Local Scenic Drives and Road Trips Near Manchester

Jack Dreyer | Thursday 4th July 2024 12:00pm

Panoramic view of Deansgate Square, Manchester.

While the hustle and bustle of the city might feel like Manchester’s only urban, it’s situated perfectly to have relatively easy access to the Peak District, the Forest of Bowland, and the Yorkshire Dales. What’s more, the larger motorways make it fairly fast to get to any of these places – and you can even take ambling routes to most of them via smaller A roads and B roads.

A key benefit of a lot of these drives is that you can also hike along sections if you’re inclined to do so. It gets you much closer to the scenery and is a great way to get immersed in nature for a day but, of course, requires more planning and prep.

Here are some beautiful drives you can do near Manchester.

Forest of Bowland

Quite a bit north of Manchester but offers stunning scenery as part of a longer drive. You can easily spend a whole afternoon and evening doing the route at a slower pace so you can stop and see the scenes.

Take the M66 north out of Manchester then stay on it as it turns into the A56. You’ll want to stay on the A56 as it turns towards Haslingdon. Chart a course for Clitheroe and then take Slaidburn Road via Waddington. You’re now officially in the Forest of Bowland..

Easington Fell

As part of this route, if you’re up for a hike, there’s a car park to the right hand side of the road – just past the quarry. You can leave your car there and hike for around 30-45 minutes each way to the top of Easington Fell, where you’ll get amazing views of the whole countryside.

Langden Brook

Another (though longer) hike on this same route is along Langden Brook. The car park’s paid but it’s well worth the money to spend time walking beside the beautiful brook amidst trees. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can actually follow the river for hours up into the mountains – but we’d only advise this for seasoned and prepared hikers.

The hills and woodlands around the Forest of Bowland.

Snake Pass Circular Route

You can do this circular route in either direction, and which one’s best might depend on the time of day you’re doing it. It’s essentially a bee-line drive to Sheffield via the A57 and back via the A628. Being one of the main routes between Manchester and Sheffield, it takes a fairly common set of roads but cuts Sheffield out to go via some smaller, more scenic roads on the way back.

Starting from Glossop, head along Snake Road until you get to Snake Pass Summit. On a great day, this is one of the most picturesque roads in all of Britain but it can get quite windy.

The Derwent Valley Bridge gets you great views of the reservoir, and there are actually lots of circular hiking routes around the reservoir itself that get you close to the water between beautiful scenery.

In terms of the drive, you’ll want to take Mortimer Road off your left here to take the scenic route. There’s an old-fashioned sign directing to the Strines Inn. It’s a relatively narrow road that’s at the national speed limit, so it’s wise to be cautious about driving at the speed limit here.

Morton Road takes you all through the mountain until you get to Midhopestones where you can rejoin the A616 eastward to get back to Manchester – take the first exit at the first roundabout you meet to get onto the A628.

Bubbling waterfall captured in Healey Dell Nature Reserve.

Healey Dell Nature Reserve

For somewhere a bit closer to civilization if you’re planning to stop off for a bite to eat, Healey Dell Nature Reserve offers a beautiful drive through as well as ample opportunity for walking if you’d like to.

Just north of Rochdale, aim to take Dell Road off the B6377 (Shawclough Road) until you rejoin the main road at a quirky junction. The road passes through a nursery so we can’t guarantee that it’s always possible to pass all the way through, but it’s definitely a beautiful drive!

In the same vein as Morton Road, however, this is a very narrow – sometimes single-track – road with poor visibility. So be sure to drive very carefully and at a reasonable pace. A standout part of this route is the Healey Dell viaduct, a beautifully arched viaduct spanning the river Spodden.

Make sure your car’s ready for a road trip

However long your drive, make sure that your car’s always ready for it by having regular services. The experts at your local Kwik Fit centre are always on hand to help.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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