Tropical World Leeds

8 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

December, 2016

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Family including children under 16

Reasons for trip

Tropical World is a must when my grandson visits West Yorkshire. It is conveniently located on the edge of Roundhay Park, with plenty of free parking nearby, and perfect for an half-day outing with children up to age 10. Housed in huge greenhouses, it has an outdoor feel, though all the exhibition areas are under cover, so a rainy day need not put you off. Though small in scale, this is actually a bonus for young children and older visitors alike, as there is not far to walk to see the amazing collection of creatures in their native habitat, (and there are seats to rest on all along the winding paths.)

There are several areas to replicate a rain-forest, a desert, a mangrove swamp, and a nocturnal area where bats and mammals live in near darkness. Often the creatures such as turtles and crocs are hiding in pools or under vegetation and exotic birds perch high above your head in the canopy, and spotting them adds to the fun. Your first experience is the butterfly house, where huge specimens flutter close to your head, or feed on eye-level trays among the foliage. Occasionally I have seen people try to catch and hold them for a photograph. All the animals are close to the visitors, and it’s good for children to learn not to tap on the glass of an aquarium, or lean over the barrier to pat a meerkat. Warning signs tell you “They do bite”. These TV favourites are a main attraction, with new litters born regularly. Children love the waterfall pouring into a pool and the atmosphere everywhere is warm and damp,or warm and dry so it’s advisable to discard topcoats. (This is where a walking-frame comes in handy). There is just room to manoeuvre between low stone walls, but at busy times, with push chairs loaded with bags and clothing this can be a problem.

You’ll be ready for some refreshment after this, and the cafeteria is clean and airy, with a choice of dishes at reasonable prices aimed at families. But first you have to pass through the large gift shop, packed with good quality toys and souvenirs, rather expensive though, compared to the low price of entry: £5 per adult, £2.50 per child and under fives go free.

On a nice day, you can sit with a cup of tea or a snack on the pleasant terrace which overlooks the well-kept Canal Gardens. Before you return to your car, there are a few
extra attractions, taking another hour or so. Just across the road are the exhibition gardens, one in the style of the Granada Alhambra, and the winning gardens by Leeds City Council at the Chelsea Flower Show, transported and reconstructed on a permanent site at Roundhay. The park itself is huge, too much to cover after a visit to Tropical World, but the free adventure playground is only a short walk away, and makes a good fresh air conclusion to a hot tour of the Tropics.

If you do fancy spending longer in the area, the Roundhay Fox Pub, opposite the Park does good meals and welcomes children.Of course, you could have an excursion here, and not wait for the grandchildren to visit.

Their website has an interesting video of the place, but can’t capture the sounds and smells which make it come alive.

Gwenda Jones

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