If you’re craving greenery but don’t want to stray too far out of the city, Heaton Park, on the Manchester-Bury border, is one of your best options.
It’s a big, municipal park with over 600 acres of lawns, meadows, woodland and landscaped gardens, all overlooked by an 18th-century neoclassical country house, Heaton Hall.
To get there from the city centre, take the Metrolink (Bury line) and get off at Heaton Park.
Sports facilities here include a golf course, football pitches, bowling, and plenty of routes for a walk or a run.
There’s lots to do for kids, including the free-entry animal centre which is home to chickens, goats, pigs, rabbits, alpacas, peacocks and some much-loved rabbits.
From here you could head to the boating lake for some pedalo or rowing action in the warmer months. A new adventure playground down there will wear them out further with its tree houses, slides and trampolines. There’s another playground near the hall and farm, or you could pay for entry to the TreeTop Trek – a high-level ropes course set within the park’s woodland.
Heaton Hall itself is only open to the public on selected days. To see inside this elegant building and hear its stories and secrets, book on a Jonathan Schofield Guided Tour, every second Sunday of the month.
For refreshments, choose from the Hidden Gem cafe in the Heaton Park Garden Centre, the Stables Cafe and the Boathouse Cafe. Stock up on Heaton Park Honey while you’re there – it’s made at the park’s own apiary and is the ultimate “Manchester bee” souvenir.