A city of culture, sports, music, history, creativity and diversity, Manchester should be on the must-visit list of any traveler to Britain - plus it’s one of the key gateways into northern England. It’s in an enviable location, which means that journeying just an hour by train outside the city will lead you to a realm of ancient cities and spa towns, beautiful beach resorts, stately homes, unique countryside, and bohemian heartlands – all perfect to visit on a day trip from Manchester.
Renowned as a historic spa town, Buxton is peppered with architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries. The star of which is the stately Crescent, now being transformed into an 80-bedroom, five-star spa hotel. Buxton also boasts an impressive repertoire of festivals. During the summer, stop by for the open-access arts festival, the Buxton Fringe Festival, plus the Buxton Military Tattoo, and the Buxton International Festival of Opera, Music and Literature.
There are myriad attractions to enjoy in Liverpool, from The Beatles Story and The Cavern Club (why not visit during the annual International Beatle Week Festival?) to contemporary art gallery Tate Liverpool and maybe cheer your football heroes on at a Premier League football match at either Liverpool FC or Everton FC. Beatles fans can’t miss a visit to the iconic red gates of Strawberry Field, a former children’s home and inspiration for the song Strawberry Fields Forever, as John Lennon used to play there as a child. Your visit is also for a good cause - proceeds from the exhibition, cafe and shop goes to Steps to Work, a program for young adults with learning disabilities. Meanwhile, all music fans will enjoy the British Music Experience, an exhibition telling the story of British music through costumes, instruments, performance and memorabilia.
Miles of magnificent beaches greet you at Southport, a pretty coastal resort where you can kitesurf, climb sand dunes, stroll along its historic pier or follow one of the town’s historic trails. Take a trip to Crosby Beach, which is home to Anthony Gormley’s art installation Another Place, 100 iron men standing looking out to sea. The area is also part of the UK’s ‘golfing capital’ – tee off at the prestigious Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport or travel 15 minutes’ from town to several more championship courses.
Wherever you walk in Chester, you can feel its rich history pulsating through its buildings, its city walls – the most complete city walls remaining in the UK – and its attractions. Here you can visit Britain’s largest Roman amphitheatre, walk through 700 years of history while shopping in the Rows galleries, enjoy race days at Britain’s oldest racecourse, and visit one of Britain’s largest zoos, Chester Zoo, where you can meet 21,000 animals and experience its passion for conservation.
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Known as the Steel City, Sheffield’s attractions link to its involvement in the Industrial Revolution. Kelham Island Museum, located on a 900 year old man-made island, tells stories following the growth of the city from the Victorian Era through World Wars I and II. Art and design enthusiasts will appreciate Millennium Gallery and a 90-minute walking tour with Sheffield City Walking Tours will introduce you to the city’s unique buildings, including the largest temperate glasshouse in the UK, Sheffield Winter Garden. Also, don’t miss Rafters Restaurant, an award-winning 2 AA Rosettes and Michelin listed restaurant just 10-minutes from the city center.
Peak District, Derbyshire
The nearest part of the picturesque Peak District National Park to Manchester is packed with dramatic landscapes of high moorland plateaus – travel further south in the park to discover a diverse landscape of hills and dales – which makes for great walking territory. The Peak District is also home to charming villages and attractive market towns and, if you travel just 90 minutes from Manchester, you can visit some of the loveliest stately homes in the country, such as the grand Haddon Hall and Chatsworth House.
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Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, for its creative vibe generated from the influence of writers and artists, cute galleries and independent shops, all set near valleys and heather moorland.
Tatton Park, Cheshire, for its neoclassical mansion, 1,000 acres of deer park, a collection of fine art, as well as walks through the huge gardens, plus the many events held here every year. Come in July for its annual RHS Flower Show.
Blackpool, Lancashire, for its traditional English seaside resort attractions, the stunning Blackpool Illuminations, and the iconic Blackpool Tower.
Lake District National Park, Cumbria, for the sheer beauty of its landscapes. Parts are reachable from Manchester within 60-90 minutes so is still manageable for a day trip. Explore the lovely town of Kendal in the south of the Lake District National Park, before heading for a walk on the shores of Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England and just nine miles from Kendal.