Thanks to its outstanding location paired with reliable rail and road links, Manchester is an ideal base for exploring the north of England. Whether you want a peaceful tour through the rugged English countryside or to immerse yourself in British history, a stay in Manchester might be the way to tick every box.
Manchester city centre is packed with things to see and do itself. But suppose you have a little longer to explore. In that case, there are plenty of exciting destinations not too far from the northern capital. Let’s take a look at some of the best day trips you can take from Manchester.
A 45-minute train ride from Piccadilly station will deliver you to Edale, in the heart of the Peak District National Park. There’s nothing more refreshing than strapping on a pair of hiking boots and spending a day exploring the spectacular undulating hillsides and moorlands which make up this area of outstanding natural beauty.
Throughout the Peak District, there are also several centres for rock climbing, cycling, and horse riding. If you’re looking for something a little more sedate, seek out one of the many pubs dotted around the park and spend a day people-watching with a pint of local craft beer.
Head back to Picadilly train station, and in 30 minutes you might feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. A short walk from Disley Station, on the edge of the Peak District, you’ll find the sprawling landscape of Lyme Park.
As well as being an Edwardian-era estate with a Grade I listed house and 1,300 acres of land, it is also the setting for part of the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Wander the manicured rose gardens or spy the red deer who roam the land.
With Liverpool just 30 minutes by train from Victoria station, it’s easy to turn a trip to Manchester into a tour of the most vibrant and historic cities in the north of England. A new culture destination, Liverpool plays host to some of the most prominent artists’ exhibitions in the country thanks to its Tate and Walker galleries.
A visit to the Tate, set on the awe-inspiring Albert Dock (which also holds the International Slavery Museum, well worth a visit), is the perfect excuse to spend a day by the waterside. Take in the museums or simply enjoy a meal at one of the many fine eateries in Liverpool.
York is just over an hour’s train journey from Manchester. If you’re keen for a dose of history, there’s arguably no better place to go. Start at the JORVIK Viking Centre, which holds the thousand-year-old remains of a Viking settlement and explores the legacy of the Viking invaders. And be sure to explore the medieval city walls, which offer a scenic walking route around the city. Whatever way you spend the day, a visit to York is an opportunity to step back in time.
For more recent history, York Castle Museum recreates life in Victorian England, and you won’t want to miss the clean beauty of York Minster Cathedral. Or simply head to The Shambles, a neighbourhood of perfectly preserved Victorian buildings, which is now full of lovely shops and cafes.
If you need a minute out of the city centre, we don’t blame you. As exciting and vibrant as Manchester it, it can get a little busy at times. Particularly at the weekend, when you’re likely visiting. Enjoy a different side of Mancunian life when you head out to one of the city’s outer villages.
Altrincham, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, and Didsbury are among our favourites. Explore winding streets and village centres, filled with second-hand, independent, and adorable boutique shops. These are also some of the best spots for eating and drinking in Manchester, where lots of local restauranteurs set up shop closer to their suburban homes.
Whatever your reasons for visiting Manchester, make the most of your trip when you explore some of these nearby destinations for a day. The northwest of England is home to lots of incredible things to see and do, so be sure to get out there! Are you still searching for your perfect Manchester accommodation? Our Mercure Manchester Picadilly is conveniently located in the centre of the city, so you can enjoy easy access to everything you need.