When are Manchester parks quietest – and are cafes, toilets and play areas open?

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Green spaces have proved more important to us than ever in lockdown – and especially for those of us living in flats without access to a private garden.

But maybe you want to avoid the busiest times, if you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet and solitude. And what about the toilets and cafes – are they open yet?

Manchester-based apart-hotel CitySuites has contacted 114 Greater Manchester parks, gardens and reservoirs to find out if any are still closed due to lockdown and what Covid-19 measurements are in place. 

Many of the parks have also shared detailed information about their busiest times since the lockdown rules were relaxed, their restrictions, and advice to visitors.

Currently, only two parks are still currently closed: Fairy Glen (Appley Bridge) and Roman Lakes Leisure Park (Marple). And Beech Road Park is partly open.

Quietest times

Most of the parks said their busy and quiet times generally correspond with good or bad weather, as would be expected, but several offered specific advice about the best time to visit: 

  • Alkrington Woods Nature Reserve in Middleton is currently far busier than normal throughout its opening times.
  • Brabyns Park in Marple Bridge is exceptionally busy throughout the day on weekends.
  • Bramhall Park in Stockport is best before 9.30am is best if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
  • Cale Green Park in Davenport is slightly quieter on weekdays.
  • Clifton Country Park in Salford is at its quietest in the early morning.
  • Etherow Country Park in Romiley is quietest early in the morning and in the late afternoon.
  • Fletcher Moss Park is currently far busier than usual throughout its opening times.
  • John Leigh Park in Altrincham is very busy throughout its opening hours.
  • Marie Louise Gardens in West Didsbury report that their quietest times are early to mid-morning and during the evening.
  • Marple Memorial Park in Marple is much quieter early in the morning.
  • Seymour Park in Stretford is quiet early in the morning, but it becomes more crowded in the late afternoon and evening.
  • Stalybridge Country Park in Stalybridge is at its quietest mid-morning and at its busiest around lunch time.
  • Tandle Hill Park in Royton has exceptionally busy weekends, though there is a lot of space for social distancing.
  • Three Sisters in Ashton-in-Makerfield is quiet most of the time, besides a number of early morning dog walkers
  • West Leigh Park in Leigh is at its busiest around midday, while early mornings and evenings are quiet.

Which park cafes are open?

CitySuites received the following details on cafes in Greater Manchester’s parks:

  • The Stables Cafe at Bramhall Park, Stockport: operating as a takeaway
  • Orrell Water Park, Wigan: cafe operating as a takeaway
  • Alexandra Park, Oldham: cafe operating as a takeaway
  • Tandle Hill Country Park, Royton: cafe open

All of the above are operating under strict social distancing measures that require visitors to remain at least 2m apart.

Are any park toilet facilities open yet?

Most toilet facilities in Greater Manchester’s parks still remain closed in order to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection.

However, Lyme Park are now permitting use of their toilets, as well as Dunham Massey, though a visit to the site – including car parking – must be pre-booked.

What about play areas and outdoor fitness?

Play areas are still closed across the parks – although some outdoor sports areas are now open.

Play areas and play equipment in spaces run by Bury Metropolitan Borough Council – including Drinkwater Park in Prestwich and Manchester Road Park in Bury – remain closed in adherence to government guidelines.

Trafford Council, which maintains and manages Longford Park in Stretford, Abbotsfield Park in Urmston and Walton Park in Sale among others, say all of their play areas remain closed.

Playgrounds, play areas and sports facilities belonging to Salford City Council have also been closed, including those at Peel Park, Salford Crescent.

All Manchester City Council-run spaces are also banning access to play areas and sports facilities. 

Play areas are also officially closed in:

  • Beech Road Park, Chorlton
  • Broadfield Park, Rochdale (including outdoor gym and bowling green)
  • Bruntwood Park, Cheadle (although pitch and putt facilities are open)
  • Clifton Country Park, Salford
  • John Leigh Park, Altrincham (although Multi Use Games Area, tennis courts and bowling green are open with restrictions)
  • Kirkup Gardens, Woodhouse Park (including Multi Use Games Area and all sports facilities)
  • Light Oaks Park, Salford (including tennis courts and outside gym)
  • Marple Memorial Park, Marple (including the skate park)
  • Old Moat Park, Fallowfield (although caged sports areas are open)
  • Orrell Water Park, Wigan 
  • Seymour Park, Stretford
  • Stamford Park, Hale (including boating lake, aviary, fountains and Multi Use Games Area)
  • West Leigh Park, Leigh (public are advised not to use play equipment).

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