Leeds may only be a hop, skip, and a tail’s wag away from the spectacular Yorkshire Dales, but you don’t need to flee town to get your fresh-air fix. With many parks allowing dogs to roam free and far, Leeds boasts safe, spacious green zones virtually at your front door. Stuck for ideas? This list highlights where to take the lead in Leeds–and all have the must-needed seal of ap-paw-val.
Address & map: Mansion Ln, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 2HH
With over 700 acres of paw-pounding space, Roundhay Park is one of the UK’s largest urban green spaces–making it a top hit among dog owners in Leeds. Its asset is the variety of terrain: there’s open space for ball-chucking, woodland trails rich in sniffing opportunities (because sometimes a good boy needs more than bottoms), Waterloo Lake for hot-day dips, a steep climb up to the castle if a proper calf-stretch is required, plus the ‘secret gorge walk’–a 2.7km route to find a beautiful hidden waterfall. Look out for dog-themed events, too, such as the Yorkshire Dachshund Group’s annual Christmas sausage walk. In 2019, 600 owners and 300 dachshunds–all dressed in festive jumpers–strolled around Roundhay together. Cute. A tip: keep an eye on any dogs with a taste for winged friends–there’s a lot of birdlife here, particularly swans, which no woof wants to get on the wrong side of. All walked out? Refuel and recline in one of several dog-friendly pubs nearby, such as Preston, which is run by the dog-loving team behind North Bar, and The White House.
Address & map: 8 Tannery Square, Meanwood, Leeds LS6 4LT
Four miles north of Leeds city centre, Meanwood Park’s 29-hectares span meadows, woodland, lawns, and a stream. That’s a checklist of most dogs’ outdoor needs, which also happens to be pretty darn beautiful to boot. For the energetic, Meanwood is part of a seven-mile walk called the Meanwood Valley Trail, which takes you from Woodhouse Moor to Meanwood Park and then onto Seven Arches (Leeds’ first aqueduct) and Golden Acre Park. It’s seven miles one way, but it deliberately finishes on the X84 bus route in order to get you and your dog back where you came from. You will spot local landmarks galore on the way: spring bluebells at Woodhouse Ridge, plus the flower-packed gardens of The Hollies, where J.R.R. Tolkien often walked while he taught at Leeds University (and may have even used as inspiration for The Lord of the Rings). There’s also a famous stone well called the Slabbering Baby, and Alwoodley Crags–a former pagan worship site. With such good sights, smells, and splashing opportunities, you’ll both return home well-exercised…and well mud-splattered.
Address & map: Hall Ln, Leeds LS12 5HA
Energy levels bounding like a cartoon character’s? Ball obsession worthy of a stint in rehab? If your dog is at the spinning-in-circles level of needing to run like Usain Bolt, then Farnley Hall Park is a perfect dog-friendly spot. It’s also a particularly calm space–which is an ideal mood change when your dog is at the washing machine spin cycle stage of existence (looking at you, every waggler under the age of one!). The space used to be a deer park, though today it’s more accustomed to gatherings of dog owners; here, you’re almost guaranteed to make nice new doggy pals to charge over the grass and into the woodland with. The backdrop, stunning Farnley Hall, is a 16th-century stately home that you sadly won’t be able to stalk on RightMove.com–it houses the headquarters for Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service. Run around complete, drive two minutes to The Beulah, a dog-friendly restaurant and interiors shop with indoor and outdoor seating.
4. Burley Park
Address & map: 27 Vinery Rd, Burley, Leeds LS4 2LB, United Kingdom
Sometimes leg stretches don’t require a vast green space, particularly for the little-limbed pals among us. In those cases, Burley Park is a city centre salvation: a small dog-friendly park that provides enough good smells for even the most inquisitive of pups–particularly those still on the lead–as well as frisbee space for the older members of the clan. This community park might not have the wow factor of some of Leeds’ more dramatic green areas, but if it’s short walks you’re after, some pretty nature (there are flower beds and an orchard), and lawn time (AKA ball time), it’s an easy, accessible win.
Address & map: Otley Road Bramhope, Leeds LS16 8BQ
With a name like Golden Acre, this even sounds like a winning park for dogs–and it doesn’t disappoint. There are 136-acres on offer, which in doggy terms means space to christen at least 71 tree trunks. In between planted areas, there is vast parkland, woodland, fields, wildflowers, ponds, and a lot of well-maintained paths to walk along. A popular route is to stroll alongside the pretty circular lake–though, due to bird life, dogs must be kept on their leads on those paths. Especially if yours likes a duck lunch. Talking of food, there is a tearoom on-site, Golden Acre Café, which welcomes dogs to sit outside (however, they mustn’t venture inside).
6. Pudsey Park
Address & map: Church Lane, Pudsey, Leeds, LS28 7RR
There are actually two excellent dog-friendly parks in the Leeds neighbourhood of Pudsey. The first is the council-owned Pudsey Park: a Green Flag-awarded green space that’s earned the rightful status of being Leeds’ second most-visited park. It’s as good for dogs as it is pretty, with clean, well-cared for lawns and beds, plus activities for the whole family, including a playground, a bowling green, and a skate park. Take a five-minute drive towards New Farnley and there’s a fantastic addition to Leeds’ pet-friendly outdoor spaces, called The Pudsey Dog Park. Designed to fill that gap of having a safe exercise space for dogs where it’s impossible for them to run off, or to get into mischief, this fully fenced dog-walking field is available for private hire, or you can join weekly dog socialisation activities. The Facebook page lists all forthcoming events, which include a French bulldog party, a husky play date, and large dogs’ playtime. Are we the only ones who suddenly have social-life FOMO?
Walking boots prepped? Time to explore the fantastic dog-friendly parks that Leeds has to offer. But if you’re feeling pushed for time, don’t worry–you can find a local dog walker on Rover.com who will happily guide your dog around the cool spots. There are plenty of sitters who provide dog sitting and walking in Leeds (along with non-stop fuss until they’ve found your dog’s favourite tickle spot), so share the walking load their way.