OK, things might be a little grey and overcast at the moment, but did that ever stop a Manc? From epic treetop adventures (ziplines included) and fun watersports right on our doorsteps, here’s our guide to the best outdoor activities to enjoy in and around Manchester.
1. Heaton Park
Famed for being the setting of Manchester’s annual Parklife festival, Heaton Park offers a great variety of things to do for all the family. Although a nice stroll around to see the sights of the Grade I listed Heaton Hall and the beautiful landscaped gardens is always an option, the park boasts a farm and animal centre, open all year round for feeding and petting goats, pigs, rabbits, and even alpacas! The park also has a golf course, bowling green (used for the 2002 Commonwealth Games), and a boating lake, so there’s truly no end to the outdoor fun you can have right on your doorstep!
2. Treetop Trek, Prestwich
Another great activity found within Heaton Park, Treetop Trek allows guests to take on 20 aerial challenges across the two-hour course, including 14 ziplines through the woods and plenty of bridges and tricky beams to climb over. The treetop adventure is suitable for ages 5 and above, however, for the under 5’s, there’s a fun treetop net to enjoy filled with super slides, bouncy balls, tunnels and treehouses.
3. Projekts Skate Park, City Centre
If skateboarding is more your thing, the hidden skateboard park under the Mancunian Way – Projekts – is the perfect place to practice. Offering both skate sessions and lessons, visitors can enjoy the numerous ramps and half-pipes, while taking in the fantastic Akse street art that’s long called Projekts home.
4. Paintballing at Eccles Forest
Located in Eccles Forest, Delta Force Paintballing is the perfect day out for Call of Duty fans. Delta Force not only provides an epic game of paintballing for friends to enjoy, but plenty of hidden sniper spots, a hundred ft Berlin Wall, and even a full-scale Wild West Gold Rush scenario complete with saloon swinging doors, alongside a zombie-infested graveyard.
5. Paddleboarding the Bridgewater Canal in Sale
Since 2021, Mancs can paddle board and kayak along the Bridgewater Canal – a stretch of water that spans across Worsley, Salford, Trafford and the Castlefield area. The perfect activity to enjoy during the warmer months, all wannabee paddleboarders must sign up for a membership with British Canoeing online.
6. Water sports at Sale Water Park
The home of watersports here in Manchester, the Trafford Water Sports Centre at Sale Water Park offers tons of fun activities to enjoy, including canoeing, bushcraft, Kata Kanuing, kayaking, raft building and sailing. All activities run from April-October – because, let’s agree, it’d be absolutely freezing otherwise.
7. Go Ape, Delamere
Just a short drive away from Manchester in the lovely Delamere Forest, Go Ape is the king of outdoor activities. From treetop high ropes to forest segways, there’s something for all ages to enjoy, including both high and low obstacles to try out in the trees, alongside both big and little ziplines to cruise across.
8. Dovestone Sailing Club, Oldham
If there’s one place in the North West that offers stunning scenery, it’s Dovestone. Utilising the beautiful 100-acre reservoir, locals can enjoy a unique sailing experience surrounded by views of the Pennines, with both beginners and enthusiasts welcome.
9. Bowling at Rivington
Sitting on the border between Bolton and Lancashire, Rivington Pike is a favourite amongst North West walkers, providing routes for all abilities and activities galore. The bowling club is a jewel in its crown though, and whether you fancy bowling yourself, or sitting on the sidelines with a cuppa, you’re sure to take in the most gorgeous view of the reservoir and hills beyond. Watersports are huge around Rivington, too, and it has its fair share of cafes and restaurants, with Rivington Hall residing on the east side of the access road, and the lower barn for a spot of lunch or a coffee after a stroll around.
10. The Gardens at Tatton Park
Although not physical activity per se, a look around the gardens at Tatton Park is always a joy. There’s a reason the RHS Flower Show is held here every year, showcasing the best and boldest in northern horticultural talent. Breathe in the fresh air and venture into the Japanese gardens, walled kitchen-garden and explore the beautifully historic glasshouses, sure to bring you a new lease of life and send you home with a spring in your step.