We have hand picked ten of our favourite walks in Leeds, taking in popular parks as well as the great cultural offer that Leeds boasts. From art galleries to breweries, we’ve got you covered if you’re looking to spend a day getting to know this characterful city by foot!
No round up of walks in and around Leeds would be complete without Roundhay Park, which can boast that it is one of the very biggest city parks in the whole of Europe. We recommend a visit in spring or summer in order to see the specialist gardens here at their best. The Monet Garden, based on gardens planted by the impressionist at Giverny in France, will be sure to transport you from Northwest England to Northwest France. And, for those planning a summer trip to Leeds, why not check out the West Indian Carnival and Reggae Concert which takes place every August Bank Holiday weekend at Potternewton Park?
Heading further north out of the city, a great walk is to be had around the parkland surrounding the Kirkstall Abbey. The gothic ruins have inspired artists such as JMW Turner over the centuries, and are surrounded by a wide stretch of beautiful parkland on the bank of the River Aire – a perfect spot for a picnic.
We also recommend staying close to the city centre but heading south. Here you will find The Tetley, one of Leeds’ leading arts and cultural venues with a rolling calendar of events and exhibitions. And from here, continue your walk south to wind up at the Northern Monk Refectory offering a unique, brick and wood industrial setting, and a mighty range of in-house beers. What better place for the modern booze-lover to end a busy day of sight-seeing?
Leeds is a remarkably walkable city, made better by the parks, galleries, bars and restaurants you can enjoy along the way!
Here are our picks
Woodhouse Moor, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AP - Visit now
Head north west out of Leeds city centre to find yourself at Woodhouse Moor. The park is popular with students as the university is nearby, and its green spaces are good for picnicking and ball games. The park is predominantly open grass land, with avenues of mature trees, and includes a playground, a skate park, a multi-use games area, and a bowling green, as well as several imposing statues. There is plenty of open green space and mature trees, making this Leeds’ second most popular urban park. And for fuel, head to the nearby Hyde Park Book Club and grab a coffee and some food.
Roundhay Park, Mansion Lane, off Princes Avenue, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HH - Visit now
Roundhay Park has one almighty credential: it is one of the biggest city parks in Europe. The vast park features lakes and woodlands, and be sure to check out the specialist gardens including the Monet Garden, based on gardens planted by the impressionist at Giverny in France, and the Alhambra Garden, which is based upon one of the worlds most famous gardens, the 13th century garden at Alhambra, Spain. There are plenty of paths through woodlands and across the open spaces to guide you as you explore the 700 acres of Roundhay Park. It is a great spot for a day of walking near Leeds, and in fact would repay multiple visits.
Potternewton Park, Harehills Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4HA - Visit now
Potternewton Park is a popular park in the heart of Chapeltown, a residential area just 2 miles north east of Leeds city centre. To get there will take 40 minutes on foot from Leeds city centre. It features open parkland, manicured flowerbeds, and plenty of trees changing their colours with the seasons. There is also plenty of sporting facilities from tennis, to skating, to basketball. Or, for the more cerebral amongst us, there’s also a giant chess board. Why not challenge someone to a game while you enjoy the park, and stretch your mental as well as physical muscles?
Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey Road, Leeds, LS5 3EH - Visit now
Founded in 1152, Kirkstall Abbey near Leeds is one of the most complete examples of a medieval Cistercian monastery in Britain. The gothic ruins have inspired artists such as JMW Turner over the centuries, and are surrounded by a wide stretch of beautiful parkland on the bank of the River Aire (perfect for picnics). The visitor centre features a series of interactive exhibits that illustrate the history of the abbey and the lives of the monks that lived there. A walk through and around Kirkstall Abbey is charged with the enduring romanticism of ruins, and its only a 15 minute drive (or 3 and a half mile walk) from Leeds city centre.
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ - Visit now
The Tetley is one of Leeds’ leading arts and cultural venues, and it’s housed in a building of architectural and historical significance. Alone amidst a pan-flat landscape, The Tetley stands resolute in its art deco splendour. Inside, you’ll find a rolling calendar of contemporary art exhibitions and events in its unusual spaces, as well as an excellent bar and kitchen. It’s a short step south of Leeds city centre, and the walk is well worth it for any culture lover visiting the city. Continue your walk further south to get to the Northern Monk Refectory, where you can reflect on the art you saw at The Tetley over some lovely craft beer.
Thackray Medical Museum, 141 Beckett Street, Leeds, LS9 7LN - Visit now
Head out from Leed city centre in a north eastern direction, towards Harehills, and a forty minute walk will take you to the Thackray Medical Museum. The building itself is the former Leeds Union Workhouse which once housed the poor and homeless people of the city, and later incorporated an infirmary for the sick before then later becoming a fully-fledged hospital in 1925. Today, interactive displays tell the story of medicine from Victorian operating theatres to modern surgery. It’s impressive building is made of a reddish brick, familiar across cities in this part of the country. It makes a great destination for families looking to stretch their legs and learn something new.
Hyde Park Book Club, 27-29 Headingley Lane, Leeds, LS6 1BL - Visit now
A 40 min walk North West from city centre, near to Woodhouse Moor, the Hyde Park Book Club is (predictably) in Leed’s Hype Park area. The Hyde Park Book Club is an arts venue, as well as being a café and bar. The spot is a great place to head to after exploring the nearby Woodhouse Moor or, alternative, you could stop off and pick up a takeout coffee en route. They also have a programme of live music, and an offshoot independent record label, Hyde Park Book Club Records, which releases the best in new music from jazz and beyond. A staple in the cultural life of this part of Leeds, it was an easy choice for a pit stop for walkers exploring the area.
Northern Monk Refectory, 10 Tariff St, Manchester, M1 2FF - Visit now
The Northern Monk Refectory is yet another reason to head south out of Leeds City Centre. After checking out great art at The Tetley, why not continue your walk in the direction of this popular brewery? It offers a unique, brick and wood industrial setting, and a mighty range of in-house beers – the perfect spot for the modern booze-lover. It’s got great food too, like its loaded fries and tacos. At just over a mile south of the centre of Leeds, it’s a great spot to wonder slowly towards over an afternoon talking in the south side of Leeds. And, come last orders, it’s only a short walk to get back to Leeds train station.
Belgrave Music Hall, 1-1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, LS2 8JP - Visit now
We’ve picked the Belgrave Music Hall as a pit stop for a walk taking in the north of Leeds city centre. The Music Hall is well known for its canteen, as well as the live music performances, art, and films it programmes. Split across three floors, the 1930s building also has a roof terraces offering views over Leeds. Alongside the Belgrave Music Hall you’ll find plenty of other food and drink places in this corner of the city, and its only down the street from Leeds Grand Theatre. We suggest heading to this part of Leeds towards the end of a day exploring the city on food, and enjoy an evening of music and food.
Millennium Square Leeds, Millennium Square, Calverley St, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS1 1UR - Visit now
Walk northwest out of Briggate to find yourself in Millennium Square. This multi-functional live event venue and has a standing capacity of 8,000 persons and draws pop cultural performers from across the globe to entertain the people of Leeds. The square is also home to Big Screen Leeds, which beams video, photos, text, graphics images, and animation into the square. You can also check out the Nelson Mandela Gardens, which offer a peaceful place to sit and relax after a day walking round the city. And the northern edge of Millennium Square is made up of the Grade II listed Leeds Civic Hall.