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Parks and Recreation – the best parks across Manchester to boost your wellbeing

Written by James Young.
Posted July 2, 2024.
Mayfield Park is one of the new parks in Manchester city centre
Mayfield Park

Sometimes it’s good to escape the hustle of the city and get a little closer to nature. According to the NHS, people who spend at least two hours a week in nature experience better health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who do not visit nature at all during an average week. Although parks in Manchester city centre are limited (Piccadilly Gardens is not a garden), there are plenty of great green places to get to that give you a wellness boost close and they don’t all need a trip on public transport. Here are some of our favourites.

St John’s Gardens

The perfect green space if you live in Union, St John’s Gardens is right around the corner and it got plenty of sunny patches for those who crave the sun on their skin and for those with fairer skin, it gets a lot of shade. Hidden behind the Everyman Cinema, the garden is somewhat of a secret if you’re not local, so it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle of Quay Street and Deansgate.

Symphony Park is located on Circle Square
Symphony Park

Symphony Park – Circle Square

Symphony Park is one of the rare patches of greenery in the city centre that gets sun most of the day. The perfect place to catch some rays on the steep steps. It’s also home to some of the best places for food and drink in the city with Federal, Onda and North Bar all surrounding the embankments.

Angel Meadows

Manchester is somewhat limited for city centre green space, but another great option is Angel Meadows. Down just past Victoria Station, a little off the beaten track this one will pretty much just be taken up by locals. The good thing is when you’ve finished soaking up the sun, you’re only a couple of minutes walk from The Marble Arch Inn which is a wicked little pub and brewery. 

Platt Fields park is located in South Manchester
Platt Fields

Platt Fields – Fallowfield

Popular with students and locals, Platt Fields has facilities such as tennis courts, a BMX track, a five a side football pitch and is one of Manchester’s biggest public parks. With plenty of activities and things to do, you could easily spend all day here.

From the city centre, catch the 143 or 111 bus which takes you straight there.

Mayfield Park – Piccadilly

Not as big as the others on the list but far more convenient, Mayfield Park is located two minutes from Piccadilly station and is the first park in the city centre for more than 100 years. The park features 120,000 shrubs and plants and is all built around the River Medlock – one of Manchester’s founding rivers.

Peel Park – Salford

Walkable from Union and easy to get to on the 50 or other bus routes, Peel Park is next to the Salford Uni main campus and was one of the first public parks to be opened in the country “for the enjoyment and recreation of the public without charge or restriction.”

Salford Museum and Art Gallery is also close by which often has interesting exhibitions and events on.

Heaton Park is located in Prestwich
Heaton Park

Heaton Park – Prestwich

Home of Parklife festival and a site for concerts, Heaton Park is a whopping 600 acres and is on the site of a grade I listed building, Heaton Hall.

Some of the highlights include an 18-hole golf course with a driving range, a boating lake, an animal farm, woodlands, ornamental gardens and a volunteer-run tram system and museum.

As well as being famous for concerts, Heaton Park also has other events throughout the year such as a food and drink festival and a festival of nature.

From the city centre, catch the tram on the Bury line and the park has its own stop.

Alexandra Park – Whalley Range

Located just off Princess Road, Alexandra Park recently was re-developed at a cost of £5 million with funding bringing the original landscape and community facilities back to life.

The park was first opened to the public in 1870 and has a full-size football pitch that can be booked out alongside a cricket square and tennis courts. There are also community rooms for hire and a cafe open Sunday-Tuesday.

From the city centre, get on the 85 bus that goes to Chorlton.