I love day trips! Spontaneous, planned, or as a surprise, I really don’t mind. There’s something very special about discovering something new. When I first moved to Manchester, as a student and without both car and driving licence, we used to lug our bikes around on trains to get to where ever we wanted to go for the day. Even though a car is definitely not a must, it makes getting to some of those special places a little bit easier.
If you fancy a bit of inspiration for your next day trip, this mini collection of 4 very pretty destinations is a good start. They are all within a reasonable drive from Manchester City Centre, so pack you comfiest shoes, a few snacks and bring something to drink. These destinations are great for walking!
Dunsop Bridge and Forest of Bowland
Link: Google Maps
About 1 hour and a quarter drive north of Manchester you’ll find this vast area of valleys and moorland. It is listed as an area of outstanding beauty, and it’s not hard to understand why. It is definitely worth spending a day up here. Have a search for walks in the area before you go, and download a map to use as a reference.
We headed for Dunsop Bridge and parked up in the small car park. From there, we headed south by foot, following River Hodder before crossing over and heading back up towards Dunsop Bridge again.
Smithills Hall & West Pennine Moors
A bit closer to Manchester you’ll find Smithills Hall, bordering to the West Pennine Moors. Smithills Hall has a car park which works as a great starting point for your day out. We decided to follow this walk from Visit Manchester; Historic Houses, Highest Hill (opens as a PDF), which starts and finishes at Smithills Hall. This walk is just over 8 miles altogether, and offers some amazing views of Greater Manchester.
Great Budworth, Cheshire
We would never have found this little gem if it wasn’t for a lovely lady and her little pup. We had initially decided to cycle from Manchester to Pickmere in Cheshire as we had heard rumors of if being a swim-friendly mere, which turned out to be only half true… Anyhow. This in it self was a nice ride through Dunham Massey and took us just under an hour and a half. If you’d rather drive, Great Budworth is only around 40 minutes away from the city centre. Once at Pickmere, we explored the area and came across a friendly lady walking her dog. As we got talking to her, she recommended us to head up to a very pretty little village called Great Budworth. And so we did. It is indeed little, blink and you will miss it, but it is also very pretty and definitely worth a visit! While you are here, the surrounding areas are great for walks and a bit of exploring. If walking is not quite you’re thing, there is a village pub (The George & Dragon) which serves up a superb Sunday Roast!
Monsal Trail, Peak District
I do love the Peak District, and Monsal Trail did certainly not disappoint. Head for Fin House B&B, which you will find about 20 minutes east of Buxton. From Manchester the drive will take you roughly an hour. Fin House B&B has a pay and display car park at the back. This does fill up quickly on weekends, so don’t start your day too late if you want to grab yourself a space. This location really is a perfect starting point. You can easily access the Monsal Trail, and you get to start your day with some stunning views of the Headstone Viaduct. Follow the trail for as long as you like, explore River Wye and its banks or settle down for a picnic and enjoy the views. Whatever you choose I’m sure you will have a fab day out.
Please do let me know if you give any of these destinations and let me know what you think! Also, make sure to keep an eye out as I will keep adding new beauty spots to this post.