Manchester is a vibrant, cultural city with tonnes to see and do both in the city itself and the surrounding area. It’s a destination ideal for those on a budget, with many of its top attractions free to enjoy.
Visiting the Manchester area in a motorhome is a fantastic way to explore everything the city has to offer, while giving you the freedom to wander further afield and discover the regions’ hidden gems.
You can try campervan hire from local owners to explore the best places to visit in Manchester, as well as some fantastic campsites and motorhome sites in the surrounding area, making it easy for you to access all the best places to visit in and around Manchester city.
Manchester is a city famous for football. Even if you aren’t a massive fan of the beautiful game, it’s well worth taking a stadium tour of one of the two big football teams, Manchester City or Manchester United. Manchester United’s home ground Old Trafford, “The Theatre of Dreams”, is particularly iconic while real footy fans should complete their education by visiting the national football museum.
Speaking of museums, Manchester is home to some of the UK’s finest. There’s The People's History Museum, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Police Museum and The Imperial War Museum, all offering specialised and engaging exhibits. Whatever your area of interest, there’ll be a museum in Manchester to match.
Manchester is a city that loves the arts. Just wandering the city streets, you’ll stumble across fantastic gothic architecture like the Manchester Cathedral or the John Rylands Library. Manchester also hosts some of the country’s top galleries including Whitworth Art Gallery, HOME (which is also a cinema) and The Manchester Art Gallery.
For some less static art, head to The Lowry. A stunning modern venue set in the rejuvenated city quays, The Lowry houses 3 unique performance spaces, The Lyric, The Quays and The Studio. Everything from stand-up comedy to West End smashes like War Horse have performed on The Lowry’s stages. Treat yourself to an evening performance after spending a day exploring the shops, cafés and trendy bars that have sprung up in the quays area, which itself is one of the best places to visit in Manchester.
Liverpool may have spawned the Beatles, but Manchester has its’ own musical heritage as the hometown of bands like Oasis, The Smiths, Take That and The Stone Roses. Aside from the big names, Manchester’s general music scene is amazing with fantastic bands playing in bars and pubs across the city. The vinyl trend is back with a vengeance too, shops like King Bee Records becoming an integral part of the city. Swing by and pick up a rare CD or classic vinyl to add to your music collection.
If vintage is your thing then definitely check out Levenshulme Market. Over 50 traders of vintage clothes, knick-knacks, plants and homeware set up shop here, and it is THE spot for great street food. For more hardcore shopping, head to either Kings Street or the humongous Manchester Arndale centre where you’ll find big brands, designer labels and a few gorgeous boutique stores.
It may be a city, but there is plenty of green, and in our opinion, these open spaces are some of the best places to visit in Manchester. Head to one of the many parks and gardens like Heaton Park, Cotton Field Park, Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Gardens to unwind after a busy day. Each urban Eden is unique and offers something special, but they all have at least one cute little café where you can grab a bite to eat.
It’s not just the city itself that’s alive with attractions. The area around Manchester if bursting with attractions from stunning natural landscapes to exhilarating adventure parks.
Let's’ start with perhaps the best-known attraction, Alton Towers Resort. This mega-resort combines a theme park full of exhilarating roller coaster rides (the newest being The Wicker Man), a water park (ditto plus pools), mini golf, stunning gardens, historic buildings, shopping, dining and general good times. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or not, you’ll find plenty to entertain you at Alton Towers.
For something a little more sedate make sure you visit the charming town of Chester, about an hour from Manchester by both car and train. A historic settlement dating back to the Roman era, there are stunning examples of architecture from pretty much every major period in British history. Take a selfie by the iconic Eastgate Clock, explore the medieval castle and also military museum, or take a tour of Chester Cathedral, formerly a Benedictine abbey. Time your visit with a race day at the famous Chester horse racing track and have a flutter on the horse with the funniest name. You can use your winnings to treat yourself to a hearty dinner at one of Chester’s traditional old pubs.
Animal lovers will also adore Chester zoo, the UK's number one charity zoo and home to over 500 different species. Alternatively, another of our favourite places to visit near Manchester os the animal attraction of Knowsley Safari Park, a fantastic park that lets you get up close and personal with the animals by driving right through their enclosures.
Then there’s the regions natural treasures, particularly The Peak District National Park. A stunning 550 square miles of moorland, farmland, and the mountains of the South Pennines. There are all sorts of ways to discover the Peak District, from the ever-popular hiking to cycling, horse riding, rock-climbing and even diving underground in with a tour of Pooles Cavern or Treak Cliff Cavern.
The natural world steals the show, but the Peak District’s human touch is certainly worth exploring. Explore stately homes and gardens serving stunning, delicious cream teas, wander through ancient stone villages and castles or pop into the bustling market towns and picturesque moorland villages that dot the landscape.
It’s not easy to get motorhome parking within Manchester itself, unless you happen to have a Mancunian friend who’s willing to let camp in their driveway. Luckily there are some excellent sites located just outside of the city, so you can pop into Manchester for the day or explore the wider regions’ attractions. Even if you don’t have your own caravan, there are some great places for campervan hire in Manchester, so you can pick up a motorhome and find the perfect base with ease, leaving you free to enjoy both the city itself and some of the less touristy places to visit near Manchester, but not in the heart of the city.
Just a half hour drive North of Manchester, Hollingworth Lake Caravan Park boasts a stunning location close to the Peak District. Alongside all the basic campsite facilities, there’s a laundry room and a well-stocked shop. The campsite sits at the foot of the Southern Pennines, and it’s just a short walk to Hollingworth Lake Park where you can enjoy fishing, horse riding and some lovely walks.
A little over an hour from Manchester, but perfectly situated to visit Chester, is Manor Wood Country Caravan Park. This swanky 5-star park offers everything from a fully serviced campsite to an on-site swimming pool and lake fishing. You’re only 11 miles from Chester from where you can easily catch a train straight into Manchester.
If it’s Alton Towers that you want to be close to you could utilise the resorts’ own caravan and camping park; however, the official resort camping comes with a hefty price tag and is predominantly for families. Cross Inn Caravan Park makes a great alternative with its very own pub, located a few minutes’ drive from Alton Towers and close to the Southern edge of the Peak District.
There are plenty more caravan campsites dotted across the Peak district and in the area west of Manchester. The city benefits from excellent public transport links, while many of the attractions in the wider region offer parking for motorhomes and plenty of places to visit near Manchester and can be accessed via public transport if not.
If you’re thinking of exploring the North of England, whether you’re a native to this rainy nation or a visitor from overseas - take a look at Yescapa for a wide range of campervans for hire. From cute little VW’s to gargantuan coach-built family homes on wheels - there’s something for everyone!
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