Roundhay Park and Tropical World

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Spread over seven hundred acres on the outskirts of Leeds, Roundhay Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world. Wide, level pathways provide good access around its parkland, woodland, gardens and lakes, and link all of its key sites. Among them is Tropical World, a popular family attraction that’s home to an impressive collection of plants and animals.

A good place to start a visit to Roundhay is pretty Waterloo Lake, the site of a lakeside café and with an accessible boardwalk skirting the water’s edge. About half a mile north of here sits The Mansion, an imposing manor house built in the early 1800s when the park was a privately owned hunting ground; inside, its lovely café-restaurant is the only part of the main house open to the public. Next door, the Mansion’s old conservatory houses a fully accessible visitor centre, with displays on the park’s history. About five hundred yards west of the Mansion is Tropical World, where butterflies and birds fly freely around the re-created rainforest, and a ramped trail leads you past meerkats and desert cacti. Elsewhere, several beautiful themed gardens are dotted around the park, such as the Monet Garden, inspired by the famous gardens of the French artist, and the Alhambra Garden, modelled on the gardens of the palace in southern Spain.

There are eight Blue Badge spaces outside Tropical World and at the Lakeside car park. Note that Roundhay’s main car park, on Princes Avenue, has no disabled bays and is a few hundred yards downhill from Tropical World. There are RADAR key-accessible toilets at the visitor centre, at Tropical World and in the Lakeside Café. Tropical World is visited on a one-way level route with good wheelchair access, though you might need assistance with the heavy plastic dividers separating the different areas.

Food & drink: The park offers a choice of three places to eat: the cheap and cheerful Explorer’s Café at Tropical World; the attractive Lakeside Café at Waterloo Lake; and the smart (and pricey) Garden Room Café at the Mansion.