I remember when I worked in town, one of my highlights of the day would be having a picnic at lunchtime to get out of the office and refresh for a bit. And even now that I work from home, I am still a picnic fantastic and love to have a nice packed lunch on some grass when I’m wandering about Manchester city centre (saves some money for adventuring!)
As it is sunny today I thought I would share with you 10 places to picnic in Manchester city centre when it is sunny – a perfect opportunity to get out and about and do your Photowalk Challenge, have a break from the office and enjoy some food in the sunshine!
So if you’re looking for where to have a picnic in Manchester city centre, here is some inspiration to get you going.
10 places to picnic in Manchester city centre when it is sunny
I’ll start with the more conventional parks and green spaces then get onto the others afterwards.
Angel MeadowAngle Meadow is a lovely park hidden to the north-east of the city just behind the new Co-op building and it has more history to it than you would imagine. You can happily sit here in dappled shade so that you don’t get too hot and sweaty (or burnt!) and it is fairly quiet too, so nice and relaxing.
The area around the park was vastly changed during the revolution, but you can find out more about it to boost your break with a bit of history, by taking a read of this article.
You’ll find the meadow or ‘Hell Upon Earth’ (it’s not that bad now, I promise!) on Old Mount Street, M4 4TF.
St John’s Gardens
A small yet perfectly formed park just near to the Museum of Science and Industry and the Old Granada Studios. There is an abundance of flowers, squirrels to watch play and dart around and lots of dappled shade to keep you cool. Of course there are sunny spots too.
There are lots of benches, so if you’re lucky and get there a little earlier than the workforce rush you’ll find a great place to perch and picnic. It is on the site of the former St John’s Church and graveyard and you’ll find a little memorial statue to it in the middle (for those wanting some more info, click here!)
You’ll find one entrance to the park on Lower Byrom Street, M3 4AP.
The Parsonage Gardens
Parsonage Gardens is a small but lovely space tucked away behind House of Fraser on Deansgate and is part of a conservation area. There are benches around the sides and grassy areas for sitting too. It can sometimes get busy, but there’s usually a small place to sit.
It is the perfect place to admire the historical buildings and get out from the hustle and bustle of Deansgate and the shopping areas. For the more historical side of the gardens, click here.
You can find the gardens on St Mary’s Parsonage, M3 2LF.
Ardwick Green Park
If you’re out towards the Piccadilly Station side of the city and fancy a bit of a walk (for your Photowalk Challenge perhaps?) then you could walk around to Ardwick Green Park. It is a beautiful space with plants and flowers as well as plenty of benches.
Th is another park seeped in history – but a lot more cheery than some of the others – to get your lunchtime culture fix, have a read of this article while you chow down on your lunch.
The walk to and from the park is a perfect opportunity for some urban wandering to as there are lots of curious back streets and alleys that need to be explored – although that depends on how long you have for your break!
You’ll find the park on Stockport Road (and can jump the 192 Stagecoach bus if you’re in a rush)
This is the green space between the Football Museum and Manchester Cathedral. It can get busy very quickly on sunny days, but there is usually a space somewhere.
If it is too busy, I would recommend walking down in the direction of Deansgate where there are some temporary picnic places (benches and raised planters) or further around the corner to sit on the grass outside the front entrance of the Cathedral. This part can get very warm as there isn’t so much shelter, but you do get a quieter and more relaxed experience.
You’ll find Cathedral Gardens with M4 3BG
Castlefield BasinAn often overlooked spot is sitting beside the canal in the shade of the trees alongside the Castlefield Basin. It tends to be fairly quiet around there (most people head to the bars) and the narrow boat owners keep themselves to themselves really (although they do tend to be up for a chat if you are) There are plenty of benches and even some picnic benches by the stairway back onto Deansgate by the Hilton.
A lovely sunny place for a sit and a picnic with the rippling of the water.
Cutting Room Square
Just a short walk north-east of the city, up into Ancoats, you will find a lovely quiet square with lots of benches and sunny spots that is perfect for a picnic. It features some lovely glass artwork that brings together the industrial past of the city.
You can find it here: Victoria Square, Manchester, M4 5DX
Spinningfields (and the Irwell)
If, like me you love to do a spot of people watching, you’ll find that Spinningfields is an excellent place to do it. There are large raised blocks which are available to sit and some benches dotted around. If you head further towards the Irwell, you can sit on the benches near there or around the bridge.
It catches the sun nicely and is easily accessed by many parts of the city as well as Salford. It’s also by the water so you can imagine that it is cooling you off a bit!
You can find your way to Spinningfields by walking along Deansgate and taking the turn by John Ryland’s Library.
New Islington Marina
You can even sunbathe here on the concrete loungers! It can sometimes be busy and sometimes really quiet, but there are plenty of benches in sunny and shady spots as well as grass to be used.
It is just up from the Northern Quarter opposite the Go Outdoors and accessed by the side of the canal. The walk to it is as enjoyable as the area and if you want some more peace and quiet, carry on along the canal and you’ll hit Miles Platting which is currently a big lawn while it undergoes redevelopment (I’ve seen people sunbathing in bikinis here!) so there is loads of room and space.
St Peter’s Square
Although it seems like a pretty unlikely place, it can be quiet at times (when the builders are taking a break, have gone home or it is the weekend) so don’t discount it. There are tonnes of places to sit and it is a nice open space, so not bad for a bit of picnic time.
Not only that, it is easy to find and very central, you wherever you’re heading to next, you’re already en route.
So that’s ten!
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention Piccadilly Gardens in this list and that would be because I have picnicked there and it is not the most pleasant of places to be. If you fancy cramming onto the grass, listening to a cacophony of loud music and things, then be my guest! I just prefer somewhere a little quieter and more relaxed!
I’m sure that I’ll share another 10 places to picnic in Manchester when its sunny post and also one for when it is rainy (always useful to have access to – it might rain in Manchester sometimes!)
I hope you do get to enjoy some of the sunshine, to have a picnic and to enjoy some of the lesser known picnic places in the city.
Happy sunny days!
Do you have a favourite place to picnic in the city?
Let me know in the comments – I always love to add to the places I can lunchbox!