Some car-free adventures aroundLeedsWest Yorkshire

Hellebores hang their green and purple heads under red dogwood stems in Harlow Carr’s Winter Walk while the duckpond dreams nearby in the winter 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 nearby reopens on March 23rd – look out for future features in the area!

  • County: West Yorkshire
  • Great for: boat trip | gardens | good cafés | moorland | museums | parks | walking |
  • Refreshments: pubs, cafes and more
  • Please note: researched/updated in January 2019. If anything’s changed or you have more tips to share, do get in touch:
  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.

    • Trains run between Leeds and Harrogate every half an hour, Sundays too; they take 35 minutes and a day return is £8.60.
    • You can also travel by bus on the comfortable 36 from Leeds to Ripon. The journey is particularly scenic from an upstairs window and the bus goes past Harewood House too.
    • 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 (there are numerous en route) 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 well-signed path ahead through Valley Gardens along the stream, past the Magnesia Well café, bandstand and War Memorial. Go on through the Pinewoods until you see the visitor centre over the road ahead of you.
    • If you choose to take the bus to get closer, you can hop on the X6A bus, which stops near the Pine Marten pub round the corner or catch the number 6 to the stop outside the Shepherd’s Dog pub. From here, you can walk on along Otley Road and right into Crag’s Lane, or you can cross Otley Road and take the footpath opposite towards a striking water tower, then through a gate into the Pinewoods, where you can follow any path left through the trees to Harlow Carr.
    • 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!

Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount

Visit car-free in 2019!