Roundhay Park

Christian Mba
Feb 14, 2024 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Oct 07, 2021
Roundhay Park landscape and lake with blue clear skies reflected in lake.
Age: 3+
Read time: 7.2 Min

  • Visit Roundhay Park, Leeds, in West Yorkshire, for a great family day out in one of the biggest parks in Europe, offering plenty to do.
  • Check out the many activities for you to try out in Roundhay, where your little ones can try boating in the summer to skating in winter and more.
  • Don't miss out on the famous Tropical World where you can meet lots of exotic animals, including monkeys, crocodiles and meerkats.
  • This large, popular Green Flag award-winning park has huge areas of parkland, woodland and landscaped award-winning gardens, a children’s playground, lake, castle folly, sports arena, tennis courts and skate park.

Roundhay Park is a standout park in Leeds, one of the biggest park in the entire UK and Europe, stretching over 700 acres of gorgeous rolling parkland, woodland, lakes, specialist, pretty gardens and even a mansion house.

Roundhay Park began as a hunting park that was owned by the De Lacy family in the 13th Century. Fast forward to 1870; the Roundhay estate was purchased by John Barran and then later bought by Leeds City Council, now one of the largest city parks in Europe. This fascinating garden's claim to fame is it being the site of the world's oldest surviving movie clip, which is known as the Roundhay Garden scene, so it has an important place in garden history. It's also a park of firsts, being the place which had Britain's first electric tram, so it's home many impressive feats.

Roundhay Park is a delightful place to take the family for a relaxing day out, connecting with nature. This serpentine landscape park has been adapted to meet the High Victorian Style. Take a stroll by the stunning Waterloo lake (which takes approximately 35 minutes to walk around). Your little ones will love spotting the swans, and venturing out on some thrilling woodland walks amongst nature, the trees and wildlife that surrounds this humungous park.

You’ll have a fabulous time in Roundhay as you meet many other families in the park, so your kids will have a blast socialising, making new friends and learning! At Roundhay, you're blessed with not just once, but two separate play areas, which are great fun to experience, so be sure to try out both. There is a park next to the skate park, and the other park is located near the Lakeside Café, which plenty of accessible play equipment, too. As these parks are conveniently located within reach of both the thrilling skate park, and the nice Lakeside Café, you can spread out your day nicely for some action-packed fun, then to recharge in the café, and off for some more play-filled fun! So be sure to pack the knee pads and the bikes for an amazing skate park experience at one of the biggest parks in Europe.

Check out the wonderful floral displays within the park, as some specialist gardens include the Monet and Alhambra Gardens, plus four gardens that the Chelsea Flower Show exhibited. There are five specialist gardens to explore at Roundhay Park, so be on the lookout for these stunning creations. From Coronation Garden to The Monet Garden, the Mediterranean Alhambra Garden, Canal Gardens and The Friends of Roundhay Park Garden. These are all delightful, for a peaceful, relaxing stroll.

These are great for pictures and just relaxing as you take in the wonderful sights. The park also contains lakes, streams full of gushing water, and a landscaped canal sitting within the canal gardens and these all attract wildlife from fish and birds to various other species to spot. The little ones always love a game of 'I Spy' here. Plus, there are opportunities for fishing on the 60 feet deep Waterloo Lake, the largest lake. Kids can get involved in a wide range of activities on the walking and running routes, sporting pitches, tennis courts, a golf course, bowling greens, a playground, a skate park and some beautiful hills for sledging, which is great fun in winter!

Don't miss out on the Roundhay Park Land Train, which is a great experience for children of all ages. It begins at Lakeside Café, running to the Park Gates and for a cheap price. This sweetly short 8-minute ride takes your little ones through the park and running every 15 minutes, saving you from having to trek across this giant park. Plus, hidden away and nestled in the ancient woodlands is a castle. It was built just a few hundred years ago, but that doesn’t make it any less fun, and the little ones have a blast letting their imaginations run free, immersing themselves in Medieval battle, and royal palaces.

Be sure to check out the three different Children’s Adventure Trails which have been kindly set up by the Friends of Roundhay Park. These fun trails vary in length and age-ability, so pick the one that suits you and set off. The little ones love exploring all that comes with the trails, from the wildlife, the paths and maybe even challenge yourselves to a few games of I Spy. The trails are all over about an hour or over in length and are free to download to your phone, come back a few times more to try out the other ones.

Kidadl recommends the Spy Mission themed walking Treasure Trail at Roundhay Park as it is ideal for discovering more about Leeds, the parks in West Yorkshire and just exploring somewhere new. The trails here at Roundhay Park, Leeds, can be done in your own time and at your own pace, so relax and enjoy the tie you spend with your family. This Trail is around 2 hours long, and about 2.4 miles long, giving you enough time to enjoy completing it. The trail is suitable for every age, even the grandparents, plus one trail booklet is enough for around 4 or 5 people to use. For those looking for a challenge, check out the Circular Loop Trail. This trail includes many steps and sections across the grass, and up a steepish grassy hill, along some woodland paths, which means it is not suitable for wheelchair users and most pushchairs.

Don’t miss out on the family-friendly events at the park! Be sure to check out the Roundhay Park concerts, some glorious farmers markets, along with races, festivals and more. There are festive events, too, like bonfire night, Christmas themed events and musical brass bands that come to perform at one of the biggest parks in Leeds. For more great family days out in and around Leeds, check out Stockeld Park, offering a jam-packed schedule of events from Adventure Playgrounds, to mazes, trails and Santa's Grotto.

If you're making a trip to Roundhay Park, then you have to visit Tropical World, which is a family favourite attraction in Leeds, one of the most popular actually. Tropical World offers a chance to experience all the sights and sounds of the jungle, a sandy desert, plus nocturnal and aquatic habitats. There are a series of greenhouses that are brimming with jungle and desert vegetation, along with animals such as crocodiles, exotic butterflies, lemurs, bats, snakes and a hilariously gorgeous family of meerkats complete with babies. Buy some cold drinks and ice lollies if you need to cool off, too.

If you're after some more fun things to do in Leeds, check out historic Harewood House, one of the Treasure Houses of England, offering great events and experiences.

What to know before you go

  • When you're feeling peckish, the Lakeside café overlooks Waterloo Lake for meals, snacks and a drink. Plus check out pop along to the Explorer’s café if you need teas, coffees, cakes or lunch.
  • There are toilets, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities on site.
  • The park open 24 hours a day.
  • Entrances to the park and all paths inside are wheelchair accessible. There are some inclines within the park. A playground with accessible play equipment is located at the playground near the tram car park off Princes Avenue. Most of the paths are accessible for buggies and wheelchairs.
  • Toilets are available at the Mansion, the Explorer's café in the Canal gardens, Tropical World and the café by the playground. The park has paved paths, although they can get muddy in wet weather. You can hire wheelchairs for your visit to the park.

Getting there

  • Roundhay Park is located three miles north of Leeds city centre and four miles from Leeds Train Station - where you can pick up a taxi to the park.
  • If travelling via public transport, take buses to and from Leeds City Centre on service 2 and 12.
  • If travelling via car, Roundhay Park is situated approximately three miles North of Leeds' Centre off the A58 Wetherby Road at Oakwood. Or, Roundhay Park is accessible from the A6120 Leeds Ring Road.
  • There is free parking on site.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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