15 Best Outdoor Activities in Manchester To Try on a Sunny Day

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Are you looking for the best outdoor activities in Manchester? We are here to help!

While it’s true that we are known for the rain, we also get some lovely sunny days and Manchester is ideally located near several national parks such as the Peak District or the Yorkshire Dales as well as many forests and beaches, making it a great city for outdoor activities.

Pedal boating heaton park

⏱️ IN A RUSH? Here are the top 3 Outdoor Activities in Manchester

1️⃣ Pedal Boat in Heaton Park
2️⃣ Treetop Trek
3️⃣ Stand Up Paddle at Sale Water Park

If you love spending time outside and going on adventures, these outdoor activities in and around Manchester will be perfect for you.

From tree top to hikes and kayaking, I’ll tell you everything you need to know and the best things to do outdoors in Manchester.

1. Pedal Boat in Heaton Park

Pedal boating heaton park
Hiring a pedal boat in Heaton Park is such a fun outdoor activity in Manchester for families
dog pedal boat heaton park

Heaton Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Greater Manchester and while it’s famous for its walking paths and other activities, it’s also a great place to go on a pedal boat.

In the middle of the park, you will find a small lake. The boat hire place is located right by it. They offer several types of boats such as rowing boats, classic pedal boats and swan boats.

They can all fit up to 4 people and are dog friendly as well.

Whether it’s just for 30 minutes or 1 hour, you’ll enjoy going around the lake and the small islands while watching the ducks and other birds.

READ MORE: 6+ Best Manchester Boat Trips to Book in 2023

2. Treetop Trek

treetop

Located in Heaton Park, Treetop Trek is another of the best things to do in Manchester outdoors for families.

As the name suggests, it’s an outdoor adventure course set high in the trees. 

There are a couple of high rope courses to choose from, ones that are suitable for all ages. The “full trek” experience allows you to enjoy two hours of fun on their 15m course. 

There are 20 obstacles to navigate, including balance bars, swinging logs, and 14 thrilling zip lines. There’s also the hour-long “mini trek” with eight obstacles and five zip lines. 

Kids will love the “treetop nets” which allow you to play on the bouncy nets, super slides, in the treehouses, the tunnel and the ball zone.

For the little ones, there is the “treetot nets” that runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and will keep toddlers entertained for hours. 

Whether you are going as part of a group, on an adventurous date or with the whole family this is a super fun activity in Manchester. 

3. SUP in Sale Water Park

SUP in sale water park
SUP in sale water park manchester

Located in South East Manchester, near the Trafford Centre, Sale Water Park is the perfect place to visit if you love the water.

Here you will find a lake, woodland and meadows. There’s also a restaurant, cafe and a water sports centre.

You can do all sorts of water activities here including SUP, kayaking and more.

It’s the perfect summer activity or an autumn or winter activity for the braver among us.

There’s the option to bring your own board or rent them from Trafford Water Sports centre. 

It’s worth going to Sale Water Park for the whole day. You can enjoy a variety of activities in the park including bike hire, picnicking and walking. 

4. Delta Force Paintball Manchester

paintball in manchester

Delta Force Paintball is in Botany Bay Woods near Eccles. It is more than just an open space; there are a ton of obstacles and fun places to hit and shoot from.

There’s the 100 ft  Berlin Wall which adds some added interest in the team paintball games as well as plenty of hidden sniper spots and a Wild West Gold Rush scene set up for you to enjoy. You will be decked out in all the latest paintballing gear.

From full-face goggles with fog-free lenses to body armour and the all-important semi-automatic paintball guns. 

As well as paintball parties for adults there are also mini paintball parties for 8 to 10-year-olds. 

5. Kayaking or Paddle Boarding on the Bridgewater Canal

SUP in manchester Sale canal

Constructed over 250 years ago by the Duke of Bridgewater, the Bridgewater Canal was the first canal in England and is 39 miles long.

Though walking along the canal is a super fun activity there are also plenty of other activities to enjoy on the canal as well, including paddleboarding and kayaking.

Whilst canoeing and kayaking have been popular on the Bridgewater Canal, paddleboarding has only recently been allowed due to popular demand.

You can either book a session with one of the local providers or if you have your own equipment and river license, you can go whenever you want.

6. Projekts MCR Skatepark

Projekts MCR Skatepark in Manchester
Projekts MCR Skatepark in Manchester

This multifunctional skate park is close to Manchester Piccadilly train station so it’s ideal for all visitors around the city. 

Now don’t worry, you don’t have to be Tony Hawk to be able to check out this skate park.

If you are completely new to the skatepark scene then there are coaching and community sessions that you can get involved in. 

There are a ton of different class options to choose from, including student sessions, women and girl sessions, adult nights and kids classes.

For these classes, all your equipment is included in the entrance fee.

There are also roller skating classes and for the roller night session, you will need to come prepared with your own roller skates. 

This skate park is hidden under the Mancunian Way flyover.

There are ramps, jumps, railings and stairs for more experienced skaters to navigate. After your skate session, you can stop for a coffee at Projekts cafe. 

7. Canal Walk in Manchester

Canal in Castlefield

There are several canals in Manchester including the Ashton Canal, the Bridgewater Canal, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Manchester Ship Canal to name a few.

If you’re searching for outdoor adventures in Manchester you never know what treasure and hidden nooks you might find along the canal.  

The Manchester Ship Canal around Salford Quays is a great place for walking.

Another lovely area to explore is Castlefield, here you can follow the canal and view Merchant’s Bridge on the Bridgewater Canal.

If you are interested in that, check out our article about the best canal walks in Manchester.

8. Exploring Tatton Park

Tatton park

Located in Knutsford in Cheshire, Tatton Park is a historic estate complete with a Tudor Hall managed by the National Trust.

You can reach Tatton Park from Manchester’s city centre via the M56 in around 40 minutes. 

An early 18th century mansion is at the centre of the park sitting in all its opulence and history.

The gardens at Tatton Park are beautiful and there are around 50 acres of landscaped gardens to enjoy. 

For horticultural enthusiasts, there’s no better outdoor space than the 100 year old Japanese garden.

There’s also a 1000 acre deer park within the park, which you can explore on foot or via the cycling trails. There is also a farm that you can look around which showcases some farming machinery throughout the years. 

Finally, there are a series of stable yards which have been converted into the Stables Restaurant, The Gardener’s Cottage, a gift shop, a store (with ice cream!) and a tuck shop. 

9. Walk in Fletcher Moss Park

Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens 

 

This park was donated to the city in 1919 by philanthropist Alderman Fletcher Moss. It’s not just your average local park, this is a botanical garden.

As you wander around the park you will see huge cherry blossom trees, which will make you feel like you are in Japan rather than the outskirts of Manchester. 

The main rock gardens are south facing which allows a number of species to flourish.

There are small trickling waterfalls running down rocks and into ponds which are surrounded by a variety of ferns, marigolds and even cabbage.

The River Mersey runs nearby and as this is a free attraction it’s perfect for an outdoor activity on a budget. 

10. Cycling in Phillips Park

Phillips Parks in Prestwich in Manchester

Philips Park is located near Prestwich and is one of the largest parks in Greater Manchester.

The park dates back to 1846 and it was actually one of the first municipal parks in the entire country. Today the park is the perfect place to spend time doing outdoor things.

There are formal gardens and a community orchard which you can go to as well as a bowling green and a children’s play area too. 

One of the best things about this park is that you can still see all the historical features from when it was built in the Victorian area.

The park has Grade II listed features like the carriage driveway, serpentine pathways, gardeners house and amphitheatre adding to the historical atmosphere. 

Since there are a lot of wide paths, you can easily take your bike there and explore. It’s a lot of fun!

11. Go Ape Rivington

Everyone over the age of 10 who doesn’t have a fear of heights will love Go Ape. Their treetop challenge offers a fun and testing high ropes course.

Go Ape is set in beautiful woodlands and the course offers a mix of blood-pumping adrenaline and picturesque views. 

The platforms you will be climbing from and between are 13 metres high and there’s even an amazing zip wire that goes over the reservoir. 

If you are visiting Go Ape why not extend your trip by making a day of it? You can even hike to the top of Rivington Pike which sits at more than 1000 feet above sea level. 

12. Playing Golf in Heaton Park

The Heaton Park golf course is in the heart of Heaton Park and is a fantastic, family-friendly golf course for experienced and novice golfers.

The course is in a beautiful setting which only adds to your golfing experience.

If you are serious about golfing then you can purchase a season ticket but they also offer a pay-and-play service for those only visiting occasionally.

The main course is 18 holes and there is also a pitch and putt which is suitable for those younger ones wanting to learn more about golf. 

If you are not a regular golfer then the course is considered fairly hard, however, its difficulty keeps things interesting.

For the non-professionals it can take around 2 ½ hours to complete the course. 

13. Exploring Lyme Park 

Lyme Park

Lyme Park is located in Stockport and managed by the National Trust. The focal point of the park is the large house but you’ll also find beautiful gardens and a deer park.

The house dates back to the 16th century and is famous for featuring in the 1995 movie Pride and Prejudice.

You can enjoy exploring the house’s exterior and interior as well as the 1,400 acre grounds.

Within the grounds there are formal gardens, woodlands and moorland, making for a beautiful place to visit. 

If you are visiting Lyme Park with kids, be sure to take them to the Crow Wood play area, kids will have fun climbing on all the equipment.

There’s also a large herd of deer in the park so it’s fun trying to spot them as well.

Though there is an entry fee it’s an affordable activity that will make you feel like you are hours and hours away from the busy Manchester city life. 

14. Zorbing Football

Bubble football

For fun outdoor activities in Manchester try zorbing. Also known as bubble football this is a hilarious activity to enjoy with your friends. 

You will be playing football, however, the glaringly obvious twist is that you will be inside an inflatable bubble and instead of making clean tackles you will be bumping and bouncing from player to player. 

You’ll be playing a five-a-side match with regular rolling substitutions.

The only problem with zorbing is that you might lose track of the actual aim of the game… to score goals! There will even be a referee on hand to keep you on track and keep things running smoothly. 

Click here to see the prices

15. Walk in Daisy Nook Country Park

Daisy Nook in Manchester

Located in Oldham, this 40 hectare park includes a lake, canal, woodlands and beautiful wildflower meadows (especially in May and June).

Wildlife and birders will particularly like Daisy Nook Country Park as it’s a great location for spotting woodpeckers, owls, squirrels and foxes. 

There are a number of footpaths and bridle paths that snake around the park, providing you with an excellent place to walk and take in the beauty of nature.

If you like fishing you can also get a day ticket to fish at Sammy’s Basin, the Bardsley Canal or Crime Lake.

There is also a cafe if you want to stop for a warming coffee on a cold day or an ice cream in summer. 

With plenty of wildlife from ducks to horses and so many different landscapes to explore you will enjoy a fair few hours at this country park. 

We hope you enjoyed this article about the best outdoor activities in Manchester. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you think some should be added to the list!

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