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Top 20 Cities Close to Manchester You Should Visit

Top 20 Cities Close to Manchester You Should Visit

If you’re already in Manchester and looking to explore nearby cities, you’re in for a treat! 

While Manchester itself boasts numerous attractions, there are also several cities close by that offer unique experiences. Dive into our list to discover the top cities near Manchester that are well worth a visit!

Liverpool

Liverpool

Ah, Liverpool—the land of The Beatles, waterfronts, and football! This maritime city is known for its musical heritage, most notably giving the world the legendary band, The Beatles. 

A trip to the Beatles Story, an interactive museum, is a must if you’re a fan! Check out Liverpool’s waterfront as well. It’s lined with historic buildings and modern developments, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Are you a football enthusiast? Then you’re undoubtedly familiar with Liverpool, home to two of the Premier League’s giants: Liverpool FC and Everton FC. Reserve an afternoon to tour both stadiums and immerse yourself in football history. 

Beyond the pitch, Liverpool entices with its modern allure at the Liverpool One shopping centre and the Baltic Triangle’s indie bars and street art, seamlessly blending the contemporary with the city’s historic charm.

Train: Take a direct train from Manchester Piccadilly to Liverpool Lime Street, serviced by TransPennine Express and Northern Rail. It usually takes 30 to 50 minutes.

Bus: The National Express service 060 offers direct routes from Manchester Coach Station to Liverpool. The journey typically lasts 1 to 1.5 hours.

Taxi: Simply ask any local taxi service for a ride to Liverpool; it would usually take about 1 hour depending on traffic.

Car Service: Companies like Uber or local car hire services offer trips to Liverpool from Manchester, similar in duration to taxis.

Chester

Chester

Chester is like stepping into a history book with its Roman walls and Tudor-style buildings. It was founded as a Roman fort in the 1st century A.D., and its rich history can be felt with every step you take along its cobbled streets. 

The Chester Rows, which are historic, continuous half-timbered galleries, offer a unique shopping experience. Chester’s Roman Amphitheatre and the city’s cathedral are must-visit spots, especially if you’re a history and photography enthusiast!

And for those who love animals, the Chester Zoo is one of the UK’s most loved zoos—perfect if you have kids! 

With its mix of modern shops and cafes within a historical setting, it’s easy to see why so many fall in love with Chester.

Train: Avail direct services from Manchester Piccadilly to Chester with Transport for Wales or Northern Rail, typically taking 1 hour.

Bus: National Express service 030 connects Manchester to Chester and can take up to 2 hours.

Taxi: Direct taxi services are available, and the ride might last about 1.5 hours.

Car Service: Book through platforms like Uber or local car services, with a similar duration to taxis.

Leeds

Leeds

Situated at the eastern part of Manchester, Leeds is a vibrant hub of culture, shopping, and history. The Royal Armouries Museum and the Leeds City Museum are great spots for history buffs, showcasing rich collections and interactive exhibits. 

The city is also a shopper’s paradise with the Trinity Leeds shopping centre and the Victorian Quarter’s elegant boutiques. Leeds’ nightlife is a draw too, with a plethora of bars, pubs, and live music venues. 

Plus, with the Leeds Festival being one of the UK’s major music festivals (Manchester festivals), it’s a definite hotspot for music lovers. Said festivals are usually held during the summer and sometime between fall and winter— if you’re ever wondering, of course!

Train: Direct services from Manchester Victoria to Leeds are provided by TransPennine Express, taking around 50 minutes.

Bus: National Express service 060 runs from Manchester to Leeds, with an estimated journey time of 1.5 hours.

Taxi: An average of 1 to 1.5 hours is required for a direct taxi trip.

Car Service: Companies like Uber or local car hires offer a similar duration as taxis.

York

York

Less than a two-hour drive from Manchester, you’ll get to York, a walled city steeped in history and beauty. Head on to explore and take photos of the stunning York Minster, a Gothic cathedral, which stands as a testament to the city’s mediaeval past. 

You can then wander through the Shambles, which is often called Europe’s best-preserved mediaeval street, and you’ll feel like you’ve travelled back in time. 

Another interesting point here is how the city’s Viking heritage is brought to life at the JORVIK Viking Centre, providing an immersive experience for visitors— and one that would really excite your friends if you bring them with you (double win on that)! 

But beyond its historic sites, York is also home to cosy tearooms (gentleman’s tea manchester) and pubs. These are the perfect spots to relax and soak in the city’s ambiance!

Train: Hop on the direct TransPennine Express service from Manchester Piccadilly to York, which typically takes about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Bus: National Express service 564 connects Manchester to York. The journey can take up to 2.5 hours.

Taxi: Direct taxi routes are available, which might last about 2 hours.

Car Service: Book through platforms like Uber or local car services, with durations similar to taxis.

Sheffield

Sheffield

Sheffield, once an industrial titan, has transformed into a city of art, culture, and green spaces. 

Renowned for its steel production in the past, today’s Sheffield prides itself on its cultural attractions such as the Crucible Theatre, known for hosting the World Snooker Championship. 

The city’s Millennium Gallery and Winter Garden showcase both its artistic flair and love for greenery. Speaking of green, Sheffield has numerous parks and is close to the Peak District National Park, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts. 

Add to that its dynamic food scene, with a mix of traditional pubs and innovative eateries, and you have a city that truly offers something for everyone.

Train: Direct routes from Manchester Piccadilly to Sheffield are available via TransPennine Express or Northern Rail, usually taking around 50 minutes.

Bus: National Express service 564 can take you from Manchester to Sheffield in about 1.5 hours.

Taxi: A taxi trip may last about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Car Service: Platforms such as Uber or local car hires offer similar durations as taxis.

Preston

Preston

Preston, situated to the northwest of Manchester, is a historic gem with a lot to offer. A proud Lancastrian city, it boasts the beautiful Avenham and Miller Parks which provide a tranquil escape in the heart of the city. 

The Harris Museum and Art Gallery, located in the city centre, offers visitors a glimpse into Preston’s past, along with impressive art collections. You can also check out the city’s marina, a bustling hub with cafes, shops, and a picturesque view of boats sailing by.

And if you’re there in August, you might get to experience the traditional Preston Guild celebration, a historic event that happens only once every 20 years!

Train: Avail direct services from Manchester Piccadilly to Preston via Northern Rail, taking around 50 minutes.

Bus: National Express service 061 links Manchester and Preston in around 1.5 hours.

Taxi: It generally takes about 1 hour by taxi.

Car Service: Book with Uber or local car services for similar durations.

Bolton

Bolton

Bolton, a town brimming with character and history, is only a stone’s throw away from Manchester. The Bolton Museum, Aquarium, and Archive provide a captivating journey through time, showcasing everything from Egyptian mummies to local artefacts. 

For those who love the outdoors, Bolton’s countryside, including the West Pennine Moors, is a refreshing retreat— especially if you’re the outgoing type of person like me! 

The Octagon Theatre in Bolton is a hub of artistic activity, with performances that cater to diverse tastes. Don’t leave without checking out the Bolton Food and Drink Festival; it’s a gastronomic delight celebrating the region’s best culinary offerings.

Train: Direct trains from Manchester Victoria to Bolton run frequently via Northern Rail, usually taking 20-30 minutes.

Bus: Use services like the 582 bus from Manchester to Bolton. The trip takes around 1 hour.

Taxi: Direct taxi routes take around 30 minutes.

Car Service: Platforms like Uber or local car hires typically have similar durations as taxis.

Stockport

Stockport

Stockport offers a unique blend of the old and new. The historic Stockport Market has been a staple for centuries, providing locals and visitors with an array of goods, from food to antiques. 

The town is also home to the iconic Stockport Viaduct, a marvel of 19th-century engineering. Delve into the region’s past with a visit to Staircase House, which offers a hands-on history experience. 

And for those with an adventurous palate, Robinsons Brewery offers tours and tastings, where you can sample some of the town’s finest ales.

Train: Direct services from Manchester Piccadilly to Stockport are frequent, with journeys as short as 10-15 minutes via Northern Rail.

Bus: Buses like the 192 service connect Manchester and Stockport in around 40 minutes.

Taxi: A taxi ride is usually 15 to 20 minutes.

Car Service: Use Uber or local car services for durations akin to taxis.

Huddersfield

Huddersfield

Nestled between Manchester and Leeds, Huddersfield is a town proud of its industrial roots and its vibrant cultural scene. The town’s Victorian architecture is a testament to its rich heritage, with the railway station being a standout example. 

Music lovers will find joy at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music. 

Kirklees Light Railway offers a fun day out for families, and the surrounding countryside, including Castle Hill, offers panoramic views that shouldn’t be missed.

Train: Direct services from Manchester Victoria to Huddersfield via TransPennine Express typically take around 30-40 minutes.

Bus: National Express offers connections, but they can take up to 1.5 hours.

Taxi: Expect taxi rides to last about 1 hour.

Car Service: Platforms such as Uber or local hires offer similar durations as taxis.

Bradford

Bradford

Bradford, a UNESCO City of Film, is a testament to its rich cinematic heritage and its commitment to promoting the film industry. 

The National Science and Media Museum is an immersive exploration of the world of film, photography, and television. Meanwhile, Bradford’s industrial past is beautifully preserved at Salts Mill, a former textile mill now housing art, shops, and eateries. 

Don’t miss out on the city’s Little Germany district, which is a delightful area with well-preserved Victorian buildings. 

To top it all off, Bradford hosts the annual Bradford International Film Festival, so you can easily go there from Manchester if you’re a cinema enthusiast!

Train: Avail of the direct service from Manchester Victoria to Bradford Interchange via Northern Rail, taking about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Bus: National Express service 339 links Manchester and Bradford in around 2 hours.

Taxi: The journey might last about 1.5 hours.

Car Service: Use Uber or local car services, with durations similar to taxis.

Warrington

Warrington

Positioned between Manchester and Liverpool, Warrington is a town rich in history with contemporary flair. Notably, the Warrington Museum & Art Gallery is one of the oldest municipal museums in the UK, and it showcases everything from Roman artefacts to contemporary art. 

Families will love Gulliver’s World, a theme park designed for children. For a more serene experience, the town’s parks, such as Walton Hall and Gardens, offer peaceful retreats with manicured landscapes and animal encounters. 

Don’t miss out on the cultural events either! Warrington’s Parr Hall hosts a variety of performances from concerts to theatre.

Train: Use the direct service from Manchester Piccadilly to Warrington Bank Quay via Northern Rail, typically taking 20-30 minutes.

Bus: National Express service 060 connects Manchester to Warrington. The journey is approximately 45 minutes.

Taxi: Expect taxi rides to last about 30-40 minutes.

Car Service: Platforms such as Uber or local hires will have similar durations as taxis.

Blackburn

Blackburn

Located in the heart of Lancashire, Blackburn is a town that beautifully merges its rich past with a dynamic present. The Blackburn Cathedral is one of the top architectural wonders here, having stood in the town for centuries. 

You can also visit Ewood Park, the home of Blackburn Rovers Football Club, which echoes with tales of sporting glory. 

If you’re in search of a spot to mingle with the locals, Blackburn’s King George’s Hall hosts a myriad of events, from music to comedy, appealing to a wide audience. 

For a glimpse into nature, go to the nearby Witton Country Park, which offers vast green spaces, woodlands, and a bird conservation area.

Train: Direct services run from Manchester Victoria to Blackburn via Northern Rail which takes about 50 minutes.

Bus: National Express service 152 connects Manchester and Blackburn in around 1.5 hours.

Taxi: A taxi journey will take approximately 1 hour.

Car Service: Bookings with Uber or local car services offer durations akin to taxis.

Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent

Often referred to as ‘The Potteries’, Stoke-on-Trent is world-renowned for its pottery and ceramic heritage. Here, you can explore the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, where the world-class ceramics collection dazzles. 

The Gladstone Pottery Museum offers a deeper dive into the industry, where visitors can witness traditional pottery techniques— talk about that scene from Ghost with Patrick Swayze! 

Beyond pottery, Stoke boasts the beautiful Trentham Estate with its Italian Gardens, shopping village, and monkey forest. Alton Towers, one of the UK’s top theme parks, is also a short drive away, making Stoke a gateway to thrill and adventure.

Train: Direct services from Manchester Piccadilly to Stoke-on-Trent are frequent via Avanti West Coast, usually taking 40-50 minutes.

Bus: National Express service 320 connects Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent in about 1.5 hours.

Taxi: Taxi rides are typically 1 to 1.5 hours.

Car Service: Platforms like Uber or local car services have similar durations.

Derby

Derby

Derby, lying at the edge of the Peak District, is a vibrant city with a rich industrial past. The Derby Silk Mill, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stands as a testament to the city’s pioneering role in the Industrial Revolution. 

For fans of Gothic architecture, the Derby Cathedral, with its stunning tower, is a must-visit. The Derby Museum and Art Gallery boasts a brilliant collection, including works by the famed Joseph Wright. 

The nearby Peak District offers endless opportunities for hiking, cycling, and admiring the breathtaking landscapes.

Train: Direct trains from Manchester Piccadilly to Derby run via East Midlands Railway, taking around 1.5 hours.

Bus: National Express service 440 connects Manchester to Derby, with a journey of about 2 hours.

Taxi: Taxi trips might last about 2 hours.

Car Service: Book through Uber or local car services for durations similar to taxis.

Nottingham

Nottingham

A city of legends, Nottingham is famously associated with the tales of Robin Hood. The historic Nottingham Castle, with its art gallery and museum, stands overlooking the city and offers panoramic views. 

The City of Caves takes you beneath the streets to explore a hidden world of sandstone caves. You can also check out the Lace Market, once the heart of the world’s lace industry, which is now a protected heritage area with beautiful buildings, boutique shops, and eateries. 

The annual Nottingham Goose Fair, one of Europe’s largest travelling fairs, is a fun-filled event that dates back more than 700 years.

Train: Hop on the direct East Midlands Railway service from Manchester Piccadilly to Nottingham, which typically takes about 2 hours.

Bus: National Express service 440 also connects these two cities in approximately 2.5 hours.

Taxi: A taxi route will usually be about 2-2.5 hours.

Car Service: Platforms like Uber or local hires offer similar durations as taxis.

Bury

Bury

Just north of Manchester lies Bury, a town steeped in industrial heritage but with a modern twist. The East Lancashire Railway, a preserved heritage line, offers nostalgic train rides through the beautiful Irwell Valley. 

For shopping aficionados, Bury Market is a must-visit! This spot is famed for its local produce and bustling atmosphere. The Fusilier Museum, on the other hand, provides insights into the rich military history of the region. 

And for those with a sweet tooth, Bury’s traditional black pudding is a must-try. With numerous parks and green spaces, Bury offers a lovely blend of urban and natural attractions.

Beyond its industrial roots, Bury is also a hub for arts and culture. The MET, situated in a Victorian building, is a leading arts venue, offering an array of performances from live music to theatre. 

The town is also renowned for its Sculpture Centre, which brings together works by international artists, making Bury a surprising spot for contemporary art aficionados.

Train: Direct services run from Manchester Victoria to Bury on the Metrolink tram system, taking around 30 minutes.

Bus: Numerous local bus services, like the 135, link Manchester and Bury in about 40 minutes.

Taxi: Expect a journey of 20-30 minutes by taxi.

Car Service: Use Uber or local car services for durations akin to taxis.

Rochdale

Rochdale

Rochdale, nestled at the foothills of the Pennines, boasts a rich history of textile manufacturing. To gain a deeper insight, visit the Rochdale Pioneers Museum, which tells the intriguing story of the birth of the cooperative movement. 

For nature lovers, Hollingworth Lake provides a scenic setting for walks, sailing, and picnicking. Healey Dell Nature Reserve, with its woodland and beautiful waterfalls, is another tranquil escape. 

The town’s impressive Town Hall, with its neo-Gothic architecture, is also a must-visit! Bring out your cameras because this building stands as a testament to Rochdale’s Victorian grandeur.

For a different dose of design, Touchstone House is your bet. It’s one of Rochdale’s hidden gems, an Elizabethan manor house with beautiful gardens, offering a glimpse into the town’s Tudor past. 

Additionally, it’s quite notable how the town has made significant strides in canal restoration. So, a stroll along the Rochdale Canal is a must, as it provides a peaceful way to explore the town’s picturesque settings.

Train: Direct trains from Manchester Victoria to Rochdale via Northern Rail are frequent and take around 15-20 minutes.

Bus: Buses like the 17 service connect Manchester and Rochdale in about 50 minutes.

Taxi: Taxi trips are typically 30-40 minutes.

Car Service: Book through Uber or local car services for similar durations.

Oldham

Oldham

A stone’s throw from Manchester, Oldham offers a rich tapestry of culture and history. To appreciate these, go to Gallery Oldham—a hub of art, heritage, and performance, showcasing diverse exhibits and collections. 

Another noteworthy spot in Oldham is the Lyceum Building, housing a library and a popular theatre, acting as the epicentre for community arts and plays. 

Oldham’s Alexandra Park, a Grade II listed park, boasts beautifully maintained gardens, a boating lake, and conservatories, making it an ideal spot for leisure and relaxation.

If you’re up for a quick jaunt just outside the town, the Saddleworth Moor presents breathtaking vistas and hiking opportunities. Meanwhile, Dove Stone Reservoir, on the edge of the Peak District, also offers a serene setting that is perfect for walks and bird-watching.

Train: Use the Metrolink tram service from Manchester Victoria to Oldham, which takes around 30 minutes.

Bus: Services such as the 83 and 184 buses link Manchester and Oldham in about 40-50 minutes.

Taxi: A taxi ride is generally 20-30 minutes.

Car Service: Platforms like Uber or local hires will have durations akin to taxis.

Halifax

Halifax

Located in West Yorkshire, Halifax is a town brimming with architectural wonders and cultural heritage. Check out the Piece Hall, a Grade I listed building, which is a stunning example of Georgian architecture and is now a bustling cultural and commercial hub. 

Another historical spot worth visiting is Shibden Hall. It dates back to the 15th century, and provides insights into the lives of its past residents, including the noted diarist Anne Lister. 

If you have kids, Eureka! The National Children’s Museum is a fantastic interactive experience. For well-rounded fun for everyone, Square Chapel Arts Centre is a hub for films, live music, and theatre, ensuring that arts enthusiasts have a plethora of options to indulge in.

Dean Clough is another noteworthy point of interest. It’s a series of large factory buildings that once stood as the world’s largest carpet factory, and is now a vibrant space housing galleries, eateries, and businesses.

Train: Direct routes from Manchester Victoria to Halifax via Northern Rail are available, taking around 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Bus: National Express service 508 connects Manchester to Halifax in approximately 1.5 hours.

Taxi: Taxi journeys can be about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Car Service: Bookings with Uber or local car services offer durations similar to taxis.

Macclesfield

Macclesfield

Situated on the edge of the Peak District, Macclesfield is known for its silk industry heritage. Check the Macclesfield Silk Museum so you can delve into this history and journey through the world of silk. 

With its cobbled streets, historic buildings, and proximity to natural beauty, Macclesfield is a charming escape from the hustle and bustle. The town is also home to the Macclesfield Canal, offering picturesque towpaths ideal for walking and cycling while taking in views of the Cheshire Plain.

If you time your visit right, head to Treacle Market. This is held on the last Sunday of every month and it’s a bustling event where artisanal products, food, and vintage items can be found. 

For outdoor enthusiasts, Macc Forest is a must-visit, with its beautiful expanse of woodland, offering trails and stunning viewpoints like Tegg’s Nose. 

Train: Direct services from Manchester Piccadilly to Macclesfield run frequently via Avanti West Coast, taking about 20-30 minutes.

Bus: Services like the 130 bus link Manchester and Macclesfield in around 1 hour.

Taxi: Expect taxi rides to last about 40 minutes.

Car Service: Use platforms like Uber or local car services for durations akin to taxis.

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