Parks and Gardens

Creative Tourist

Green space in the urban jungle can be hard to find – so we’ve rounded up some of our favourite secret gardens, city parks and patches of outdoor space in Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and beyond. Go green: read our top parks picks below.

Our top picks

Sefton Park

Sefton Park, Mossley Hill Drive, Liverpool, L17 1AJ - Visit now

Liverpudlians take great pride in the green spaces of their city, and Sefton Park is always bustling with groups of friends enjoying the sun, children playing tennis, or families taking a Sunday stroll. Of all the parks in Liverpool, Sefton is arguably the best known and most loved of them all.

Sefton Park
Liverpool City Council

Tatton Park

Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6QN - Visit now

“Park” seems too humble a term for everything Tatton Park is and does. Occupying over 1,000 acres of land in Cheshire, the estate could more appropriately be called a pleasure garden, much h like the outdoor spaces used for entertainment that were popular in the 18th century, Tatton offers a range of diversions across its vast grounds. It also showcases the blend of rural geographies that once caught the attention of author Elizabeth Gaskell, who grew up in nearby Knutsford. In her 1866 novel, Wives and Daughters, Gaskell describes Tatton (re-named Cumnor Towers for the purposes of fiction), as seen through the eyes of young Molly Gibson: “the melting away of exquisite cultivation into the wilderness had an inexplicable charm.”

Percy the Park Keeper - The Secret Path in the Gardens, Tatton Park

Lyme

Lyme, Disley, Stockport, Cheshire, SK12 2NR - Visit now

Lyme Park is a grand country house, gardens and estate close to Stockport – and something of a National Trust beauty. The Grade I-listed house dates back (in parts) to the 16th century, the formal gardens offer a pleasant meander, while the sprawling grounds include a 15-acre deer park and an odd tower-on-the-hill (called the Cage; it was once a hunting lodge but has also served as a prison). We recommend the courtyard cafe and, if you have kids, the excellent Crow Wood adventure playground. Two cafes and two shops round out the offer.

Julie Anne Workman via Wikimedia Commons

Stanley Park Blackpool

Stanley Park Blackpool, West Park Drive, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY3 9HQ - Visit now

It was no small feat for Stanley Park to be voted in the best park in the UK in 2017 by the Fields in Trust Awards. But going on to win the award again 2 years later sealed Stanley Park’s place at the top of the nations favourite parks. And it is a well-deserved title – with attractions from lakes, to cricket grounds, to an art deco café the park has much to recommend it. No wonder 2 million people visit each year!

Stanley Park
Courtesy of Friends of Stanley Park

Walkden Gardens

Walkden Gardens, Derbyshire Road, Sale, Greater Manchester, M33 3EL - Visit now

Set apart from the Manchester suburb of Sale’s more obvious distractions is a garden whose very unexpectedness is part of its charm. Known locally as The Secret Garden, Walkden Gardens echoes its counterparts in children’s novels: happened upon for the first time, it can feel at once too extensive and too unreal to be hidden by nondescript suburban streets. Fittingly, the gardens are a gift. Harry Walkden, a noted hybridist of golden rod and orchids, left them as a bequest to Sale Borough Council, with the stipulation that they be put to use for the public good. The current – entirely voluntary – Friends of Walkden Gardens and their predecessors have honoured this stipulation in ground and vision.

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.

RHS Garden Bridgewater

RHS Garden Bridgewater, Occupation Road (Off Leigh Road), Worsley, Salford, Greater Manchester, M28 2GU - Visit now

Are you looking for a family day out in Manchester where you can be at one with nature? After four years of digging, building and planting, the spectacular 154-acre RHS Bridgewater Garden in Salford opened to the public in 2021, and continues to beckon outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

RHS GARDEN BRIDGEWATER
Image: Harris Bugg Studio

Heaton Park

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

This 600-acre park is the largest in Manchester and attracts over a million visitors each year. It features a boating lake, animal centre, golf course, while hosting a variety of events and activities.

Castlefield Viaduct

Castlefield Viaduct, Castlefield Viaduct, Manchester, M3 4PU - Visit now

Although the plans are yet to be fully realised, this urban park in the sky is very much open for visitors, who can explore part of the structure and find out more about the viaduct’s heritage, the city’s long relationship with plants and trees and also learn urban gardening tips

Castlefield Viaduct by JJ.

Grosvenor Park

Grosvenor Park, Vicars Lane, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 1QQ - Visit now

Overlooking the River Dee to the south of the city, Grosvenor Park is one of Chester’s best-loved green spaces and the perfect place to enjoy the views, learn a bit of history and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Grosvenor Park, Chester
Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre - All rights reserved by Chester Performs

Tegg’s Nose Country Park

Tegg’s Nose Country Park, Buxton Old Rd, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 0AP - Visit now

Located on the western edge of the Peak District, just outside of Macclesfield, Tegg’s Nose Country Park is a popular destination for families, walkers and outdoor sports enthusiasts alike. Tegg’s Nose itself — a 380 metre high hill —  is the obvious attraction here, offering views out over Macclesfield Forest and across the Cheshire plain.

Teggs Nose

Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Clarkehouse Road, Sheffield, Yorkshire, S10 2LN - Visit now

Once an escape from the industrial smog of the city, Sheffield Botanical Gardens now offer a quiet retreat from the chaos of everyday life. Find a secluded spot to read a book, take a group of friends for a picnic – however you choose to visit, the Gardens’ 19 acres offer plenty of space to unwind. There’s also a 90-metre-long glass roofed pavilion, humid with exotic plants, and a lesser-spotted bear pit tucked away in one corner. Two live bears used to live here – now, a lone bronze statue stands in their stead; shinier, more moral and less likely to bite.

Image courtesy of Sarah Abbott.

Dunham Massey

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.

Dunham Massey
National Trust
Society Manchester
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