Park it!

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This definitely is Manchester although there is no rain, clear blue skies and the SUN is out! AND it’s October! We have been out and about checking out the local parks – long walks, lots of photos and tea and cake along the way. Here is the best, and worst Greater Manchester has to offer (or at least here are the ones we have visited) get your skates on and try somewhere new this weekend!

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Worsley loop line is close to home for us, beautiful, peaceful and traffic free. It used to be the old railway line and is now a smooth track running from Monton through Worsley and up to Walkden. The loop can mainly be accessed via staircases along the way although there is a slope where the station used to be where Worsley Road meets Greenleach Lane which is much more buggy friendly. The loop line is used by dog walkers, cyclists, runners, families and buggies. It runs through Worsley Woods and Beasley Green with lots of scenic places to stop along the way including Old Warke Dam and The Aviary. Although there is no cafe along the way there is the fabulous Blind Pig in Monton which is very buggy friendly (this venue has been used by NCT bumps and babies used before now).

http://www.parkrun.co.uk                                      @parkrunuk               @worsleyparkrun

http://www.theblindpigmonton.com.                         @theblindpig

http://www.salford.gov.uk/worsleywoods.htm           #worsleywoods

There are play areas within Worsley Woods and also on Roe Green. I would also highly recommend Worsley Old Hall which is very nearby – it is family friendly, dog friendly with a beautiful huge garden, outdoor seating, good food and great staff – a brilliant place for morning meet ups (they even have prosecco on the breakfast menu). Parkrun uses the loopline on Saturday mornings and there is a route which is suitable for running buggies on the flat.

Www.brunningandprice/worsleyoldhall.com

@worsleyoldhall

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Longford Park is a long term favourite of ours with two play areas, a small area for animals and a cafe serving great sandwiches and cakes. Longford Park is on the border of Stretford and Chortlon and also has tennis courts, gardens and vast grassy spaces for kicking a ball around on. One of the play areas has recently been updated and both are well maintained. The park is a short walk from Stretford tram stop and also a short walk into Chorlton – we love it here, caters to all age groups.

http://www.friendsoflongfordpark.org.uk                  #Longfordpark

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Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield was a huge disappointment when we visited last week. The play areas were poorly maintained, and the equipment itself was not great. Bins were used but overflowing and needed to be emptied, there was lots of litter. I have to admit the last time I was at Platt Fields was watching Ian Brown at Parklife festival several years ago, but I was really disappointed with the general upkeep of the park when we went and we will not be going.

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When we left Platt Fields we went to a Whitworth Park on Oxford Road. This is in much better condition, well cared for and with a good play area for children. The double swing they have was great fun – and that was just for the adults! There is an outdoor gym, and lots of seating for picnics. This is not a huge park but is very beautiful and if you get there early enough in the morning three is free parking in the side streets. The beauty of this park is that it spills int The Whitworth Art Gallery and you can access the Gallery from the park – they become part of each other.

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The Gallery often has free children’s Art activities on which incorporate the gardens and it has an amazing cafe. The cafe is glass walled and spans out into the park – a very beautiful setting for a cracking Apple Danish and they do decaf tea. See my blog about the Whiteworth sensory sessions for babies here https://notjustritasmother.com/2015/09/30/sensory-city/

Www.whitworthpark.co.uk       #whitworthpark

http://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk         @whitworthart

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Wythenshawe Park in the south of the city is a great open space with a decent play area for kids – there is also a community farm which is a fabulous resource. If you live nearby this is something you may want to get involved with. As if is a community farm, you should check opening times before you go if you want to visit. The cafe has a lovely outside space and caters for children – the ladies toilets are the most sparkly outdoor loos I have ever been in (can’t speak for the mens). The only downside to Wythenshawe is that a lot of the paths are muddy / grassy and so for longer walks you may be better carrying a baby in a sling rather than using a buggy.

Www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200073/parks_playgrounds_and_open_spaces/2242/wythenshawe_park

#wythenshawepark

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In the north of the city is the sprawling and beautiful Heaton Park – it’s quite hilly which can be good for long walks / runs if you are more adventurous. There are all kinds of activities available at Heaton Park which are advertised outside the cafe and updated each month. You can try everything from buggy bootcamp to yoga from donkey grooming to post-natal fitness (see my blog here https://notjustritasmother.com/2015/09/26/top-7-tips-for-exercise-with-babies/)
There is a play area and a cafe which is accessible for lots of buggies and sells great chocolate cake. The house is under renovation and due to open again this autumn. The view across Manchester on a clear day are spectacular and there is also a garden centre and stables. The park is easy to get to via the tram or there is free parking if you are early – or £2 later on in the day. Heaton Park is part of the #parklives initiative where all activities put on in a variety of parks across Manchester are free – check it out here http://www.parklives.co.uk

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/heatonpark                 #heatonpark

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A little further afield are Tatton Park and Dunham Massey – both held by the National Trust and so they are not free unless you are members of the NT. Car parking is £5 and on top of this there are additional costs if you want to eg go into the house at Dunham. Both estates are incredibly beautiful and well worth a visit. During autumn time the changing of the leaves is magnificent at Dunham with long stretches through the trees for children to walk down and explore. There are lots of deer around across the estate and there is a cafe and shop in the visitors centre. I would recommend a hot chocolate! Personally I would carry Rita in a sling at Dunham rather than using a buggy  and it I’d definitely worth checking out the Christmas programme of activities For children and families

Tatton Park has a farm which is open for visitors throughout the year, again in would check the opening times before you go. There is a great adventure playground for children and a decent cafe with great scones. Again there are lots of deer to spot and great walks throughout the estate and an Old Tudor Hall which you can visit. Again there is a Christmas programme of events including Father Christmas. I would recommend both Dunham and Tatton for lovely family walks as the leaves are changing colour. To keep the cost down, you can just pay parking and not go into the house exhibitions etc. For more information on the house exhibitions and what currently have on, please visit the relevant websites as shown below.

http://www.tattonpark.org.uk                                                 @tatton_park

Www.nationaltrust.org.uk/Dunham-Massey/                @dunhammasseyNT

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Burrs Country Park in Bury is great for a walk and also has a wise variety of activities available including kayaking, orienteering, climbing, raft building – if you want to do any of these then you will need to book in advance and check out age restrictions etc
There is a cafe at the park and the dish to try is not cake for once, but black pudding! There is even a bunkhouse you can stay in overnight if you are making use of the activity centre – not great for babies but brilliant for families with older children! There is also a pub near to the car park – Brown Cow Pub with a small playground for children. Run local takes place her on Sunday mornings and is free – no excuses!

http://www.burrs.org.uk           #burrscountrypark         @activityburrs

http://www.runlocal.co.uk        @grt_run_local

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Sale and Chorlton Water parks are connected via the banks of the Mersey and provide a lovely walk. Jackson’s boat pub is just over the bridge on the other side of the river and serves food and has a children’s playground (the car park can be reached via the M60). Sale water park has The Boathouse restaurant bar and grill but in all honesty I have never been there and so can’t comment on what it’s like! Chorlton Water Park has a playground and a beautiful view of the sunset on the right day with a clear sky. There is a tea and coffee van but no permanent cafe. @pramactive takes place here during the week and the pathways are good enough to push your buggy around.  There are lots of picnic tables for a packed lunch and there are sometimes activities on the water which you can get involved with – more so at Sale Water Park.

Www.manchester.gov.uk/directory_record/89200/chorlton_water_park        @friendsofcwp

Www.jacksonsboatsale.co.uk             @jacksons_boat

http://www.theboathousesale.co.uk     @theboathousesale

This weekend we will be trying out Alexandra Park which is close to Whalley Range. This vast park has a lake and a cafe from tea-hive (www.teahive.co.uk). There is play area for children and wide walkways for buggies. I will report back about cake when we have been.

The last place I want to mention (although I am aware there are so, so many more) is Delamere Forest. It’s about a 40 minute drive from. Manchester but well worth it. There are several car parks depending on what you are looking for – walking / running / cycling. There are activities for children eg The Gruffalo Trail, in addition they have cycle hire and Go Ape. There is a cafe with decent tea and great flapjacks. The forestry commission puts on workshops for children eg fire building / how to build a den – places for these sessions need to be booked in advance. There is a train station in the heart of the forest, park runs, tough runners and on top of all of this it’s a fabulous place to just go for a walk – we love it.

Www.visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/Delamere-forest-p32501        #delamereforest

Www.foresty.gov.uk

Want to find out how Nutribullet did more than help me get my 5 a day? Read this and discover  how it saved my sanity! 

https://notjustritasmother.com/2015/09/25/how-nutribullet-saved-my-sanity/

Follow me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notjustritasmother

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3 thoughts on “Park it!

  1. That’s a great list, I haven’t tried all of them. Although admittedly the Fallowfield one was years ago when I was a student. I’m just outside Manchester in East Cheshire but not too far.
    Poynton Coppice is a beautiful walk with free parking (although no cafe) and Baby wearing is better there.
    Also Alderley Edge have some great National Trust walks and walled garden. And Bramhall Park is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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