The 5 Best Picnic Spots Using A Travelcard

Where exactly are the best picnic spots in Manchester?

Having a day out needn’t be expensive. Make some sandwiches, grab your favourite people and head off on an adventure. Use nature trails, play areas and wide open spaces to create your own fun and you won’t have to spend much more than a few pennies while you’re there...unless you want to.

Simply invest in a Group DaySaver travelcard and you won’t even have to worry about car parking. Who knows what you’ll find at these great picnic spots? Some you’ll be familiar with, others will be a whole new discovery. Enjoy!

An Old Favourite

Boating lake, Heaton park

Renowned as one of the largest municipal parks in Europe, if you are looking for somewhere to stretch your legs, there’s a massive 600 acres of space here at Heaton Park. Wander amongst the woodlands, let the kids loose in the ornamental gardens or take a boat out on the lake before picking a spot to picnic and watch the world go by.

If you’re visiting during August, don’t forget to bring your bucket and spade to use at the giant beach area. Round off the day with a treasure hunt, ending up at The Stables or The Pavilion eateries for an ice cream as a prize.

Get to Heaton Park using First Bus route no. 135.


Don’t Forget The Ducks

Etherow Country Park and Nature Reserve

Get back to nature at Etherow Country Park and Nature Reserve. Pop into the Visitor Centre on arrival to collect a booklet full of self-guided nature trails, outlining some of the flora and fauna to look out for as you go.

A circular walk will take you along the river, through the woodland and back around the Keg Pool with plenty of picnic benches along the way. Stop for a while at the weir but don’t forget to feed the ducks...and moorhens, little grebes, coots and swans. Oats, sweetcorn and grapes are a healthier alternative to bread.

Then trek back to the cafe at the Visitors’ Centre in time for a cuppa before heading home.

Use Stagecoach Bus no. 384 to get to Compstall village, adjacent to the park.

Take The High Road

Stalybridge Country Park

On the edge of the Peak District, Stalybridge Country Park provides riverside walks, valley treks, reservoirs and open countryside. High or low, you’ll be spoilt for choice for a picnic spot.

Take a hike to the top of Wild Bank where a stunning view spattered with hovering hawks will be your reward.  Or stay on the flat, buggy-friendly valley paths to spot rabbits, weasels and hares darting through the undergrowth, and herons, dragonflies and frogs in the many ponds.

First Bus route no. 348 and Stotts bus no. 343 will take you to Stalybridge Country Park.

Step Back in Time

Dunham Massey Parks


You don’t need to be a National Trust member to visit Dunham Massey - you can still  pay to enter the house and formal gardens to get a real taste of its 300-year history. However, with so much more to see and do for free in the grounds and woodland, there’s really no need to venture inside.

Build a den or climb a tree so the kids can tick off some of the 50 Things to do Before You’re 11¾ list. Good paths make the grounds accessible for all. Throughout August, there’s even a chance to meet the park rangers to find out about the deer who roam freely throughout the park. Just remember to be careful where you lay your picnic blanket!

Dunham Massey can be reached using Network Warrington’s route no.5.

A Bridge Too Far?

Moses Gate Country Park

Mix nature with manmade pleasures at Moses Gate Country Park. Watch the wildlife up close at the bird hide before taking a stroll down to Prestolee Lock (Nob End) where a giant Meccano bridge awaits to cross you over the Manchester, Bury and Bolton Canal.

Take time out to eat at one of the Meccano picnic tables before heading back to the large playground. An abundance of wildlife, fishing and canoe lakes mean that with or without the kids in tow, there’s plenty to keep everyone amused.

First Bus route nos. 524, 37, 22 and 8 stop next to Moses Gate Country Park.



Wherever your picnic takes you, you’ll be sure of some al fresco fun so start planning your day out now. After a long but enjoyable day walking, watching, feeding and playing, head back to the bus and let the driver take the strain as you hand over your Travelcard and head home for a well-earned rest.


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