Spring is finally here and will (hopefully!) bring better weather with it! Check out some nearby outdoor beauty spots with our handy guide below.
Roundhay Park covers over 700 acres of parkland, lakes, and woodland and is one of the largest urban parks in Europe. The park contains several gardens, including Canal Gardens, Rainbow Garden, Chelsea Gardens (created for the Chelsea flower show) and the Monet and Alhambra Gardens.
Roundhay also holds two beautiful lakes. The Upper Lake, the smaller of the two, is reserved as a wildlife area, while the larger Waterloo Lake is a popular fishing destination for local anglers.
Fishing isn’t the only activity available at Roundhay Park. Sports enthusiasts can take advantage of the park’s wide spaces as well as its tennis courts and grass cycling track. There is also a state-of-the-art skatepark and a playground for children.
Animal lovers should take opportunity to stop into Tropical World, an indoor wildlife park housing flora and fauna from all over the world. See meerkats, snakes, fish, birds, and of course the zoo’s famous butterflies.
While it is best known for its 800-year-old ruins, which used to be a Cistercian monastery, Kirkstall Abbey also has a plethora of beautiful parkland and a stream. The park features lots of space to explore, play, and picnic, and holds a large playground for children to occupy themselves with while the grown-ups take in the tranquil surroundings.
The abbey itself is breath-taking, with its dramatic architecture and well-preserved structure. It is one of the most complete Cistercian monasteries in Britain. As a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument, both the ruins and the interactive visitor centre receive flocks of visitors every year.
If you time your visit for the last weekend of the month between March and November, then you’ll be able to catch the Kirkstall Abbey Market. This varied outdoor market features unique vendors from Leeds and the surrounding areas, selling hand-made crafts and local produce from across Yorkshire.
This stunning reservoir sits up in Alwoodley, near the village of Eccup, for which it was named. It was first constructed in 1843 and has been a popular destination for walkers and families ever since. Spanning a massive 91 hectares of open water, it is the largest area of water in West Yorkshire, with the walk around its circumference measuring a reasonable 5 miles.
The area is also a budding bird watcher’s paradise, playing home to large numbers of migrating and overwintering wading birds and waterfowl including goosander, wigeon, shelduck, and many more! The reservoir is also attracting a growing population of red kites. Grab the kids, dust off your binoculars, and head out to Eccup to see which winged critters you can spot.
While Harewood House is best known for its stately manor house, the grounds also contain a wealth of outdoor space. The estate contains over 100 acres of gardens and a serene lake and make an idyllic setting for any weekend.
The award-winning landscape features several unique areas, including the Archery Border, the West, Himalayan, and Lakeside gardens, as well as the Walled Garden, which is a working kitchen garden, full of fruits and vegetables.
Harewood is also full of fun activities to take part in, offering weekend boat rides around the lake. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, consider exploring the bird garden and get an up-close look at penguins, flamingos, and cockatoos.
Golden Acre Park
Golden Acre Park sits between Adel and Bramhope, and spans 137 acres of green fields, woodland, and lake. The circular lakeside walk is a popular ramble for those looking to get out into nature without having to go too far from the city centre.
The park contains several different areas of plant life to lose yourself in. Grab some shade in the Arboretum, go for a wander in the Heather Garden, or relax in the Lilac Collection.
Weary walkers can then rest their legs and recharge at the park’s onsite tea rooms, Golden Acre Park Café, serving tasty treats every day of the week.