In desperate need of a bit of escapism? You don’t need to jump on a plane for that. If you’re planning a year packed full of ‘staycations’, you’ll be pleased to know that Manchester is pretty well connected – with tons of gorgeous destinations just a short train ride away. From the idyllic retreats that’ll have you feeling like you’re abroad, to the historic towns and cities that simply provide some fresh sights for us to enjoy, here’s our guide to the best train trips to take from Manchester.
🚂 Distance from Manchester: 1hr-1hr30 from Manchester Piccadilly.
🤷♀️ What to do: Known for its beautiful, Tudor-style architecture, the historic city of Chester is a fantastic place to visit for a day trip, rivalling the more Medieval city of York with its remaining city walls. Stroll down the pretty River Dee, do a spot of shopping at Cheshire Oaks, hit up Chester Zoo, or unleash your inner history buff with one of the city’s interesting Roman tours.
🚂 Distance from Manchester: 40 minutes from Manchester Victoria.
🤷♀️ What to do: In a city as equally as bustling as Manchester, it’s not likely you’ll be bored in Liverpool. From quirky independent bars to delectable restaurants – you’ll be set to have just as boozy and calorific a day as you would here in Manchester. Take a stroll among the docks, find out more about The Beatles’ history, check out some gorgeous architecture, or simply sit on a rooftop with a cocktail while taking in the views.
🚂 Distance from Manchester: 1hr from Manchester Victoria.
🤷♀️ What to do: Fast becoming a lively counterpart to us Northern leaders here in Manchester, Leeds’ dining scene is just as diverse – with tons of amazing food markets, street food spots and more tucked away within the city centre. In terms of other things to do in the city, Leeds has pretty much got it all – with tons of places to shop, fantastic bars and clubs for a night out and the beautiful Harewood House if you’re feeling a more wholesome day out.
🚂 Distance from Manchester: 2hrs to 2hr30 from Manchester Piccadilly.
🤷♀️ What to do: London might seem like a whole world away, but it actually isn’t. It’s just a two-hour ride on the train from Piccadilly – which is far shorter than the time I’d spend binge-watching crap on Netflix in the evening. Of course, the things to do in London seems to be pretty limitless – with 24-hour restaurants, the Harry Potter tour just a short train ride away in Watford, tons of sightseeing and wonderful places to shop such as Oxford Street, Regent Street and Westfield.
🚂 Distance from Manchester: 40 minutes from Manchester Piccadilly.
🤷♀️ What to do: Here in Manchester, we’re lucky to be positioned right next to one of the UK’s most stunning national parks: the Peak District. And even luckier for us? It’s not too difficult to travel there if you don’t drive. In fact, you can actually access one of the Peak District’s most popular spots by train – taking only 40 minutes from Manchester Piccadilly. The perfect base for checking out Mam Tor, Edale is a small village right on the Pennine Way, with a couple of pubs and a cafe to enjoy after tackling nearby Mam Tor.
🚂 Distance from Manchester: 1hr20 from Manchester Victoria.
🤷♀️ What to do: An other-worldly city just a short train ride away from Manchester, York has plenty on offer for visitors – especially those who like a bit of Harry Potter. Rumoured to be JK Rowling’s inspiration behind Diagon Alley, The Shambles is one of the most unique streets in the UK – with tons of local shops to discover while pottering about. Much of the city has retained a medieval feel, too, providing the perfect escapism from Manchester’s modern-meets-art deco identity.
🚂 Distance from Manchester: 1hr15 from Manchester Victoria.
🤷♀️ What to do: A traditional market town tucked away within the Ribble Valley, Clitheroe is the perfect base for those looking to explore the beautiful Forest of Bowland, with its very own castle, a lovely beer hall called Holmes Mill, and a number of great shops to potter around after stretching your legs in the forest.
🚂 Distance from Manchester: 2hrs from Manchester Piccadilly.
🤷♀️ What to do: One of the Lake District’s many jaw-droppingly beautiful locations, Windermere can be reached on a direct train from Manchester, meaning you don’t need to faff around with any changes to get there. When you do get there, you’ll be blessed with the sights of the vast 10-mile long boating lake, quaint cafes, and more – with Bowness-on-Windermere, in particular, proving one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area.