From Junkyard Golf to climbing walls and even a medical museum, there’s plenty going on inside
I’m among the majority in that I am definitely affected by seasonal affective disorder. The dark skies, the miserable weather and the incessant consumerist advertising of an unmentionable festive celebration that’s still months away are enough to drive any sane person into a deep, dark hole until about March. But there’s no doubt about it: leaving the house makes a big difference. There are so many things to do in Leeds when it’s raining too - it doesn’t have to be virtual hibernation in front of Netflix. Here are six of the best…
No, you’re a massive child. You can play trampoline basketball (how else are you ever going to do a slam dunk?), go in a massive foam pit and… wait for it… play trampoline dodgeball. Bouncing and violence? Be still my beating heart. And, in a move that has inadvertently placed Kirkstall at the centre of the trampolining world, you’ve got two choices of trampoline park within walking distance of each other: Jump Arena and Oxygen Freejumping. If only there was a trampoline road between the two: now that would be a day out.
Oxygen Freejumping, Cardigan Fields Leisure Park, Kirkstall Rd, Leeds, LS4 2DG 1hr: £9.50
Jump Arena: Redcote Ln, Leeds, LS4 2AL 1hr: £10
I’m pretty sure that this has become the new ‘thing’ over the last two years. Fortunately, rather like the craft beer explosion, half the world has opened a climbing wall, so you’re never likely to find yourself in a bind on a Friday afternoon. The original Leeds climbing wall, The Leeds Wall, has now been taken over by The Depot and offers climbing and bouldering. There’s also The Climbing Lab in Kirkstall and the Clip n’ Climb in the industrial area of Holbeck. The offerings are similar; adult and kid friendly, a range of difficulties for all abilities and the opportunity to get a membership if you discover it’s your new favourite activity
The Climbing Depot - 173 Richardsaw Lane, Stanningley, LS28 6AA: £8.50 / £6.50 members
The Climbing Lab - Units 14 & 15, Kirkstall Industrial Park, LS4 2AZ: £8.50 / £6.50 members
Clip n’ Climb - Unit 3, Tristram Centre, Brown Lane West, Leeds, LS12 6BF £12.50
You heard me. I’m not talking about outdoor golf though, unless you’re really serious. The good news is that Leeds has not one, but two massive indoor crazy golf centres in Jungle Rumble and the brand-new Junkyard Golf. Both offer ginormous themed courses, bright lights and music along with a healthy dose of cocktails. If you’re more serious though, pop down to the Golf Bar behind Fazenda for a simulator experience. You swing real clubs at real balls, but you’re hitting against a superimposed screen. It sounds a bit weird, but it’s a whole lot of fun with a group. Plus, it’s in a bar and there’s a motor racing simulator if golf isn’t your thing.
Jungle Rumble - The Cube, Great George St, LS2 8ER: 18 holes £8
Junkyard Golf - The Light, The Headrow, LS1 8TL: £8 / £9.50 weekends
The Golf Bar - 1 Little Neville Street, LS1 4ED: £40 per simulator per hour (up to 8 players)
I’m an absolute nut for these. They represent the perfect opportunity for you to release your inner Monica Geller in a small, enclosed space with a pressing time limit - what’s not to love? Leeds has got quite the selection too: think of a theme and it’s probably around somewhere. Admittedly, these tend to range from not-particularly-child-friendly to nobody-with-a-pacemaker-friendly, but they are a lot of fun and pretty challenging too. My colleague Anja wrote a brilliant piece on the best escape rooms in Leeds the other week, which is handy. Check out what she had to say here.
For petrolheads, a trip to the go-karting is an absolute must. You get a race with pit stops, a podium and tracked lap times but, more importantly, you get to demonstrate your superiority over your mates through being able to drive an over-enthusiastic lawnmower more quickly than them. There are two options in central Leeds: GT Karting in Burmantofts or Team Sport near the Royal Armouries. For sheer size, Team Sport has it for me - the track is over half a kilometre long.
GT Karting - Hudson Road, LS9 7DX: £40 pp for one hour
Team Sport - South Accommodation Road, LS10 1NQ: 50-lap race: £40 pp.
Leeds has got several options when it comes to museums and galleries but, for me, two really stand out. The Royal Armouries (pictured above) is absolutely enormous; you need to go at least five times to see everything. There’s lots of interesting information and a variety of live demonstrations, including sword fighting, falconry and stage shows. You can also walk up the end stairs to the very top to get a magnificent view of Leeds across the River Aire.
The other is up at St James’ hospital - the Thackray Medical Museum. With rotating exhibitions and an impressive array of gruesome medical practices from the distant past, it’s probably the most grimly fascinating museum in Yorkshire. There’s also an excellent children’s area and the knowledge that you’re contributing to the Medical Research Trust by paying your entry fee.
The Royal Armouries - Armouries Drive, LS10 1LT. Entry: free
The Thackray Medical Museum - Beckett Street, Leeds, LS9 7LN. Adults £8, Children £5 (under 5s free)