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Feature Summer Days Out

Make the most of our summer with some great family-friendly outdoor activities in and around Leeds

Feature: Summer Days Out

For many of us, the default option for a summer’s day is to head straight to the nearest beer garden and spend those fleeting moments of sunshine soaking up rays and alcohol. However, it’s worth remembering that Leeds and West Yorkshire are blessed with some stunning scenery and great outdoor activities. Want proof? Try any of these for size…



We’d happily take a trip out to the YSP if there was nothing there but the lakes, rolling hills, livestock and majestic unspoiled landscapes. As it is though, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park boasts some of the finest art in the region, using its 500 acres to host permanent works from the likes of Andy Goldsworthy, Antony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, James Turrell, Peter Randall-Page and Sophie Ryder. These works – intelligently set in the landscapes – are complemented by indoor galleries and temporary outdoor exhibitions from some of the world’s most exciting visual artists.

The current major exhibition at the park is a collection of new and recent work by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. Works include a 50-metre curtain of poetry made of suspended steel letters, large illuminated sculptures in the landscape, and engraved gongs that visitors can strike to fill the gallery with sound.




While residents of Leeds city centre might (justifiably) decry a lack of green space in the centre itself, a trip out of Leeds in almost any direction will bring you to some glorious park land. Trying to cover every lovely green spot would take up half the magazine, so allow us to take a few choice cuts for you to visit.

The most famous park in Leeds is surely Roundhay Park. At over 700 acres, it’s one of the largest city parks in Europe, and at one point it became a very popular gig venue, hosting huge shows from the likes of The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Madonna and Robbie Williams. Facilities include tennis courts, skateboard ramps, sports pitches, bowling greens, a sports arena, a golf course, fishing and a lakeside cafe. The Park Arena is a natural amphitheatre and provides the venue for special events, (including the aforementioned pop concerts) and the spectacular fireworks display on Bonfire Night. More recently, the old Mansion on Roundhay Park has been converted into a great restaurant and cafe by the team behind Dine Catering, under the name Dine At The Mansion.

Out to the south of Leeds is Middleton Park Woods. These woods feature the earthworks and buried remains of colliery workings, including shaft mounds and waggonways. The woods have a permanent orienteering course, bridleways, and an education and visitors centre.

At the opposite side of the city, on the way towards the market town of Otley, there’s Golden Acre Park. This park was once a privately run amusement park – complete with miniature railway, swimming pool and boating lake. Unfortunately it was forced to close during WWII and was taken over by Leeds City Council. The park now boasts a wildfowl lake and is a National Plant Garden for Lilac, Deutzia, Hosta and Hemerocallis. There is plenty to see including an arboretum and beautifully-kept cottage garden.

Golden Acre Parks links to two more of Leeds’ parks – Meanwood Park and Woodhouse Moor through the Leeds city council maintained Meanwood Valley Trail. Leaving Golden Acre Park, y

Posted on Wednesday 10th August 2011

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