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Manchester is a wonderful city, but sadly unlike London it is not renowned for its green spaces. Thanks to its industrial heritage parks in the inner areas of the city are small, few and far between. Thankfully, Heaton Park is nearby, just a few miles outside the city centre, easily accessible from inner areas via A roads and from the M60 ring road.
According to Wikipedia, Heaton Park is one of the largest municipal parks in Europe. It was given to the city by the Earl of Wilton at the turn of the 20th Century and has been managed by the local authority ever since. They do an excellent job in my opinion of keeping the park clean, safe, attractive and of providing a wide range of facilities and events.
At the heart of the park is Heaton Hall, an impressive Grade 1 listed manor house. Unfortunately it is currently closed and out of use and will be for the next few years while renovations and upgrades are carried out. Its still worth a visit though as its lovely even fro the outside and as it sits at the highest point of the park the views of Greater Manchester and the surrounding countryside are spectacular. On a clear day you can see for miles.
There are lots of facilities for children and young families. There is a little farm where you can meet the animals including horses. There are several different play areas, all of which have fairly modern play equipment and the children I see always look like they're having a good time! There's a little train that trundles around the park during the summer and in the school holidays and of course you can always feed the ducks at the lake or even hire a boat for an hour.
I visit the park as dog walker, and my dogs absolutely love it. Because the park is so vast you can pretty much do a completely different walk every day of the year so there's no chance of getting bored doing the same route every day. I still occasionally discover a new path or a bit of woodland I didn't know about before. Dogs are allowed off lead but must be under control and must be put on a lead if requested by a member of the park's staff. As everywhere, you must clean up after your dog or pay a fine, and you aren't allowed to be in sole charge of more than 4 dogs at once.
The park feels very safe, even when you're on one of the less popular footpaths or when you're in a deserted area. The whole park is fenced and gated and the gates close at dusk every day (worth checking sunset times online before you go so you don't get locked in! There are always staff around, more in the summer obviously when there are more people around and when all the facilities such as cafes, boat hire, the train etc. but even in the winter there are cars that slowly patrol the various areas of the park.
There are several large car parks, you have to pay to park at peak times (weekends, school holidays) but its free at less popular times. There are also lots of residential streets around the park where you can park for free.
So if you live in the Manchester area and you haven't visited yet, you really should! Its great for a walk, a picnic, a day out with the children, a bike ride, a good place to go for a run, oh and there's a golf course too but I'm afraid I know nothing about golf so I can't really review that, sorry!
Heaton Park is located in Prestwich which is in Manchester and whenever we get some nice weather me and my boyfriend always go up to Heaton Park for a day out. It is completely free to get in as are most country parks, as they are owned by the council. It has a few entrances, but the one we always go in is where the main car parks are. It usually costs £1 to park all day which is really good value, I don't mind paying that, but today when we went it was so busy there weren't enough car parking spaces, it was completely full, but we managed to find a space on the road just 2 minutes walk away for free, so we will probably park there in future for free!
The car parks are very small, nowhere near enough for the amount of visitors that heaton park attracts on a nice day. However there are staff walking round the car park all day so you know your car is going to be safe.
Heaton Park has an animal farm which we love going to, They have rabbits, donkeys, horses, goats, pigs, chickens etc. These are all free to go and see, and you can get really close to most of them and stroke them. You cant take your dog in this part, so we couldn't go in today because we had our dog but we have been in before, and you can still see the horses, donkeys and goats from outside and stroke them.
There is a nice lake located in heaton park and you can hire a boat there for half an hour which costs £8.50, we really wanted to do this today but the queues were absolutely massive! There are a number of burger vans and ice cream vans located around the park, but these too had massive queues, we just wanted to get a bottle of water but every shop and stall had queues of about 30 mins, so we didn't bother.
Even though it was packed in heaton park today, there was loads of space to sit and sunbath in peace away from everyone, as it is such a big park. There aren't enough trees though in the sunbathing areas, we could hardly find any shade. It is a lovely walk around heaton park, but it is not as peaceful as other country parks, it is more of a family day out for children, as there are loads of things to do like slides, and play areas for kids. If you wanted a really peaceful and quiet day out at a park I wouldn't choose heaton park, not on really sunny days.
I think there should be more toilets located around heaton park too, the ones we found eventually were not very well sign posted and very hard to find, and were right in the middle of the park, we couldn't find any others. When I went in the toilet, the floors were filthy, there was no soap and the hand dryers didn't work! I suppose there are better toilets in the cafes though, but they were so busy we didn't go near them.
The park itself is very clean, the bins weren't overflowing, there were going round emptying them all day which was good. There are also tram rides through the park, and train rides too. Also they usually have a fun fair on, but this wasn't on today, im not sure why, it is usually on from april to october.
Overall, heaton park is a beautiful place to go on a sunny day, it has loads of stuff to do for kids and families, but if you were looking for a quieter peaceful place I would choose somewhere else!
This is one of my best places to visit. I have been going to Heaton Park since I was little and I now take my Daughter there on a regular basis. It is normally very popular with families and Dog Walkers.
Heaton Park is owned by the council and is free to enter. You may have to pay for parking if busy but they only charge a pound for as long as you want. There is a little farm and stables where you can take the children to visit the animals, there is many to see as they have rabbits, chickens, horses, pigs, cows etc. They also have a Squirrel area that if you're lucky you can feed them and they will come right up to you and take it out of the hand.
There are also two parks for the kids. The first Park is your normal slide and swings, it also has a sand pit next to it. The second Park is a wooden park with ropes and bridges.
They have a lovely Boating lake where for a fee you can take a boat out. There is always plenty of ducks to feed so taking bread with you is a must if you have small children.
There is a few places to eat the cafes are at the stables and boating lake. There is also the orangey. But if you don't fancy spending any money you can always take a picnic with you as there is plenty of places to sit.
The park has acres of land with plenty of grass for you to play ball of chill out. And after all that walking you can take a ride on the little train that goes round the whole park. That charges £1 each.
You can also take a bike as they have plenty of paths for people who want a lovely bike ride with a view.
Some times through the year they also have a fair on mainly for holidays and occasions.
I also love this park as it's very safe for children they can just run wild and you don't have to worry about cars passing through as all the actives are away from the car parks.
My Daughter loves it here too she is only two so there is plenty to keep her occupied.
What more can you ask for this park can cost you nothing for a day out and there is always plenty to do to keep everyone happy.
Heaton Park is owned by Manchester City Council and is located in Prestwich, which is approximately seven miles north of Manchester city centre. You will find it just off junction 18 on the M60.
Heaton Park is big country park with a lake running through it. You can walk around it and there are lots of different routes that you can take. You often see families here, as well as young couples and dog walkers.
As well as being a park there is also Heaton Hall to look around which has been here since the 14th Century and is free to enter.
The Orangery is a restaurant next to the hall that can be hired for weddings and christenings.
This is a great place to go for a picnic and a walk, but it also offers families lots of other activities. There's an animal centre on site, where you can go and look at the cows, pigs, goats, hens and ducks; as well as domestic animals like rabbits and guinea pigs.
You can catch a tram around the park and there is also a small boating lake. You can hire the little boats out and go rowing with the family; however dogs are not allowed in the boats for health and safety reasons.
There is usually a fair on the grounds, with a few small rides and an ice cream van often takes up residence. You will also find a café that serves basic food, tea and coffee.
You have to pay a few pounds for parking, but I think this is more than worth it because there are so many facilities to enjoy. The park is well maintained and it's good that it offers something more than a pretty place to walk around.
There are also additional sports, charity and children's events that take place here, so it's worth keeping an eye on the website: http://www.heatonpark.org.uk to make sure that you and your family don't miss out on anything special.
I highly recommend this park. It is a great place to visit - five out of five stars.
Heaton Park is a nice breath of fresh air inside a huge city which is over developed and has so much traffic congestion. Located near to junction 18 of the M60 near Prestwich, and it's very accesible with multiple entances. I stay on the same road about 1 minutes walk from the park and am a frequent user. It has a pond, of sorts, a playpark for kids, nice forest walks and even a couple of football pitches. Also with the Commonwealth games coming to manchester we now have a bowling green too. Also there is a garden centre, zoo and even tennis courts and basketball courts. The zoo isn't extensive but does give something for you to look at while your walking around. also with the tennis courts you can get out and have some excercise. The pond used to have boats for rowing around it in but they were destroyed ina fire and I don't know how long it will be until they are replaced. The park is host to many festivals and the first time I went their there was an Asian fair on which was interesting. Also they hosted Radio one's One Big Sunday which had many good bands playing at it. So if you've got an afternoon off or want to go for a sunday walk somewhere and the city centre is bringing you down try heaton park. It's got natural wildlife and as I said some really nice forest walks. Definetly the place for a picnic in Manchester!
Heaton Park is situated near to junction 18 of the M60 near Prestwich, Manchester; and is approximately 20 minutes from Manchester City Centre. Heaton Park is set in approximately 650 acres of landscaped parkland, including woodlands and lots of open green space, which is Grade II by the English Heritage. In addition, there are nine listed buildings within the grounds of Heaton Park, including the magnificent neo-classical Heaton Hall Grade I listed country house, which has beautifully restored 18th century interiors – well worth a visit, especially as admission is free of charge, but note, the mansion is only open from Thursday through Sundays, and Bank Holidays. The family of the Earl of Wilton left Heaton Park to the City of Manchester in 1901. It was turned into a municipal park (one of the largest of its kind in Europe) to cater for families from the inner city areas. I believe that the tramline was implemented around that time to provide transport for these families. Recreational Facilities ================ Heaton Park offers many family recreational facilities including: - Boating Lake - Children’s playground - Eighteen hole golf course - Farm Centre - Golf Putting green - Horse and donkey riding during the summer - Rose Garden - The Orangery - Tram Museum - Various walks - Wildlife Gardens and Pond The Farm Centre ============ The Farm Centre is home to many animals including pigs, sheep, goats, donkeys and chickens as well as a pedigree herd of highland cattle and flock of hebridean sheep. The farm centre is an ideal place for school parties as not only do they have a classroom facility but also the children are given the opportunity to see small animals such as chicks, rabbits, guinea pigs etc. close up. The Gardens ========= The wildlife garden and pond are central features of Heaton Park
217;s Horticultural Centre, which is also the home to “Friends of Heaton Park”. Coffee mornings are held during the summer at which a vast selection of beautiful floral displays and plants are available for purchase. The Golf Course ============ Heaton Park’s golf course, opened in 1912, is a championship course with a mature and challenging layout which was designed by renowned five times open champion J.H. Taylor. Spectacular views over the Pennines and surrounding countryside can be enjoyed from the course in addition to the three beautiful lakes, which play a prominent part in every round. This course is every good as, if not better than some private courses. The Orangery ========== The Orangery has been beautifully restored and refurbished and now provides a unique and stylish setting for weddings and other special occasions. The Tram Museum Heaton Park is also the home of the Tram Museum. The present Tramway at Heaton Park was developed from a restored section of the former siding off the Manchester Corporation Tramways system on Middleton Road, which is located north east of the city. The siding was originally built to allow special cars to operate from various parts of the city bringing Sunday School parties for a day out to the grounds of Heaton Hall. The park provided recreation facilities for families from the inner Manchester City areas and the trams provided easy access. In 1934 the siding was disconnected from the main system and the track was covered so that buses could use it. It stayed covered until 1978 when the Manchester Transport Museum Society and Manchester City Council started work on a scheme to reinstate it using a Manchester single deck car 765 which had been restored by the Society’s members. As part of the scheme, the former shelter was transformed into a depot building to house 765 and former Blackpool and Fleetwood Box Car 40, which
were loaned by the Tramway Museum Society. Besides housing the trams and maintenance facilities, the depot also contains a museum display of large format photographs and artefacts depicting the development of the Manchester area tramways, from the early horse trams through to the Metrolink system of the present day. The Tram Museum also houses a gift shop where you can buy transport-related items. Special Events =========== Heaton Park hosts many events throughout the year, including Classic bus shows, pop festivals and next year, it is to be used as a venue in the Commonwealth Games, where the lawn bowls competition will be played. Well worth a visit, take a picnic and make a day of it.