Top Destinations for Outdoor Sports Close to Manchester

Discover the top destinations for outdoor sports close to Manchester! Whether you feel like staying inside the city or heading a few hours outside, there are many options for outdoor sports near Manchester. You can try Zip-lining in Rivington, Kayaking on the River Irwell, and Freediving just outside the city centre. Read on to discover all of the cool activities you can try close to Manchester, UK!

wakeboarding Salford Quay

Wakeboarding in Salford Quays

The first location on the list of the top destinations for outdoor sports close to Manchester is Salford Quays! Just 16 minutes from the centre of Manchester is the Helly Hanson Watersports Centre! This amazing water park offers some incredibly fun outdoor sports. Helly Hanson boasts a cable-towed wake park for wakeboarding, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. They also have an indoor climbing wall.

The watersports centre even has sailing lessons. For adult courses, you can choose a Lasor Statos double-handed boat with a full crew or a single-handed option. Junior sailors, 14 and under, use Optimist boats.

Here you can rent all the equipment needed, and all of the activities are guided by professionals. There is something for everyone!


Freediving in Manchester

Luckily for Manchester residents, the next top destination for outdoor sports close to Manchester is only 25 minutes outside Manchester- Apneists UK Freediving Club! This organization teaches all levels of participants courses in freediving- the sport of diving without any air tanks or equipment.

These courses are taught in accordance with all standards set by diving organizations such as AIDA International, RAID the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and UK Health and Safety recommendations.

Courses for beginners start in the pool learning basics and eventually moving up to concentrate on specialities like no fins diving, monofin use spearfishing or competition safety diving. You can also take guided courses in the sea, diving with sharks, seals, and turtles. There you can dive amongst shipwrecks, go spearfishing, and more. Discover all of the freediving activities on the Apneists UK website.

Zip lining Rivington Go Ape

Ziplining in Rivington

Next on the list of the top destinations for outdoor sports close to Manchester is Rivington. Go Ape is a professional sports centre that offers zip-lining for the whole family. The centre is only 20 minutes Northwest of downtown. Anyone aged 10 and up can embark on an airborne adventure by zip-lining through the lush English forests.

Located on the edge of the moors, Go Ape has multiple activity options. The zip line course is located 13 metres high. You’ll fly fast past beautiful wilderness and over sparkling Anglezarke reservoir waters. 

There is also a treetop adventure course complete with a Tarzan swing! The platforms for the treetop challenge are 25 metres high, and the whole course takes 2-3 hours. This challenge is for the bravest of the brave.

Another cool activity Go Ape offers is a treetop adventure for children ages 6 and up. The platforms are only 1.2 metres in the air and include short zip line sections. There’s something for everyone, so head over to Go Ape’s website to book your activities. 

quad biking manchester

Ride quads in Frodsham and Chester

Just 45 minutes outside of Manchester you can book an activity to ride quad bikes in the English countryside in Frodsham near Cheshire! The Quad Nation activity centre has built custom quad biking tracks for adrenaline-filled rides in the mud for you and your group.

This circuit is over six miles long, for over 200 acres of sheer joy. You can also check out the nearby Chester location, where you can ride quads for over 250 acres through farm and woodland over thrilling obstacles! Visit Quad Nation’s website for more info.

If you want to discover more quad biking activities in the UK, you can check out all of our quad biking activities on our website. Also, check out our article to learn about the Top 5 Coolest Spots Worldwide to Ride Quads!

destination outdoor sports River Irwell

Whitewater kayak on the Irwell River

The Irwell River is the next destination on the list of top places for outdoor sports near Manchester. Just one hour north of Manchester the Irwell flows about 39 miles (63 km) long. It flows south through Bacup, Rawtenstall, Ramsbottom and Bury before meeting with the River Roch near Radcliffe.

This is a true whitewater kayaking river, graded II-III, and up to a grade IV during rainy seasons. The grading changes along the way, so this outdoor adventure is best attempted by experienced kayakers from Manchester who want to get some serious adrenaline going.

For beginners, the best sections to enjoy are called Burrs Weir and Burrs Site.  These grade II sections are 300 metres and 800 metres long. Burrs Site is great for paddling, and ideal for beginners because of low-medium water levels. You can check out this Uk Rivers Guidebook for more information!

Windsurfing peak district manchester

Windsurfing in Peak District National Park

The next destination on the list of top places for outdoor sports is Peak District National Park. Only 1 hour 45 minutes from the city centre, this is basically the mecca for outdoor activity enthusiasts who live near Manchester! You can practice abseiling, cycling, hiking, ATV’s, sailing, quad biking, windsurfing, and more!

At Carsington Water near Peak District, you can take windsurfing courses. All courses are designed by the Rotal Yacht Association or RYA. RYA Training offers courses in windsurfing, so you can start having fun in no time. Windsurfing kits are also available to be rented at the lake, so you just need to bring your spirit of adventure! You can start with beginner courses to become familiar with the equipment, your bord, and how to manoeuvre in light winds. 

You can also take powerboating lessons here, which is quite unique. Learn how to drive a powerboat at various speeds, or take a safety course. You will learn rescue techniques, how to assist sailors and windsurfers, and more.

In addition, you can rent kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards. Check out all the activities and options on the Carsington Water website

Take a hot air balloon in Shropshire

When the weather is nice, you can head over to Shropshire for Hot air ballooning! Just under two hours away from Manchester, hot air balloon rides lift off from either Shropshire or Cheshire. Shropshire is beautiful English farmland with rolling green hillsides, stone castles and quaint villages. It’s an absolutely stunning place to see from the sky!

Once you are checked in, the balloons will be prepped and lit for takeoff while you receive a safety briefing. Within ten minutes, you will be ready to climb into the wicker basket with your group. Most flights last up to an hour and a half, and you’ll drift over 25 miles with beautiful views of the UK from above! Alternatively, you can take a hot air balloon from Derbyshire near Peak District. Check out to book a hot air balloon flight in Shropshire.

If you are eager for more outdoor activities, make sure to check our website to discover all of our outdoor activities in the UK. You can also find the Top Destinations for Outdoor Sports Within 2 Hours of Edinburgh and the Top Outdoor Adventure Activities near London!