Green spaces to adventure parks – 12 must-visit Wigan places that make the borough perfect for a day out

Maybe your idea of ​​a perfect day out is to embrace the outdoors and get active. Or perhaps you prefer a cultural visit to a gallery or a museum.

Look no further than Wigan – a borough that has something for everyone.

Whether you’re searching for inspiration to keep the whole family occupied, hoping for an action packed day out with friends or you’re simply after an enjoyable change of scenery, Wigan has plenty of wonders to explore. Thanks to a new website created by Wigan Council, it’s easier than ever to find them too.

Alison Mckenzie-Folan, chief executive, Wigan Council said: “Wigan has always been a hub of beautiful green spaces, with lots to do for all ages. With its bustling retail centres, growing food and drink offering, thriving arts scene and close- knit community of independent businesses, the area is one of Greater Manchester’s most up and coming boroughs.

“We’re so pleased to be launching our Visit Wigan website, where visitors can explore the full breadth of the borough’s attractions, from scenic spots to cultural hubs.”

Here are 12 of the must-visit attractions the area has to offer:

1. Gerrumonside, Museum of Wigan Life

Gerrumonside! rugby league exhibition at the Museum of Wigan Life

Housed in Wigan’s first public building with electric lighting, the Museum of Wigan Life now has a new exhibition on show – Gerrumonside! The passion of rugby league past, present and future.

Free to enter, the museum is open from Tuesday-Saturday between 10am and 4pm, and is the ideal place to learn all about the past lives of the people and places of Wigan.

With exhibitions designed to get everyone interested, the Museum of Wigan Life welcomes families with children of all ages.

2.Haigh Woodland Park

There is plenty to do for all the family in Wigan
There is plenty to do for all the family in Wigan

With its impressive grounds and wooded hiking trails, Haigh Woodland Park is one of the most popular parks in Wigan.

Whether you enjoy strolling through stunning walled gardens, or swinging across ropes on a treetop adventure, Haigh Woodland Park has something for everyone.

From zip wires to climbing frames, children can enjoy making friends in the adventure play zone, while the adults take some time to themselves and enjoy a hot chocolate, beer or cake at the Kitchen Courtyard.

Whether you choose to come with family or your four-legged friend, there is plenty to do at Haigh Woodland Park.

3. Turnpike Gallery

What better place to unwind than at an art gallery?

The Turnpike, situated in Civic Square in Leigh, is an arts venue bringing hands-on contemporary art and design installations to the community.

With workshops, performances and events for all ages showcased at the gallery throughout the year, it’s the perfect place for a fun and relaxing family day out.

4. Wigan and Leigh Exhibition

Discover local history at the Wigan and Leigh exhibition
Discover local history at the Wigan and Leigh exhibition

Leigh Town Hall now has a new family-friendly exhibition to showcase the stories that make up its local history.

The current displays at the exhibition include:

  • The work of local artists Anna FC Smith and Helen Mather through their project, These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics
  • The history of Leigh Girls’ Grammar School, as former students and teachers celebrate 100 years since the opening
  • The work of the Leigh and District U3A: Quilters and Needlework Group and their Leigh heritage quilt

You can visit the exhibition from Tuesday to Saturday between 10am and 4pm, and entry is free with no booking necessary.

5.Orrell Water Park

Take time for nature at Orrell Water Park
Take time for nature at Orrell Water Park

Whether you’re seeking a quiet couple of hours of fishing in a calming nature reserve or you want to show the kids how wonderful nature can be, Orrell Water Park has you covered.

More than 100 species of bird have been spotted in the beautiful woodlands that surround the reservoirs, as well as a variety of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies to be seen.

With a café, children’s play area and free parking on site there is no reason not to enjoy the wonders of nature at Orrell Water Park.

6. Pennington Flash Nature Reserve

View of the Pennington Flash from the canal
View of the Pennington Flash from the canal

Wigan is brimming with brilliant green spaces. Situated in Leigh, Pennington Flash Nature Reserve is a picturesque example that is well known for its wildlife and sightings of more than 200 species of bird.

With a 70-hectare lake – the ‘flash’ – in the centre, Pennington Flash Nature Reserve offers a lovely spring walk which takes in wildlife and even some sculptures along the way.

There are two car parks available at the park and both are within a good distance to the facilities, including a 9-hole golf course, children’s play area, picnic area, toilets and an information center.

7. DW Stadium

Home of Wigan Athletic FC and Wigan Warriors RLFC, the DW Stadium is not just a rugby and football lover’s dream. It’s also a popular venue for parties and weddings, and it houses an Italian restaurant serving lunch and evening meals too.

For anyone interested in the venue’s sporting events, the dual-use stadium has an impressive 25,133 seated capacity for you to enjoy the odd match or two.

8. Scotman’s Flash Activity Center

There are all types of water sports and activities available at Scotman's Flash Activity Center
There are all types of water sports and activities available at Scotman’s Flash Activity Center

Paddle boarding pros to anyone who is new to the world of water sports can make a splash at Scotman’s Flash Activity Centre.

Just a short distance from Wigan town centre, in Rushdene, the attraction offers a range of activities including paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing and windsurfing.

It could be an ideal destination if you’re looking for an exciting chance to try something new.

9. Three Sisters Nature Reserve

Once known for its three large spoil heaps as the ‘Three Sisters’, this wetland wildlife reserve is great for walkers, cyclists and horse riders thanks to its extensive footpaths.

Picnic and play areas, toilets and free parking can all be found at the site. Plus it’s worth making time during your visit for a trip to the bird feeding station, for a chance to get a close up view of some wonderful birds.

10. Three Sisters Circuit

Experience the thrill of car track racing at Three Sisters Circuit
Experience the thrill of car track racing at Three Sisters Circuit

Not too far from the Three Sisters nature reserve, the Three Sisters Circuit can be found.

This 1.5km outdoor racing circuit is open to visitors to put pedal to the metal and enjoy an exciting day of go-karting, motorbike and car track racing around the course.

Gather your group for a thrilling day out, as Three Sisters Circuit has experiences available for adults as well as children aged eight and over.

11. Leigh Sports Village

Take time for health and fitness at Leigh Sports Village
Take time for health and fitness at Leigh Sports Village

Fitness enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice at Leigh Sport Village, with its range of swimming and sporting facilities.

From a 25-meter swimming pool to badminton, basketball and netball courts, it has everything you need to enjoy a day of fun and games. Plus numerous events are also held there throughout the year.

Leigh Sports Village is open from Monday to Friday between 6.30am and 10pm, and Saturday and Sunday between 8am and 4pm.

12. Mesnes Park

Mensnes Park in the center of Wigan is the perfect place to unwind
Mensnes Park in the center of Wigan is the perfect place to unwind

Situated next to Wigan town centre, Mesnes Park is the ideal place to unwind after a busy day of shopping.

The stunning Victorian park is home to formal gardens, a bandstand and a waterfall. So, grab a treat from Frederick’s ice cream parlour, and take in the wonders of a beautiful green space right in the heart of Wigan.

To find out more about the top places to visit and activities Wigan has to offer, go to the new Visit Wigan website by clicking here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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