Last Updated on 30/07/2021
If you’re a regular visitor to Roundhay Park in Leeds, you might have heard the rumour of the hidden summer house somewhere in the park. This hidden gem is notoriously difficult to find! So, I’m going to give you some clues about how to find the lost summer house at Roundhay Park.
However, unlike my other Hidden Yorkshire posts, I’ve decided that I’m not going to give away the exact location of Roundhay Park’s best kept secret. The magic in the lost summer house is that you have to hunt for it and I don’t want to reveal the secret completely. But I will guide you to the right section of the park to focus your efforts so you can narrow your search area while still enjoying unearthing the discovery for yourself.
Keep reading to discover how to find the lost summer house at Roundhay Park (almost!) plus everything you need to know about visiting.
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Where is Roundhay Park?
Roundhay Park is a large city park located in Leeds. The park is approximately 3 miles to the north of the city centre and is made up of parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens. Incredibly, Roundhay Park attracts almost one million visitors each year!
What is special about Roundhay Park?
Roundhay Park is huge. That’s no exaggeration. At over 700 acres, it is one of the biggest city parks in Europe!
Roundhay Park is so much more that just a place to catch a breath of fresh air. You could easily spend a whole day or more exploring the area and all of the attractions. You can see why locating the lost summer house is no walk in the park with such a large area to scour!
How to get to Roundhay Park
Roundhay Park is easy to get to no matter whether you are driving or arriving by public transport. Here are the easiest ways to get to Roundhay Park.
How to get to Roundhay Park by car
If you’re travelling by car, it is free to park at Roundhay Park. There are five car parks for you to choose from, so even on busy days you can get parked fairly easily. The car parks are located at:
- the south end of the park off Wetherby Road (LS8 2JZ)
- the end of Park Avenue by the Lakeside Cafe (LS8 2WF)
- the west side of the park by the old tram station off Princes Avenue (LS8 2EP)
- behind the Roundhay Fox pub off Mansion Lane (LS8 2HH)
- the end of Mansion Lane by the Mansion House Hotel (LS8 2HH)
How to get to Roundhay Park from Leeds by public transport
Leeds is just 3 miles south of Roundhay Park, so if you are travelling by public transport, this is the closest central hub to travel to.
From Leeds, you can catch a taxi to make the short journey to Roundhay Park. Alternatively, you can catch one of many local bus services including numbers 2 and 12. Depending on the route and the traffic, the bus journey will take approximately 30-40 minutes.
What is the lost summer house at Roundhay Park?
The lost summer house at Roundhay Park is an old Victorian bandstand or gazebo. Not much is known about its history, but it is believe that is was built by James Kitson, a prominent engineer and Mayor of Leeds.
Sadly, over the years, this little gem has become a victim of the elements and is now simply a skeleton of its former self. The fact that only the frame remains, and it is shrouded in woodland is what makes this gem so tricky to locate!
How to find the lost summer house at Roundhay Park
The magic of the little lost summer house at Roundhay Park is that it is notoriously tricky to find. You can feel a sense of pride and achievement when you finally catch a glimpse of it after a thorough search, and I don’t want to lose that!
However, there is a wide range of information online that differs wildly, and with over 700-acres to scour, it can be a frustrating search! So although I’m not going to tell you the exact location of the summer house, I’m going to help you locate the right section of the park to focus your efforts.
If you’re really stumped, Google Maps gives the precise location of the Victorian Summer House. But I urge you to only use this as a very last resort!
Directions to the lost summer house (almost!)
To set you on the right track, follow the instructions to locate the right section of the park to search, then get ready to roam the woodlands to track the lost summer house down!
The easiest way to navigate to the lost summer house is to park in the car park off Wetherby Road (LS8 2JZ). From here, make your way to the large Waterloo Lake. However, instead of heading towards the popular lakeside spot near the White Rose Canoe Club, walk to the east side of the park, with the lake on your left-hand side.
Follow the lakeside path until the cages of rocks end, then head up into the woodland and start your search here. If you need a clue, the summer house is located quite close to the golf course boundary, but that’s all I’m going to give away!
Other things to see at Roundhay Park
Once you’ve tracked down the remains of the summer house and captured some pictures, you can explore the rest of the park and all of the attractions it has to offer. Here are some other great things to see at Roundhay Park on your visit.
Located on the west side of the park, you will find Tropical World. This family-friendly attraction is home to the UK’s largest tropical plant and animal collections outside of Kew Gardens. You can discover a range of creatures from cheeky meerkats to nocturnal bats. Plus, you can walk through the enchanting butterfly house to admire these insects up close.
Tropical World is a wonderful place to visit for a unique up close glimpse at some exotic critters. You can enjoy anything from a couple of hours to half a day exploring the exhibits and reading the displays.
You will have caught a glimpse of Waterloo Lake on your journey to the lost summer house. This huge lake is a beautiful focal point of the park. It is a popular spot with a waterside cafe overlooking the lake and many visitors sit on the surrounding grass to soak up the views.
The best way to take in the lake is to enjoy a stroll around it. The picturesque lakeside walk is charming and varied as you will enjoy scenes of rolling grassy hills and enchanting woodlands. A steady stroll could take you up to an hour depending on your pace. It is an idyllic way to pass a sunny afternoon!
Roundhay Walking Trails
And on the topic of walking, there are a number of walking trails at Roundhay Park for you to enjoy. As well as the Lake View walk around Waterloo Lake, you can also enjoy the Secret Gorge Walk, Upper Lake Walk, Formal Garden Walk and Parkland Walk.
The walks all vary in length but are fairly easy in ability as they follow clear, established paths, although the sections that pass through woodland can be a little uneven in places. You can get a map of all of the Roundhay walking trails here.
One of the last things you might expect to find at Roundhay Park is a castle. And technically, you would be correct because ‘the castle’ is not actually a castle at all. It was constructed by Thomas Nicholson who bought a large section of Roundhay in 1803.
Nicholson wanted to ’embellish’ the park and created this sham castle as a place to host shooting lunches and picnics. So although the structure looks like a castle as you approach it, it is simply an extravagant folly. But nevertheless, it remains an attraction well worth seeking out when you visit Roundhay Park.
You can locate the castle at the northern end of Waterloo lake. Unlike the lost summer house, you will find the castle marked on the maps throughout the park.
Things to remember when visiting Roundhay Park
If you are planning a visit to Roundhay Park, there is some general etiquette you should know. Following this guide ensures that all visitors and local residents have a fun and safe experience of the park:
- Please take any litter away with you or use the bins provided to keep the area looking beautiful for all visitors.
- Clean up your dog waste and use the bins to properly dispose of it.
- BBQs are not permitted anywhere in the park.
- Please help to keep the area as beautiful as possible by picking up a piece of litter if you see it and placing it in a bin.
Thank you for helping to look after Roundhay Park!
Things to do in Leeds
If you want to get the most out of your visit to the area, you can make the short journey into the city centre to enjoy some of the shops and attractions that Leeds has to offer.
If you’re not sure where to start, you can check out my guide to Leeds by a local for the best attractions, places to shop and places to eat. Or if you want a more unique experience, check out my guide to the best Leeds street art and where to find it.
Where to stay in Leeds
If you want to really get the most out of your visit to Roundhay Park and Leeds, why not stay for a weekend? Here are some great accommodation options in Leeds for your visit.
Why I love the lost summer house at Roundhay Park
It’s hard to really appreciate the magic of the lost summer house until you’ve searched high and low for it and eventually stumble upon it. While I love discovering the hidden gems across Yorkshire and showing you how to find them, the lost summer house is one of those rare places that is worth the search.
I love the fact that the lost summer house has managed to remain illusive in an age where we can find any information at the click of a button. And I think that is what makes this wonder truly unique and a secret worth protecting. Do you agree?
The lost summer house at Roundhay Park
So, this is my guide to visiting the lost summer house at Roundhay Park. This forgotten gem is one where the adventure is truly in the search. So enjoy the hunt and if you do track it down, tag me in your Instagram pics! I’d love to see them!
If you want to discover more incredible Hidden Yorkshire locations, click here for the complete series.
Before you go
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