If strolling around a museum or gallery seems a bit too passive, how does swinging through trees, whizzing down real snow or climbing a vertical ice wall grab you? The city’s packed with exhilarating activities designed to entertain and excite you - and they’re all within a stone’s throw of one of our Manchester hotels.
Activities in Manchester
There’s lashings of outdoorsy things to do in Manchester to really make the most of better weather days. From watersports and bird watching to a spot of tree climbing, read our guide to the best outdoor activities in Manchester.
If it’s not a holiday without some kind of sporting activity, head to Denton Golf Club. Six miles from the city centre off the M60 Manchester Ring Road, playing all 18 holes will take you through some stunning parkland. The club offers visiting golfers a warm welcome - and a bit of a challenge. Expect tight fairways, plenty of ditches and a particularly tricky eighth hole.
If golf sounds a bit sedate, what about stand-up paddle boarding, windsurfing or kayaking? Seven miles south of Manchester at the beautiful Sale Water Park there’s grassy meadows, riverside walks and plenty of bird-life. In the middle there’s a lake, and it’s here you’ll find the Trafford Watersports Centre, offering instructor-led taster sessions of whatever water-based pursuit takes your fancy, from around £35 per person. Or, if you’re feeling brave, you could hire canoes and take to the water alone.
Test your head for heights at the Aerial Extreme high ropes course at the Trafford Centre. You’ll feel like you’re deep in a forest as you swing, jump and climb over 38 obstacles 27ft-high in the air, amid the treetops. There’s an easy course lower down for young adventurers and then a higher, more challenging white-knuckle adventure, complete with two zip wires.
Lace up your hiking boots and head to Chorlton Water Park, Manchester's first designated local nature reserve. Great for wildlife lovers, you’ll be amazed at the flora and fauna on offer in its flower meadows, from kingfishers to orchids. With lovely paths perfect for jogging or cycling, you could easily get lost in the woodlands of this 170-acre site.
Looking for an adrenaline fix the weather can’t spoil? Manchester has plenty of indoor ways to get your heart racing.
Whizz down the UK’s longest indoor ski slope at Chill Factore in the Trafford Park area of Manchester - it even has real snow! Book snowboarding or ski lessons, or skip the instruction with a Snow Park Pass. Just £10 an hour, the Pass gives you free rein to have a go on super fun rides with no skill required whatsoever. Race each other on sledges, bomb downhill on donut-shaped tyres, or pretend you’re in the Winter Olympics on the luge. Our Manchester Trafford Centre West hotel is just walking distance from all the fun, too.
If snow’s not cold enough for you, what about ice? The Vertical Chill Ice Wall at the Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports store on Deansgate has a wall of real ice so you can pretend you’re trying to scale a real snowy mountain. Climbers have to be over 14 and it costs about £50, but you get 40 minutes on the wall, with all equipment and tuition included.
Staying at our Premier Inn Manchester Handforth hotel in Wilmslow? Head to the Energi Trampoline Park where an hour of jumping will cost you under £11. You could even take part in a fun fitness session or take the kids to one of their trampoline discos.
Top made out of rubber? Bottom made out of spring? If it’s not, an hour at Bounce Central in Salford will soon sort that out. A 15-minute walk from our Manchester (Swinton) hotel, you’ll find 90 trampolines of all different shapes and sizes just waiting to be jumped on.
Whether you’re booking a history-packed tour or downloading a map and going it alone, there are some great walks you can do around Manchester.
If you’re new in town, taking a walking tour is a great way to get your bearings. Even if you already know Manchester like the back of your hand, we challenge you not to find out some fun new facts on the Free Manchester Walking Tour. Meeting at 11am at the Alan Turing Memorial in Sackville Gardens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, tours run in all weathers and take about three hours. You can book using EventBrite, or just turn up! But bear in mind that while they’re free, the guide relies on tips to keep him going. It’s worth it though, for the perfect blend of history, popular culture and hilarious anecdotes.
Tramping through beautiful open spaces may not immediately spring to mind when you’re planning your Manchester city break, but the Green Corridor walking route will make you think again. The route links up the city’s prettiest streets with the 31 Manchester parks that have been awarded with Green Flag status (the nationwide benchmark for parks with excellent facilities). Follow the distinctive green arrows you’ll see dotted around the centre to join one of 14 walking routes, crammed with instagrammable moments. Each one averages four miles, so wear comfy shoes.
With its one-way system and vehicle traffic, cycling in the city centre can be a challenge for visitors. However, go off the beaten track and you’ll find some lovely cycle lanes that get you out in the fresh air and let you soak up the sights, too.
For starters, there’s the Fallowfield Loop, a traffic-free route that takes you through Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Fallowfield and Levenshulme (with its popular street market) to Gorton and Fairfield in Manchester. At eight miles long, it’s the longest urban cycleway in Britain. But while it’s a scenic ride, an even prettier route has to be the Bridgewater Canal cycle path - totally flat, it can be enjoyed by riders of all abilities.