigs too, perfect for petting, as well as usual beasts like llamas, emus and meerkats. Be sure to bag a tub of carrots, it’ll be the highlight of your little ones’ day as they win the love of the farm’s residents. After a long day of petting, treat yourself to a home-cooked meal in the cafe.
Swithens Farm, Swithen’s Lane, Rothwell, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 0BT.
Family days out in Leeds don’t get much better than this. The ruins of Kirkstall Abbey are stunning to see, but they also offer a wealth of exploring potential. Head to the visitor centre to swot up on the history of this 12th-century Cistercian monastery, then step inside and imagine the building as it once was. Afterwards, spend a little time in the grounds – enjoy a picnic beside the river, play a game of tennis or head up the hill to the adventure playground.
Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3AH.
Oodles of outdoor space, all manner of weird and wonderful wildlife and an Edwardian country house that will transport you to the early 1900s – that’s what you can look forward to at Lotherton! They’ve made it all totally family-friendly with activities and trails to keep the kids enthralled. Outside, eight acres of landscaped gardens and grounds await. Wildlife World is a must-visit, but they also have an adventure playground and dedicated space for outdoor play.
Lotherton, Off Collier Lane, Aberford, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS25 3EB.
TeamSport Go Karting
Your little racers can put their skills to the test at TeamSport Go Karting. Their specially designed Cadet Karts mean kids as young as eight can get behind the wheel to challenge mum and dad to a high speed race. This is the longest indoor circuit in Yorkshire, so get ready to hurtle around a 580-metre track, full of twists, turns and hairpin bends. Afterwards, you can use the app to compare lap times and see who took the number one spot on the podium.
TeamSport Go Karting, South Accommodation Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NQ.
None Go Bye Farm
You can’t beat a family day out at None Go Bye Farm. This is your chance to see the animals up-close and even feed them. They have all the usual farmyard animals, think pigs, hens and geese, but you can also spot unusual beasts like prairie dogs, alpacas and rheas (which, in case you’re wondering, are big flightless birds, a bit like ostriches). Entry comes with a free bag of feed, so you can entice the animals over with a tasty treat and get a snap while the kids feed them.
None Go Bye Farm, Otley Old Road, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 5HZ.
Live For Today at Hazlewood Castle
Axe-throwing, archery and crossbow shooting are just a few of the activities on offer at Hazlewood Castle. Live For Today has taken over a patch of their 77-acre grounds to give you a chance to try something completely different. You can have an unconventional kick-around with a game of football darts or perfect your aim with an air rifle shooting experience. Minimum age limits apply to all their activities, but for older kids, it’s an unforgettable day out.
Live For Today, Hazlewood Castle, Paradise Lane, Tadcaster, West Yorkshire, LS24 9NJ.
A little ceramics studio, tucked away in Oakwood, Jackrabbits Pottery is a must-try for families. The little ones can choose their own piece of pottery, with everything from mugs and plates to ornaments and teapots up for grabs. Then it’s time to get creative. The kids can paint, print and perfect their creations in a sit-down session that’s all kinds of fun. And when they’re done? It’ll be glazed and fired, ready to pick up seven days later and put on your mantlepiece.
Jackrabbits Pottery, 633a Roundhay Road, Oakwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 4BA.
Abbey House Museum
Travel back to the 19th century with a visit to Abbey House Museum. Walk the streets of Victorian Leeds, stopping at shops, homes and a traditional drinking den, before casting your eye over the toys of the past in the Childhood Galleries. Be sure to check out their collection of original penny slot machines, all reconditioned and ready to turn a shiny penny into something totally unique. Afterwards, make the most of Kirkstall Abbey and the surrounding parkland.
Abbey House Museum, Abbey Walk, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3EH.
If you’ve got a couple of crack detectives at home, why not take them to Escape Hunt? This ingenious escape game is aimed at kids aged 10+, so the whole family can have a go. You’ll have 60 minutes to work out all the codes, riddles and clues to escape the room. From spies, samurais and pirates to the time-travelling adventures of Dr Who, there are four incredible rooms to choose from, each as perplexing as the last. Time to teach the kids the virtues of teamwork.
Escape Hunt, The Light, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8TL.
Creative youngsters can let their imaginations run free at Firefly Pottery. They offer two activities that are perfect for family days out in Leeds – you can either make your own pottery creations by hand or choose one of their pre-made pieces for the ultimate painting session. Whichever you go for, expect two hours of messy, hands-on play that produces a unique work of art that you can take home. From baubles to plates and plant pots – what will your kids make?
Firefly Pottery, 116 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4AH.
The Little Bookshop
The Little Bookshop is a revelation – it’s an independent bookshop with a vast array of books for children. They have everything from picture books to teen fiction and books for adults on the shelves, so there really is something for everyone, but you don’t just come here to shop. They put on regular events, including workshops, author talks and those all-important story time sessions. It’s got a cafe too, with quality coffee and food that’s as good for the adults as it is the kids.
The Little Bookshop, 47 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3PD.
Now this is a day out with a difference! Head to Treeside Alpacas and introduce the kids to their six wooly friends – Bailey, Ambo, Kimbo, Bruno, Chester and Bomber. They’re friendly, gentle alpacas, so this isn’t just a meet and greet – after you’ve said hello, you can all pick an alpaca to take out for a walk. Wander the countryside with your furry pal in-tow, enjoy an unforgettable day out with all the family and take all manner of amazing selfies.
Treeside Alpacas, Moss Carr Farm, Newmarket Lane, Oulton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 9DW.
Leeds Owl Trail
We’re big on owls in Leeds. Not only do they feature on our coat of arms, but you’ll find them all over the city. In fact, there are so many owls here that they’ve been divided into two explorer-worthy trails. Round up the kids, pack up a lunch and head into the city centre to start hunting them out. Keep your eyes peeled as you move from place to place because you’ll find our feathered friends in the most unlikely locations – think fence posts, stonework and domed roofs.
Leeds Owl Trail starts at Civic Hall, Calverley Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 1UR and Kenneth Hodgson House, Park Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5HA.
The Henry Moore Institute
The home of contemporary sculpture in Leeds, the Henry Moore Institute is a great day out for all the family. Their ever-changing exhibitions come in all shapes and sizes, they’re often thought-provoking and always intriguing, which means you can start your little ones’ cultural education early. Explore the galleries, check out their latest collections and let their little imaginations run wild then, when you go home, invite them to create their own works of art.
Henry Moore Institute, 74 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AH.
Golden Acre Park
55 hectares. Wowza! That’s a lot of space to roam, a lot of space for games and play, a lot of space for exploring – which is why Golden Acre Park is so popular with families. There’s loads to do here with the kids. You can wander around the landscaped gardens, trek down to the orchard or do a spot of birdwatching at the wildfowl lake. There are woodlands, heather gardens and wildflower meadows too, with a cafe where you can refuel after your adventures.
Golden Acre Park, Off Arthington Road, Bramhope, Leeds, LS16 8BQ.
Parents vs kids – let the battle commence! A spaceship has crashed into the heart of Leeds. Outside, a 3,500 square foot galactic labyrinth awaits – and it’s here, amidst the smoke, the flashing lights and the eerie sounds of a far-off world that you’ll do battle. Equipped with state-of-the-art ‘helios’ laser packs and phasers, you’ll head out into their multi-level arena to zap your opponents and blast their base. For high-adrenaline days out in Leeds, you simply can’t beat it.
LazerZone, Cardigan Fields Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2DG.