Moss Bank Park

Of all the parks in Bolton, Moss Bank Park is by far my daughter’s favourite. Until she was seven we used to live in a house backing onto it. To reach ‘her park’ all she had to do was open the garden gate and she’d be in it.

Video tour of Moss Bank Park

The park has lost a few attractions in recent years but is still the most popular in the town. Animal World, a children’s zoo, closed in September 2013 as part of a cost cutting exercise by Bolton Council. Despite being a fairly modest zoo it was a huge hit with the local children and will be sorely missed.

The main entrance to the park is situated on Moss Lane. Just to the left of here there are four tennis courts (free), a bowling green, and a large field used mainly by local sports teams.

Most visitors follow the path that leads north from the main entrance. There’s a large field to the right that’s a popular picnic spot in the summer months. After about 200 yards you’ll come to the funfair. It’s open from spring to autumn and is the best we’ve seen on a public park in North West England. The rides vary throughout the year but there’s usually a small rollercoaster, roundabouts, bouncy castle, crazy golf course, and more. Most rides cost just a pound and unlimited ride wristbands are also available. Just opposite is a small kiosk selling hot and cold drinks, ice cream, and snacks.

View of the track on the miniature railway at Moss Bank Park, Bolton
Moss Bank Park Miniature Railway

Walk a few yards further and you’ll reach the first of two playgrounds. This one is aimed at younger children. There’s a large sandpit, swings, and a couple of play towers. On the opposite side of the path there’s a miniature railway operated by the Moss Bank Model Railway Society.

Slides and play tower in the playground at Moss Bank Park
Play Tower – Lower Playground

The other playground is just a little further on and caters to older children. Equipment here includes a stepping log trail, timber climbing frame with nets, a climbing wall, dish swing, and a rotating seesaw.

Swings and rides in the upper playground at Moss Bank Park, Bolton
Upper Playground

Follow the path further and you’ll come to the former home of Animal World. It’s now being redeveloped by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust as The Hive. The project aims to help local people grow their own food and also hosts lots of activities for children.

The park’s café is also here. It opened in October 2014, replacing the one destroyed by fire 5 years earlier. It can accommodate up to 50 customers and sells sandwiches, snacks, and drinks.

Car park at Moss Bank Park with Barrow Bridge Chimney in background
Car Park and Barrow Bridge Chimney

Moss Bank Park is situated in the Smithills area of Bolton. The main entrance is on Moss Lane, just off Moss Bank Way (A58). The main car park is also here but fills up quickly at weekends. If there are no spaces you can try the second car park at the eastern side of the park. To reach it, follow Moss Lane for about ½ mile. The entrance is on the left, about 100 yards past the Barrow Bridge Chimney.

Attractions nearby include Smithills Hall, Smithills Open Farm, and Barrow Bridge.

Nearby Attractions

Tourist attractions and things to do near Moss Bank Park include:

Nearby Restaurants

Restaurants and places to eat and drink near Moss Bank Park include:


Map showing location of Moss Bank Park.

Map showing location of Moss Bank Park


Moss Bank Park

Address and postcode
Moss Bank Way
Greater Manchester
United Kingdom

Reviews and Additional Information

  1. Great park with good facilities. Got two decent play areas and large fields. My kids had a blast.

  2. Excellent Japanese Garden! A hidden gem!

  3. A new café has opened at Moss Bank Park. It is situated near the site of the old café that was destroyed by a fire in 2009. The café cost around £500,000 to build and has seating for 50 customers plus an outdoor seating area.

    • Was threatened by a man with a big dog that attacked my dog.

  4. Work has started on the new tennis courts at Moss Bank Park. Four new courts will be built, along with new nets and floodlights. The work is expected to be finished by the middle of July.

  5. This park does not have adequate facilities for babies. The public toilets are tiny, old and filthy with no baby change facilities. There is also no covered area to sit to avoid the elements. Great park but dire in need of some work to make it user friendly!

  6. I have been to this park many times on a weekend with my family and it is a very good place to go as it is free and there is loads to do. There is usually kids rides there too on a weekend or during the holidays which you will have to pay extra for. My 5 year old son loves the Animal World and Butterfly House and we go in there every time we visit the park. They also have a large grassed area for football and very good children’s play area with swings and slide etc which keeps the kids entertained for a few hours.

  7. I’m pretty sure that I read somewhere that the farmers’ market has relocated to Bolton town centre.

  8. It used to have a good farmers’ market but not any more. Where has it gone?


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