Favourite Pram Friendly Walks around Manchester (ish)
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
Our top buggy walks around Manchester feat. Manchester, Trafford, Salford and Cheshire in no particular order (except Dunham is definitely my fave 🥰) I’ve added the local borough so it’s easy to locate the lockdown measures in place!
1. Dunham Massey (Trafford)
The most beautiful place to visit in Autumn, but also our favourite place for a walk most times of the year. Pathed throughout perfect for buggies and scooters/bikes for little ones (only allowed for under 5s) A National Trust property which also has a house and gardens with the main grounds being a deer park. Although there isn’t a playground on the park there are dens and fallen logs throughout, not to mention the sight of deer to keep the little ones entertained. Route ‑ the main path goes up through the centre of the park, if you take a left at the top you pass the pond and stay pretty much mud free throughout, the right hand route is a little more muddy and off the beaten track but more likely to see some deer if you haven’t been able to see any on the main path Parking ‑ pre lockdown parking was £7.00 per car for non NT members (free for NT members). Since lockdown pre booking is essential (tickets go on sale at midnight the Friday for the following week) and is at a cost of £8.00 per person (again free for NT members), however, this cost now includes admission to the gardens which are an added treat to the usual walk. Facilities ‑ there is a main cafe at the entrance, the stables restaurant in the courtyard, a pizza van and ice cream stall. The cafe's have remained open for take-away during the lockdown (Jan 2021), however, the ice cream stall and pizza van have closed. Toilets and baby changing facilities are available in the courtyard and the toilets at the entrance
2. Urmston Meadows/River Mersey (Trafford)
A walk which has been on our doorstep for almost four years, but only found in lockdown 1.0, this walk has now become one of our favourites and one Fiadh and I at least do almost once a week! In the summer the meadows are beautiful and full of butterflies, you may even find the illusive Urmston beach (but shusshhh if you do as us locals like to keep it a secret) and almost always guaranteed to see some horses and ponies on route as there are lots of stables near by. Route ‑ getting on to the Meadows at the end of Meadow Road (opposite the Lord Nelson Pub), follow the path straight until you get to the River Mersey. Following the river you eventually get to now infamous @Riverbankcoffee. After a pit stop either come back on yourself back into urmston, or take a left out of riverbank, then your next left again and come back down through Stretford Meadows. This route brings you out at Newcroft Garden Centre which is lovely for a little browse (genuinely hated garden centres until like two years ago, now I can’t keep away 😳), or, depending on Boris’ mood, can even nip into the Urmston pub for lunch or a drink! **note** this route is all pram friendly but can be muddy in parts, especially in lockdown as the route has become very popular. Also, I don’t normally do the route back through Stretford on my own and only do when with someone else as it’s very quiet! Parking ‑ if not local to Urmston, parking is available on the streets around Meadow Road. Facilities ‑ the riverbank cafe is a gorgeous little coffee shack which has grown in popularity since opening in the first lockdown. Lovely coffee, pastries and muffins but now also serving hot food such as pies and sausage rolls. When not in lockdown, this is Orlaith’s favourite place for a hot chocolate as she can sit in a boat or on a bale of hay! Still open for takeaway in lockdown. Toilets ‑ go before you go unfortunately around here! Or if when out or lockdown, there is a pub at either end where you can nip to the loo ☺️
3. Chorlton Water Park (Manchester)
A walk I have been doing for many years having grown up in the area, but now having a three month and a three year old, this really is a great place to go for a morning or afternoon out. The walk is a reasonably short route around an all pathed man made lake, there’s duck feeding, woodlands, and a playground along the way to make it a bit more fun for the little ones. But in addition, it is actually really pretty and one of my favourite photo op places 🙌🏻 Route ‑ a simple route around the man made lake is flat and easy enough, wide enough to maintain social distancing but also to push the buggy side by side and able to chat with a friend. At the top end is the best place for feeding the ducks. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can access the River Mersey at the top of the lake and head towards Jackson’s Boat Pub and then on for a lap around Sale Water Park. Parking ‑ free parking is available in the car park at the end of Maitland Avenue. This can get quite busy on weekends and especially in the summer, there is parking on the streets surrounding Maitland Avenue, although an alternative is to park at Jackson’s Boat and walk into the park from that direction Facilities ‑ there isn’t a cafe at the park but there is usually an ice cream van (it is compulsory to eat your ice cream sat on the caterpillar), and more recently there has been a coffee truck at the bottom of the entrance (only spotted on weekends so far!) Toilets ‑ there are toilets in the car park but unfortunately not very well maintained, so go before you go!
4. Clifton Country Park (Salford)
I didn’t know the Gruffalo could be found so close to Manchester until very recently! Looking for a new walk to do which was buggy friendly and good for Orlaith also, we found this little gem of a park just over the border from us in Salford. A very similar feel to chorlton water park with a man made lake and pretty much the exact same playground, but with the added feature of wooden sculptures around the lake including the creature with terrible tusks and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.... There is also a fairy trial, access to the River Irwell and a large field with picnic benches for that one day in the summer when it doesn’t rain in Manchester (or Salford 🤣) Route ‑ a flat pathed route around the lake with wooden sculptures to spot along way. There are also a couple of ‘viewing platforms’ which have lovely views across the lake and surrounding woodlands. Parking ‑ there is a medium sized car park which is free. The streets surrounding the park all seemed to be permit or double yellow lines Facilities ‑ there is a cafe (dog friendly) serving hot and cold drinks and cakes/toasted tea cakes situated in the car park. We have only visited in lockdown 2.0 and the cafe was open for takeaway. Toilets ‑ there are toilets next to the cafe but we’re closed in lockdown when we visited, so go before you go!
5. Heaton Park (Manchester)
One of the largest parks in England which is as well known for hosting gigs (and depending on what generation you speak to, Pope John Paul ii's visit in 1982!) as it is for being a great day out with the children, but being on the other side of Manchester I don’t think people from south Manchester, Trafford and Cheshire visit enough. Heaton Park really is worth the 30/40 minute drive over from this side of Manchester ‑ there is a boating lake, two great playgrounds, an animal farm, a land train and donkey rides, and is also home to Treetop Treks and Nets Manchester. In addition, the park is very well pathed throughout and although can be a bit hilly in places, there a numerous routes around the park which are perfect for a buggy walk. Route ‑ we normally park in the Lakeside Carpark, walk round the lake until you pass the cafe and the new adventure playground on your right hand side then head up right to do a lap around the higher part of the park and pass the animal farm and the temple monument. On a clear day the views from here are pretty spectacular Parking ‑ there is lots of parking available (pay and display) with a few different car parks dotted around the different entrances. You can also get the metro straight to the park, on the Altrincham‑Bury line. Facilities ‑ there is the pavilion cafe at the lake which serves hot and cold food, there is also the stables restaurant at the top of the park near the animal farm, both open for takeaway in lockdown. There is also usually an ice cream van and toilet and baby changing facilities at these points.
6. The Carr’s/Styal Woods (Cheshire)
Just past the airport and over the border into Cheshire there is a great walk from The Carr’s in Wilmslow up into Styal Village. The Carr’s itself is a lovely place to visit, a park with the River Bollin running through it with lots of inlets and paddling opportunities on summer days. There is also a large playground next to the carpark and the walk itself brings you through Quarry Bank Mill which is a day out on its own Route ‑ park at the Carr’s car park near the playground and follow the path along the river. Once you’ve reached the top there’s a second car park and sign posts ‑ follow the signs for Styal Village and walk through the woods until you eventually enter the National Trust site of Quarry Bank Mill. Walk through the park and you’ll reach Styal Village. The route is all pathed but may be a little muddy at parts in the woods Parking ‑ there is a car park at the playground in the Carr’s which is pay and display. This car park does tend to get really busy but you can usually find a space if you wait for a while. There is a second car park located at the other end of the park at SK9 4HW Facilities ‑ there is a cafe at the playground in the Carr’s selling takeaway coffee and cake. Once you get to Quarry Bank Mill there is a lovely cafe in the gardens free to enter for NT members, or a second cafe in the courtyard and an ice cream stall. (Please note all facilities at Quarry Bank close on a Monday and Tuesday). If you continue the walk into Styal there is a lovely cafe called Earlam’s in the village which has been open for takeaway during lockdown, and once back in tier 2 the Ship Pub will be open which is lovely for a bite to eat and a drink before the walk back to The Carr’s Toilets ‑ there are toilets at the car park near the playground (20p to access) but are well maintained and clean. Toilets in Quarry Bank and then depending on lockdown restrictions there are toilets in the cafe and pub once you get to Styal Village
7. Monton Loop Line (Salford)
A new walk my cousin has introduced me to along the old railway lines in Monton just over the border from Trafford to Salford. Although this is still a nice walk with a little one, especially along the canal and seeing the barges and longboats, not to mention the famous Monton Lighthouse, I do prefer doing this walk just Fiadh and I (or with a friend) as the walk along the loop in Orlaith’s words can be quite ‘boring’! But the path is flat and wide and a really good for a buggy walk. If you go without the buggy you can cut through worsely woods which makes it a little more exciting for little ones. Route ‑ start at Monton Green and head up the Roe Green Loop line. Keep walking until you pass the remains of the old Worsely Station, and then off to your right down on to Hollyhurst Road which leads on to Worsely Road. Turn left onto Worsely Road and follow the road down until Worsely Village, get on to Bridgewater Canal and follow the canal back into Monton. (You can continue up the loop line all the way into Walkden if you would like a longer walk!) Parking ‑ there is a large free car park situated at Monton Green Facilities ‑ the route starts and ends in Monton which has various cafes and bars/restaurants available for takeaway in lockdown. I have been reliably informed that on the weekend there is usually a coffee truck as well at the start of the route. The walk also goes through Worsely Village which has lots of options for a drink/coffee. Toilets ‑ there are no actual toilets available on the walk, but if not in lockdown, there’s lots of cafes/pubs/restaurants available in Monton/Worsely