On a typically British, sunny-warm-cool-rainy-warm-again day in the long summer break it’s hard enough to decide what to wear never mind where to go so here are a couple of ideas for fun things to do around Leeds with kids in tow. They involve my two favourite activities: eating ice-cream and immersing myself in water.
Country walk from Fulneck to Goodalls in Tong
A fairly easy but steep country walk from Fulneck in Pudsey followed by a nice sit down and an ice-cream at Goodalls in Tong. Start at Fulneck Moravian settlement, which is a cluster of cottages, a restaurant and a private school at the edge of Pudsey. You will be walking for about 25 minutes in each direction if you start here and there are two steep hills to walk up so it is fairly good exercise.
Look for a little lane (just after the row of semis and on the same side) which heads down hill and cuts across the golf course. It starts narrow but gets wider and cuts through the trees. Kids had best wear wellies or trousers as there are nettles.
Plenty of things to keep the kids occupied
Our two seven year olds chatted happily as we set off and found lots to look at and talk about. They liked seeing the golfers and wanted to join in, which would have been hilarious (no, we didn’t let them) and they enjoyed the stream and the little iron bridge, which makes a satisfying sound when you stamp across it.
After crossing the bridge you need to head up the hill along Keeper Lane and this is where it gets quite steep. Keep going until the lane widens and there are houses and then turn left into Tong Lane. Goodalls ice cream and farm is a few metres along on the right.
Goodalls ice cream and farm
Goodalls make their own dairy ice-cream in lots of different flavours and there is always a queue in summer. You can sit inside in the twee little cafe or outside on picnic benches.
There are animals all around and there’s nothing that improves an ice-cream or a cup of tea more than a pot bellied pig and a goat or two. There are some incredibly noisy donkeys, wandering chickens, woolly sheep and ducks too.
We took a leisurely walk back to Pudsey, saving our energy for the steep climb right at the end (which at least helps to work off the ice-cream) and only one of the children gave up on the last leg, within a few feet of the car. Success, I think and it only cost about £6.
Day out at Ilkley Lido
A day out at Ilkley Lido, involving a car or train ride, a picnic, a swim and more ice cream. I am often surprised by the many people I meet who live in Leeds and tell me they have never been to Ilkley Lido. Are they all mad? What could be nicer than lounging around on the grass on a sunny day, surrounded by rolling hills and cool splashing water? Perhaps they have never come across any of our Leeds travel guides so have never found things to do in Leeds as fun and hidden as this before. Be sure to check out all our guides are there really is some great things to do in Leeds if you take a look.
I like to think of it as Leeds on Sea and I treat it as I would a day at the seaside. It is not expensive, a little more than an ordinary swim would be, but you can stay all day if you want to.
Tips for visiting Ilkley Lido
A few tips: Plan to stay for the day, take folding chairs, towels, sun lotion and hats, a picnic, drinks, tennis rackets, a ball, a book. Either arrive early or arrive late. Monday to Friday the pool opens around 11 and shuts around 7.
Get there early and get in the queue to bag a good spot near the pool or get there mid afternoon and stay till they throw you out to get a peaceful swim (most people leave around 6pm) The lido shuts earlier at the weekend, sadly. Use the cafe, but not at peak times when the queue is huge. Go in the morning and get coffee and snacks and then again later to get an ice cream.
Be prepared to be brave – the water is cold. Even taking it slowly immersing shoulders takes your breath away but once you are actually in it is lovely to float around under the sky and you honestly don’t notice how cold it is, especially if you go regularly. It must be good for your health too judging by the age of some of the regular swimmers.
If you really can’t bear to put your whole body in the water, have a paddle and then go for a swim in the indoor pool, where it’s nice and warm, but often crowded. There is a slide and a fountain, plenty of space to spread out, plenty of parking, a bowling green and it is also near the river if you fancy a walk afterwards.
What’s not to like? See you there next time the sun comes out.
If you would like additional ideas for things to do in Leeds, why not take a look at more of the attractions and events in our other Leeds guides.