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You're outdoorsy

Think that Leeds is just a big, concrete city with no greenery in sight? Think again! If you love the outdoors you won’t be disappointed by the fantastic countryside and activities that you will find in and around our city.

Here in Leeds (and in the close surrounding areas) we have beautiful parks and walks, a huge national park on our doorstep, plus gorgeous coastline that’s just a bus ride away. Take a look at just a taster of what there is to explore...

In the city

Park Square

Many people stumble upon Park Square in Leeds City Centre and are surprised to find such a peaceful little spot among the hustle and bustle of the city’s financial quarter. Although only small, Park Square is still a great place to sit and admire the greenery – it’s complete with manicured lawns, bright flowers and fairy-light decorated trees. Every year during ‘Leeds night light’, the park is used for some incredible light installations, and it attracts huge crowds. Remember to stop by for a peaceful break when you’re next in the city centre.

Student tip:

  • The next time you’re at city campus and have a short break, why not head down to Park Square and enjoy a revision break in the park? It’s a lovely, relaxing spot to spend an afternoon, and we think you’ll be left feeling inspired by the pretty green surroundings!

Student Naomi's image of Park Square
Image provided by student Naomi

Roundhay Park

It’s not often that you hear a park described as ‘amazing’, but that is exactly what we would call Roundhay.  It’s one of Eurpope’s largest parks, complete with over 700 acres of lush green parkland, gardens, lakes and woods. Among the many beautiful natural attractions, it also has Tropical World, a canoe club, playgrounds, cafes, regular events and festivals, plus much more. When you visit, you can take in the beautiful views of the lake, admire the tranquil canal gardens, or simply sit and observe its hundreds of acres of beauty 

Student tip:

  • Roundhay is a beautiful park to visit on a summer’s day. Why not grab some friends and a bat and ball and have a game of cricket? There’s plenty of space, and we’re sure you’ll attract some extra players as it’s always busy!

Student Ryan's image of Roundhay Park
Image provided by student Ryan

Rodley Nature Reserve

Located just four miles outside of Leeds’ city centre, Rodley Nature Reserve is a former water works. It was commissioned as a nature reserve in the 90s, with the wetlands being dug from scratch from rough grassland. You can now enjoy the beautiful lagoon, witness dragon flies zoom across the ponds and admire the various beautiful species of birds. You can even call in to the visitor centre and pick up a quiz trail guide, making the visit even more exciting. 

Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey is pretty spectacular. Built sometime around 1152, this gothic ruined abbey is the perfect setting for a day of adventures. It’s set in a public park, and it’s perfect for a leisurely wander along the water on a warm summer’s day. Either take yourself a picnic, or wait until one of the many events are held – there’s often food fairs, film screenings and mini festivals.

Student tip:

  • If you’re into walking, take a walk along the Leeds-Liverpool canal from the city centre to Kirkstall Abbey. It’s a lovely walk, with plenty to see along the way.

Student Jenny's image of Kirkstall Abbey
Image provided by student Jenny

Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve

Just outside Leeds’ city centre is Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve. This beautiful, serene spot is pretty special, as it was formed in the 1990s on top of the old Kirkstall Power Station site. You’d never be able to tell that it hasn’t always been the beautiful meadow that it is today! Walking around you can spot over 180 species of plants, more than 65 species of birds, beautiful flowers… and you might even catch a glimpse of some adorable otters!

Golden Acre Park

This lovely park used to be a privately run amusement park, back in the 1930s. Back then, it had a miniature railway, swimming pool and boating lake! After closing during World War two, Leeds City Council turned it into the beautiful park it is today. We can’t think of a better afternoon than taking a walk around its stunning gardens, admiring the serene lake and spotting the wildlife.

Yeadon Tarn

Located just next to Leeds Bradford airport, this lovely little lake and surrounding park is a great spot to visit to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s perfect if you’re an aviation fan, as you can watch the planes land at the airport from whatever spot you decide to settle on. The walk around the lake here is also very flat and easy, meaning that almost anybody can manage it. On Sundays during summer months, you can listen to brass bands playing as you enjoy an ice cream and dip your toes into the water. 

Meanwood Valley Trail

This 11km winding footpath through Meanwood Valley begins on Woodhouse Moor (close to Leeds Beckett’s city campus) and heads through Headingley, Meanwood and Adel, where it ends at Golden Acre Park. If the full 11 kilometres seems like a bit of a challenge, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s split up into three smaller sections. Each section has its own identity, and has different things to discover. Download the official guide to the trail online, and you’ll be able to head off on a really exciting adventure – looking out for rare wildlife, building dens and even observing a pagan worship sight.

Student tip:

  • As a fun, unusual day out with friends, why not split off into groups and complete the trail? You can set each other challenges, and then meet at the end and see who completed them the fastest. It’s an exciting, free day out, plus you’re getting plenty of exercise and admiring some beautiful scenery. What could be better? 

Student Joseph's image of Meanwood Park
Image provided by student Joseph

Temple Newsam

This magnificent manor house and the beautiful surrounding parkland is a must-visit for somebody who loves the outdoors – and it will also please your friends who aren’t so outdoorsy too! The Tudor mansion is famous as it was the birthplace of Lord Danley, who later became the King consort of Scotland when he married Mary Queen of Scots. History buffs will love to learn more about the house’s history and juicy secrets. However,if history isn’t your thing, you’ll still love it here. Wandering around the grounds of Temple Newsam, you’re sure to spot many different rare animals, stumble upon stunning woodland areas, or even have a round of golf. With over 1,500 acres of grounds, there’s no chance of you getting bored quickly.

Image provided by student Joseph

Explore Yorkshire

Think that Leeds is just a big, concrete city with no greenery in sight? Think again! If you love the outdoors you won’t be disappointed by the fantastic countryside and activities that you will find in and around our city.

Here in Leeds (and in the close surrounding areas) we have beautiful parks and walks, a huge national park on our doorstep, plus gorgeous coastline that’s just a bus ride away. Take a look at just a taster of what there is to explore...  

Goit Stock Falls

Located near Bingley, Bradford, Goit Stock is a truly stunning sight that’s well worth the journey from Leeds. Walk along the valley and you will come out at a beautiful waterfall – a sight you don’t see too often in Yorkshire! If you go on a sunny day, you’ll often see people jumping into the natural plunge pools and enjoying the unspoilt scenery. It’s the perfect place to take visiting friends or family – we promise they’ll leave very impressed.

Student Joseph's image of Goitstock Falls
Image proivded by student Joseph 

The Yorkshire Dales 

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a little further away than most places on this list, but well worth the visit (or 10!). There’s so much to do and explore – we’re talking thousands of square miles of lush greenery, valleys, moors and much more. Places to visit include Bolton Abbey, which has the ruins of a 12th-century monastery, as well as Malham cove – a spectacular towering cliff face. There’s also Gordale Scar, which is complete with stunning waterfalls, and the 3 peaks – three challenging hills which many people tackle for charity. 

Ilkley Moor 

Not technically in Leeds, but not too far off, is Ilkley Moor. This beautiful expanse of moorland rises to 402m above sea level and is perfect for rambling and rock climbing. Tackle the moor and observe the amazing panoramic views out over all of West Yorkshire. You could stop off in the lovely town of Ilkley afterwards and enjoy a spot of lunch in one of its many cutesy cafes. Just whatever you do, make sure you don’t go up the moor baht’at (google it!).

Student Joseph's image of Ilkley Moor
Image provided by student Joseph

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

This one’s a little different. Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the UK’s largest open-air gallery – a vast expanse of parkland with beautiful art installations dotted around each and every part of it. It’s the perfect place to spend a weekend afternoon, taking in the beauty of both the natural scenery and the man-made art. To get here, you’ll need to travel to Wakefield, which is not too far from Leeds. It’s a bit of a journey, but we promise it’s worth it.

Otley Chevin

Chevin Forest Park is a beautiful expanse of woodland, designed as a local nature reserve in 1989, in recognition of the vast amount of wildlife that lives there. The most special part of this place is the huge north-facing cliff which gives you amazing views of the lovely town of Otley. If you do decide to go along, make sure you take your camera! 

Student Mulahella's image of Otley Chevin
Image provided by student Mulahella

Leeds Beckett

And, if you have green thumbs, you'll have plenty of opportunities to put them to good use at Leeds Beckett. You can join our student volunteers every Thursday to work on the student allotment and get involved in other horticultural and conservation activities like the Leeds Beckett Pocket Beds. 

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