Get Even More Visitors To Your Blog, Upgrade To A Business Listing >>

18+ Towns and Cities Near Manchester: The Best Places to Visit and Explore

If you’re looking to explore the North West and beyond, there are plenty of cities near Manchester that offer unique experiences.

So, whether you’re interested in history, culture, nightlife, or a staycation, there’s something for everyone just a short trip away. In this article, I’ll introduce you to 18 cities near Manchester that are well worth visiting, alongside some amazing hotspots.

From Ashton-under-Lyne, a historic market Town that’s just a 20-minute drive from Manchester, to Stockport, another nearby town that’s known as the home of hats and has a history of the textile industry, there’s plenty to explore.

Or, if you’re looking for a more urban experience, Salford Quays is just a short tram ride away from Manchester city centre. Here, you’ll find the Lowry Theatre, the Imperial War Museum North, and plenty of shops and restaurants. And if you’re looking for a night out, the vibrant city of Liverpool is just a 45-minute train ride away.

Whatever you’re searching for, the good news is that Manchester has a prominent train and Metrolink network, with Piccadilly right in the heart of the city. And anyone wanting to visit the cities near Manchester can easily travel via public transport or car.

Ready to delve into the best cities near Manchester and what makes them special? Let’s take a look.

Cities Near Manchester Within an Hour’s Reach

If you’re looking to explore the area surrounding Manchester or cities near me, you’ll be glad to know that there are several cities and towns within an hour’s reach.

From the best historical cities in the UK to green areas around Manchester, there’s something for everyone.

Here are some of the most popular towns and cities near Manchester UK to visit:


Located just over 40 miles away from Manchester, Chester and just under an hour via car, is a historic city that’s home to a population of over 88,000 people and the oldest racecourse in the UK.

Founded in AD 70, Chester is surrounded by ancient city walls that were fundamental in its protection during the English Civil War. Today, Chester is known for being a cathedral city, boasting beautiful Tudor architecture.

You can always count on Chester Zoo on a rainy day too. So, whether you’re visiting as a family, couple, or with friends, you can bet that Chester is one of the best places near Manchester to visit.

Key places to visit

Chester Zoo, The Rows, Chester Cathedral.

How to get there

Take the train direct from Manchester to Chester with tickets priced from £5.70 for a single fare.

Travel by car via the M56.


Home of the Beatles and two Premier League football clubs, Liverpool is a cute city with a rich cultural heritage. Just a 45-minute drive from Manchester, Liverpool has a population of around 917,000 and is known for its stunning waterfront, world-class museums, and lively nightlife. If you visit this city near Manchester, don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Albert Dock and the Tate Liverpool.

Key places to visit

Anfield (home of Liverpool Football Club), Liverpool Beatles Museum, Maritime Museum.

How to get there

You can travel via train from Manchester to Liverpool in 32 minutes – from either Manchester Victoria or Picadilly to Liverpool Lime Street.


Located just over an hour’s drive from Manchester and with a population of over 812,000, Leeds is one of the best English cities to visit thanks to its rich history and culture. While it’s not the closest city to Manchester, it’s still worth the extra travel to explore.

The Victorian architecture, world-class museums, and vibrant nightlife make Leeds a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the big cities near Manchester.

Key places to visit:

Temple Newsam, Wetherby Racecourse, Harewood House.

How to get there

Go by car via the M62 or go direct via train from Victoria to Leeds.


If you prefer to stay within Greater Manchester, then you’re in luck. Located just a short drive (around 30 minutes) from Manchester city centre, Stockport is a charming town with a rich industrial heritage and just under 300,000 residents.

Home to the famous Stockport Viaduct, the town is famous for its historic Market Hall and Staircase House, a beautifully preserved medieval townhouse. The town centre is also a decent place to shop and grab a coffee.

Key places to visit

Hat Works Museum, Lyme Park

How to get there

Travel by car via the A6 or train via Picadilly which takes just 8 minutes.


Located just 29 minutes from Manchester via car, Bury is one of the biggest towns close to Manchester city town centre with a population of 195,000. Home to the famous Bury Market, one of the largest and most popular markets in the UK, the town also boasts a good outdoor shopping centre called The Rock with places like Lush, Next, Marks and Spencer, Primark and H&M.

Key places to visit

Bury Market, Peel Tower, Burrs Country Park

How to get there

Grab the Metrolink tram from Piccadilly to Bury.


Another one of the main towns in Manchester is Altrincham. Located 29 minutes away from Manchester, Altrincham boasts a rich history and culture. Known for Altrincham Town Hall and the historic Altrincham Market, the town is also home to Dunham Massey, Denzell Gardens, and a population of under 50,000.

Key places to visit

Dunham Massey Hall & Gardens, Altrincham Market

How to get there

Travel by car via the A56 or tram by Picadilly to Altrincham.


As someone who used to go shopping a lot in Boloton, I can say that the town isn’t what it once was. However, there are still some hidden gems here. Located around a 28-minute drive from Manchester, Bolton is home to around 300,000 people, as well as Bolton Town Hall and the historic Bolton Museum and Art Gallery.

Places to visit

Smithills Hall, Jumbles Country Park, Bolton Steam Museum

How to get there

Travel by car via the A6 or by train from Manchester Victoria to Bolton direct.


Salford is the closest city to Manchester, located just 15 minutes away from Manchester, Salford is a vibrant city, home to the famous MediaCityUK and a population of 277,000. Alongside amazing bars and restaurants in Salford Quays, you’ll also find the Lowry Theatre and the Imperial War Museum North.

Key places to visit

Salford Quays, The Lowry, Salford Museum & Art Gallery

How to get there

The easiest way from Manchester to Salford is via train or tram. Catch a train from Victoria to Salford direct, or hop on a tram from Victoria to Salford Crescent.

Cities Near Manchester Within Two to Three Hours’ Reach

If you’re willing to travel and explore beyond Manchester cities, then I’ve got you covered. There are several cities within two to three hours’ reach that make a great day out (or even more!). Here are some of the best to discover


Located approximately two hours away from Manchester and with a population of over 2.5 million people, Birmingham is home to several must-visit attractions including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Cadbury World, and the National Sea Life Centre. You can also explore the city’s many shops, restaurants, and bars, or take a stroll in the beautiful Cannon Hill Park.

Key places to visit

Cadbury World, Birmingham Botanical Gardens

How to get there

Travel by car via the M6 or go via train from Picadilly to Birmingham New Street.


Sheffield is another great city to visit within two hours’ reach of Manchester with a population of almost 750,000. Sheffield is surrounded by stunning countryside and is home to many parks and gardens. Some of the top attractions in Sheffield include the Sheffield Botanical Gardens, the Millennium Gallery, and the Winter Garden.

Key places to visit

Botanical Gardens, Meadowhall Shopping Centre.

How to get there

Travel by car via the A57 or by train from Manchester Picadilly.


Bradford is just over an hour away from Manchester by car. Some of the top attractions in Bradford include the National Science and Media Museum, the Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, and the Bradford Industrial Museum. The city boasts a population of over 500,000 people.

Key places to visit

Lister Park, Cartwright Hall, Bradford Industrial Museum.

How to get there

By car, travel from Manchester to Bradford via the M62. You can also grab a bus for around £9.


York is a historic city located approximately one hour and 44 minutes away from Manchester. York is packed with things to do so if you come here, you won’t get bored. A few places to see include York Minster, the Jorvik Viking Centre, and the York Castle Museum. Around 200,000 people now live in York and the center is also a good place to visit.

Key places to visit

Jorvik Viking Centre, National Railway Museum, Museum Gardens.

How to get there

Go by car via the M62, or take a train from Manchester Picadilly to York.

Exploring the Surrounding Nature

Whether you’re searching for cities near me to visit, or you’re simply looking for what to do around Manchester, I highly reccomend exploring the surrounding nature.

There are several national parks, forests, and green spaces that offer a peaceful retreat from the city. Here are some nice areas of Manchester to visit for a little relaxation.

Peak District

The Peak District National Park is situated just east of Manchester and is a popular destination for nature lovers. With over 1,800 miles of public rights of way, there are plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, and exploring the stunning scenery. The park is home to several peaks, including Kinder Scout, the highest point in the park. There are also several picturesque villages to visit, such as Castleton and Bakewell, which offer a taste of traditional English life.

How to get there

You can grab a train via the Hope Valley Line which travels from Manchester to Sheffield, or you can drive there via the M67 and A57.

Lake District

The Lake District is just north of Manchester and is one of the most popular national parks in the UK. With its stunning lakes, mountains, and valleys, it’s easy to see why. There are plenty of walking and cycling routes, ranging from gentle strolls to challenging hikes. The park is also home to several picturesque towns, such as Keswick and Windermere, which offer plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining.

How to get there

For train, head from Manchester to Oxenholme – there are around 40 trains each day. Alternatively, it takes around one hour and 20 minutes by car via the M61 and M6.

Delamere Forest

If you’re looking for something a little closer to Manchester, Delamere Forest is a great option. The forest covers over 2,400 acres and is home to several walking and cycling trails. There are also several picnic areas and a visitor centre, which offers information about the forest’s history and wildlife.

How to get there

Travel by car via the M56 or grab a train from Manchester to Delamere.

Manchester Suburbs

If you’re looking for a quieter place to visit, you may be interested in some of towns near Manchester, England. Here are some suburbs to consider.


Just south of Manchester city centre is Hulme – a diverse and vibrant neighbourhood. It has a large student population, thanks to its proximity to the University of Manchester. However, it’s also got some great places to visit, including the Playhouse Theatre and community garden.


Stretford is a popular suburb located to the south-west of Manchester. It has excellent transport links, with a tram stop and train station providing easy access to the city centre. Stretford is home to Old Trafford, the famous football stadium that’s the home of Manchester United.


Sale is a family-friendly suburb located to the south of Manchester. It’s home to Sale Water Park, a popular destination for outdoor activities like cycling and water sports, as well as Worthington Park.


Urmston is a suburb located to the west of Manchester. It boasts Abbotsfield Park, a large public park with a playground and sports facilities and an artisan market.


Ashton-Under-Lyne is a town located to the east of Manchester. It has a population of around 45,000 people and is known for its historic market. Ashton-Under-Lyne is also home to Portland Basin Museum, which explores the history of the town and the surrounding area.


Oldham is a large town located to the north-east of Manchester. The parks and nature reserves, including Alexandra Park and Daisy Nook Country Park tend to be hidden gems. If you have a dog, I’d suggest Tandle Hills Park, especially on a nice sunny day.


Marple is a suburb located to the south-east of Manchester. It boasts a population of around 24,000 people and is known for its canal and aqueduct. Marple is also home to several parks and nature reserves, including Brabyns Park and Etherow Country Park.


Rochdale is also home to several parks and nature reserves, including Healey Dell Nature Reserve and Hollingworth Lake Country Park. This is a popular destination for water sports like sailing and kayaking, particularly in summer when it gets super busy.


Wilmslow has a population of around 25,000 people and is known for its upmarket shops and restaurants. Wilmslow is also home to The Carrs, a large public park with a playground and sports facilities.


Leigh is situated to the west of Manchester with a population of around 45,000 people and is known for its industrial heritage. Leigh is also home to Pennington Flash Country Park, a popular destination for outdoor activities like walking and cycling.


Disley is technically Cheshire village with a population of around 6,000 people and known for its historic architecture. Disley is also home to Lyme Park, a large country estate that’s open to the public – it’s also where Pride and Prejudice (BBC tv version) was filmed.


Ramsbottom is a town situated to the north of Manchester. It has a population of around 18,000 people and is home to Nuttall Park, a large public park with a playground and sports facilities. However, there’s also a theatre here, and you can get on board the East Lancashire railway so there’s plenty to do.

Alderley Edge

Alderley Edge has a population of around 4,000 people and is well-known for its upmarket shops and restaurants. If you visit, be sure to explore Alderly Edge Woodland Walk and Tatton Park.


Whitworth is close to the Pennines in Rossendale, Lancashire, with a population of around 7,000 people. Home to Healey Dell Nature Reserve, a popular destination for walking and cycling, there’s also a gallery and arcade.

Seaside Towns Near Manchester

If the weather is warm and sunny, you may want to get away from the cities near Manchester and head to one of the several seaside towns within easy reach. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend away, here are the easiest beaches to explore.


If you’re a notherner, then the chances are that you’ve already visited Blackpool. But as it’s just 53 miles away, and only an hour’s drive from the city centre, it’s a classic British seaside resort to visit. I’ll be honest, I much prefer visiting Cleveleys which is just down the road from Blackpool. The beach is much nicer here and it’s a little quieter so you can sit and enjoy an ice cream or head into the amusement arcade.

The town in Cleveleys also has a few decent shops and pubs so it’s worth a little stroll down Blackpool front (or hop on a tram) to visit.

If you prefer staying in the centre of Blackpool, then it’s gotta be a trip to The Pleasure Beach and South Pier.

How to get there

You can take a train from Manchester Picadilly to Blackpool (for some trains you’ll need to change at Preston). Coach is also a relatively cheap way to travel to Blackpool.


Another seaside getaway is Southport. Located just 20 miles north of Liverpool, this charming town is situated on the Irish Sea and is a popular destination for families, thanks to its amusement park, mini-golf course, and other attractions.

If you’re looking for something a bit more laid-back, you can take a stroll along the pier or enjoy a round of golf at one of the town’s many courses. Southport is also home to a number of excellent restaurants and cafes, so you can indulge in some delicious food during your stay.

How to get there

You can travel by train directly to Southport from Manchester. The chapest ticket is around £6 single fare.

Hotspots in Cities Near Manchester: Entertainment and Nightlife

As many people visit cities near Manchester for the nightlife, I thought it would helpful to mention places like pubs, bars and live music venues. Since there are loads of options, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes.

Pubs and Bars

If you’re looking for a cosy atmosphere, then there are plenty of pubs to choose from within Manchester cities. In Rochdale, The Baum is a popular choice. This historic pub has a wide selection of real ales and a friendly atmosphere. The Old Nag’s Head in Edale is another great option. This traditional pub has a roaring fire and a selection of local beers.

For a more modern bar experience, head to Bury. Society on Silver Street was recently opened with a good selection of cocktails and private games room. The Blind Tiger is another popular choice, with a speakeasy vibe and live music.

Live Music

If you’re a fan of live music, there are plenty of venues to choose from. In Liverpool, you can visit the famous Cavern Club, where The Beatles got their start. The club still hosts live music every night of the week.

In Manchester centre itself, there are several places to choose from. The Deaf Institute is a popular choice, with a variety of acts performing throughout the week. The Albert Hall is another great venue, with a stunning interior and a wide range of performers.


If you’re interested in cultural events, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Manchesters nearest city, Salford. The Lowry is a world-class arts centre with a variety of performances and exhibitions.

Food and Dining in The Cities Near Manchester

When it comes to dining, the cities near Manchester offer amazing food to please every palate and budget. From local favourites to international cuisine, there is something for everyone.

Manchester itself is a foodie’s paradise, boasting a diverse culinary scene. You can find everything from traditional British fare to exotic dishes from around the world. The city is home to a number of award-winning restaurants, including The Laundrette, which serves up delicious pizza and cocktails in a trendy setting.

If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, the city’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, Mana, offers a unique tasting menu featuring locally-sourced ingredients and innovative techniques. Other high-end options include The French, which serves classic French cuisine.

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry – there are plenty of affordable eateries as well. Go Falafel is a popular choice for cheap eats, with a menu featuring Middle Eastern-inspired dishes. Almost Famous is also ideal for those on a budget, with a menu of gourmet burgers and sides.

Beyond the city, there are plenty of other cities near Manchester that offer great dining options. In Liverpool, you can find a range of international cuisine, from Italian at Il Forno to Mexican at Wahaca.

Shopping Destinations in Manchester and Beyond

If you’re a shopaholic, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of shopping destinations near Manchester. From bustling markets to modern shopping centres, there is literally something for every shopper.

One of the most popular shopping destinations near Manchester is the Trafford Centre. This massive shopping centre is home to over 200 stores, ranging from high-end designer boutiques to high-street favourites. You can also find a variety of restaurants, a cinema, and even an indoor amusement arcade.

If you’re looking for a more traditional shopping experience, head to one of the many market towns near Manchester. Bury Market is one of the most well-known markets in the area, offering a wide range of goods such as fresh produce, clothing, and household items. I love getting fresh fruit and veg from here and I always have to grab a black pudding for my Dad!

Other popular market towns include Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, and Bolton.

For those who prefer boutique shopping, there are several charming towns near Manchester that offer unique shops and boutiques. Didsbury is a lovely place with independent shops selling everything from plants to clothing. There’s also a nice little park here too – just be warned that if you travel by car you may find it tough to get a parking spot so be prepared to walk to the centre.

The Best Cities Near Manchester: Summary

Each of these cities near Manchester has its own unique charm and attractions. So, whether you’re looking for a day trip or a longer stay, there are a variety of experiences for everyone.

If you’re searching for quaint and picturesque towns, you might want to consider visiting York, whereas if you prefer getting closer to nature, I’d definitely suggest either the Lakes or Peak District. For somewhere a little closer, any of the Manchester suburbs have some gorgeous hidden gems of parks.

If you’re interested in culture, York, Leeds and Sheffield are brilliant cities to visit. But, if you want to stay closer to Manchester centre, Stockport and Bury have a good mix of things to see, including shops, restaurants, bars, parks, and more.

No matter which city or town you choose, you’re sure to have a memorable time exploring the cities near Manchester.


Which cities are nearest to Manchester?

There are several cities that are close to Manchester. These include Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, and Bradford. These cities are all within a 50-mile radius of Manchester and are easily accessible by car or public transport.

How many towns are there in Greater Manchester?

There are 10 towns in Greater Manchester. These include Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Manchester, and Salford.

What are the small towns in Manchester worth exploring?

Some small towns in Manchester worth visiting include Ashton-under-Lyne, Walkden, and Stalybridge. These towns offer a quieter lifestyle and are perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

What areas of Manchester are popular to live in?

Didsbury, Chorlton, Altrincham, and Sale are considered popular areas in Manchester to live in since they offer a range of amenities for families and young professionals.

What are some of the best towns to live in within Greater Manchester?

Some of the best towns to live in within Greter Manchester include Stockport, Bury, Salford, Oldham, Bolton, and Rochdale. These are well-connected to Manchester via public transport and tend to be more affordable for rent or buying a house.

This post first appeared on A Taste For Travelling, please read the originial post: here

Share the post

18+ Towns and Cities Near Manchester: The Best Places to Visit and Explore


Subscribe to A Taste For Travelling

Get updates delivered right to your inbox!

Thank you for your subscription