With hundreds of acres of rolling parkland where you can roam in fairytale woods, stroll round lakes graced by elegant swans, view formal and themed gardens, and experience the wonders of Tropical World, Roundhay Park has just about everything you need for a fun family day out.
History of Roundhay Park
Once a fine hunting park for the aristocratic de Lacy family, Roundhay Park is now one of the largest municipal parks in Europe with a staggering 700 acres, including a beautiful mansion house dating back to the 1800’s, a folly, a mock castle, two lakes, and other interesting places waiting to be explored.
Take a walk around Roundhay Park
If you enjoy walks, there are plenty of paths and routes both long and short which provide a great way of getting to know the park better, and you can download maps showing these trails from the Roundhay Park website. There is also plenty of information available at the Roundhay Park Visitor Centre, which is in the conservatory at The Mansion, and which has interesting public exhibitions with interactive exhibits, as well as a shop with an attractive range of gifts and souvenirs.
Activities taking place on Roundhay Park
Roundhay Park is a good place for bird watching, and from time to time you can even hear woodpeckers making their distinctive tapping sounds in the trees. As for the lakes, Upper Lake is maintained as a wildlife area and Waterloo Lake is available for fishing. There is a natural amphitheatre called The Park Arena, and this has been used for major gigs, as well as bonfires and firework displays.
If you are feeling in a sporting mood then there are tennis courts, areas for skateboarding, sports pitches, bowling greens, and a golf course. But if you are not feeling so energetic, then just relax in the gardens which include a Monet Garden, an Alhambra Garden, and even a garden full of scented plants.
Must visit Tropical World
However, one of the great modern day attractions of Roundhay Park is Tropical World, with its vast collection of tropical plants, its stunning profusion of colourful butterflies, and its magnificent aquariums where you can see sparklingly bright fish flitting in the warm waters. In amongst the plants you will also find spectacular birds, and even the odd reptile. Tropical World has its nocturnal section (with bats!), a Desert House, and a jungle section. For more information on Tropical World, please take a look at our things to do in Leeds guide which has lots of information, opening times and prices.
Places to eat and drink near Roundhay Park
Roundhay Park has some good places to eat when refreshments are needed after all the activity and excitement. The Mansion has a Garden Room Restaurant that offers fine dining in elegant surroundings and on the edge of Waterloo Lake is the pretty Lakeside Cafe, which is a traditional continental-style café with freshly prepared lunches, cakes, pastries, and good quality coffee and teas.
If you fancy a spot of pub grub and a drink, then nearby are some good pubs where you can take the kids along as well. You can head for the family friendly White House on Wetherby Road, where you can get real ale, continental lagers, a variety of ciders, wines and even herbal teas. Go there on a Sunday, and you can tuck into the full traditional Sunday roast.
Another good pub nearby is The Deer Park on Street Lane which has recently been refurbished. They do cask ale, wine, cocktails and freshly prepared meals. Children are welcome and there is a relaxing patio and garden area. So if you are looking for the perfect family day out in the environs of Leeds then Roundhay Park is exactly the place to head for, offering plenty of adventure both indoors and 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.