The weather in Manchester is beautiful this spring! And, since it does not happen often, everybody is trying to make the most of it. Who doesn’t like to bask in the sunshine anyway? All around the city, you can see people resting on benches, sitting in the outdoor cafes and lying on the grass in local parks: everyone enjoying some fresh air on their lunch break or after school and work are finished. We, too, encourage you to get as much vitamin D as possible, before it starts raining again! So, if you have some spare time, make sure you take the opportunity to explore the Greater Manchester area and stay healthy and fresh. With another bank holiday weekend approaching (25 – 27 May), you might want to travel a bit further and spend some time in one of these lovely spots. All of the places below are only an hour (or less!) away from the city centre!
Knutsford is a historic town 14 miles south-west of Manchester. With its cobbled streets, cosy cafes and country walks, it makes a quaint and relaxing place to visit. If you arrive at Knutsford train station, it is less than 10 minutes to walk to Tatton Park gates. Tatton Park comprises over 1000 acres of land with stunning views of a deer park, a lake and an 18th century mansion. You must pay to visit the Egerton’s family Tatton Park Hall, Gardens and Farm (around £13), but the grounds around it, including the Stables with a restaurant and gift shops, are free to enter.
Northern train from Piccadilly to Knutsford takes about 43 minutes and costs around £7.00.
Hebden Bridge is a market town 14 miles north-east of Rochdale. It lies on the Rochdale canal and is close to Pennines Way and Hardcastle Crags walking routes. The name comes from the old bridge which used to cross the river Hebden. The river played an important role in the history of this town, as it was the water-powered wool weaving mills which helped it develop during the times of the Industrial Revolution. Take the train from Manchester and enjoy the picturesque Yorkshire countryside or wander down the high street and explore independent shops with local and fresh produce.
Northern train from Victoria to Hebden Bridge takes about 50 minutes and costs around £10.50
Quarry Bank in Styal is yet another historical site connected to the Industrial Revolution. The cotton mill was built in 1784, powered by the River Bollin. It made the family of its owner – Samuel Greg – very wealthy, and helped the village prosper. You will need to buy a ticket to see the Quarry Bank (around £20), but it is definitely worth it. While on the property, you shall discover what it was like to work in a cotton mill, and then visit the Greg’s family comfortable home and glasshouse. You can explore the gardens and vast woodlands, before heading back to the village of Styal for a nice meal in one of the local pubs.
Northern train from Piccadilly to Styal takes about 40 minutes and costs around £6.00
Chorlton Water Park
Chorlton is not far from the city centre and is considered one of the best suburbs in Manchester. You might want to have a look at cute boutique shops and chic restaruants on Beech Road. Then, move on further down Brookburn Road and you will reach the stunning Cholrton Water Park. Chorlton Water Park is a Local Nature Reserve comprising of a lake surrounded by grasslands and woodlands. Chorlton Ees Nature Reserve is a 58-hectacre site designated as Site of Biological Importance, which means its flora and fauna are protected and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for research.
Stagecoach buses 85 and 86 take you to Chorlton Bus Station, near Beech Road (day ticket costs £4.80)
Alderley Edge is known to be a home for the footballers and celebrities, but the beautiful countryside just outside the village is definitely a must-see. The woodland paths surrounding the village will lead you to the National Trust where you get to experience some beautiful views of the Cheshire plain. There are different walks that would suit all levels of ability. You might want to check out the “Greater Manchester Walking Festival” brochure for more information on the routes (available at reception). Just make sure you stop at the Wizard Tea Room for some scones and afternoon tea!
Northern train from Piccadilly to Alderley Edge takes about 30minutes and costs around £8.00