Things to do in and around Bradford/Leeds and surrounding area APRIL 2022

Parents often ask for information about places they can go with their children. Here is a list I have compiled, based on places I have been or places parents have told me about.

If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please let me know.

Do not forget that Bradford, Leeds, Kirklees and Calderdale Councils have loads of information about places to visit on their websites. See

The Bradford Tourist Information Centre is based in Britannia House on Broadway (01274 433678). They have loads of leaflets and some contain money off vouchers. There is also a lot of information on their website.

 Bradford Libraries often run sessions for pre- schoolers or holiday activities. Do check for these on line.

Remember, if you are travelling on public transport The Family DaySaver costs £14.20 and allows 2 adults and 3 children/concessions (or 1 adult and 4 children/concessions) to travel around the West Yorkshire area, on the bus after 9.30am and by train 9.30am to 4pm, then after 6.30pm and all day at weekends. You buy these at the Interchange or on an app. Children can really enjoy a trip out on the train.

Saltaire and Ilkley are both easily accessible on the train from Foster Square.

Local parks, play areas and woods are great for letting children run around and explore and cost nothing. There are play areas on the end of Mayo Ave and Parkside Rd. We also have City Park in Centenary Square where your children can splash around in the mirror pool and fountains.

Museums in Bradford are mainly free. So visit them! We are lucky to have the National Science and Media Museum, which offers family activities.

Locally we have Bolling Hall Museum (BD4 7LP), open 10am -4pm Wednesday to Friday, 11-4pm Saturday and Sunday.  

A bus ride (645 bus) takes you to the Bradford Industrial Museum on Moorside Rd. (BD2 3HP) See the collection of old cars (many made at the old Jowett Javelin factory in Bradford). See houses from the past. Open 10am -4pm Wednesday to Friday and 11am-4pm Saturday and Sunday.

Cartwright Hall Art Gallery is located in Lister Park (on Manningham Lane.) Lister Park also has a boating lake and café.

Just beyond Shipley is Saltaire, a World Heritage Site. You can visit the historic village and Salts Mill, which is home to the David Hockney Gallery. (Hockney is a famous Bradford born artist.) This is free! There is a lovely park (Roberts Park) to relax in. You can also take a canal boat trip (charge applies) or walk along the canal. On Sundays 12-4pm catch the Shipley Glen Tram up to Shipley Glen. (small charge)


Don’t forget the St Ives Estate, Bingley, Bradford BD16 1AT. Lovely adventure playground, pond, walks, bird hive and café. We had a lovely trip here with our nursery children and parents.

Also, you can visit Five Rise Locks, just out of Bingley, and watch for canal boats going through the locks.


Nearer to home:

Oakwell Hall and Countryside Park on Nutter Lane, Birstall, WF17 9LG.Tel 01924 324761.  

There is also Shibden Park in Halifax. You can also visit Shibden Hall (HX3 6XG) but charges apply.

Halifax is where you can find Eureka, the museum for children. Charges apply but the ticket does last a year.

Also in Halifax you will find Manor Heath Park and Jungle Experience. HX3 0EB. A small charge applies for the Jungle Experience.

Halifax is also home to the historic Piece Hall. It is easily accessible by bus or train from the Interchange.

Tong Garden Centre is also an enjoyable trip out. They have a large outdoor play area with plenty of picnic spaces and a large indoor soft play area. There is a charge that includes both play areas. There is a cafe or you can take your own picnic.

I am sure you will all be more familiar with other soft play centres in the area than me!

Walk along the Leeds Liverpool canal. Easily accessible from Apperley Bridge (BD10). There is also a small marina, café and lock here. The canal can also be accessed from Shipley (walk into Saltaire) or Rodley.

There is also a small Nature Reserve at Rodley. They have limited opening times but do sometimes have holiday activities for children.

There is also a nice little play area at Northcliff Park, Shipley. The park runs next to Northcliff Woods on the Bradford to Keighley road BD18 3NP. A model steam railway runs here on Sunday afternoons 1.30-4pm, from Easter to the end September. You can ride on the railway for a small charge.

Haworth is also worth a visit. This is where the Bronte sister lived and wrote their famous novels.

A bit further out:

Ilkley also makes for a great family day out. (Get a Family Day Rover and go on the train.) There is a lovely park, riverside, (where you can paddle) wood, museum and an open- air swimming pool called Ilkley Lido. If you come out from the town centre you can get up to Ilkley Moor and the Cow and Calf Rocks.

Just outside Ilkley is Bolton Abbey. Car park charges applicable (£12.50in advance, £15 on the day) in the estate car parks. As well as the Abbey Ruins there is a river, with places to get in and paddle, stepping stones and lots of riverside walks. There is plenty of space for picnics and ball games. Cafes, shops and toilet facilities are available in the car parks.

You could even visit Billy Bob's Ice Cream Parlour and play area on route.

Just out of the village at Bolton Abbey is Hesketh Farm Park, BD23 6HA. Charges do apply (£7 adult, £7child, under 2’s £3.50 and under 1‘s £1) There are animals to pet and feed, tractor rides (additional charge) a café and indoor and outdoor play areas. Closed Mondays and some Tuesdays.

The Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway also runs from Skipton to Bolton Abbey. Steam trains run every Sunday throughout the year and up to 7 days a week in summer (charges apply.)

Skipton is a market town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Skipton has an open- air market on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There is also a castle (admission charges apply) with a lovely walk round its walls, and a canal (boat trips available.) If you walk out of town along the canal, there is also a park.

If you head out through Skipton you will soon be in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Here you will find lots of lovely villages, including Settle and Grassington (The new series of All Creatures Great and Small was filmed in Grassington)

If you drive through Gargrave do take the time to stop. There is a stream with stepping stones and picnic area. You can also walk, or cycle, along the canal or watch the boats coming through the lock.

Malham Village and Cove are also well worth a visit. The Cove has a spectacular limestone cliff and riverside. However, I would suggest these places are better to visit on a fine day.


There are lots of places to visit in Leeds. These include:

Kirkstall Abbey and Abbey House Museum (charge for the museum which has limited opening times) but Abbey grounds and play area are free.

Temple Newsam Estate and Rare Breeds Farm. LS15 0AE. Charges apply.

Roundhay Park and Tropical World, Shadwell, Leeds LS8 1DF. Charges for Tropical World.

Golden Acre Park, Bramhope, LS16 8BQ

Harewood House and Bird Gardens. Charges apply.

Royal Armouries, Leeds, open 10am to 5pm. Free admission.

Lotherton Hall and Bird Gardens LS25 3EB. Charges apply.

Carrying on A64 you can soon be in the historic city of York, which is the capital of Yorkshire. You can walk the City Walls and there are riverside walks. Museums include the Yorvik Viking Museum (£13.50 adults, £9.50 child) Castle Museum (£13/£14 adult, £6.50/£7 chid for an annual ticket.Cheaper price online.) and National Railway Museum (Free!) For those who like retail therapy, there are plenty of shops!


Moving away from Leeds other places to visit are:

Otley and Otley Chevin. Otley is a market town with a park and river.

Cliffe Castle and Museum in Keighley (BD20 6LH) is another free museum and outdoor area.

Knaresborough is a market town with a castle and river. Mother Shipton’s Cave, a place of legend, can be found here.

Brimham Rocks, Summerbridge, Harrogate HG3 4DW. National Trust Car parking charges apply. There are some really unusual rock formations here and plenty of room to climb and explore.

There is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park at West Bretton, Wakefield, WF4 4JX. There are car parking charges, but the rest is free.

Not far from here is the National Coal Mining Museum. Wakefield, WF4 4RH. This is free but you have to pay a deposit for the underground tour. This is refundable. The website advises you to book tours in advance, as it can be very busy during holiday periods. There is an adventure playground and other activities

Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster DN4 6TB is a place several parents have recommended to me. It looks to be open daily from the end of March to 5th November. Charges from £17 a person.

Ponderosa Farm, Heckmondwike, WF16 0PN. This is a farm and play barn. (Play barn for under 8’s)  Family tickets available. You can get it cheaper if you book on line in advance.

Cannon Hall Farm, Cawthorne, Barnsley, S75 4AT. Prices vary.

I have tried to make this information as accurate as possible (January 2022)) but do check out the websites for the various attractions. The pandemic means opening times may vary and some attractions have to be booked in advance. There will often be special events and holiday activities. Opening times, up to date prices and travel directions will be online.

It is also worth mentioning the’ 50 Things to do before you are 5 app ‘. This was designed to give under 5’s lots of experiences and set them up for school. However, most of the activities are suitable for older children too. If you download the app, which is free, it will ask for your postcode. This is to make it interactive and it will give you information on local parks, woods etc. It will also have loads of fun suggestions about free or low -cost activities. You can also store photographic memories on here

Finally, I am conscious that lots of the above are not free. What I would like us to do is come up with a list of completely free things to do/places to visit. So please, give me your suggestions, and I can compile another information sheet.

Have fun and stay safe!

Diane Lock (Parental Involvement Officer)