Winter Running Routes in Leeds

Robert Marshall

Running in the summer is a breeze! Long light evenings, paths that are not death traps, and more invitations to go outside than you know what to shake a shoe at.

This tends to change as the colder season creeps in. Getting up and going to bed in the dark sends even the best of us into a hedgehog like sleepy state. It gets cold and wet, and slippery. One of the biggest issues a lot of runners have is finding running routes that are both exciting, as well as safe.

After speaking to running friends of mine, I realised this was not just a me problem. So we have pulled together a few suggestions to point other runners in Leeds like us in the right direction. If you know of any others, send us the route!


Kirkstall Climber – 2km

Map of Kirkstall Climber

This is for those of you that like the burn!

Set on the streets of Kirkstall, this whole route is well lit and completely on the pavement.

It starts off at the bottom of Haddon Road, and zigzags all the way through to Woodside View.

The gradient and difficulty of the route slowly increases as the hills get steeper (don’t worry, you go back down as well), so is a brilliant training route.

As the whole route is set in a relatively small area and is a great one to turn into a loop. Increasing that quick 2 km into a 4, 6, or 12 km…


St James – 4KM

Running Route

Just outside Leeds city centre, this route takes you around “Jimmy’s” – St. James Hospital, and surrounding areas. As this area is fairly residential, the entire route is lit by street lights.

The run starts by heading towards Roundhay road. Take Bayswater Road and climb the hill before reaching Harehills Road. Then take a right and follow the road round past the Thackeray Museum. 

You will find yourself on Beckett Road passing the grand university hospital on your right. Once past the Fountain Head you will meet the corner of Rectory Street, follow the road and gradient down to the junction of Stamford Street before taking a right onto Roseville Road – a long stretch of flat running!


Roundhay Lake to Roundhay Fox – 4KM

Map of route

This off road, but on path route is a great escape from the busyness of the city. Although not continually lit, the path is wide and well maintained.

It is a continual climb one side of the lake, and then a gentle decline as you come down the other side of the park. 

The route is also just moments away from the Roundhay Fox pub. Not a bad place to end up after a few laps…


Sightseeing City Run – 6km

Map of route

Leeds during the day is a scene of activity and business, but at night the city lights sparkle creating a completely new world. The roads you previously explored earlier in the light now seem new and undiscovered.

This route takes you on an adventure across the city, past many of the historical sites in Leeds. 

Down Briggate, though Granary Wharf, and past the Great Hall. At just under 6km it is a route to aim for as a beginner, or maybe loop it around if you have a quicker pace.

A real mix of environments, with the steps at Leeds University, a brief peek at the canal, and the gentle slope of the city. A good after work route!

Being in the city centre, it is easily adapted to extend or reduce. Take it at your pace!


A few years ago Jonathan wrote a great article about the things to consider when running in the winter. It is worth a read to keep you moving as we approach the darker months!


If you know of any other routes that would be a perfect addition to this article, please send it across here:


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