Things to do in Manchester: 5 best winter walks for all the family this Christmas

Winter walking is the ultimate free activity this Christmas – here are some of our favourites.

Christmas is a time for indulgence, cosy nights in with the family and taking a well-earned break before the new year arrives. But there are only so many Christmas films you can watch – it gets to the point where it’s time to brush the cobwebs off and work off some of those mince pies.

If this sounds familiar, then taking a walk in one of Greater Manchester’s parks is the ideal winter activity this Christmas holiday. The region is blessed with some fantastic nature spots, located throughout the region and easily accessible.

We’ve picked out a selection of Greater Manchester’s best walks with plenty of facilities.

Chorlton Water Park

This nature reserve is located in the heart of South Manchester and is easily accessible via metro, with the nearest stop being Mauldeth Road.

The park is set around a large man-made lake, surrounded by a network of paths and walking routes. It has a playground to keep the little ones entertained, as well as toilet facilities and a cafe that opens on weekends.

If you’re looking to do a longer walk, there is a route along the River Mersey that connects to the neighbouring Sale Water Park. This 40-minute route may be unsuitable if you’re walking with a pram, but there’s a child and dog-friendly pub along the way called Jackson’s Boat.

Daisy Nook

Located in Failsworth, Oldham, Daisy Nook has several walking paths that lead through woodland, old canal routes and wildflower meadows. It also has a busy network of bridle paths, for anyone who wants to sit and watch the horses go by.

The start of walking routes around Daisy Nook country park, along the disused Hollingworth canal. Credit: Manchester World

The area is home to a garden centre that also has its own cafe and Italian restaurant Sul Lago, which is a favourite among Manchester City players.

Clifton Country Park

This 48-acre park in Salford is a must for any local history buffs and explorers. It contains the remains of the Wet Earth Colliery, which was first opened in 1740 and was then the first mine to be sunk under the River Irwell.

Aside from the historical sites, there is also a playground, climbing boulder, cycle route, arboretum and sculpture trail. There is also a cafe and toilets that are both open daily from 9:30am to 3:30pm.

Hollingworth Lake

Hollingworth Lake in Littleborough, Rochdale, has been a popular beauty spot since Victorian times. Visitors can walk around the 118-acre lake, which is the easiest route at about 4km. It has been listed as “accessible” on the Walks with Wheelchairs website.

There is a playground and a Pavilion cafe, where you can stop for some refreshment. If you want something more hearty, there are also a couple of waterside pubs along the route.

Burrs Country Park

This is another one for history lovers and enthusiasts of Manchester’s industrial past as this park was once home to the Burrs Mill. The park’s oldest building, the Brown Cow pub, is one of the only buildings still standing, but it is a good place to stop for some refreshment and take in the views.

Located alongside the River Irwell in Bury, Burrs Country Park also has a free car park, a playground, picnic tables and the Lamppost cafe, which is open 10am-4pm, Wednesday-Sunday.