Skip to Content

Things to do in Manchester with the kids – get outdoors edition!

Sharing is caring!

There’s literally hundreds of things to do in and around Manchester with the kids – here’s some of our favourite hidden (and not so hidden gems) that are totally worth a visit. 

Get outdoors and go a bit rural – our favourite outdoor spaces to really let the kids run wild.

Haigh Woodland Park – Wigan

Image copyright – Andy Mallins Photography

Acres of country park and woodland trails – or head to the centre and play on the amazing free adventure playground, or even find the woodland pigs.

If you want to splash some cash then there’s high ropes, adventure golf, crazy golf and the kitchen courtyard for some delicious food.

The park hosts loads of different events throughout the year – outdoor theatre, artisan markets, outdoor cinema, live music and festivals – check out the website for what on and when.

the canal walk at Haigh woodland park in Wigan - autumn time with leaves falling and mist shrouding the canal

There’s a huge carpark and lots of facilities – cafe’s and toilets. 

the forager pigs at Haigh woodland park in Wigan

Delamere Forest – Cheshire

the tree canopy at Delamere Forest

A beautiful ancient woodland – you can just spend the day exploring or you can follow the guided trails – if you’ve got younger kids, try out the Gruffalo Trail. With cycle paths and horse-riding it’s a great place to visit. It’s also home to GoApe. The forest hosts loads of fun events throughout the year so check the website for up to date information. There’s loads of parking around the forest area. 

small boy holding onto the stickman at Delamere Forest Gruffalo trail

Rivington Pike – Bolton

sunshine on a field of grass at Rivington Pike - gorgeous cloud formation

You can see Rivington Pike from pretty much all around Manchester – head over to Bolton and explore.

field of sheep grazing at Rivington Pike

Image copyright – Andy Mallins Photography 

You may need to give some areas a miss at present due to the summer fires up on the moors and take careful note of diversions and prohibited areas –  but there’s still loads of forests, reservoirs and walks in the lower areas and Lever Park to enjoy and some of the views are just breathtaking! 

view across the reservoir at Rivington Pike in Bolton

It’s a place to really run wild and enjoy the space! There’s a shop/cafe and toilet at the Visitor Centre and various places to park. 

sunshine on a field of wildflowers at Rivington Pike Bolton

Image copyright – Andy Mallins Photography 

Fairy Glen – West Lancashire

waterfalls at Fairy Glen Parbold

Head over to Fairy Glen – it’s a total treat! Younger kids will enjoy hunting out the tiny fairy doors – older kids will just love the opportunity to run around the woodland, check out the waterfalls, my kids love to play in the rivers and streams and clamber over the rocks. It’s quiet, unspoilt and a great place to explore – take a picnic. There’s no facilities here – no dedicated parking, just roadside and no toilets but it’s a great place to spend a few hours out in the wild. 

boy with white t-shirt saying Born A Rebel stood on wooden bridge over a stream at Fairy Glen

Worthington Lakes  – Wigan

view across Worthington Lakes - Wigan

A stunning country park and nature reserve tucked away in Wigan – with miles of walks and loads of wildlife – it’s quiet, beautiful and a place to get away – with three huge reservoirs and accessible pathways it’s a good place to go with a pram. Take a picnic and totally chill out. There’s free parking but no toilets or cafe, oh and no dogs allowed at this one either. 

Pendle Hill – Lancashire

Pendle Witches, Witches Galore Newchurch in Pendle, places to go with kids Lancashire, days out in lancashire, pendle witch walk, daisies and pie

Add a sprinkle of magic to your day and head up to Pendle Hill – not far from Manchester this place is spellbinding! Bursting with history and legend, it’s a great place to walk – there’s loads of walking trails, cute little hamlets and villages to discover – find out about the 1612 Pendle witch trails and just soak up all of the fresh air and countryside.

horses drinking from a river at Pendle Hill

Don’t forget to visit the little magical shop in Newchurch. Parking available dotted all around the area and loads of gorgeous pubs to eat at or just take a picnic. 

view across the hills at Pendle from Newchurch

Wycollar – Lancashire

getting outside for fresh air, how to reset your day, things to make you happy, lifestyle from daisies and pie

This little place is well worth the drive if your kids like to just explore the outdoors – walk around, discover the secrets of hidden ancient ruins and just soak up everything a day in the countryside has to offer. There’s lots of places to walk, loads of nature to watch – there’s nothing over-entertained here it’s just nature, fields, streams, ponds and ruins. Make of it what you will. 

Kids paddling in the stream at Wycollar

Quarry Bank – Wilmslow

view of the Apprentice House at Quarry Bank Mill from the vegetable garden

A National Trust gem – check out the woodland walks, the grounds and gardens of the mill – with hands-on experience of how apprentices lived and worked during the Industrial revolution – it’s a place emerged in history and one kids always enjoy visiting. Plenty of parking, cafe, ice-cream, toilets and pram/wheelchair accessible and a woodland playground. It’s easy to spend a full day here. 

view of Quarry Bank Mill along the river

Image copyright – Andy Mallins Photography

Speke Hall – Merseyside 

Another National Trust treasure and a brilliant place to spend a day with kids – Speke Hall is an iconic Tudor hall and it’s great to visit here with kids studying Tudor times in history class as it really brings history alive! There’s acres of grounds to walk around, loads of space for playing and if you’ve got kids that LOVE aeroplanes then head off on the long estate walk where you get a brilliant view of Liverpool airport runway with the planes landing and taking off – which kids just LOVE. Lot’s of parking and facilities a brilliant place to spend a full day. 

view of Liverpool airport runway from Speke Hall

Alderley Edge – Cheshire 

Alderely Edge is a brilliant place to visit with kids – acres of woodlands to explore, dramatic sandstone cliffs and rocks, amazing views. Loads of different walking trails to try out for all different abilities. This place is high up on my kids favourite places to go – just to burn off some energy and tune back into nature. 

Planning a day out? It’s a great idea to get super organised and pack a mini first aid kit in the car – just in case!

Head this way for loads more fun kids activities

Get more autumn activities for kids here

Loads more lovely spring activities for kids here

Get lots more summer activities for kids here

Get loads more creative and fun winter activities for kids here