For years, I related to Leeds with grown-up metropolis breaks – all of the purchasing, bars, fabulous opera and theatre and funky resorts – however having rediscovered the town with my daughter, there are such a lot of issues to do in Leeds with children that it’s excellent for households too.
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For starters it’s extremely walkable (and there are a number of trails to assist persuade children to affix in), with a number of pedestrian streets and a string of cool arcades to walk down.
And whereas there are all the standard bonuses of an enormous UK metropolis, there are some extra uncommon museums which we beloved, together with locations to eat that handle to tempt each foodies and households with fussy eaters.
For concepts of extra issues to do in Yorkshire with children, take a look at my prime picks
Royal Armouries museum
If you describe the Royal Armouries – a museum which traces the historical past of struggle, plus actions to see alongside the shows – it doesn’t seize how brilliantly engrossing it’s.
I admit, I’d assumed my daughter and I would whereas away an hour right here earlier than shifting on, however actually, you may spend a complete day with out issue.
The primary galleries give attention to the early empires, from the Egyptians and Hittites to Romans, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, to not point out Persians, Alexander the Nice and extra.
Then the ground are break up geographically. There’s western Europe, with entire shows on medieval battles, citadel constructing, the event of armour, and thru to the English Civil Struggle and Waterloo, in addition to the First World Struggle.
For a full evaluate of a day on the Royal Armouries with children, take a look at my submit
Individually, different shows give attention to China, Japan and India, with eye-catching reveals like armour for an elephant in addition to a reproduction Terracotta warrior and the ferocious armour for the Shogun’s guards.
To not point out reveals on fencing, on developments in forensics and new expertise, momentary exhibitions, plus peace protests and the Marketing campaign for Nuclear Disarmament – that is someplace which makes you concentrate on warfare as you discover.
Throughout our go to within the faculty holidays, there was additionally an opportunity to see riders demonstrating Tudor sword and lance strategies on horseback (earlier than visiting the stables), not forgetting swordfighing shows.
And that’s nonetheless solely a quick introduction – if you happen to go to Leeds, that is merely unmissable. In any case, the place else are you able to watch horses within the tiltyard, observe the motion at Agincourt and see the inspiration for Darth Vader’s helmet, multi functional place?
You’ll be able to stroll alongside the riverside to get to the Royal Armouries, or take a water taxi from Leeds Metropolis Centre which run each quarter-hour
After a £4 million redevelopment, the Thackray Museum reopened with further galleries becoming a member of outdated favourites like Illness Avenue, to inform the story of medication and public well being.
Just like the Royal Armouries, it’s positively one thing totally different to the standard run of museums – and is equally fascinating, in addition to being family-friendly.
Beginning with Illness Avenue, a recreation of Leeds in 1840 (full with genuine smells), you possibly can select a personality from a spinning wheel, then choose up a card to fit in to numerous factors alongside the road, revealing extra of their story. Unsurprisingly, not at all times with a cheerful ending!
Alongside the way in which, there are many startling details – a avenue with over 350 folks would have had two shared public privies, for instance! – plus among the main discoveries which nonetheless type the idea of medication immediately.
There are some nice interactives too – reminiscent of difficult children to reply whether or not you will be ‘too clear’, and provoking them to get artistic by inventing their very own machine, plus quizzes.
Alongside the way in which, there are some strange quack treatments, an ornate apothecary’s store and a few dwell leeches, by to X-rays, transplants, the invention of DNA, and the top of iron lungs.
There’s additionally a sexual well being clinic space (you possibly can detour round this with youthful children if you happen to want) and shows to trick your brains – in addition to explanations about how they work.
Whether or not you need to neglect Covid altogether or respect simply how far medical science has come, it’s an excellent day trip with children in Leeds.
Try my evaluate of a go to to the Thackray Museum with children
Leeds Metropolis Museum
The small metropolis museum has a tempting combine of various shows, starting from Romans and historic Egyptians (together with a mummy) to the historical past of Leeds and a cleverly designed pure historical past part.
There’s no entry cost, so it’s nice if you happen to’re in search of free issues to do in Leeds with children, plus it signifies that if your loved ones is barely interested by one space – otherwise you fancy a few quick visits reasonably than one lengthy one – it’s the best resolution.
We beloved the exhibit on the event of language, from the earliest writings, plus a little bit of code-breaking on the facet, in addition to the prospect to hint the historical past of Leeds from prehistoric occasions by Romans, Vikings and Normans to the Industrial Revolution.
There are extra interactive reveals right here too (lifting the flaps to search out sweets that contained poison was a stand-out reminiscence).
In the meantime the pure historical past part has loads on conservation and sustainability, in addition to the prospect to ‘design’ your individual animal, following the traces on the ground.
You too can wander by time from earth’s earliest life, discovering out extra about stromalites, ammonites, and fish fossils and the earliest bushes, earlier than studying about camouflage.
A go to right here feels just a little like a treasure trove, the place you’re by no means positive what you’ll uncover subsequent: excellent for retaining children entertained and nice if you happen to’re in search of an indoor choice on a wet day in Leeds.
Probably the most full medieval abbeys within the UK, Kirkstall Abbey was based over 800 years in the past as a Cistercian Abbey.
It’s one other nice free day trip in Leeds with children, with common household occasions and actions throughout holidays, together with trails and artwork packs.
Everytime you go to, you possibly can stroll by the ruined abbey buildings and the beautiful parkland on the banks of the river, plus extra in regards to the monks who lived right here, on show on the customer centre.
For those who’re driving, there’s a free automobile park close by at Abbey Home Museum, whereas bus 33 additionally runs from the town centre.
Abbey Home museum
Within the galleries at Abbey Home Museum, you’ll be transported again to life in Victorian Leeds, strolling recreated nineteenth century streets.
There are outlets, a pub and homes, the place you possibly can peer inside and see how folks lived a century or so in the past, in addition to common new exhibitions.
You too can uncover a complete space on traditional toys, together with conventional video games and Victorian dolls – you possibly can even play among the authentic penny slot machines (and purchase an old school penny from the merchandising machine to do it).
Look out for further occasions and actions through the faculty holidays, for added enjoyable.
Leeds Artwork Gallery
Targeted on fashionable and modern artwork, there’s nonetheless loads which makes the Leeds Artwork Gallery family-friendly – this summer season, for instance, there have been artistic exercise luggage to remove, best for uplifting your children.
One other of the string of free locations to go to in Leeds with children, you’ll discover reveals to get everybody considering – a Damien Hirst sculpture, in addition to works by Anthony Gormley, between shiny modern artwork and Victorian work.
There are additionally common momentary exhibitions, and don’t miss Artspace, a artistic area within the coronary heart of the gallery, which is designed to be family-friendly.
Spot the owls
I like how walkable Leeds is – as we explored, we discovered ourselves criss-crossing the streets, ambling down fairly pedestrianised roads, stumbling throughout alleyways.
However if you happen to want one thing extra to steer your children to get out and discover, Leeds additionally has a string of strolling trails which are perfect for households.
Some change from yr to yr (2021 noticed animatronic dinosaurs in purchasing centres throughout the town), however you’ll at all times be capable of search for the owls dotted round Leeds, the image of the town.
You’ll be able to obtain the owl path map right here – or purchase it for a pound at Go to Leeds at The Leeds Guests Centre and Artwork Gallery Store (the town museum additionally had some of their store throughout our go to).
A number of the statues are discovered across the older buildings, together with Metropolis Corridor, the Library, the struggle memorial and cathedral amongst others, however preserve your eyes open and the map at hand and you will discover 25 as you discover.
Avenue artwork path
Leeds was embracing avenue artwork earlier than it was cool – and in case your children love recognizing murals and different imaginative creations, the town’s avenue artwork path is one other excellent method to discover Leeds with children.
Some is impressed by the town itself – one mural options the elephant armour from the Royal Armouries and the white rose of Yorkshire, one other consists of an owl, and even a deep-sea diver climbing out of a washer.
With some tucked away down little alleys and others most seen from the water, it’s a great way to search out works you may not in any other case stumble throughout – some are a number of storeys excessive, however the path is an effective reminder to at all times preserve your eyes open.
Loopy golf at all times goes down properly with my daughter, however with its disco lights, tongue-in-cheek puns (one gap referred to as Pablo Discobar…) and really enjoyable holes, the course at Junkyard Golf is nice for households.
There’s solely a two-hour window when children are allowed – 4-6 Sunday to Thursday – so benefit from it by reserving one of many three programs, referred to as Gary, Pablo and Bozo.
We went for jungle-themed Pablo, which featured a jaguar carrying headphones, a mini volcano, surprising trapdoors in slopes and hidden chutes alongside the way in which.
In contrast to some mini golf programs, that are frustratingly difficult, all of the holes are potential to play, which is much more enjoyable.
Try the outdated arcades
Wandering by an conventional purchasing arcade may not look like an apparent one to placed on an inventory of issues to do in Leeds with children.
However these great classic arcades have some quirky temptations as properly: in a number of, together with the Grand Arcade and Thornton’s arcade, there are some fabulous clocks with figures which transfer and strike bells on the hour.
Thornton’s arcade options Robin Hood whereas the Grand Arcade has knights in armour, each over 100 years outdated.
Throw in lovely ceilings, to not point out OK Comics in Thornton’s Arcade, and time your stroll by to observe the free present.
Take the water taxi
Whether or not you select to take the little yellow water taxis to the Royal Armouries or simply have a mini cruise alongside the river Aire, a journey is a cut price at £2.
The 2 boats (Twee and Drie, from Amsterdam) sail between Granary Wharf (close to the Doubletree by Hilton lodge) an Leeds Dock, each quarter-hour – and youngsters aged 5 and below are free.
Roundhay Park & Tropical World
One of many largest parks in Europe, Roundhay Park – not removed from the town centre – stretches over a whopping 700 acres.
With lakes and woodland within the park, in addition to actions galore and a few open-air theatre in summer season, it’s also possible to go to Tropical World, the most important assortment of tropical vegetation exterior Kew Gardens.
There are additionally a string of strolling routes, together with previous the citadel ruins and across the lake, and a number of other play areas to entertain youthful children.
And older ones will love the areas primarily based on well-known gardens from world wide, together with a recreation of the Alhambra in Granada in addition to Monet’s Backyard, or the extra dramatic panorama of the gorge with its waterfall.
There’s excess of simply the stately dwelling to find at Harewood Home – that is someplace to spend all day exploring.
The grounds have three strolling trails that can assist you discover, together with an excellent journey playground, and a pure play space within the woods, a ‘secret’ tunnel to the Norman church, formal gardens, a fairly lake with a ferry heading throughout to extra gardens and often boat journeys operating too.
You’ll additionally discover a string of farmyard animals, from guinea pigs to precise pigs, and a bunch of uncommon birds, together with macaws and cockatoos, lovebirds and a flamboyance of flamingos.
My very own favorite was the penguin pool, with its small colony of Humboldt penguins swimming within the water.
Regardless of all of the temptations outdoor, you shouldn’t miss the home itself. The rooms are as gloriously ornate as you’d count on, filled with portraits and artworks, together with some extra uncommon African items – alongside the way in which, it’s also possible to uncover extra about Harewood’s hyperlinks to the slave commerce.
Followers of interval dramas may already recognise the rooms beneath stairs, which have been used to movie Victoria, Misplaced in Austen and Downton Abbey (Emmerdale can be shot on the property), with attire and duplicate meals on show, to not point out a huge assortment of copper saucepans and moulds.
It’s round 20 minutes’ drive from Leeds metropolis centre or you possibly can take bus 36, which takes round 40 minutes together with a brief stroll on the finish.
Learn my full evaluate of a day trip at Harewood Home with children
One other nice historic home with loads to do within the grounds for teenagers, Temple Newsam is barely round quarter-hour’ drive from Leeds metropolis centre if you happen to’re in search of straightforward household days out.
The uncommon breed Residence farm is an enormous hit with youthful children – and older ones, for that matter – with all the things from the small and fluffy, together with guinea pigs, to rarer livestock, all set inside the outbuildings and across the cobbled yard.
There are some beautiful walks across the grounds too if you happen to’re in search of out of doors actions, with nature trails and an journey playground too. Try the three lakes, all designed to have a barely totally different really feel, to decide on your favorite, in addition to exploring the walled backyard and rhododendron stroll.
The home itself was the birthplace of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots, and there are over 5 centuries of historical past to find right here – you possibly can study among the tales as you discover and get a way of what life on this grand household dwelling will need to have been like.
You’ll usually discover further actions at school holidays too, together with youngsters’s trails and dressing up.
In addition to parking (paid) on website, buses 19 and 19A run from Leeds to Whitkirk, round one mile from Temple Newsam – permit round 50 minutes, together with the stroll.
There’s one other beautiful wildlife park to go to within the grounds of this Edwardian nation property, round half-hour exterior Leeds.
Initially a hen backyard, the celebrities at Lotherton Widlife World are usually the penguins, however it’s also possible to spot flamingos, in addition to tapir and capybara within the totally different zones, to not point out studying about conservation and the threats from air pollution and local weather change.
There are additionally journey playgrounds for various ages, together with an space for teenagers below eight, plus zip wires within the woodland play space and garden video games within the backyard – anybody for croquet, big chess or getting misplaced within the hay bale maze?
Or spot deer within the woodland, observe one in all a number of strolling trails and discover among the eight acres of gardens.
The home itself is frozen in time through the early 1900s, for a style of higher class Edwardian life, in addition to restored servants’ rooms to find extra about these behind the scenes who made it potential – upstairs is closed through the winter months.
There are additionally 5 curiosity cupboards for households to rummage by, with objects linked to the historical past of the corridor, trails for teenagers to observe round Lotherton, dressing up, an interactive show in regards to the homeowners’ travels internationally plus style exhibitions inside the home.
That is one historic home that’s finest visited by automobile – there’s parking (paid). You’ll be able to take buses 64/64A to Aberford from Leeds, however you possibly can count on a 20-30 minute stroll alongside a busy highway to get to Lotherton.
Stockeld Park, Wetherby
Simply throughout the border from West Yorkshire however nonetheless solely round half an hour north of Leeds, Stockeld Park close to Wetherby is one other nice choice for a enjoyable household day trip from the town.
The out of doors journey park has an enormous number of fun-filled household actions to select from, and it’s open throughout most faculty holidays
Little adventurers can discover the themed play areas alongside The Enchanted Forest strolling path, get misplaced within the expansive hedge maze, and go loopy on the go-kart monitor.
There are many seasonal actions and occasions too. Throughout the summer season holidays, you’ll discover an inflatable impediment course and curler skating rink. Then at Christmas, you possibly can go to Santa’s Grotto, discover the attractive winter illuminations, choose up a tree from the Christmas tree store, and go ice skating.
For extra concepts of issues to do in Yorkshire with children, together with theme parks close to Leeds, take a look at my prime picks in addition to our visits to Nostell Priory and the Room on the Broom path at Anglers Nation Park
The place to eat in Leeds with children
For those who love your meals, you’re going to like Leeds – and even higher, in case your children aren’t such foodies, there’s nonetheless loads to maintain everybody completely satisfied.
At Trinity Kitchen, there’s a complete assortment of avenue meals stands with further pop-up stalls, so you may eat something from burgers and burritos to pizza and Pho, in addition to a implausible rolled naan wrap and cinnamon dusted doughnuts.
And if you happen to fancy one thing a bit extra adventurous than your children, they’ll persist with a less complicated choice whilst you can experiment. My recommendation? Flip up hungry!
My daughter by no means says no to pizza, and Pizza Fella was an enormous hit too – correct huge woodfired pizzas (and £5 margheritas at present at weekday lunchtimes) have been scrumptious.
Save area for dessert as properly: roasted peanut butter, chocolate and caramel ice cream was implausible.
The identical goes for burgers: Virtually Well-known has burgers so huge and filled with components, you virtually want a wash after scoffing one in all them.
My Liberty Island burger was enormous, oozing with sauces on buttermilk hen – a 3 serviette job – whereas there’s a less complicated menu for teenagers too.
No room for dessert right here, though my cocktail – a limoncello-based martini – was virtually as candy because the sweet decorations inside our desk.
For someplace just a little extra uncommon, I beloved Bundobust too. A contemporary twist on traditional Indian dishes, it’s all veggie or vegan Gujurati fashion, and the thought is to get a number of little plates and share.
We obtained totally carried away, and my daughter was persuaded to attempt aloo paratha and chole saag, whereas I additionally tucked right into a spicier bundo chaat.
There’s an excellent beer menu, to not point out a mango coconut mojito, and a dreamy mango lassi for my daughter as properly.
The place to remain in Leeds with children
You will discover a lot of the huge title chain resorts in Leeds – and sometimes low cost presents, such because the Be Our Visitor promotion through the summer season we visited, to assist preserve the prices down.
And one of many issues I beloved about our household vacation in Leeds was how straightforward it was to get in all places from our personal lodge, the Radisson Blu Leeds, in The Mild.
Every part within the metropolis was inside strolling distance: the furthest we ever needed to wander was round 20 minutes to the Royal Armouries (and a beautiful wander it was). The town museum and civic buildings – plus a whole lot of owls from the path – have been about 2 minutes away, the outlets and eating places, all inside about 5-10 minutes.
There’s parking in The Mild too, with a reduction for lodge company, if you happen to’re planning to drive to the Thackray Museum or Harewood Home.
Our room had an enormous cozy mattress, plus a large TV (with sanitised distant management!) and a desk the place I may compensate for work after my daughter fell asleep – to not point out a fast filling tub and Radisson Blu toiletries.
There’s an excellent buffet for breakfast – at all times a spotlight of a lodge keep – plus different scorching meals choices within the restaurant.
Artwork deco touches tie in with the constructing’s historical past as properly, plus you’ll spot some Leeds influences within the decorations.
Much more enjoyable have been the road artwork fashion decorations on the open area between flooring – close to the lifts, you possibly can peer down into the walkways and open space between the hall to the rooms to identify them.
For extra data on a household vacation in Leeds, take a look at Go to Leeds
*first printed 2021, final up to date 2023*
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Disclosure: This submit comprises affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee. My keep, entry to some points of interest and a few of our meals was free for the needs of evaluate, however all opinions are my very own.
Predominant picture/Kirkstall Abbey courtesy Depositphotos, all different photos copyright MummyTravels