It’s time for a stroll around some of the most beautiful parts of Leeds with a stop for a drink or two on the way.
If you didn’t know it already, a walk in the great outdoors and a trip to the pub go together incredibly well. But don’t just take our word for it, why not try it for yourself? We’ve rounded up five great routes to help you take in the stunning natural scenery of Leeds and matched them with a few cracking little watering holes you can visit on the way, so you can enjoy a few tipples and God’s Own County at the same time.
The Waterfront Pub Crawl
With both the River Aire and Leeds-Liverpool Canal worming their way through the city centre, you’ve got a ready-made waterfront stroll ahead of you. Start off at The Vesper Gate, just by Kirkstall Abbey, before walking through the historic grounds of the abbey ruins to get alongside the River Aire. Here you can veer off to The West End House or stay along the river to visit the Kirkstall Bridge Inn, which boasts a wealth of great cask beers and lovely river views.
After your pint, cross the road and head along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in the direction of the city, where you’ll come across one of the most underrated parks in Leeds, Gotts Park. This will take you as far as a footbridge which will join up with the canalside path. Head towards the city to see the industrial history of Leeds, with old mills and factories lining the water on either side.
Take in the vibrant waterside while making the most of a host of waterfront bars. Go off the path by crossing the lock to The Cross Keys and The Midnight Bell on Water Lane or carry on along to Granary Wharf, a former industrial area that’s been brought back to life in the past decade, and is home to the likes of The Hop, Craft Asylum #1 and Water Lane Boathouse if you fancy one last tipple.
The walk starts at The Vesper Gate, Abbey Road, Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3NG. Check out the route.
Ilkley Heritage Walk
The Ilkley Heritage Walk takes you on a stunning trip through the area’s natural wonders, as well as starting and ending at one of the best watering holes around – The Cow and Calf. You can look at the stunning rock formations, before nipping in for a bite to eat and a drink at the pub which shares its name. From here, you’ll discover the historic Ilkley Moor, walking first to Hangingstone Quarry, which you can have a look around, before heading off on Waypoint 1 (all Waypoints are signposted) to Backstone Beck.
From here, you join Waypoint 2, which takes you up to a spot above the Rocky Valley with great views looking out across Ilkley and the Wharfe Valley. But when you reach Waypoint 3, you have a decision to make. You can continue on the regular route back to Ilkley, which takes another 30 minutes, or you can extend your wander on the adjoining Dick Hudsons’ Path (so named because it leads you to the Dick Hudsons pub in Bingley). This is a 4-hour round-trip back to the start of Waypoint 3, so you’ll want to factor that in when planning your day, but the beer and scenery are well worth it if you have the time.
If you choose to stay on the Waypoint 3 route, you can enjoy a walk up to White Wells where you can nip inside the little cafe, then follow the path round to the stream at Gill Head. When you join Waypoint 4, you’ll walk up to the Crocodile Rock which then leads you back to Hangingstone Quarry at Waypoint 5. From here you’ll drop down below the rocks, and back to the pub for a very well-deserved pint.
The walk starts at The Cow and Calf, Hangingstone Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8BT. Check out the route.
The Aireborough Greenway
Used by cyclists and walkers alike, The Aireborough Greenway is a perfect way to see the natural wonders around the suburbs of Guiseley and Yeadon, with plenty of places to stop for a drink while you’re at it. Kick off at Guiseley Station before making your way onto Otley Road, where you can dive straight into the aptly named The Station pub for a pre-wander refreshment.
From there, it’s only a 1.5-mile ramble to get to the end, so why not make the most of it? You can wander down Silverdale Avenue and onto Coach Road, which becomes a pedestrianised footpath and cycle route that will take you through fields and greenery, over the train tracks and on to Yeadon.
You can walk up to Well Lane and visit The Robin Hood pub, before roaming through the town centre, past Yeadon Town Hall, which is an architecturally impressive building to visit, and into The Clothiers Arms on Harper Lane for a cheap Wetherspoons pint. The real star of the show comes next, after you nip into The New Inn on Cemetery Road or The White Swan on High Street – you can discover the beauty of Yeadon Tarn Park to finish your trip.
The walk starts at Guiseley Station, Guiseley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS20 8BX. Check out the route.
Meanwood Valley Trail
The Meanwood Valley Trail is the perfect route to take if you want to get back to nature with a few pub stops – and it’s only minutes away from the city centre. Your walk can be as long as you want it to be because the 7-mile trail is broken up into three sections.
Start off at the corner of Woodhouse Moor. This first part takes you along Delph Lane, where you can detour to The Chemic Tavern, on nearby Woodhouse Street. Then rejoin the path on Woodhouse Ridge, walking through a lovely forest with open clearings for amazing views across the city. The path takes you up to Meanwood Park where you can veer off the track to stop in for a well-deserved pint at Alfred, the Meanwood branch of North Bar, and Terminus, the Meanwood Brewery taproom.
The second part of the route takes you from Meanwood Park, where you can enjoy the stunning natural beauty of The Hollies and the old ruins of Scotland Mill, to the banks of Meanwood Beck. Slip off for a pint at The Myrtle Tavern here and then continue the walk towards Adel, stopping at the Seven Arches Aqueduct and on to The Lawnswood Arms, up Otley Road. From here, you can follow the trail up to Golden Acre Park, but be warned, there aren’t any pubs along this section of the route.
The walk starts at Woodhouse Moor, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9DZ. Check out the route.
There are only two pubs on this walk, but it’s one of the most beautiful you’ll go on. Start off at The Lord Darcy on Harrogate Road, where you can go for a drink and a bite to eat to prepare you for the 5.2-mile trek. From there, take the path down to Alwoodley Lane where this epic walk really begins.
You’ll follow a leafy lane up towards Sand Moor Golf Course, which takes you to the paths that lead around a lengthy circuit of Eccup Reservoir. You can then join the Dales Way at the edge of the Goodrich Plantation, walking up to Rookery Farm before heading along the water and over the Dam Bridge – the views here are one of the most rewarding parts of your ramble.
From here, take a little walk up Eccup Lane to The New Inn, a dog and family-friendly watering hole, for a bit of well-deserved respite, before rejoining the walk at Eccup Moor Road and following the paths back around Sand Moor Golf Course and up to Alwoodley Lane. It’d be rude not to pop back into The Lord Darcy to finish your day, wouldn’t it? Mine’s a pint!
The walk starts at The Lord Darcy, 618 Harrogate Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 8EH. Check out the route.Cover image credit © Copyright Leeds-List 2022 by Max Wailes.