Some car-free adventures aroundLeedsWest Yorkshire

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Hellebores hang their green and purple heads under red dogwood stems in Harlow Carr’s Winter Walk while the duckpond dreams nearby in the pale sunshine; this easy day trip from Leeds is just one way you can enjoy the fresh Yorkshire air. Here are three very different car-free trips around Leeds: catch a water taxi to the docks, take a hike on Ilkley Moor or a stroll round the RHS gardens. Of course, there are plenty more adventures to be had in the city itself and magnificent Harewood House is not far away.

  • County: West Yorkshire
  • Great for: boat trip | gardens | good cafés | moorland | museums | parks | walking |
  • Refreshments: pubs, cafes and more
  • Please note: researched/updated in November 2023. If anything’s changed or you have more tips to share, do get in touch:
Trees and lake at Harlow Carr - Leeds car-free adventures
  1. 3. Harlow Carr

    The gardens at Harlow Carr are colourful all year round. In winter there are red and yellow stems, feathery grasses and budding bulbs; in spring there are carpets of multi-coloured tulips. A trip to these landscaped gardens in Harrogate is an easy day out from Leeds and getting there by bus or train and a short walk makes it even more of a treat.

    • How to get to Harlow Carr: Follow the Good Journey directions. Trains run between Leeds and Harrogate frequently, Sundays too; they take 35 minutes.
    • You can also travel on the comfortable bus 36 from Leeds to Ripon, which runs frequently. The journey is particularly scenic from an upstairs window and the bus goes past Harewood House too- see Good Journey’s directions.
    • Both Harewood House and Harlow Carr gardens offer discounts to visitors who arrive by public transport.
    • Arriving in lovely Harrogate, you can choose to walk the couple of miles through Valley Gardens (a beautiful route!) or to get closer by bus.
    • If you’re up for a walk, stroll past the shops and Bettys tea rooms to the Royal Pump Room museum at the entrance to Valley Gardens. You can pick up a map of the walk to Harlow Carr – with a voucher for discounted entry – from the nearby Harrogate Tourist Information Centre.
    • Or download this map from the RHS site and follow the path ahead through Valley Gardens along the stream, past the Magnesia Well café, bandstand and War Memorial. Go on through the woods until you see the visitor centre over the road ahead of you.
    • If you’d like to save your legs for the Garden, then hop on bus 6 from the bus station (Stand 3) to Harlow Moor (Shepherd’s Dog pub). From here, it’s an easy 10-minute walk to Harlow Carr – just follow the signs.
    • Make sure you have some energy left to explore the gardens themselves, with their streamside walk and woodland paths, wildflower meadows and vegetable plots. Don’t miss the scented garden, fragrant even in winter with vivid daphne and viburnum, and there’s another on-site Bettys tearoom when you need refreshments!
  • Snowdrops at Harlow Carr - Leeds car-free adventures
  • Trees and lake at Harlow Carr - Leeds car-free adventures
  • Elephant in museum - Leeds car-free adventures