We’ve taken all the hard work out of finding the best and most beautiful walks for you and your family to enjoy, whilst also keeping little legs in mind. Here is a handy roundup of ideas near you.
Kersal Wetlands is a 3.1km set trail loop just off Littleton Road, and allows you to enjoy lots of local wildlife and views of the River Irwell, while staying away from the busy city and loud traffic. Dogs should be kept on a lead for this one, though!
Clifton Country Park situated in the Irwell Valley brings the countryside to the heart of the city. There’s a range of open woodlands, meadows and lakeside walks to enjoy, as well as a play area and picnic site.
(Clifton House Rd, Clifton, Salford M27 6NG)
Buile Hill Park is the largest and one of the most popular in Salford and features a children’s play area and a tree trail.
(Eccles Old Rd, Salford M6 8GL)
Greenbooth Reservoir off Greenbooth Road in Norden offers a slightly longer 6.3km circular loop walk around a lake and is perfect for spotting nature, but isn’t great for pushchairs. This one is ideal for longer legs. It can get a bit muddy too, so wellies are definitely recommended!
(Greenbooth reservoir car park, Rochdale, OL12 7TL)
Hollingworth Lake is great for a stroll and is buggy friendly. Up for a challenge? Take a longer walk in the surrounding hills and refresh with a drink from their cafe afterwards, which is still offering a takeaway service.
(Hollingworth Lake, Littleborough, Rochdale OL15 0AQ)
Pennington Flash Nature Reserve is home to over 230 species of birds and offers a range of footpaths around the lake and woodlands, with a variety of short and long walking trails to choose from. Car parking is £1.50 and the site also includes a play area.
(Leigh, WN7 3UG)
Mesnes Park is a ‘jewel nestled on the edge of Wigan town centre’! This site offers pretty gardens, fountains and a play area- great for young families to explore.
(Mesnes Park Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TU)
Queen’s Park is only a few minutes walk from Bolton Town Centre. Stroll along the River Croal or through the woodlands. There’s also a play area and a café.
(Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 4RU)
Moses Gate Country Park is a large nature reserve with miles of scenic woodlands and walks along the waterside. There is also a bird hideout, so shhhh… and get spotting!
(Hall Ln, Farnworth, Bolton BL4 7QS)
Jumbles Reservoir is an easy and flat route ideal for pushchairs and is also recommended for dogs too. It has a small but free car park that you can make use of.
Burrs Country Park is located near the banks of the River Irwell and is home to a variety of different wildlife habitats. Park up for free and take a woodland or riverside walk, or spot the trains pulling into East Lancashire Railway station!
(Burrs Country Park, Woodhill Road (bottom end), Bury, BL8 1DA)
Etherow Country Park is located in Compstall village. Park up for £1 every 2 hours or £3 for the day. The site is home to lots of birds and geese that often hang around the park (probably waiting for crumbs from the café).
Hyde Park has something for all ages and is located near Hyde Town. There’s a good mix of woodland and footpaths which are more ideal for buggies, as well as plenty of open areas and benches.
(15 Clarendon St, Hyde SK14 2EL)
Daisy Nook Country Park sits on the border of Tameside and Oldham and boasts 40 hectares of woodlands, meadows, waterways and a lake. The canal towpath offers pushchair access in some areas. This one makes a great day out. Download their walking guide here.
We know that things are looking a little different this year, but the excitement of Christmas will always stay the same. To help you out over the holidays, we’ve rounded up some of the best activities that you can still enjoy as a family to keep the festive spirit alive!
Getting out and about
Take a stroll around the twinkling MediaCity UK as it’s lit up into a winter wonderland throughout December and grab a takeaway hot chocolate at one of the many cafes situated around the plaza.
Pay a visit to the pop-up Christmas craft market in Eccles Shopping Centre on December 19 for unique gifts and local treats. Car parking for the centre is free to encourage visitors.
Spot the Elves on a special trail through Walkden Town Centre up until December 23. Grab a free map from The Dispensary or Clouds shop and answer festive-themed questions for a chance to win locally sourced prizes.
Look out for the Reindeer Parade Trail situated around Oldham Town. Each sculpture has been specially designed by a local community group and will be hanging around for you to spot and snap up until January 4.
And while you’re there- check out the Winter Wonderland project which has transformed café and shop windows into magical galleries. It’s an art exhibition not to be missed!
Meet Santa and friends in his Grotto at Lancaster Park and Animal Farm for a specially adapted outdoor experience running up until December 24. Children will receive a gift and a letter to write, as well as being able to enjoy all the fun on the farm, such as mini quads, swings, and zips lines. Tickets cost £6 for adults and babies under one and £8 for children and must be booked online.
Get exploring at Moss Bank Park in Bolton. Find much loved Christmas Characters using a map to navigate your way around. Children will win a certificate and a cup of hot chocolate on this Covid-safe outdoor adventure, which costs £3 per pack. Wellies recommended and four-legged friends allowed!
Book onto a Steam Train ride and enjoy some mince pies on East Lancashire Railway. Hop on at Bolton Street Station and take a full tour of the line on December 26, 27 or 28. Adults £13 and children £8.50.
Pay a visit to Santa’s Post Office and let the kids send their letters off at the special post box set up in the Manchester Arndale shopping centre. Print your letter template here and post them up until 12pm on Christmas Eve. Note that letters sent will receive an email reply.
Lightopia has returned to Heaton Park. Enjoy magical trails and immersive light installations after dark. The new route has been adapted to accommodate social distancing. Adults pay £20, children aged 3-16 pay £13 and under 3’s go free. Tickets run up until January 10.
Park up, get the popcorn out, and enjoy a film at the ChristmasCity Drive-In Cinema. Slots cost £40 per car (plus booking fees) and tickets run up until December 31.
Wonder beneath the Christmas light trail at Dunham Massey and discover giant colour changing luminescent sculptures twinkling after dark. Tickets run up until January 10, but are selling fast.
Or embark on a special Peter Rabbit winter adventure activity trail through the grounds. Which friends will you spot? Find items and solve clues to earn a special badge and certificate. Extra £2 on admission to the grounds.
Staying in and get cosy- activity and craft ideas
The Lowry may be closed but they’re offering online downloadable activities for older children. Faina and The Snow Beast audiobook blends storytelling and science and costs just under £6
Jingle all the way! Thread bells onto thick ribbon and tie or glue them onto lolly sticks and make some noise
Write and decorate a special letter to Santa or craft handmade cards to pop in post for family and friends
Create some fake snow sensory play using only baking soda. Add small quantities of water until you get the right consistency. Put into a big tray or box and add toys to dig up. Feeling messy? Why not add some glitter too!
Create your own festive window display at home. Why not cut out some classic paper snowflakes using scissors (the ones we all know and love)
Easy toilet roll and tissue paper trees can be crafted out of items you may already have at home. Here is a slightly easier version.
Set up a DIY magical reindeer food station. Grab oats, seeds, sprinkles… whatever you can find, and let the kids create their own pot to leave out on Christmas Eve for Rudolf and friends
Bake your own cookies (inspiration here) or decorate biscuits with icing and marshmallows to create melted snowmen
Take the most festive family photo that you possibly stage! Pop on your best jumpers, wrap up in tinsel and create some memories. Self-timer comes in handy here!
Track Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. Norad and Google Santa Tracker will both show where in the world he is… and of course, he comes back later if you’re still awake…