There is so much to discover in Greater Manchester and many regions to explore, from the hustle and bustle of Manchester City Centre to the rolling countryside of Rochdale bordering the Pennines.  

It’s a city-region full of rich history, a stunning variety of scenery and a huge number of stories to be shared, whether you’re a music lover, history buff or sports fanatic. There are hundreds of walking routes and sight-seeing activities to keep you entertained in Greater Manchester, but you may be looking for a more unique way to explore the region.  

Turn sightseeing into an activity or learn something new about the place you thought you knew like the back of your hand. From eating your way around the city to drinking in the culture, Greater Manchester offers plenty of alternative ways to explore and make the most of the area. Here are some of the best. 

Treasure Hunt 

X marks the spot, although the treasure may just be a great day out with friends. Unleash your inner pirate with Treasure Hunt Manchester. Follow the map, solve cryptic clues and work your way through both Manchester’s best known and hidden landmarks with Treasure Hunt Manchester. Turn your tour of the city into a game with the help of friendly pirate Captain Bess. This phone-based tour works like a WhatsApp group but on a web-based browser. It allows you to go at your own pace, giving you time to stop and enjoy what the city has to offer; grab a bite to eat or even turn it into a mini pub crawl. You’ll learn some interesting facts and stories but most of all you’ll get to see a whole new side of the city centre, spotting things others may take for granted. The tour is £9.99 per adult and begins in Sackville Gardens. 

Manchester River Cruises 

Think you’ve seen all that Manchester city centre has to offer? Then swap the streets of the city for the waterways with a Manchester River Cruise. With three different routes available from 50-minute trips to four and a half hour expeditions, exploring Manchester by water offers an experience for everyone. Sit back, relax and take in the stunning scenery from Salford Quays all the way to Ellesmere Port. Plus, your tour guide will offer some facts and stories to keep you entertained. This is certainly the most tranquil way to explore the city. 

Craft Beer Tour Manchester 

Beer lovers unite. Combining exploring Manchester city centre with a bar-crawl isn’t exactly a new idea but Craft Beer Tour Manchester gives you the opportunity to taste the finest local produce and uncover some hidden gems along the way. Visit some of the city’s best microbreweries and craft beer houses and taste at least ten craft beers for only £35pp. Each beer you try will be unique to the venue and experts will talk you through each beverage, so you can learn more about the taste, how the beer is made and the history of the venue itself. The microbreweries aren’t always open to the public, so this tour gives you a taste of something unique while viewing the city one pub at a time. 

Skyliner Street Art Tour 

You’ll have seen the murals of the Northern Quarter with your own eyes and all over Instagram but now you can learn more about them. Discover one of Manchester’s most creative neighbourhoods with the Skyliner Street Art Tours. Discover the colourful masterpieces found on the corners of the Northern Quarter but also about the recent history and social issues around the area that inspired them. Every artwork was created for a reason, and this is your chance to discover the meaning. Take in the stunning murals and get up close and personal, giving you a unique and fresh perspective of one of Manchester’s most infamous areas. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to get some arty photos. 

Scranchester Tours 

For the tastiest way to explore Manchester, look no further than the Scranchester Tours. What could be better than eating your way around the city? This immersive food tour will give you an insight into the city’s food and drink scene, the hidden histories and culture of Manchester’s food offerings, feeding both your brain and your belly. With at least eight stops on the way, you’d better arrive hungry! You can choose from two routes, eating in the city or exploring Ancoats. Plus, there’s the option to provide private tours to create a unique gastronomic experience. 

Music Tours 

Manchester’s music scene is infamous, and one of the most talked about. You’ve heard the guitar riffs, you know all the words and now New Manchester Music Tours are your chance to uncover the history of your favourite songs and artists. This bus tour of Manchester is run by Ed Glinert who will show you where it all began and key inspirational sites for some of your favourite bands and artists from The Smiths to Joy Division, John Cooper Clarke to Oasis. What better way to learn about Manchester’s Music Scene and the icons it produced? We guarantee you’ll listen to nothing else for a while after this. 

Ghost Tours 

Want to explore Greater Manchester’s spookier side? Flecky Bennett’s Manchester Ghost Walks have routes covering all of Greater Manchester, whether it’s Stockport or Salford, Ancoats or Altrincham. Discover the dark history of Didsbury or explore a Stockport air-raid shelter, on these walks you never know what you will find. Take to the streets by night and uncover hidden secrets and dark tales. This is a truly unique way to explore Greater Manchester and learn the darker side of the city region. With these award-winning tours, you’re bound to discover something extraordinary, just make sure you don’t get too spooked. 

Running Tours of Manchester 

If you’re a runner, there’s no better way to see the sights of Manchester than while getting your daily exercise. If you find walking tours a bit slow pace then this tour could see you racing ahead of the other sightseers. Running Tours of Manchester will allow you to keep fit and explore the city with four different routes of varying length including Manchester City Centre and Salford Quays. Cover all of the main attractions on either a 5km or 10km run, with a friendly guide to set the pace and point out any interesting landmarks along the way. Your guide will also give you advice on the best places to eat and explore, so once the exercise is done, you’ll know exactly what to do with the rest of your day. 

Invisible Manchester 

To experience the real Manchester, you need to hear from its people. Invisible Manchester provides friendly walking tours with Manchester residents who have been affected by homelessness as well as those who simply live and breathe Manchester and its culture. Each of the tour guides offers a personal perspective on the city, sharing their insights on the past, present and future. Learn about inspirational women and the radical feminine history of Manchester or take a trip down memory lane as you relive the nightlife of the 1980s and beyond. From musical knowledge to insights on art and the changing Manchester skyline, these tours can offer a personal, unique and honest look at our city’s past. 

East Lancashire Railway 

Escape the city centre and discover the stunning countryside Bury has to offer with the East Lancashire Railway. Climb aboard a heritage steam engine and ride the railway that has been around since the 1840s, forming a huge part of the region’s industrial history. Enjoy 12 miles of stunning scenery and 7 stops, so you can see more of Greater Manchester and plan a day that suits you. Step back in time and escape to the country for a fantastic family day out. 

To find out more alternative ways to explore Greater Manchester, visit our Tours & Sightseeing page. 




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