Autumn Walks in Leeds

Leaves are falling, squirrels are scampering up the trees, and you’re feeling guilty about the amount of time you’re spending on Netflix. Don’t worry – we’ve all been there.  However, if you’re up for a different type of autumn adventure, it’s no secret that a good walk can do wonders for both our mental and physical health. Here are my favourite places to go for an autumnal walk around Leeds before the cold weather arrives. 

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal

As someone who wasn’t built for the outdoors, my favourite thing about the canal is how flat and straight it is. It’s a perfect walking route for beginners and super strollers alike, as you can choose how far to walk and in which direction. If long walks aren’t your cup of tea, try getting on the canal path at Viaduct Road, Burley, and walking into the city centre. It’ll take you about 35 minutes, and at the end, you can reward yourself with some shopping. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, try heading as far as you fancy in the opposite direction – not only is it incredibly peaceful, but theoretically you could walk all the way to Liverpool!

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Photo: Amy Punchard.

Kirkstall Abbey

Just down the road from Headingley, Kirkstall Abbey is the perfect spot for an autumn stroll and picnic. The abbey itself is a grade II listed building, and one of the most complete Cistercian monasteries in Britain. Rain or shine you can enjoy the instaworthy backdrop of the abbey, the sound of the flowing river, and the wildlife rustling in the fallen leaves. The park is fairly small, but if you walk there and back from Headingley it makes for a satisfying stroll.

Kirkstall Abbey. Photo: Amy Punchard

Roundhay Park

Roundhay is the 2nd largest city park in Europe, second only to Munich’s Englisher Garten (home to Oktoberfest!). This makes it a ‘must do’ for students in Leeds. There’s plenty of parking all around, or you can get the 2 or 12 buses from the city centre. The park is large, round, and full of paths; there really is no right place to start or end your walk, but my favourite route is around the lake. There’s a nice flat path all the way around, and you can admire the swans, ducks, and dragonflies dotted across the water whilst you’re walking.

Meanwood Valley Trail

The Meanwood Valley Trail is one of Leeds most popular walking paths, and the fact that it runs across the back of Woodhouse, Hyde Park, and Headingley makes it ideal for students to use. What makes it special is that the scenery changes as you go along – some parts are sheltered in woodland, some parts pass closer to urban life, and some parts feel as though you are in a park. A nice route is to get on the trail at Hartley Avenue in Woodhouse and follow it until you reach Grove Lane in Headingley. You can then reward yourself with a Greggs sausage roll before either turning around or walking back along the main road. Alternatively, you can carry on towards Meanwood Valley Farm!