Manchester is the 3rd most visited tourist city in the UK and it is bursting with things to do aside from the obvious – football (although, naturally it also forms a pilgrimate point for Manchester United & Manchester City fans)! Manchester offers a wealth of history. It was in Manchester where the atom was first discovered, Manchester was the first industrialised city in the world and it is Manchester where the roots of industrialisation can be found. Emily Pankhurst and her daughter, the suffragette’s, came from Manchester and music groups, such as The Smith’s and Oasis, were Mancunian. Explore the streets of Manchester and you will come across buildings infused with history, a first rate canal system, engaging museums, award winning restaurants, vibey bars, shopping opportunities galore and famous markets. The surrounding countryside is spectacular, being on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District. You will be amazed at what this city can offer.
For the purpose of setting up the maps guiding you through the city we have set the starting point at the Ibis Hotel, please change the starting point to suit your needs. We have divided Manchester into the following three zones to make the best use of your time.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, an umbrella (highly likely) and a camera
The walk to Afflecks takes around 10 minutes. You will know when you have arrived when you see a landmark sculpture of a large musical horn called the Tip Street Horn. The location of the sculpture is on the exact spot where a Victorian hat factory used to stand.
Afflecks (formally Affleck’s Palace) is an indoor market, full of character and great value for money, set up over four floors, offering a wonderful array of independent stalls and shops. This is where you can pick up unique clothing or that unusual present to take back home. If shopping is your thing then this maze like set up means you could easily end up spending the whole day browsing! Once you’ve had your fill of shopping how about a light lunch?
You are certainly in the right place for food, the Northern Quarter of Manchester is brimming with places to eat and drink. One suggestion is at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, this is a good place for a snack lunch inside the centre at Oak Cafe St. Travel NE on Tib Street turning left into Warwick Street, follow the road to the end and turn right the Craft and design centre is on your right. Now that you’ve been fed and watered, you may like to explore the Craft and Design Centre, housed in a converted fish and poultry market building. Immerse yourself in work of Manchester’s finest local artist. This is where you will find these talented artists at work and you may be able to pick up a unique piece of art work to take home with you. Perhaps book yourself on one of their many workshops and return home with something unique - an item that you’ve made yourself!
The next stop is in keeping with this theme of Manchester’s artists – How about a visit to the Chinese Art Centre? This art centre exhibits art from contemporary Chinese artists. Out of interest, Manchester has the second largest population of Chinese living in the UK.
By now the evening is approaching fast and if its winter time, your light will probably be fading soon, this is a good time to settle down and relax in one of those trendy bars or restaurants the Northern Quarter has to offer. Continuing with the Chinese theme, you could try the Sweet Mandarin, that won Gordon Ramsey’s Best Local Chinese Restaurant award, on Coperras Street. Another option would be to settle into the trendy hip bar of Common in Edge St. (running parallel to Coperras), serving cocktails, ale and a range of bottle beers as well as delicious food. For music lovers there is Night & Day, famous for its Music Scene, four minutes walk SE down Thomas St. and left after Tib St. into Oldham St., it can get very crowded, but for relatively little money you may get lucky and have the opportunity to witness the next big thing coming out of Manchester. All the famous bands, which originate from Manchester, have played here at one time or the other when trying to break into the music scene.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, a warm coat, an umbrella (please don’t forget), and a camera
First stop is at the Manchester Art Gallery where you are rewarded with stunning architecture built in the 1800’s containing art from well-known artists such as Gainsborough and Cezanne.
Within a short 5 minute saunter you will arrive at the very impressive Albert Square. Notice the Victoria gothic building enclosing the square, this is the Manchester Town Hall with its striking clock tower (pun intended!). It is a good place to rest and soak up the numerous monuments that adorn the square, the largest being a monument to Price Albert, the Price consort to Queen Victoria. You’ll also find a fountain dedicated to the latter for her Diamond Jubilee.
Next on the itinerary is St. Mary’s Church referred to as ‘the hidden gem’. First impressions are of a red brick building that doesn’t have the grandeur of some churches or the quaintness of others; however when you enter through the pillars, marking the entrance to the church, the sight welcoming you inside is breathtaking. Light is infused into the church via an octagonal cupola, with marble pillars, an impressive alter and stunning stain glass windows. This is the oldest post-Reformation Catholic Church in the country - a visit well worth making. Time for some refreshments? May we suggest The Old Nags Head, a traditional English pub dating back to the 1800’s, used as the local in the TV series Cold Feet? It is a 12 minute walk but well worth the effort, soak in some true English culture drinking warm ale (yuck!) and munching on a hearty pub lunch.
After this sojourn it might be difficult to drag yourself away, but if we could entice you back onto your feet returning to Deansgate back in the direction you previously came, arriving at John Rylands Library. The library is well worth a peek, it won the cities Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award in 2012. It is housed in a glorious late Victorian building and houses many medieval manuscripts as well as the famous Gutenberg Bible.
For the energetic visitor to Manchester there is a surprise planned for the day - how would you like to climb on a vertical chill ice wall? You’ve experienced climbing on a manmade climbing wall, try scaling an iced wall chilled to around -12 degrees centigrade! This is not for the faint hearted. The wall can be found in the Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports, North Face shop just past John Dalton Street on Deansgate Road. You’re going to give this a miss, such a shame!
Continue along Deansgate taking the third right onto St Ann St, shortly arriving at the lovely St Ann Square and its array of shops and coffee shops. Just off St Ann’s Square is the Royal Exchange Theatre which is situated inside a former cotton exchange, with its unique circular stage ensuring all 760 seats are within 9 meters of the stage. You may feel tempted to watch a production or wind down by enjoying dinner at the restaurant.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, dress warmly in layers, an umbrella (this is England!), and a camera
Arndale Shopping centre, is a 10 minute short walk, it is UK’s largest inner city indoor shopping centre filled with all the recognisable high street shops. Mention Manchester and, after football, the next most notable place of interest is the Arndale Centre, made infamous by the 1996 IRA bomb.
Once you’ve reached shopping saturation point, we suggest that you leave the centre through one of the Corporation Street exits. Note the red post-box that survived the IRA bomb that went off on this street. Continue NE for a few minutes towards a large glass building aptly named The Triangle, this is the building that replaced the old Corn Exchange, after the devastation caused by the explosion. Offering you a further opportunity to shop until you drop, well you did choose to holiday in a city! The Triangle has more quirky offerings, than the Arndale Centre, in the form of various New Age shops and beauty establishments, this is a good time to rest your weary legs and perhaps enjoy a coffee and panini at one of the numerous coffee shops that are on hand in this trendy centre.
Across from the Triangle is Urbis, housing The National Football Museum, boasting the world’s largest collection of football memorabilia - a reminder that we are in the city of the most famous football team in the world! The museum is free to enter and offers loads of interactive exhibits; this is your opportunity to test your penalty box skills?
We have time to fit in two more sightseeing opportunities, leave Urbis continuing NW up Fennel Road, at Victoria Street a little to the left is the Medieval Manchester Cathedral, parts of it have been rebuilt due to damage incurred during WWII. Did you know that it is tradition in the UK to give ‘city’ status to those towns that have a Cathedral? Return back towards Urbis but turn left skirting around Urbis, the Cathedral Gardens and past Chetham’s School of music on your left, reaching Todd St where the entrance to Chetham Library will be found. Entrance is again free, into the oldest public library in the English speaking world, dating back to 1653. The building itself is the most intact medieval complex that has survived all these years, in North West England, built in 1421, making the building a staggering 600 years old – careful not to sneeze!
Are you about ready for dinner? We recommend a visit to another authentic English pub, Mr Thomas’s Chop Shop, offering traditional English food, described by the New York Times as ‘probably Manchester’s most venerable pub’. It’s a 15 minute walk towards St Ann’s Square back down Corporation Street, if it is a Saturday, and particularly over Christmas, it would be better to be on the safe side and pre-book your table.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, dress warmly in layers but wear smart casual (time to lose the football shirt), an umbrella (this should be habit by now), and a camera
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Today we have a 15 minute walk to start the day with a visit to the People’s History Museum where entrance is free. If you are interested in history then this is a good place to explore the social aspects of the working class people, for the last 100 years, in this part of the UK. It is a particularly poignant museum reminding us of Manchester’s huge contribution, as the fore runner of the world, during the Industrial Revolution.
You may like to grab a coffee, in their in house coffee shop, before venturing to the next museum; the Museum of Science and Industry. This museum is an excellent complement to the People’s History Museum, providing a continuation into the science (and the technology used) behind the success of the Industrial Revolution. Again the entrance is free.
Museum’d out? Well we have two suggestions, aimed at dusting off those cobwebs and it will also provide the perfect solution for anyone suffering from hunger pangs. The first choice is a more relaxed option out of the two ... continue East along Liverpool Street for 2 minutes and stop when you see the Cask bar. This is a comfortable pub known for its vast array of beers and very friendly staff, the food served is in the realm of a light toasty. The second choice is the more formal option ... this is the reason why we recommend wearing smart casual clothes on today’s trip. The venue is Cloud 23 named after the restaurant’s location way up high on the 23rd floor - providing panoramic views over the city. Themed around the Greek God’s, it is a lovely place to relax and orientate yourself looking over the vast city of Manchester. We recommend that you book ahead for the decadent afternoon tea, served from 12 to 5pm.
Ask a staff member to point out the Castlefield Urban Heritage Park – this is where you are to venture next. This part of Manchester is regarded as the birth place of the city, estimated at around 79AD. During its significant regeneration program in 1982, Manchester declared this area an Urban Heritage park, the first of its kind in the UK. The area has caught on and it attracts many visitors from out of town as well as locals. Many visitors are drawn to the Mamucium Roman fort remains (this is where the name Castlefield comes from, it was shortened from its original name of ‘castle in the field’). This area also boasts a viaduct, an old mill, an attractive canal system and, for the architecturally inspired visitor, a myriad of renovated historical buildings. The best place to start is at the Roman fort. Once you’ve taken loads of pictures continue along this road turning left into Duke’s Street and then left into Castle Road. Meander along Castle Street, running between two canals, you will be surrounded by the many bars and restaurants this area has on offer. Why not chill out, have a drink, and give yourself time to soak up the history of the area.
A brilliant end to the perfect day is a visit to The Comedy Store, walk south down Deansgate and left into Whitworth St West after a short walk, you will arrive at The Comedy Store. Be prepared to be entertained by some world class comedians intermingled with some downright awful comedians. Don’t be shocked by the heckling, this is part of the fun. This is where many well-known comedy entertainers began their careers. If you are not British then some of the jokes are likely to go over your head, but the atmosphere, the simple food and the beer make it a memorable experience. Play it safe and book your tickets ahead. The venue has a below 18 years restriction due to the licensed bar and the content presented by some of the standup comedian’s!
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, an umbrella (I’m sure you know this by now), and a camera
Walk 10 minutes NE along Portland Street into Newton Street and you will come across another example of Victorian architecture, this time housing the Manchester Police museum. Apart from the stunning wood work and stained glass windows the museum’s exhibits transports the visitor back into the world of Victorian policing.
If it is one of those rare dry days then make your way to Canal Street, known also as the Gay Village. Straight people also enjoy venturing here for something to eat or drink, in one of the numerous cafes set out on the pavement, in continental style, along the edge of the Rochdale canal. Canal Street became famous as a result of the BBC Queer as Folk series. Relax and chill. This is also a good place to go at night however there are some bars or clubs who may restrict access if you are not gay.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, an umbrella (rain, rain go away ...), and a camera
There are three museums, all in close proximity to each other, just 30 minute walk along Oxford Road, just down from Portland Street. We suggest taking a pick and mix approach to the museums. The first museum is The Pankhurst Centre housed in the two Victorian houses where the Mancunian founder of the suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst, and her daughters actually lived. The second museum is the Manchester Museum with its renowned Egyptian exhibit collection and its interesting dinosaur exhibits. Finally you may be inspired to pay a visit to the Whitworth Art Gallery with its impressive collection of art, including art by masters such as Picasso and Van Gough.
Having visited all the museums in the area we feel something totally different is in order. The Curry Mile is well worth exploring, just a short 12 minute walk further along Oxford Road, this is the largest concentration of Asian food in the UK – Indian cuisine at its finest. The Curry Mile is a vibrant, interesting place to explore, in addition to the array of Indian restaurants there are many shops offering a plethora of Indian spices and produce.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, an umbrella (it’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring ...), and a camera, purchase a daily Wayfarer ticket obtained from every tram stopa , Metrolink route map, pre-booked stadium tour tickets and a big bag to conceal any souvenirs purchased at the rival clubs
Today is all about football. We suggest a Man City Tour in the morning followed by a Man Utd Tour in the afternoon. Remember to keep very quiet about where you went or where you are going when visiting each of the rival clubs. There is no need to ignite the volatile intense rivalry between the two teams now is there? Unless of course you have a morbid desire to not survive the end of the day!
Make your way to Piccadilly Station, once there purchase a daily Wayfarer ticket which will enable travel throughout the day on the Manchester public services. Find the Metrolink or tram (as the locals call it) going to Droylsden, jump on board, the journey will take 20 minutes to get to the Etihad Campus - a Man City supporters equivalent to the Greeks Mount Olympus! The tram comes at regular 12 minute intervals, so it should not be a long wait. The tour has been described in the press as a ‘Highly Commendable Tour’ and lasts 90 minutes; you will leave the football ground having been given a sense of what the professional footballers experience, behind the scenes, on a match day. The rest of the world looks upon Man City as the underdogs, out of Manchester’s two premiership football teams. Yet this is an entirely different story in the city of Manchester, where support for each team is evenly split, with half of the population supporting Man City and the remainder Man Utd. The well stocked Man City souvenir shop, has every object you can think of blazed in Man City branding, providing the ideal opportunity to purchase that obligatory football shirt to make everyone back home jealous.
Return by tram to Piccadilly Station. You may like to grab a quick bite to eat in one of the many options available at this very cosmopolitan station, before finding your next tram to Man Utd - the world’s most popular football team. This time you want to catch the Altrincham metro, alighting at Old Trafford. This 70 minute tour starts by taking you back in history with a touching memorial for all the players lost in the Munich air disaster, which wiped out most of the Man Utd team at the time. The behind the scene tour lets you into the players changing rooms, here you have the opportunity to take a picture sitting under your favourite players changing hook. The shop is huge and offers everything you can think of related to Manchester United, from clocks to dressing gowns. Little nudge – unless you suffer from the previously discussed death wish, do not feel tempted in any way to open the bag containing your purchases made in the Man City souvenir shop!
How does one conclude a day spent immersed in Manchester’s two premiership football clubs? There is only one way ... it is time for a beer, or three, at The Trafford, a pub in Chester Road, where all the Man Utd fans gather on match days. This is an authentic pub used by the locals. What a great way to end a very Manchester day!
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, warm clothing, gloves, thick socks, an umbrella (it’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring ...), and a camera, purchase a daily Wayfarer ticket, Metrolink route map, taxi companies phone number or hire car
It’s another pick and mix day. In the morning you can choose from skiing on the largest indoor ski slope in the UK at Chill Factore or going on the BBC Studio Tour.
Chill Facore – We recommend pre-booking. Everything can be hired but if you have warm clothing, gloves and thick socks then pack them for this trip. You can book lessons on how to ski or even learn to snowboard. Make sure your travel medical insurance is up to date before launching off the slope! The venue is best reached by catching a tram from Victoria Station to Liverpool Lime Street alighting at the Patricroft stop, walking South to the ski centre. The total journey from the Ibis is around 20 minutes.
BBC Studio Tour – Needs to be pre-booked. There is no tram route or easy bus route to the venue, this is a good time to take the 10 minute taxi journey. Most reputable places of accommodation in Manchester will have the number for a recommended taxi service, remember to carry the telephone number on you at all times, so you can call them when you are ready to come home. The BBC Studio tour lasts around 2 hrs and invites you to the behind the scenes studio’s, including those of Match of the Day, Blue Peter and Dragon’s Den. Giving you a realistic insight into how the BBC radio and BBC TV operates.
Having finished your morning’s entertainment, the afternoon’s activity is much more chilled out. It entails a visit to one of Manchester’s best known village and its park, South of the City Centre. We recommend catching a taxi or to use a hire car to get from your morning’s entertainment to Chorlton Village. The village attracts the more alternative arty type, with ample venues to eat, drink and shop. The nearby Chorlton park is perfect for that relaxing afternoon walk.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, warm clothing, an umbrella (it just isn’t worth the risk ...), and a camera, pre-booked ticket for the canal journey, Wayfarer ticket and Metrolink route map, taxi companies phone number or hire car
Catch the tram line from Piccadily station, destination Eccles or Mediacity, alight at Salford Quays. Your other option is to book a taxi which will take you directly there in 15 minutes or alternatively you could drive yourself. We suggest you pre-book your ticket for this trip with Mersey Ferries. This 35km canal trip departs from Salford Quays and concludes at Liverpool’s Albert Dock. There are refreshments and a knowledgeable guide on board the ferry, who talks you through many very interesting historical facts behind the canal. A Mancunian friend recently provided this snippet of insider information:
“The building of the ship canal decimated the cotton trade to and from the Far East through Liverpool and transferred it directly to Manchester - it is the reason why Liverpudlians dislike Mancunians and why the psyche of the Liverpudlian is often portrayed as the victim” A. Penfold
Once you arrive in Liverpool’s Albert Dock, you have 2.5 hrs to squeeze in a few of the amazing attractions on offer, these are your choices:
learn all about a U-Boat at the U-boat Story
visit the Tate Liverpool
learn all about the Beatles Story at the Beatle’s Story
learn about Liverpool’s roll in Slavery at the International Slavery museum
visit the Maritime Museum
The return journey is by bus, depositing you safely back at Salford Quays, this is included in the price of your ticket.
If you have some energy left we recommend on final visit to the nearby famous Lowry Arts and Entertainment Centre. You may choose to sit back and be entertained by getting tickets to watch one of their high quality shows, or you may prefer to eat a meal in their restaurant, or at one of their coffee shops, whilst soaking up this historical Manchester Quay.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, No umbrella (because you’ve chosen a warm sunny day), and a camera, hire car or Wayfarer ticket and Metrolink route map and golf clubs (if planning to do a round of 18!)
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Heaton Park, the family centred park, is only a 10 minutes car journey north of the city centre. If you don’t have a car then travelling by tram is easy, it is on the Bury line from Piccadilly Station and has its own alight point called Heaton Park stopping directly outside the entrance to the Park. Travel back in time and imagine you are the proprietor of this magnificent estate. Wander through the impressive buildings and gardens or go boating on the lake. Your children will love the animal farm where they can get to pet all kinds of animals. If golf is your thing, this is your opportunity to play a round of golf on their 18 hole championship golf course.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, an umbrella (it will keep you dry!), and a camera, hire car
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We suggest that you set off early today, driving North on the A56 Bury New Road to Bury, it is a 30 to 40 minute drive. If you are only going to visit the market today you could catch the tram line from Piccadilly out to Bury, remember to purchase either a return ticket or Wayfarer ticket before departure. In Bury you will find the world renowned Bury Market, which has been around for 500 years. The market gets over 250,000 visitors a week and offers everything from the mundane to the exotic. Careful you don’t spend all your time here or you’ll miss the next part of our trip - off to the beautifully preserved Skipton Castle on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
Set of from Bury continuing North bound, for 50 minutes, staying on the A56 into Skipton town which is on the southern boundary of the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales. Skipton Castle is a spectacular 1000 year old castle with an imposing gatehouse, towers, turrets, dungeons, and its very own chapel. The well maintained condition of the castle makes it easy to travel back in time, imagining what it would have been like to live your life inside these castle rooms.
If you haven’t yet run out of daylight, which is unlikely if you happen to be taking this trip in the winter, why not pop into the Yorkshire Dales – just to say you’ve been there! The nearest town is the small market town of Grassington, with its village atmosphere, cobbled streets and quant shops and restaurants. It is well worth the visit. Follow the B6265 for 30 minutes and take in the splendid scenery of one of the more well-known National Parks in the UK.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, an umbrella (chances are you’ll need it), and a camera, hire car or return train ticket to Blackpool
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Blackpool is North West of Manchester, an hour by car or one and a half hours by train from Manchester Piccadilly station (check availability on www.thetrainline.com). Blackpool is the destination of fun, it is Northern England’s most famous seaside resort, don’t expect beautiful scenery it is more along the lines of a huge funfair. It is a place to suspend thoughts of culture (although there is plenty around) but instead allow yourself to let your hair down and experience the joy of being a kid again.
A must visit is to the well-known Blackpool Tower, a 518 foot high Victorian attraction, its lift carries you up to the Blackpool Eye observation deck where you can capture amazing pictures and take a step of faith onto the terrifying glass floor, suspended 380ft above the promenade. The Tower also offers a 4D cinema, a world class circus, a famous Victorian ballroom dance floor, the famed Tower Dungeon and a Lost City themed jungle gym that children never want to leave.
Other Blackpool attractions include: The Pleasure Beach funfair (offering scary rides), Sealife aquarium, Blackpool’s very own Madame Tussauds (housing realistic wax figures of celebrities, historical figures and royalty). If you happen to be visiting from the end of August to the first week of November it is well worth waiting until nightfall to get an eyeful of the spectacular 10 km long historical Blackpool illuminations that light up the promenade.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, an umbrella (statistically there is a 30% chance of rain, in reality it’s a lot higher), a camera, a hire car and pre-booked tickets for Concord Tour
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Leave Manchester city centre on Princess Road due South, journey around 20 minutes to Manchester Airport. Don’t be concerned it’s not time to go home yet! We are bringing you here for a unique tour of the Concord – the supersonic airplane that was grounded in 2003. You can choose between a technical or an interior tour. If the Concord doesn’t tickle your fancy a tour of the Nimrod is also available. Why not go all out and enjoy a combined tour of both the Concord and the Nimrod - you never know when you’ll next be back in the area.
The next stop is at Didsbury village - travel north along the M56, taking the A34 north, within 10 minutes you will arrive in the village. Didsbury is now a suburb of Manchester but was rural until early 1900’s. This pretty village still retains its quant village feel, combine this with its close proximity to the city centre, means it has become a sought after area to live, in Manchester. There is an interesting clock tower and some lovely knick-knack shops and restaurants to explore.
If you still have some exploring energy to hand, a 5 minute walk south along Wilmslow Road deposits you at the stunning Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens. It has everything from ponds, woods, rock gardens, rose gardens, lawns, coffee shops and tranquil walks, making it a great outing for all ages. When you’ve finished exploring this 10 acre paradise why not pull in to one of the many local pubs that surround the gardens for a heart pub meal.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, an umbrella (it rains 140 days a year in Manchester), a camera, a hire car, check ahead the opening times of the Silk Mill
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Today you are setting off due south from Manchester, on the A34 then turning onto the A523, known as the Silk Road, towards the silk town of Macclesfield. The journey should take just under an hour. There is no need to rush because the mill and museum normally only opens around 11 am, we do recommend you phone ahead to get opening times as they do have various times for the different seasons. The first stop is at the working silk mill, Paradise Mill, where silk ties and scarves are still being manufactured. At one time all silk buttons in the UK, and in the colonies, would most likely have come from Macclesfield, but due to competition, mainly from China, this once thriving industry has shrunk to almost nothing. After you’ve enjoyed the tour we suggest that you pop over to the first ever Silk Museum in the UK to get the lowdown on the history of the British silk industry.
You’ve had enough culture for one day? Ok, then hop back into the car, journey another 40 minutes due south on the A523 towards the town of Alton, where you will find Alton Towers, UK’s number one theme park. Spend the rest of the day partaking in adrenaline inducing rides and munching on cavity causing candyfloss. A visit to Alton Towers will not be forgotten in a hurry.
What you will need: Money, comfortable walking shoes, an umbrella (getting wet is no fun), a camera, and a hire car.
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A trip to the Peak District is a must, being one of the most beautiful places to visit in the UK. We suggest another early start so you are able to get the best out of this very full day. Leave Manchester Centre travelling South on the A6 past Stockport, a journey of around 40 minutes, will take you into the Goyt valley - renowned for its stunning drive down into the valley, beautiful walks through moorlands, alongside rivers and through woods. It is worth the walk to Errwood Hall ruins, with its interesting history - apparently caused by the flooding of the reservoir. This is a stunning place to take pictures, so charge your battery and clear the memory on your camera before setting out for this day trip.
Now that we’ve got your attention - rejoin the A6 travelling South and meander, for 30 minutes, to the Georgian spa town of Buxton, famous for its Buxton Spring water. This is the perfect place to enjoy lunch and absorb the striking Georgian architecture around every corner. You may want to pop in to the opera house to see if anything takes your fancy or just to soak in the stunning architecture. Perhaps you would like to visit the huge Dome where you could stop and treat yourself to a spa treatment or just relax and drink a coffee whilst absorbing the magnificent size of the Dome. Perhaps Poole’s Cavern is more to your liking - descend into the vast Limestone caverns and witness the large stalactites which have taken decades, instead of the normal rate of hundreds of years, to grow - as a direct result of the Lime burning industry that was situated above the cavern.
Time to move on, we have one more place to visit, Castleton, known as the Jewel of the Peak District. This is a 30 minute drive due East from Buxton. The surrounding area is out of this world and the drive is memorable. Places of interest are: the ruins of Peveril Castle built by the son of William the Conquer, William Peveril; an organised boat trip into the flooded mines of Speedwell Canyon (not for the faint hearted or those suffering from claustrophobia); there is a relatively easy walk to the largest natural cave entrance in England, with has the unfortunate name of The Devil’s Arse; or descend into the breath taking, natural, Blue John Caverns. A day is certainly not long enough to explore this unforgettable area in its entirety.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, an umbrella (always be on the safe side), a camera, and a hire car. Please check the Arley Hall website to make sure it is open before setting out – open March to September.
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Travel South, SW on the M56 from Manchester City Centre and in less than 40 minutes you will arrive at the magnificent manor house and gardens of Arley Hall, still the home of Lord and Lady Ashbrook. The Hall has apparently been in the family for 500 years. It is possible to take a guided tour through the Hall; we suggest you check the options available on the Arley Hall site prior to visiting. However even if the Hall is unavailable on the day of your choice, it is still well worth a visit just to explore the enchanting zones in this immaculately maintained Garden. Arley Hall is especially well regarded for having one of the first herbaceous borders of its kind in the UK and the border is still being maintained to an extremely high standard.
A cobbled area leads to a tea room housed in a Tudor barn, the food served here is delicious. There is the mandatory shop offering various souvenirs and a nursery where all your gardening questions can be answered by the very helpful staff. They even run a day of clay pigeon shooting in true upper class style! Arley Hall offers a truly decadent day out.
What you will need: Money, comfortable shoes, an umbrella (this should be second nature by now), a camera, and a hire car. Please check the Bramhall Hall website to make sure it is open before setting out; opening times vary throughout the year.
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Only 30 minutes car journey south from Manchester you will find Bramhall Hall, an imposing wooden Tudor mansion, with parts of it dating back to the 14th century. That’s 600 years old!
A day out at Bramhall includes a very educational museum and a tour through the ancient house, as well as providing you with an opportunity to explore its vast 70 acre grounds. There are ponds, a wooded area, immaculate lawns, a cafe and several play areas for children. Why not bring a picnic and enjoy the serenity that spending a day at Bramhall Hall has to offer.
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