Manchester itself is a huge city with a multitude of attractions, places of interest and much more. However, for those desiring a brief getaway from the bustling city, here are some lovely day trips for you to escape and unwind. Ranging from nature resorts to ancient woods, be sure to enrich yourself with fresh air and greenery on a day off.
1. A nature resort that magically inspired tree-lined streets of Paris via Napoleon
As the name puts it, the Southport-Manchester train line makes Southport highly accessible from Manchester, being only an hour away. Train rides are equally affordable, making this day trip highly feasible for families to solo travelers. A large seaside town in Merseyside, Southport has been the beach getaway since Victorian times. We can clearly see why, given the geographical beauty of the town. Extensive sand dunes stretch for several miles wiithin town. These Ainsdale sand dunes have been designated as a national nature reserve and a Ramsar site.
Local fauna include the exotic Natterjack toad and the Sand lizard that are sure to catch your eye. Here’s another interesting rumour about Southport (spread cheekily by the locals)–this humble English town inspired the tree-lined boulevards of Paris. When Louis Napoleon, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, visited Southport in the 1840s, he supposedly constructed Paris after its image. Forget the faraway Paris, Southport is just at the doorstep of Manchester! Local shows such as the Southport Flower Show enables one to admire the beautiful flora that blooms annually in Southport. The scenery of fresh wild flowers and blue skies by the sea would indeed be an awesome view for you to take home.
2. A glimpse of rural life with well-preserved natural surroundings and architecture
Just south of Manchester lies the pretty village of Congleton, where out Little Moreton Hall resides. One of the most impressive half-timbered mansions in England, the hall is a perfectly preserved, large multi-storied building. It is complete with a pretty inner courtyard, moat, and a garden that paints an excellent picture of rural life in 15th and 16th-century Cheshire. The hall is a perfect combination for those who want to escape into a more rustic atmosphere to admire the greenery and historical architecture, away from the brick walls and concrete of Manchester. Doesn’t the Tudor architecture and promise of wild grasses present such an alluring sight?
Only a 58 minute drive away via the A34, or via the Manchester Piccadilly-Congleton train line, this day trip couldn’t be easier to organize. For those keen, there are exclusive guided tours available at the hall itself. They allow you to savor the place before other visitors arrive, soaking fully into the quiet and calm scenery. Just call +01 260272018 to book, where personnel tending to the hall will be sure to pick up your request.
Little Moreton Hall
Address: National Trust, Congleton Rd, Congleton CW12 4SD, UK
Website: Little Moreton Hall
3. Track along ancient woods along River Bollin and the rural village of Styral
Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire, is one of the best preserved textile mills of the Industrial Revolution and is now a museum of the cotton industry. One of Britain’s greatest industrial heritage sites, the area exquisitely shows how a complete industrial community lived in historical England. Such rich culture and history is also coupled with stunning gardens in the mill. This seeming fossil in time also invites us to stroll through the surrounding picturesque village of Styal and through the ancient woods along the River Bollin.
Much of these day trips from Manchester are thus dual functioned. One can admire the natural scenery while soaking in the bittersweet feeling of time gone by. Quarry Bank Mill is indeed the perfect balance between nostalgia of a much harder industrial time and the tension with its green environment. To get to Quarry Bank Mill, a short drive of 34 min via A5103 is sufficient. Alternatively, take a short train ride from Manchester Airport for a brief 2 miles (3.2 km).
Quarry Bank Mill
Address: Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire, UK
Website: Quarry Bank Mill
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4. Roam through the national parks along the Pennine Way
Edale, where multiple national parks are found, is just 45 minutes by train from Manchester. These parks are free to roam for the public and are simply a great spot for hiking and aerial views of the natural scenery all around. A fun fact for the tree huggers out there–in the 1930s, more than 400 people took part in a mass trespass in the area to protest against the lack of access to the countryside. As a result, the creation of national parks and the development of the Pennine Way was started, which starts in Edale. Thereby, the latter is indeed the perfect spot for a day trip (or longer) to explore all the national parks!
Drive to Edale in only 1 h 14 min via A624 from Manchester, or admire the sights on the way via a 45 minute train ride.
Address: Derbyshire Peak District, Midlands of England, UK
5. Learn about the rich history of Egerton family and visit a thousand-acre deer park and thriving fauna
Tatton Park was owned by the Egerton family for almost 400 years until the 1950s, where it was taken over by the National Trust and opened to the public for viewing. Its possesses highly unique programs, most notably the RHS Flower Show known as the North’s greatest gardening event. Now isn’t that an alluring idea for those with a green thumb? Nonetheless, throughout the rest of the year, there’s plenty to see and do. The 19th-century mansion sits within a 1,000 acre (405 hectare) deer park and is also home to 50 acres (20 ha) of landscaped gardens. Feel free to stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens and gush at the adorable deers up close.
For children, fear not, there is the 1930s Home Farm, an adventure play area and woodland play trail which cultivates interest in nature from young. Tatton Park is only a 37 min drive via A5103 and M56, or a train ride away from Manchester Piccadilly/Manchester Airport Station. Do check this place out!
Address: Tatton Park Gardens, Mereheath Dr, Knutsford WA16 6QN, UK
Website: Tatton Park
6. Explore valleys and moorland and trek up a steep hill to reach England's highest beach
Calling out to all nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Todmorden is an ideal spot for a day trip. Todmorden feels like a universe away from Manchester despite its location being only about half an hour away from Manchester. Located alongside both the aforementioned Pennine Way and Calderdale Way, it’s a hot spot for those who love nature trails. Surrounded by valleys and moorland, Todmorden is a sight to behold and a wonder to explore.
Despite such eye catching nature parks, surprisingly, the inland Todmorden is most popular for its beach. Yes, that is true–the town has the honor of hosting England’s highest beach. It requires a bit of a trek (but isn’t that all the better for all you outdoor lovers?), but is rewarding when you reach the former reservoir at Gaddings Dam. Only an hour’s trip away via M62, or a brief train ride along Manchester to Leeds, hop off for the best nature getaway ever.
Address: Upper Calder Valley in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, UK
Nature lovers unite!
Indeed while Manchester can be overwhelming at times as a busy city, there are still great day trips for all of us to soak up some much needed sun and enjoy the windy breeze.
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