Two very different, but equally magical times of the day: the awakening of sunrise, when light begins to creep over the horizon and the birds joyfully celebrate the dawn, or sunset, with its astonishing colours gilding the sky, before night throws its dramatic black cloak over the land. Find the perfect vantage point from which to watch them, and it’s a sight you’ll remember for a long, long time. Happily, Manchester is surrounded by easily reachable hills for you to climb, with a coffee, camera or companion. Here are some of the best for uninterrupted views, with beautiful walks along the way.

Tegg’s Nose Country Park

This beautiful area of heathland, woodland and meadows is reachable on foot, by bike or by car from Macclesfield; surfaced paths lead to the summit, from where there are spectacular views towards the Welsh hills, Liverpool and Manchester city centre at sunrise or sunset on a clear day. Extend your walk by exploring Macclesfield Forest or following the Gritstone Trail north towards Disley and Lyme Park. There’s parking, toilets and a picnic area at the Tegg’s Nose visitor centre during opening hours.

Marsden Moor

Marsden Moor and Butterley Reservoir are reachable by a steep climb from the town itself, which is connected to Manchester by train: scale the incline, however, and there are any number of places from which to enjoy the sun as it emerges or sets. Particularly beautiful are the reflections in Butterley Reservoir, and there are a number of circular routes that will loop you back to the station – or to Marsden’s excellent Riverhead Brewery Tap, one of the places featured in our country walks plus top pubs feature.

Peel Tower

This Bury landmark was built in 1852 as a tribute to Sir Robert Peel: born in the town, Peel was Prime Minister twice and founded the Metropolitan Police Service. The tower itself is 128ft high, and the hill it sits on offers commanding views towards Manchester, with the city lights sparkling at dusk when the sun goes down. It’s an excellent vantage point at sunrise too, and best reached on foot from the bottom.

Peel Tower

White Nancy

White Nancy, the cone-shaped structure on top of Kerridge Hill above Bollington, doubles as the town’s logo, with the Grade II listed building visible for miles around. It’s also an excellent spot from which to enjoy sunrise or sunset over the town itself and the city of Manchester beyond; scenes of the sun dropping down behind White Nancy from a distance are equally as stunning.

Mellor Cross

Another hilltop landmark, Mellor Cross was erected by the Marple Council of Churches in 1970 and remains in place today, anchored to the ground by cables. Reachable from a number of different directions – including New Mill and Strines – we recommend incorporating the route towards Marple via the Roman Lakes Leisure Park, with its tea rooms, kiosk, park, fishery, toilets and car park, before or after enjoying views from the top.

Werneth Low Country Park

If you’re chasing a stunning sunset, then the panoramic views from Werneth Low Country Park are best enjoyed in April and September every year, when the sun drops behind Manchester city centre. Beyond this, Liverpool and the dark ridgelines of the Welsh mountains are visible on clear days, along with the nearby Pennine hills. A wonderful spot for walking, cycling, riding and watching wildlife, Werneth Low is understandably popular throughout the day and year-round.

The Pots and Pans

Named after the strange indentations in the rocky outcrop at the top of Aldermans Hill in Oldham, the Pots and Pans are marked by a Grade II listed war memorial and reachable from both Saddleworth and Uppermill, with Greenfield Station a direct train ride from Manchester city centre. Go for uninterrupted views and to share mystical stories about how the Pots and Pans formation was created; existing theories centre on a battle between two giants, with their slingshots having created pits in the hill, but you can easily invent your own stories.

By Polly Checkland Harding, Freelance arts copywriter and journalist




  1. Brom
    Great idea but I think that it would be useful to state the rerrain as to its difficulty. Knowing how long it is could also be useful.

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