Manchester brings to mind industry, music, football and canals – let’s face it, it’s pretty much a concrete jungle. Look closer though, and you’ll find that Greater Manchester has some of the most beautiful green spaces that are far more accessible than you might think. With summer in full swing, we’ve compiled a handy list of green spaces worth a visit in the sun (or rain) to make the best of this beautiful city. So grab a picnic and pick up your walking shoes, it’s time to get out there!

Heaton Park
North Manchester’s Heaton Park may be known to many as the home of Parklife and headline gigs from the likes of the Courteeners and Noel Gallagher but this space hasn’t been endorsed by bands, festivals and events for nothing – it’s one of the biggest unspoilt green areas Manchester has to offer, with extremely easy access to boot. Just a 15 minute Metrolink or bus ride away from city centre stops and enveloping historic buildings such as Heaton Hall and The Orangery, Heaton Park offers a day out for all the whole family with events taking place throughout the year including organised walks and Heaton Hall open days. The park is located between Prestwich and Middleton and is also accessible by car. www.Manchester.Gov.UK

Jodrell Bank
Known for its observatory, Jodrell Bank also hosts the annual science and environment celebration Bluedot Festival, accommodated by its vast grounds and self contained areas connected by fully accessible pathways. The discovery centre not only runs learning experiences for those who are cosmic-curious, but the grounds are filled with a myriad of nature intended to educate and encourage visitors about the environment and keeping things eco-friendly. The organisation put on telescope walking tours all year round alongside solstice events, making Jodrell Bank the perfect green space for a departure from your comfort zone. The observatory site sits just on the Cheshire-Manchester border, little over a half an hour drive from Manchester and served by Goostrey train station which is accessible from the Manchester to Crewe line.

Platt Fields Park
Fallowfield student favourite Platt Fields Park is where Parklife began, and although the festival has outgrown this space, it’s still the go-to for families and young people alike. The park boasts flat plains and paths ideal for running or an afternoon walk, hills allowing for sunbathing and picnics, and a huge pond at its centre. There are events going on throughout the year, namely funfairs and firework displays, but it also provides the relaxed atmosphere of a family park close to the city centre. Just a 10 minute ride on the frequent Magic Bus service running between Piccadilly and Didsbury will land you just beyond the Curry Mile in the park’s Fallowfield location, plus there is an array of side-streets and car parks available if driving is your only option. On a sunny day walking may be your preference, which is achievable from surrounding areas including Withington, Hulme and even the city centre if you’re a keen walker.

Pennine Moors – Saddleworth Moor & Rivington Pike
Heading away from parks, the Pennine Moors are ideal for hilly walks and relaxed days out. Rivington Pike brings in walkers and families from around the country to its spot in Bolton, boasting Chinese gardens, a reservoir and of course, a pike to climb. A jewel in Greater Manchester’s crown, Rivington Pike has maintained its lush tapestry of nature and wildlife throughout the years and remains popular with locals, offering restaurants and cafes within its self-contained barns, ice cream shops, pubs, and bowling greens. There’s plenty of parking and it’s served by multiple train stations depending on your area of interest, including Adlington, Blackrod and Horwich Parkway. Similarly, Saddleworth Moor provides walking opportunities and a variety of wildlife and nature but finds itself in a more Easterly location, accessible from the likes of Oldham and Middleton and boasting outstanding natural beauty for miles around. The Moors are still recovering from the wildfires of the past couple of years but are still worth a visit and are returning to their former glory day by day.

Fletcher Moss Park & Botanical Gardens
Didsbury’s offering of green spaces in Manchester comes in the form of Fletcher Moss Park which contains some of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the county. Where else can you be in Manchester but feel like you’re in a foreign wonderland of stunning nature and colourful wildlife? Located on the banks of the River Mersey, Fletcher Moss feels secluded and dreamlike whilst being minutes away from Manchester’s outer ring road and a short walk from East Didsbury train station, making it ideal for a day out. There’s a wildlife blog on their website to keep track of what’s going on in the park, and local businesses and councils often provide the park with grants in order to maintain their grounds and make it more beautiful for visitors. With opportunities to get involved as a volunteer what better way could there be to spend your summer?

Haigh Hall Woodland Park
Haigh Hall in Wigan has been a honey pot for locals for years, and with its vast grounds and picturesque scenery it’s not hard to see why this historical site draws in such a crowd. The Georgian hall started construction in 1827 and has since been used for a multitude of events and occasions, including open days that are usually free for the public to partake in. The park boasts a brewery, a baker and chocolatier, and even its own ice cream maker, as well as 250 acres of parkland overlooking the Welsh Hills packed full of things to do with the whole family. British summertime screams a nice walk with the family, a picnic and an ice cream (or alcoholic beverage for the parents), with the opportunity to do everything from high rope activities to mini golf, or nothing at all. Just a stone’s throw away from nearby areas such as Aspull and Westhoughton, Haigh Hall provides an easy yet beautiful day out for all the family, or just the adults.

Mon 10 Jun - Wed 31 Jul
Emmeline Banks
Published on:
Sat 20 Jul 2019