York, The Yorkshire Dales and the East Coast are in easy reach of Leeds. Excellent rail connections enable visitors to make day trips from Leeds by train. Here are just a few ideas for a day out without a car:
Take an Open Top Bus along Scarborough Promenade
Scarborough is the largest seaside resort on the Yorkshire Coast. Enjoy the sandy beaches of the North and South Bays. Take an open top bus from the Spa along the Marine Drive to Peasholme Park. The park has rowing boats, re-enacts naval battles on the lake and in the terminus for the North Bay miniature railway. The promenade has attractions traditionally associated with the seaside including, a funfair, amusements, ice cream parlours and fish and chip restaurants.
Trains to Scarborough run every hour from Leeds; the journey takes 1 hour 18 minutes.
Hull has Eight Free Museums in the City Centre
Hull is a thriving city with three city centre shopping malls and an historic old town. Shoppers will head for St Stephen’s, next to the station, or Princes Quay. At the bottom of Whitefriargate, just past Princes Quay, is the Old Town packed with places to eat and drink and the redeveloped Marina. There are eight museums in Hull city centre offering free admission and The Deep (which has an admission charge) is one of Europe’s top aquariums with over 3500 exhibits, including sharks and rays. The train journey into Hull offers spectacular views of the Humber Bridge.
Trains to Hull run every hour from Leeds; the journey takes 56 minutes.
Visit York Minster and The National Railway Museum
Visitors to York are greeted with a sense of the city’s history on leaving the station. The Roman walls, which encircle the city, pass the station entrance. York Minister and the National Railway Museum are both about 10 minute’s walk from the station and a Road Train runs every 30 minutes between the two. Most of York’s many other attractions are in walking distance of the Minster including The Shambles, Jorvik Viking Museum, Castle Museum and Clifford’s Tower.
There are 5 trains an hour to York from Leeds; the journey takes between 23 and 40 minutes.
Skipton is the Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales
Skipton is a thriving market town at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. Skipton Castle, has a history covering 900 years, and was besieged in the Civil War. Along the main street, Skipton Market is open four days a week selling fresh food, clothes and other household items. The market is so highly regarded that it was voted “Best in Yorkshire. The Leeds – Liverpool Canal passes through Skipton and is popular with boating enthusiasts and walkers.
Trains to Skipton leave every 30 minutes from Leeds. The journey time is 45 minutes.
Other Ideas for a Day Out from Leeds
There are plenty more attractions in easy reach of Leeds by train including:
- National Media Museum Bradford
- Eureka! Children’s Museum Halifax (next to station)
- The Victorian village of Saltaire
- Meadowhall Shopping Centre Sheffield
- Mother Shipton’s Cave at Knaresborough
For more ideas 100 Days Out in Yorkshire
National Rail provides up to date details of train times and fares.
Since the 19th century, parks and gardens have been an important part of every British town and city. Generations have spent their spare time at the local park. Children letting off excess energy in the playgound or paddling pool while older visitors enjoy walking round the gardens or playing crown green bowls. Many parks have museums, often with free admission, offering a rainy day alternative. Cafes, tea rooms and ice cream stands provide refreshments.
Most parks have facilities for disabled visitors and allow dog walking; but you are advised to check with the individual park first.
From 1996, the Green Flag Award has been awarded to the country’s best parks and open spaces. There are currently over 1200 awards across the United Kingdom. These are assessed on eight criteria including being welcoming, healthy and clean.
West Yorkshire holders of the Green Flag Award include
- Anglers Country Park,Wakefield
- Crow Nest Park, Dewsbury
- Greenhead Park, Huddersfield
- Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds
- Lister Park, Bradford
- Peel Park,Bradford
- Pudsey Park, Leeds
- Roundhay Park, Leeds
- Shibden Estate, Halifax
- St Ives Estate, Bingley
In all, there are currently 58 parks and green spaces holding the Green Flag Award in Yorkshire and Humberside.
The spa town of Harrogate is an ideal base for touring West and North Yorkshire. There are direct train services link the town with York and Leeds; and the Yorkshire Dales and the motorway network are only a short drive away.
Harrogate town centre is a sophisticated, relaxing environment where visitors can wander round exclusive stores in the Montpelier Quarter, enjoy the open spaces of The Stray or Valley Gardens or relax and chat over afternoon tea in the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms. Outside the town, there are nearby attractions in all directions.
Harlow Carr Gardens has Seasonal Colours
Less than two miles to the west of Harrogate, Harlow Carr Gardens provide an ideal escape from the pressures of life. The gardens, run by the Royal Horticultural Society, offer an oasis of tranquillity, with displays changing according to season. Tulips in spring, summer borders, autumnal colours and winter berries can all be enjoyed. Step back in time in the Gardens through time or take inspiration from the Kitchen Garden.
Mother Shipton’s Cave England’s Oldest Visitor Attraction
Four miles to the east is the market town of Knaresborough; home to Britain’s first visitor attraction Mother Shipton’s Cave. The cave was home to the Yorkshire prophetess and soothsayer, who, it is claimed predicted the invasion of the Spanish Armada and the Great Fire of London. Since 1630, tourists have visited and the mysterious Petrifying Well, where cascading water turns everyday objects in to stone. The cave stands in the shadow of the arches of Knaresborough’s famous viaduct and on the banks of the River Nidd.
Take a Guided Tour of Ripley Castle
Three miles to the north of the town, Ripley Castle the home to the Ingilby family since 1309, has been voted “Yorkshire’s Small Visitor Attraction of the Year”. Guided tours of the house reveal 700 years of family scandal, politics and intrigue. Discover tales of kings and queens, religious persecution, civil war and plagues, eccentric ancestors and ghost stories. Special tours, designed for children aged 5 to 13, give an amusing and informative insight into the castle’s colourful past.
The castle stands in 1000 acres of grounds, with fountains and lawns and an impressive 15th century arched gatehouse. Special displays include the kitchen garden, the walled garden and tropical plant collection; and red deer graze under oak trees by the lake.
Harewood House and Bird Garden
Eight miles south of Harrogate is Harewood House, home of the Earl and Countess of Harewood. The interior of the 18th century house was designed by Robert Adam, furnished by Thomas Chippendale and houses paintings by leading artists of the time, including JMW Turner.
The grounds and lake offer relaxing views of the Yorkshire countryside and Harewood Bird Garden houses almost 100 species of different birds; including some that are threatened with extinction. Java sparrows, ostriches, penguins, flamingos, macaws and red kites are just a few of the inhabitants.
Further afield, there are many more attractions in easy reach. The historic city of Ripon, the market town of Skipton, the Roman city of York and the shops of Leeds are all less than 45 minute’s drive from Harrogate.
Leeds is a modern, thriving city with superb shopping and an active nightlife. The exclusive Victoria Quarter hosts top name designer brands and is home to the first Harvey Nichols to be opened outside London. Leeds is an ideal base for touring Yorkshire with The Yorkshire Dales and Bronte Country within easy reach. There is also plenty to do in Leeds away from the shopping centre. All the pictured attractions are easily reached from Leeds city centre.
For ideas for days out across Yorkshire visit 100 Days Out in Yorkshire