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As a region that’s rich in history, full of attractions, awash with beautiful architecture, and home to a plethora of cultural hotspots, a day trip in Greater Manchester is sure to pack a mightily-full punch.

Image credit: Staircase House


Made famous in the 19th century for its hatting industry, whose history has been immortalised by the Hat Works museum (with a recreated factory and collection of 400 hats from around the world!), Stockport town centre offers visitors a brilliant opportunity to immerse oneself in the old alongside the new, with a collection of cultural gems that spans centuries.

Make way into the old town and you’ll find yourself in Market Street, surrounded with plenty to keep one entertained. Alongside opportunities to feast in Stockport Market, cultural marvels, such as Staircase House, offer opportunity to help visitors discover more about Stockport. Housed within a 15th century townhouse, the attraction’s audio-guide will give you a unique look into life through the 14th to the 20th century. Plus, you’ll learn about the building’s once-secret, well-preserved namesake; one of only three Jacobean cage-newel staircases in the country.

Immerse yourself further, and experience what daily life was like in 1940s wartime Britain with Stockport Air Raid Shelters. The largest purpose-built civilian air raid shelters in the country, opened in 1939 designed to provide shelter for 3,850 people, later extended to accommodate 6,500, this unique and authentically re-equipped attraction takes you on a state-of-the-art audio guide, sharing stories of locals who experienced the war first-hand.

Merging Art Deco stylings with modern-day entertainment, The Plaza is the UK’s only remaining super cinema and variety theatre. Offering a full calendar of events, from classic films presented in their original ratio and format, to stage presentations including musicals, pantomimes, and family shows, the Plaza has even played centre stage as a film location for movies and tv series including Peaky Blinders!

How to get to Stockport:

Only 10 minutes from Manchester’s Oxford Road station by train, with the free Stockport Metroshuttle bus service running from Stockport Station through several stops in the town centre every 12-15 minutes, Stockport is an easy travel option from the city centre.

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With a rich industrial heritage visible across the borough, a reputation as one of the UK’s friendliest towns, and a landscape that boasts everything from stunning countryside to stately homes, Bolton has plenty to surprise and delight any visitor.

Head towards Bolton’s town centre and you’ll come across Bolton Steam Museum, home to the UK’s largest collection of working mill steam engines, some of which are the only of its kind to survive anywhere in the world. Operated by volunteers from the Northern Mill Engine Society, the Museum hosts steaming days throughout the year, enabling visitors to witness the engines working under steam power.

Stick to the centre and a variety of cultural highlights, including the Bolton Museum & Aquarium with its vast range of collections including one on Egyptology, with objects spanning thousands of Egyptian culture. Travel north, and take an adventure to Smithills Hall, one of the oldest manor houses in the north west. With its private chapel reputedly established back in AD 792, and Medieval Hall dating back to the 14th century, you won’t be surprised to know there’s a ghost story or two to be told! The neighbouring 16th century, half-timbered Hall i’th’ Wood Museum, once home to the inventor of the Spinning Mule, Samuel Crompton, is lovingly restored to retain its homely atmosphere, displaying furniture, objects, and artefacts of the 17th and early 18th century.

How to get to Bolton: A fuss-free train journey will get you from Manchester city centre to Bolton in less than half an hour.

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Brushing shoulders with the rugged beauty of the West Pennine Moors, Bury offers a variety of reasons to visit, as home to a collection of charming towns villages, award-winning attractions, with plenty of food and drink options to keep you well-fed for your trip!

Head for the town centre, and you’ll find plenty to keep you amused, from marvellous museums to delicious markets. Bury’s Cultural Quarter, located minutes’ walk from the tram stop, is home to a wealth of attractions, including Bury Transport Museum. In its Grade II listed, ex-railway warehouse surrounds, a story of the lives of early 20th century people is told through restored vehicles, original artefacts, and interactive exhibits. Host to a varied, family-friendly events programme throughout the year, the museum also partners with other local attractions to offer outdoor space for community exhibitions, including the Fusilier Museum, home to the collection of the XX Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, showcasing over 300 years of history and heritage of the people who served in the regiments, and Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre, displaying local and international art, including the Wrigley Collection; over 200 pieces accumulated from the work of Victorian paper manufacturer, Thomas Wrigley.

Straddling several streets alongside Mill Gate Shopping Centre and its high street stores, ‘Britain's Favourite’, multi-award-winning Bury Market houses over 350 stalls packed with fresh, local produce (including its famous delicacy, Bury Black Pudding) and bargainous items, from fashion and footwear, to home furnishings, books and plenty more!

Extend your explorations outside of the centre with a trip on the East Lancashire Railway, departing from Bury’s Bolton St Station. Taking visitors on a journey that spans generations, with a history stretching back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, its collection of stops along its 12-mile route takes you through rural landscapes, bustling towns, charming villages and more, each with local attractions including real ale bars, boutique shops, and quaint tea rooms perfect for a pitstop! And with an annual programme of events, from themed weekends, fine dining, and guided tours, the railway is well-worth a visit.

Should a sweet-treat set-off the day just right, Slattery Patissier and Chocolatier (a 3rd generation, 50 year old family-run business) is the one for you. With handmade luxury chocolates, cakes and ice creams made on the premises, you can stock-up on treats to take home, or settle in at The Masons dining room, serving breakfast through to afternoon tea, daily.

How to get to Bury

Purchase one of TFGM’s Metrolink tickets, with its easy-to-navigate ticket zones, and jump aboard a tram that’ll take you straight from Manchester to Bury (but don’t forget to hop off at the Whitefield tram stop to grab yourself one of those Slattery afternoon teas!).

To learn more about what there is to do see and do in Bury, head here

Interested in finding out more about the region? Explore Greater Manchester, here.


Staircase House
Heritage / Visitor Centre

This exciting attraction invites you to time travel through the history of Staircase House from 1460 to WWII. The entire 18-room town house is fully interactive.

Bolton Steam Museum
Bolton Steam Museum

The Museum is operated by the Northern Mill Engine Society, who have rescued and restored 25 of the old stationary steam engines which once powered the cotton mills of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Bury Transport Museum
Bury Transport Museum

Housed in the beautifully restored Castlecroft Goods Warehouse, next to the East Lancashire Railway, the museum celebrates vintage transport with a collection of vehicles, memorabilia and interactive exhibits.



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