Manchester is an amazing city. There is so much to do in the city centre and around! If you want to discover more of Northern England, opting for one of these day trips from Manchester is a great way to do so.
Manchester is blessed with beautiful surrounding areas. Mountains, sea, cities… we have it all!
Whether you are spending a few days in Manchester or are living there and looking for a day out, this article is for you!
Let’s discover the best day trips from Manchester!
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Best Places to visit within 1 hour of Manchester
Distance: 40 miles / 1h
Located between Manchester and Liverpool, Chester is perfect for two kinds of people: History lovers and animal lovers!
Chester was founded as a Roman fortress but through centuries, became that very typical English town, covered with Tudor-Style half-timber houses.
Chester is the perfect example of what a melting pot of civilizations can result in! A beautiful and extremely interesting city.
I’d highly recommend going on a walking tour in Chester as you will discover so much about the history of the place! See prices here.
But besides that, you can go for a walk on the Roman walls, visit the cathedral and walk in town. You will discover beautiful medieval streets with timber facades on the building.
A mix of culture that is beautifully put together!
Although Chester is a must-do, it can get pretty busy in summer. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be going, but just be aware of that.
Now let’s switch to the other thing: Chester Zoo!
Chester Zoo is one of the best zoos in the world! And if you have a day to spare, you should definitely check it out!
Chester Zoo was open by George Mottershead and his family. He started collecting loads of animals, especially after WWI despite having been wounded. He had a passion for all animals and slowly slowly started being the zoo.
The thing that makes Chester Zoo so special is the fact that it was built purely out the kindness and passion of this family.
Moreover, it’s operated by a registered charity (since 1934) and is involved in many projects about animal projection across the world.
Little Moreton Hall
Distance: 35 miles / 50 minutes
Located about 35 miles away from Manchester, in Congleton, Little Moreton Hall is a beautiful half-timbered mansion.
The property itself is fairly small compared to other National Trust so it might not take you the entire day, but it’s still a very nice place to go for the afternoon if you can.
You can visit the Mansion and the gardens.
This beautiful mansion paints an excellent portrait of what a typical English house used to be! So pretty and cute!
If you go around Christmas time, you might also get a glass of mulled cider!
Distance: 17 miles / 30 minutes
Tatton Park is a National Trust property located 30 minutes away from Manchester city centre. It’s the perfect place to visit if you are looking for a day out around Manchester.
Tatton Park is loved by families as it is big and offers many different activities.
As you get there, you will drive through the deer park. Open your eyes, there are deers everywhere and it’s good fun to try to spot them. There are a lot of walking path in the park so you can explore it for hours!
The second main attraction at Tatton Park is the mansion and gardens. If you have a National Trust Membership, it will be included and you can visit both for free.
Finally, on the other side of the park is located a farm. That’s the perfect thing to do in Tatton Park with kids. The farm includes a mill and plenty of animals. The staff will show you how they milk cows and take care of the other animals. In the mill, you will find a presentation of how it used to be used. Very interesting!
To visit Tatton Park Mansion and Gardens, make sure to book your ticket in advance on the official website.
Distance: 18 miles / 40 minutes
Established in 1951, Peak District is officially the first National Park in the UK! And what a well-deserved title. The peaks, as the locals say, are gorgeous and breath-taking!
There are so many things to do in the Peaks!
If you are going on a day trip from Manchester, I’d recommend taking the train to Edale (or drive if you have a car) and start from there.
Edale is home to some of the best hikes in Peak District such as Jacob’s Ladder and Mam Tor.
Castleton is also a cute village that you can visit on the same day.
Alternatively, you can also opt for the northern part of the Peak District. Dovestone Reservoir is an excellent day out from Oldham.
There are many walks around the reservoir including some you can do with children and some more challenging hikes.
If you don’t have a car, you may also want to opt for a day tour from Manchester. See prices here.
Distance: 20 miles / 40 minutes
Lyme Park is quite similar to Tatton Park but a bit smaller and on the other side of Manchester, in Stockport.
The deer park is very big. It’s the perfect place to go for a walk and enjoy a picnic. The mansion and gardens are well worth a visit as well. It’s very different to the other properties around Manchester and it’s very interesting. There is even a inside garden.
Distance: 35 miles / 1h
Liverpool is one of the most underrated cities in the UK and yet has so much to offer! Whether you are a music fan or culture nerd, you will find many things to do in Liverpool.
Liverpool used to be the port of entry of most goods during the triangle trade. The revolutionary technology behind the wet dock was invented in Liverpool.
This was a game-changer during the industrial revolution. Today the maritime mercantile city of Liverpool is classed as UNESCO world heritage.
If you are interested in learning more about Liverpool, opt for a walking tour. See prices here.
Liverpool is also a great destination for museum lovers. There are so many of them! World museum, slavery museum, Tate… art and culture fans will love it!
If you like shopping, Liverpool will be your paradise. The city centre is home to Liverpool One, the biggest open-air commercial centre in Europe.
Liverpool was also used many times as a filming location for Peaky Blinders. If you are a Shelby’s fan, you may want to consider going on a Peaky Blinders tour. See prices here.
Finally, last but not the least, Liverpool is the birthplace of the Beatles! If you love music, Liverpool is a must-go!
Head to Matthew Street and go to the Cavern, the club where the Beatles started! You can also book a ticket to visit the Beatles Story, the world’s largest permanent exhibition purely devoted to The Beatles. Click here to see the prices.
The music culture is extremely present in Liverpool. You will find many pubs and bars with live music. Loads of famous artists also come to Liverpool and perform in random places just to try out their new material so if you are lucky, who knows you might end up seeing an amazing show!
HOW TO GET THERE: You can easily drive there if you have a car. It will take you about 1 hour.
That said, I would highly recommend taking the train. There are several trains per hour going from Manchester to Liverpool. They take between 50 minutes and 1h10. The return journey costs between £7 and £15.
You can book your ticket on Trainline and keep it on your phone.
Fun fact: the train line between Manchester and Liverpool was the world’s first passenger railway.
Distance: 10 miles / 20 minutes
Looking for a family day out in Manchester? Trafford will be the perfect place for you!
Located on the edge of the city, Trafford is home to many entertainment places as well as the famous Trafford Centre.
If you are a first-time visitor, make sure to go to the Trafford Centre. Not only will you find hundreds of shops but it’s also such a unique place.
It was beautifully decorated. It almost looks like a theme park. Make sure to head to the food hall so you can see the mini China town, Little Italy and the replica of the boat deck.
If you’re not into shopping but want to have a fun day out in Manchester, you should opt for one of the following activities:
- Visiting Sealife. See prices.
- Trying indoor skydiving at iFly. See prices.
- Hitting the slopes at Chill Factore.
Best Places to visit within 2 hours of Manchester
Distance: 70 miles / 1h30
York is, without the shadow of a doubt, one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. If you love history and medieval towns, York will be your paradise!
You can jump on a train from Manchester Piccadilly station and in less than 1 hour you will be in York. The city centre is quite small, making it super easy to walk around!
The best way to make the best of your day in York is to go on a walking tour. The guide will bring you to the main attractions in York and tell you everything about the history of the place. York offers a very interesting mix between roman, normans and anglo-Saxons influences.
The most popular place is the Shambles. This narrow street is very characteristic of York. It’s also a great place for Harry Potter fans. Even though Harry Potter wasn’t filmed in York, the Shambles were turned into a Harry Potter street in recent years.
If you want to discover the actual Harry Potter filming locations in the UK though, you can head here.
Distance: 75 miles / 1h10
It would be impossible to talk about day trips from Manchester without mentioning Lake District! This beautiful National Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Northern England.
It’s about 2 hours from Manchester. You can get there by train or car but if you want to make the best of your day, a day tour to Lake District from Manchester would be the best.
You can see more details and latest prices here. You can also check this article to see all tours to Lake District.
The lakes, as they are nicknamed, offer amazing walking and cruising opportunities. You will also find a lot of picturesque villages such as Kendal and Windermere.
Finally, you can also visit the world of Beatrix Potter.
Distance: 86 miles / 1h40
Birmingham is the second biggest city in the UK. It’s located about 2 hours away from Manchester by train, it’s the ideal day trip if you want to discover a bigger city.
Birmingham is perfect for shoppers! You will find the biggest Primark in Europe and plenty of other shops in the massive shopping centre in town.
If you are going in November or December, you will also be able to enjoy the Christmas markets!
If you love music, Birmingham will be a good place to visit too. There are a lot of music venues, perfect to go see a gig!
Yorkshire Dales National Park
Distance: 52 miles / 1h15
Located about 1 hour and a half from Manchester city centre, the Yorkshire Dales National Park features some of the most beautiful landscapes in England!
Beautiful small villages, limestone walls, sheep and hiking trails… that’s what the Yorkshire Dales are all about!
If you like hiking, make sure to go to Malham. The village itself is very cute but the best thing about it is the walking trails. You can head up to Malham Tarn or choose to go up to Malham Cove.
Not only the view is absolutely stunning from there but it was also a Harry Potter filming location! If you are a Potterhead, you will recognise this unique cliff where Hermione and Harry camp in the 7th movie!
The best way to get there is by car. Although you can reach some towns by train, it will be a long trip and you won’t be able to get around. You can truly understand the true beauty of the Yorkshire Dales when you’re driving on these narrow roads.
If you don’t have a car, you can opt for a day tour from Manchester. Click here to see the prices.
Snowdonia National Park
Distance: 95 miles / 1h50
Snowdonia National Park is particularly known for being home to Wales’ highest mountain, Mount Snowdon.
It was Wales’ first national park and is an absolute beauty! One of my favourite places in the UK! There are so many things to do in Snowdonia.
If you are going to Snowdonia on a day trip from Manchester, you may want to leave early and be ready for a full day. It will take you about 2 hours by car to get there. You can also opt for a day tour by bus. Click here to see the prices.
From there, one of the best things to do is obviously to hike Mount Snowdon. There are six different routes you can take: Llanberis path, Pyg Track, Miners’ Track, Watkin Path, Rhyd-Ddu Path or the Snowdon Ranger Path.
But Snowdonia has so much more to offer! It boasts way more hiking trails than Snowdon and you can find some for all difficulty levels.
If you are a thrill-seeker, Snowdonia will be your paradise too! Because it’s home to the world’s fastest zip line! Zip World Velocity.
I got the chance to experience it back in 2015 and I can tell you it was one of the best things I did. I put it right up there alongside skydiving above the Great Barrier Reef! That’s to say how much you love you.
Tickets start at £65 and get two rides. One on a smaller zip line, then one on the big zip line. Besides the speed, the thing that I loved the most about it was the place itself. You are on a mountain, the seaside in the background, literally flying above a lake! It’s absolutely amazing!
Distance: 55 miles / 1h05
Pleasure Island is a family theme park in Cleethorpes, near Blackpool. It’s a great destination for a day out near Manchester with kids.
It has been running since 1993 and is a local institution.
The park is split in 6 areas: Africa, Kiddies Kingdom, Morocco, Old England, Spain and White Knuckle Valley.
You’ll find an interesting selection of rides including some for young children and adults.
Distance: 44 miles / 1h20
Alton Towers is an amusement park located in Stoke-on-Trent, about 1h20 away by car from Manchester.
You can also take the train from Piccadilly Station.
It’s the perfect activity if you like roller coasters!
Like any theme park, I would recommend going early to avoid having to queue too much. That said though, it has nothing to do with theme parks in Florida for example, compared to that it’s still a fairly small park. But really good fun and that’s what matters!
Distance: 81 miles / 1h40
Llandudno is a small seaside town located in North Wales. It’s a popular destination amongst locals, especially in summer.
You can easily get there by car. It takes a bit less than 2 hours. Alternatively, you can opt for a day tour of North Wales from Manchester. Click here to see the prices.
Once you reach Llandudno, you can park in town but be careful with the parking restrictions as some places are limited to 2 hours.
You can then walk to town, grab a delicious fish and chips before heading to the beach.
The beach is pretty large and you’ll have plenty of room for a walk. You can also walk along the promenade up to Llandudno Pier.
If you are travelling with a dog, head to West Shore Beach instead.
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