Wave by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper. Courtesy 14-18 NOW and YSP. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images.

Outdoor Activities

Creative Tourist

Ah, the great outdoors: all that fresh air, rosy cheeks and innocent entertainment. If you’re tired of city living, head outside – and there’s no better place to begin, thanks to our guide to interesting, unusual and distinctly cultural outdoor events and outdoor activities. From film festivals in the Lake District to art biennials in the gardens of stately homes, as well as the UK’s finest sculpture park over in that there Yorkshire, it’s all here.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Wray Castle

    Wray Castle, Low Wray, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0JA - Visit now

    This mock-gothic castle sits imperiously on the shore of Lake Windermere, far from the crowds. Built for a retired Liverpool surgeon with ideas of grandeur, he crammed every architectural feature he could think of into the brief and got the lot – a portcullis, turrets, arrow slots, mock ruins in the garden and even secret passageways and escape routes to and from the master bedroom. It is marvellous in a bonkers sort of way and has stunning interiors and grounds.

  • 2. Dunham Massey

    National Trust

    Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Greater Manchester, WA14 4SJ - Visit now

    For a slice of the country that’s close to home. The National Trust’s most popular property, Dunham Massey, is just a few miles outside Altrincham, set in beautiful parkland, and close to favourite pub The Swan with Two Nicks.

  • 3. Heaton Park

    Heaton Park, Middleton Road, Higher Blackley, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M25 2SW - Visit now

    Heaton Park’s Temple – a small circular structure with a breast-esque dome and Tuscan columns, designed in 1800 – was built on the highest point in Manchester. Scale the hill it sits on and you can see (and be seen) for quite a distance. It gives a unique view of the green fells that surround the city, as well as being an iconic spot: Heaton’s Temple was featured in none other than the 1981 TV series, Brideshead Revisited.

  • 4. Yorkshire Sculpture Park

    Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, Yorkshire, WF4 4LG - Visit now

    Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a day trip in itself – pack kids (if you’ve got them, don’t go stealing someone else’s), a picnic, a camera and go exploring the art and landscape at this stunning gallery beneath the sky.

     

  • 5. Formby Beach

    By Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK (Formby beach) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    Formby Beach, Victoria Rd, Formby, Liverpool, L37 1LJ - Visit now

    This National Trust-owned nature reserve on the Mersey coast is a thing of diverse beauty. Red squirrels a-gamboling in the pine forest? Check. Rolling sand dunes that act as a border betwixt sea and sky? Check. Vast, flat expanse of beach? Check. Though Formby gets chocka on a sunny day, its miles and miles of beach makes it easy to leave the madding crowd far behind. Car parking on site; Mersey Rail station a mile or so down the road. No cafes or shops (bring a picnic. And a bucket and spade).

Things to do right now

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Cinema 15–18 September 2019, from £5.50

MIF19: Sunset Boulevard at HOME

Visual Arts 20 September 2018–19 September 2019, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

Red Dust Road at HOME
Literature 11–21 September 2019, from £10.00

Red Dust Road at HOME

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry
Theatre 13–21 September 2019, from £12.50

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry

Cinema 13–22 September 2019, from £9

The Shock of the Future at HOME

MIF19 David Lynch at HOME Manchester International Festival
Cinema 6 July–29 September 2019, FREE

MIF19: David Lynch at HOME

Exhibitions 6 April–29 September 2019, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Rights of the Child at Quarry Bank