As a former student at the University of Manchester, there always came that point in the semester when I needed to get away from the city. Fortunately for me, Manchester is located in a fantastic position for exploring the north of England without the hassle of a long journey.
If you need a bit of green grass beneath your feet and some fresh air in your lungs (who doesn’t!) then why not consider a last minute cottage break for some much deserved R & R? Read on for Snaptrip’s beautiful destinations within two hours drive of Manchester!
Forest of Bowland
Driving time from Manchester: One hour 45 minutes
The Forest of Bowland is a relatively unfrequented spot compared to its more famous neighbours, the Peak and Lake District, but this corner of Lancashire has been recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1964. It’s a fabulous choice for a walking holiday (minus the crowds!)
Highlights: Walking. Spotting woodland birds. Hill climbing around the folklore-fuelled Pendle Hill.
Did you know: The Forest is the north west remainder of the ancient wilderness that once covered huge swathes of England, stretching down through Sherwood Forest (Nottinghamshire) and the Cotswolds all the way to the New Forest. So you know, it’s pretty old.
Snowdonia National Park
Driving time from Manchester: Two hours
The Snowdonia National Park is home to both the highest peak in Wales and England, as well as some beautiful coastline to rival anywhere in the country. Challenge yourself to climb the beautiful Mount Snowdon for a rich active experience, or alternatively, take the charming Snowdon Mountain Railway for a vintage train experience which has been delighting visitors since 1896.
Highlights: Snowdon Mountain Railway. Conquering Mount Snowdon on foot. A stay in the coastal town of Abersoch.
Did you know: Northern Snowdonia is the only in Britain where you’ll find Gageo Serotina – aka the Snowdon lily, an Artic-alpine plant
Driving time from Manchester: One hour 15 minutes
The Peak District is like one great outdoor playground. And having been described as ‘just a stones throw away from everywhere in the UK’, it seems only appropriate that it feature on this list of ours. A great escape from the city, here lies a world beyond, where rivers, mountain paths, moors and dales sit by side with quaint shopping and spa towns.
Highlights: A visit to Chatsworth House. Castleton’s four spectacular show caves. A scary ascent on the cable car The Heights of Abraham.
Did you know: If you like your literature, the pretty town of Hathersage played a large part in Charlotte Bronte’s iconic novel Jane Eyre while North Lees Hall, which is on the outskirts, was used as the model for Mr Rochester’s home Thornfield Hall.
The Lake District
Driving time from Manchester: Two hours
The Lake District is one of the most popular and famous areas in the whole of the UK. And rightly so! With spots of (rather outrageous) beauty, this vast area of mountains and waterways is a much-loved treasure trove of delights. What greater pleasure can there be in life than stepping out on a cold morning and conquering Scafell Pike or Helvellyn before heading to a countryside tearoom for a much deserved brew?
Highlights: Reading Wordsworth poetry in the countryside that inspired him. Testing yourself on England’s highest peak. Sitting out by the water at Lake Windermere. Shopping and brunch in Ambleside.
Did you know: The Lake District is home to both the deepest lake in England (Wastwater at 74 metres) and
England’s longest lake (Windermere at10.5 miles long). There’s also only one official lake – Bassenthwaite. All the others are ‘meres’ or ‘waters’
Driving time from Manchester: Two hours 30 minutes
Anglesey is great for active holidays. If you like getting outdoors, then cross the bridge from mainland UK and head to this north-western island to embrace the walking, cycling and even scuba diving that is on offer in the peninsula. There’s a fab coastal path with over 100 different types of rock and rare birds, as well as some beautiful castles and nature reserves to sink your teeth into!
Highlights: Beaumaris Castle. Coastal walking and cycling. Almwych Copper Kingdom. Plas Newydd Country House.
Did you know: Lemmy from Motorhead and actress/comedian Dawn French both hail from Anglesey!
Do you fancy escaping the city and finding your inner Tarzan? You’ll love the high-speed zip lines, free-fall swings and 30 metre high tree top bridges at Go Ape! Perfect for groups of friends, families or a different kind of date with your partner, there are a number of Go Ape centres located across the UK.
Highlights: Getting out in the fresh air of the tree tops
Trivia: If you’re scared of heights fear not! Go Ape is proud to have helped lots of people conquer their fear of heights. Why not give it a try – you might surprise yourself!