Alongside some of the North West’s best outdoor adventure parks and countryside walking trails, Greater Manchester boasts an impressive number of parks and outdoor spaces to have won the coveted Green Flag Award, which recognises community-focused, well-managed and biodiverse public recreational areas.

Here are some of the best Green Flag status parks and outdoor areas around Manchester.

Peel Park | Salford

Open since 1846, Peel Park lies adjacent to the University of Salford in the heart of the city, stretching along the western flood plains of the River Irwell. One of the country’s first ever public green spaces, Peel Park has recently undergone a radical regenerative transformation to become Salford’s civic hub of nature and recreation. Alongside a wide range of facilities including a children’s play area, a tree trail and an enormous expanse of flat grass for casual sports and games, the park forms part of the newly created 50-mile Salford Trail, a diverse walking route around the entire city.

Peel Park, Salford, M5 4WU
Alexandra Park | Whalley Range

Sitting serenely between Whalley Range and Moss Side, the 60-acre inner city oasis features a fishing lake, a community orchard, four floodlit tennis courts, full-size football and cricket pitches, two playgrounds and a cafe, as well as over 300 potential running routes up to a 5km distance along its distinctive ovular pathways.

180 Russell St, Manchester, M16 7JL, Tel: 0161 234 4343
Heaton Park | Prestwich

Manchester City Council’s flagship green space, the region’s biggest municipal park offers a dizzying array of facilities and activities across 640 acres of fields, trails and woodlands. Alongside several miles of available walking paths over mixed terrain, the park features several play areas, an animal centre, a boating lake, cafes, treetop adventure routes, a golf course and even beekeeping, as well as a range of annual events for every age group and inclination, from family-friendly festive wonderland Lightopia to the world-famous, mud-spattered Parklife weekender.

Middleton Rd, Manchester M25 2SW, Tel: 0161 773 1085
Victoria Park | Salford

First awarded a Green Flag in 2005, the elegant Swinton park features bowling greens, tennis courts, play areas, tree trails, outdoor gym equipment and an ornate Grade II listed Victorian bandstand, as well as some of the city’s best floral arrangements.

Swinton Hall Rd, Swinton, Manchester M27 4UR
Clifton Country Park | Irwell Valley

Hidden in 48 hectares of miraculously unspoilt countryside just a few miles from Salford city centre, Clifton Country Park offers expansive rural tranquility and a full day’s worth of adventure within half a mile of the M60. Perfect for rambling, fishing, orienteering, horse riding, cycling and picnics, the sprawling idyll provides an accessible and well-kept reprieve from the nearby urban frenzy.

Clifton House Rd, Clifton, Salford M27 6NG, Tel: 0161 793 4219
Walton Park | Sale

Situated on the border between Sale and Timperley, unassuming community favourite Walton Park combines relaxed dog walks and scenic neighborhood thoroughfares with a surprising range of facilities, including a football pitch, tennis courts, a children’s playground and a beloved rideable miniature railway loop.

37 Walton Rd, Sale M33 4AT, Tel: 0161 912 2000
Southern Cemetery | Chorlton

Open from dawn until dusk since 1879, the UK’s largest municipal cemetery lies between Chorlton and West Didsbury as a graceful, dignified sanctuary of reflection and solitude. Featuring six Grade II listed buildings, four of which are chapels, a long network of pathways and a set of beautifully arranged gardens, Southern Cemetery won the Green Flag Award in 2022 and is the resting place of several great Mancunians, including John Rylands, Sir Matt Busby and aviator John Alcock.

212 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester M21 7GL, Tel: 0161 227 3205
Worthington Park | Sale

Serving a number South Manchester communities as a free and diverse green space since 1900, the grand and vibrant Victorian park offers the perfect blend of faithful heritage, immaculately maintained nature and modern, family-oriented amenities. As well as countless species of tree, a sunken garden, a wildflower garden and bowling greens, the park features a bandstand, a spacious field, newly refurbished playgrounds and even a halfpipe.

Cheltenham Drive, Sale M33 2DQ, Tel: 0161 912 2000
Rochdale Canal | Castlefield - Rochdale

Located in the heart of Manchester, the placid waterway begins at Castlefield basin and cuts quietly through the city centre, passing by Canal Street and demarcating the boundary between Ancoats and New Islington. Ideal for Saturday morning ambling or an alternative route home from work, Rochdale Canal provides a unique and leisurely escape from overcrowded city streets while retaining immediate access to some of Manchester’s best bars, restaurants and landmarks.

Bridgewater Canal Tow Path, Manchester M15 4SX
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 28 Aug 2023