Golden Acre Park, Leeds Review For Families

If you are looking for a place to spend a nice couple of hours to slow down and unwind, you should definitely visit Golden Acre Park. It’s a beautiful outdoor space whatever the season. With lots of natural vegetation, wetland areas complete with lily pads, a wonderful lake and a diverse range of flora and fauna, this place is perfect for families to relax and enjoy.

And yes, there is no play area for the kids in the park. So, if your definition of a park must include a playground, then this place may not be for you. But, if you wish to spend some time in raw nature, breathe in fresh air and cherish the exotic and vibrant views of the gardens, then Golden Acre Park is a must-visit.

We happen to visit the park quite a few times. Being the itinerary man, I had done my research about what’s there to do in the park before we first visited. I knew there wasn’t much for Barney and Matilda to do. And honestly, I wasn’t sure how they’d like it. But, when we saw them feeding the ducks and giggling with those tame squirrels roaming around, we thought we’d made up for it.

Where is Golden Acre Park located?

Golden Acre Park is located in West Yorkshire, 7 miles northwest of Leeds city Center on A660 between Adel and Bramhope. Nestled amidst beautiful surroundings, the park’s address is Golden Acre Park, Otley Road, Bramhope, Leeds LS16.

This hidden gem of Leeds also lies on a bus route. However, most people arrive there by car as did we. Its convenient location allows for easy access, making it an excellent choice for families residing in and around Leeds.

The History of Golden Acre Park

What’s now known as the Leeds most tranquil park, was once a haven of rowdy indulgence. Golden Acre Park was originally a privately owned amusement park. Built by Frank Thompson, it was opened in 1932. 

For a brief period of six years, it was a full-on theme park based on the famous Coney Island in New York. It had a swimming pool, miniature railway, boating lake, zoo and music tower. The amusement park however was only open for 6 years before closing due to the Second World War. It was later taken over by the Leeds City Council. 

The park may have lost the amusement it offered, but it still managed to retain its natural charm and tranquillity.

Exploring the Park: What is There to Do?

Although Golden Acre Park doesn’t offer much diversity when it comes to fun activities and adventures. But, this stunning park has so many different kinds of beauty to behold. From wildfowl lakes to forests to beautiful open spaces, any route around the park is stunningly beautiful and such an incredible escape from the city’s bustling life. 

Let us explore some of the park’s praise-worthy areas one by one

Natural Trails and Beautiful Landscapes

Golden Acre Park is an expansive 179 acres of mature woodland with wide paths, a lovely lake and many rare and beautiful flower gardens. It’s a perfect place for a nice stroll or even a brisk walk. You can walk around the lake watching the ducks and geese swimming or even extend the walk through the woods and further to the Breary Marsh area (far end of the lake) if you want a longer route. 

The Breary Marsh also connects to the Meanwood Valley and Woodhouse Moor through the Meanwood Valley Trail. The area gets slightly muddy underfoot in winter months so it’s advisable to wear comfortable shoes, maybe wellies too depending on the weather conditions.

Wide Spaces and Tarmac Paths for Beginner Cyclists

There are rugged as well as more formal paths perfect for biking and cycling. As a general rule, cycling isn’t allowed in the park, but this does not apply to kids’ toy bikes or scooters. 

Amazing Picnic Areas

There are wide open spaces with lush greenery, vibrant flower beds and soothing birdsong almost everywhere in the park. You can experience the joy of a delightful family picnic amidst the serene ambience of Golden Acre Park.  

There are plenty of benches around the park, each offering a perfect setting to relax, unwind and enjoy a scrumptious meal. So, don’t forget to pack your favourite snacks, blankets and games to make the most of this tranquil outdoor experience.

The Heather Garden by the cherry orchard provides the ideal place for kids’ ball games so that they can let some steam off and have fun. It also caters to the needs of your four-legged friends to walk and breathe in some fresh air. The kids really enjoyed playing catch and run with us both. We always find that when there is less organised fun the kids can be far more creative when it comes to entertainment.

Wildfowl Lake and Animals

Golden Acre Park is home to a wide variety of birds and animals owing to the amount of woodland and water available at the park. The kids were so fascinated by the sight of green-headed and blue-headed mallards (quite rare), the cormorants, and amorous mute swans putting up beautiful courting displays. 

You might also get lucky to spot a resident deer or fox roaming in the park. Sitting by the lake, watching the ducks and geese and feeding them was such a relaxing experience even for the kids. 

Scenic Views and Photography

Golden Acre Park offers ample opportunity for those seeking to capture nature’s art and artistry. The beautifully manicured lawns, exotic Gardens with rare flower beds and serene wetland areas provide the perfect backdrop for a picture-perfect family photo. You can also bring your binoculars to spot some of the resident animals in the Golden Acre Park. 

We photographed some of the rare flowers, fungi and the pretty lake filled with avian species. The kids managed to get along with a couple of other toddlers and their pet pooches who were exploring the woodland with the same level of energy and excitement.

Facilities for Families

Being the busy family park that it is, Golden Acre Park offers convenient facilities for families for a hassle-free visit. It worked well for us and the family were with so with a baby and three children running round.


There is a café situated in the centre of the park, overlooking the wonderful gardens. It offers a selection of food and beverages, ranging from snacks, lunches and light refreshments. There are vegan-friendly and vegetarian-friendly food options available too. 

So, you can treat yourself to a selection of delicious snacks and light meals to enhance your family outing.


Clean and well-maintained toilet facilities are a must for any public park, especially if you’re accompanied by toddlers and infants. Golden Acre Park understands and caters to its visitors’ needs by providing thoroughly placed restrooms throughout the park. This is to ensure your family’s comfort and convenience during your visit.

Free Car Parking

There are actually two free car parks located off the A660 Otley Road and on Arthington Road. The postcode for both car parks is LS16 9YJ, and they are located on either side of the park. The one that is located on Otley Road is on the opposite side of the park across a very fast-flowing road. But there is an underpass for pedestrians to use. 

There is also a Nature Reserve across the road which is home to another large pond and different species of vegetation and man-made paths. Most people visit this place too after they exit Golden Acre Park. It’s a beautifully peaceful escape with only birdsong as the soundtrack.

Areas of improvement

As much as we loved visiting the park, there are still some areas that need attention and upliftment to further improve the visitors’ experience.
Firstly, the toilets need to be well maintained and cleaned at all times. It’s such a huge turn-off when you happen to visit the restroom with your toddler and it’s not clean and hygienic.

Another thing that most people were unhappy about was the foods’ pricing at the cafe. The prices were expensive considering the cafe is a Leeds Council-run cafe. Regulating the prices at the cafe would definitely add to the overall visitor experience provided there were many people who didn’t bring along food with them and relied solely on the park’s cafe.

Would you recommend it?

Without a doubt! As someone who has visited the park a couple of times with my family, I would highly recommend it as an exquisite place for families seeking peace, beauty and connection with nature. From the peaceful trails to the inviting picnic areas, Golden Acre Park weaves a really nice experience for you to cherish with your family every now and then.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any playgrounds for children in Golden Acre Park?

No, Golden Acre Park does not have a dedicated playground for children. However, the park’s natural beauty, the serene ambience and the presence of wildlife create an ideal environment for little ones to explore and appreciate the wonders of nature.

Are cyclists allowed in the Park?

Unfortunately no. The park does not permit cycling. However, children can bring their balance bikes or scooters to enjoy wheeling in the winding paths and add a touch of adventure to their visit.

Can I bring my dog to the park?

Yes, furry friends are welcome to join your family outing at Golden Acre Park. You will always find dog owners with their dogs taking a walk in the park. Some even let their dogs loose in the Heather Garden. But to ensure the safety of the visitors, it’s best to keep them on leads at all times. But don’t forget to clean up after your pets to maintain the pristine beauty of the park

Where is your favourite part?

Well, it’s hard to choose one, but if I had to pick, I’d say just the feeling of having a car-free environment to roam. Parks have this unique feeling of providing this and just allowing your kids to run free is a luxury modern society doesn’t always offer.

Pros & Cons


  • Free parking available
  • Beautiful central lake.
  • Plenty of open green space.


  • Facilities could be slightly better.
  • Car park can be a little hectic.
  • Certain parts could do with more regular maintenance.

Park enjoyment rating

Last Updated on March 12, 2024 by Beth

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