As many holidays have been scuppered and the list of things to do constantly dwindling, planning a fun day out for your family or friends can be a struggle in 2020, to say the least. Varying regional restrictions and impact on local businesses means choices are less than they would have been any other year, not ideal when many of us are desperate to get out of the house and partake in some light-hearted activities (in a Covid-safe way of course).
Luckily, there are still some places that are great for a day out and easily commutable from Manchester postcodes. Take a look at our guide of fun days out to try that are safe for social distancing.
Chester Zoo is home to over 35,000 different animals and is an easy drive away from Manchester. The zoo fell on hard times throughout the Spring lockdown in the UK, but since reopening to visitors has seen mass volumes of interest. Tickets over Summer were booked up way in advance, so be sure to plan ahead for your visit to avoid disappointment.
The zoo is home to an impressive array of creatures, including: Asian elephants, lions, flamingos, lemurs, giraffes and chimpanzees. Spread over 128 acres of land, Chester Zoo will take up a whole day to thoroughly explore, so we advise you get there early to make the most of a full day out.
Post-lockdown has seen some temporary changes to the usual schedule, some areas and activities aren’t available (such as the boat ride). Whenever indoors you must wear a mask unless exemptions apply and the new rules regarding dining establishments apply to cafe areas so visit the local Gov site to stay up to date for any potential changes that may apply.
Visit Chester Zoo’s website for more information.
This is one to tackle when the weather is looking better, but all the same still a great landmark to visit. Located in Wetton in Staffordshire, Thor’s Cave is a unique site to explore. You best bring comfortable shoes and suitable clothing to this destination, there are plenty of hills and rocks to ramble and stunning sights to behold.
Parking is available in the nearby village, which you can explore swiftly on foot and stop by the local pub of cafe for a bite. The former plays home to local chickens, charmingly named Dumbledore and Voldemort, and is dog-friendly (although watch them near the chickens). At the pub the local homemade cuisine is delicious, the cottage pie in particular is moreishly good and perfect to warm you up after an exerting ramble. The latter is a quirky cafe that specialises in sweet treats that you can enjoy inside or to take out.
The cave itself is truly breathtaking, you are able to scramble up the entrance and fully appreciate the rock formation from within. Inside the cave you will see more picturesque views of the countryside from its 265m elevation.
Find out more by visiting the Peak District website.
Under an hour from Manchester, Tatton Park is a great destination to come and explore the beauty of outdoors this Autumn. Home to a vast grounds that include stables, a mansion and a farmyard, Tatton is perfect for family visits. Adult tickets are priced at just £8 and children at £6, this includes a visit to the mansion and gardens or farm. On nicer days you can purchase an afternoon tea picnic and carry this to your desired spot in the park to consume in pretty surroundings, it’s worth bringing a picnic blanket to make this a cosier affair in slightly colder months.
Small attractions are also usually present, in the form of young children’s rides and food stalls to enjoy. During 2020, some areas have been temporarily closed to the public in order to maintain social distancing guidelines. Guided tours of the Japanese gardens and the maze have recently been known to be shut to the public, but keep an eye on the park’s website and social media for changes to activity.
Find out more and visit Tatton Park’s website.
Knowsley Safari has long been a popular day out activity for all ages. You can explore the wildlife in the park by foot or car, although be mindful that the animals may take too much of an interest in some cars. Tickets range between £14 – £18 and can only be purchased online currently.
Knowsley is home to over 500 species, including rhinos, lions and tigers. There are usually several shows and talks on throughout the day, this is currently paused due to Covid-19 considerations. The normal park is still open and a great change of scenery if you’re looking for an active day out to escape the repetitive indoors.
In light of recent restrictions, the park has limited capacity so you will need to plan ahead to make sure you can bag you preferred visiting date. Usual social distancing restrictions will apply to all types of setting, indoor or out, so be mindful to follow the rules and look out for signposted guidelines to follow.
Take a look at the Knowsley Safari website.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to save some money this year you may be ready to indulge a little and treat yourself or your loved ones. Owned by McArthur Glen, Cheshire Oaks is arguably the best high-end shopping location in the North West. Be prepared to do a lot of steps as you browse the designer outlets and aim to bag discount on premium branded clothing.
Top store picks include: Mulberry, Fred Perry, Birkenstock, Kate Spade, Coach and Polo Ralph Lauren. All of which promise savings of up to 60% off retail price. Food and drink stores are also present for you to refuel after a frantic day of shopping.
Be sure to arrive early on and beat the rush, although do rest assured social distancing is being enforced properly at the outlet throughout the current months. If you have a specific piece you are looking to acquire, we would advise ringing the store ahead and asking what they currently have in to ensure your chosen day is the best one to find your new dream purchase.
Find out more online here.
The Climbing Hangar
The Climbing Hangar is a great place for both beginners and well-versed bouldering climbers. Located in the Matchworks estate in Speke, Liverpool (near the airport) the Climbing Hangar has been crafted from unused former office space, capitalising on the open plan rooms and high ceilings to form the perfect place to put your climbing ability to the test. The venue is newly opened and visitors must book in advance of attending. This is available for children over the age of 7 and adults only. Basic climbing shoes are provided with entry, with pro shoes available for hire too.
The Hangar boasts some impressive features for improving and diversifying your climbing ability, with its varied hold styles and programable training wall all backed up by passionate and supportive staff, we can assure you this is the place to have fun and challenge yourself no matter your physical ability. In line with social distancing, the venue has implemented a one-way system for climbers to navigate the course. Masks must be worn at all times in the reception area and can be worn optionally when climbing, there is also hand sanitiser and hand sanitising chalk available before you climb.
A small shop area provides all the pro equipment a climber could need as well as some branded merch. The cafe area is currently table service only and serves as a perfect spot to chill after exerting your energy on the walls. The cafe menu is impressive for such a small venue, the sausage rolls and blondies in particular are amazingly good and worth sampling.
Discover more about The Climbing Hangar at Liverpool Matchworks online.
Read more about things to do in Manchester on our site.