Outdoor activities

Wave opens at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
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 top 5 picks

  • 1. Wray Castle

    Wray Castle, Lake District attractions, National Trust

    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

    Dunham Massey
    National Trust

    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

    Image courtesy GMCC

    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

    Huge Wooden sculpture by KAWS.

    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. Busaba Eathai Mancheser

    Bowls of curry at Busaba Eathai.

    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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Thick Richard Swear School
Theatre 20 October 2016–22 October 2016, from £8.50

Swear School at Waterside Arts Centre

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Exhibitions 20 October 2016–23 October 2016, from £10

Gothic Manchester Festival

Design City Film Season
Cinema 12 October 2016–23 October 2016, from £7.00

Design City Film Season

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Literature 7 October 2016–23 October 2016, from £5

Manchester Literature Festival 2016

Festivals 19 October 2016–24 October 2016, from £3.00

Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival

Theatre 5 October 2016–29 October 2016, from £9.50

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Science Showdown
Families 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

Manchester Science Festival free family events

HAND 01.1_1
Exhibitions 8 September 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

HAND CRAFT at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

The Chronarium.
Exhibitions 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

The Chronarium Sleep Lab at Manchester Arndale

Members of Public Service Broadcasting in space
Exhibitions 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

Manchester Science Festival 2016

Theatre 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, from £2.00

Women in Comedy Festival

Snowdrift by Edward Onslow Ford
Exhibitions 10 June 2016–31 October 2016, FREE

Elizabeth Price Curates at The Whitworth