City living is good. The hustle and bustle of a busy high street is exciting. But the hustle can wear you down. At times, even the bustle can get too much. Every now and then you need to get out of town, take a lung-full of some sweet unpolluted air, and stare at stuff that’s really far away from up on a hill somewhere.
In order to fulfil this need, we’re taking a look at the three best views that you can go and look at in places surrounding Manchester. So slip on your shades, hunt out those binoculars, and get ready for some delightful viewing goodness.
PEEL TOWER, RAMSBOTTOM
© Copyright ARG_Flickr and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Peel tower looms over Lancastrian market town, Ramsbottom like North England’s very own Barad-dûr. Completed in 1852, the tower is in memorium to local politician Sir Robert Peel, a bloke who’s credited both as the father of modern British policing and as one of the founding members of the Conservative party. Quite the CV, eh?
As a testament to Peels hard work as an MP both locally and nationally, the £1000 needed to build the tower was funded by a public subscription and all the chunky sandstone bricks it’s built from were quarried from the Holcombe hillside that it sits on, giving it that properly Northern look. Yeah, it’s not quite up there with the Eiffel's and Pisas of the world, but it’s ours and it comes with its own brand of imposing charm.
What the tower might lack in architectural finesse is more than made up for by playing host to a particularly decent view over a huge chunk of the North West. From Bury, Bolton, and Rochdale over to the Manchester skyline and the Pennines further east. If you’re lucky, and the white flag is flying on the tower then it's open and you can climb to the top for an even better view.
HOW TO GET THERE
Take the tram from the Shudehill interchange to Bury, then jump on the fairly frequent 474 bus from Bury interchange to Ramsbottom. To get up to the tower from Ramsbottom, head up to the Shoulder of Mutton pub on Chapel Lane (good for a pint on your way back down) and follow the signposted footpath up to the Peel Monument. Be warned though, it’s a fair old slog up the hill to the monument but well worth it once you summit.
STORMY POINT, ALDERLEY EDGE
© Copyright Pete Birkinshaw and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
You might know Alderley Edge as that idyllic Cheshire village where the Premier League and Corrie stars of yesteryear are put out to pasture. But, as well as being a haven for the rich and was-famous, this Cheshire beauty spot also has a few scenic treats up its sleeve for the likes of you and me, and even a legendary local wizard thrown in for good measure.
Alderley Edge’s Edge, or the ‘Edge’ for short, is a sandstone escarpment that juts out of the rolling green Cheshire Plain for about five miles, starting from Macclesfield and finishing up just past the village of Alderley Edge. Devoid of trees until they were planted in the 1750s by a local land owner, the Edge boasts a thick forest of Scots pines peppered with old mines and enough walking trails to keep you lost for a good few hours.
If you make it up to the Edge’s peak, Stormy Point, a heady 215m above sea level, you’ll be treated with a stunning view over the Cheshire plain. To the east, on a good day, you can make out the Peak District hills, and up north to Yorkshire’s Blackstone Edge. Marvellous.
Stormy Point is also the setting for a few local myths and legends, including the famous ‘Wizard of The Edge’ - the story of a mysterious old man enchanting a local farmer and nabbing off with his horse. Spooky.
© Copyright martin_vmorris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
HOW TO GET THERE
There’s a train station at Alderley Edge that’s frequently served by trains from Manchester Piccadilly directly. To get up to the Edge from the station, head towards Macclesfield Road and continue along it for about a mile until you reach The Wizard Inn where you’ll find signposts for footpaths that’ll take you up onto the Edge.
MAM TOR, CASTLETON
© Copyright Smabs Sputzeron and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Slightly further afield, in the comparatively mountainous Peak District, lies Mam Tor, or ‘the shivering mountain’. Half eroded by numerous landslides, the 517m hill cuts a distinct silhouette in the skylines of the surrounding villages, Castleton and Hope.
As well as acres of endless countryside, nearby village, and base camp for would-be Mam Tor view-seekers, Castleton offers more tourist attractions than you can shake a Blue John encrusted fridge magnet at. Unsurprisingly this includes a castle, but you’ll also find a couple of navigable caves including Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, and the more colourfully named, Devil’s Arse.
Once you’ve finished with the sights of the local metropolis, head up to Mam Tor’s summit where you’ll be treated to a 360° view over-looking pretty much all of the Peak District. Northerly sights include the Edale Valley and Kinder Scout, and southwards highlights include the Hope Valley.
© Copyright Philip Barker and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
HOW TO GET THERE
Get one of the pretty much hourly trains to Sheffield via Hope from Piccadilly Station. From Hope you can either walk for around thirty minutes along the pavemented road, or get the bi-hourly 272 bus to Castleton. Once in Castleton, you’ll need to hike along the main road in the direction of the hill for around a mile, and take one of the signposted footpaths up left to the peak. Good luck!