Days out in Manchester only a bus journey away
With the busiest bus route in Europe and a multitude of hidden gems, there’s no excuse not to make the most of living in Manchester. So, as the days begin to gradually become warmer and lighter, I have decided to take advantage of my bus pass to find the best low-key days out around Manchester, all accessible via public transport.
Firstly, I chose the 142 bus (you could also take the 42) to East Didsbury, an area which feels both family and student-friendly. I actually took the trip with my parents when they came to visit me in Manchester, as we wanted to explore somewhere other than the city centre and the usual chain eateries and shops. After arriving, we had a good browse around the many charity shops on offer, with six along Wilmslow Road alone!
Needing some respite from the winter chill and in the mood for brunch, we stopped for food in café Seven54. I opted for pancakes (which tasted delicious) to eat amongst the bustling atmosphere of Didsbury. I’ll certainly be going back to Seven54 to try the veggie breakfast my parents ordered, and perhaps also for an evening out. Didsbury has a great mix of cocktail bars, pubs and restaurants which would cater to friends, families or those wanting a classier evening than clubbing in Factory.
Next up was the 111, which goes through West Didsbury and ends its route at the Southern Cemetery. I took the bus all the way to its final stop, taking a walk around the cemetery which inspired The Smiths’ song ‘Cemetry Gates’ on their Album The Queen Is Dead. Even if you’re not into your Mancunian music history, the area is still lovely to walk through. Following the bus route back towards Fallowfield, I had a good nosey at all of the fancy houses.
In West Didsbury, Burton Road high street is the main attraction. The strip offers plenty of quaint eateries, shops and bars, making it the perfect destination for an afternoon away from the city bustle. The Mancunion has in fact already reviewed Good Time Games, and I’ll definitely be making my way back to try out the pizza at Proove Pizza. As it was, I spent my afternoon looking around the independent gift and flower shops, finishing off the trip with a cake from the Dish and Spoon as sustenance for the walk back (though of course, you could just take the bus!).
Leaving South Manchester behind, my next day out was on the 50 bus to Salford Quays, which also runs all the way to the botanical gardens in East Didsbury. The Quays are of course home to Media City UK, The Lowry and the Imperial War Museum North, as well as many places to grab food and drink. I spent my time wandering amongst the modern architecture, where the open spaces and canals actually made the trip feel like a breath of fresh air away from Manchester’s industrial centre.
There are also good views of Old Trafford for any football fans, where stadium and museum tours start at £25. TV tours are also on offer with the I’m A Celebrity Jungle Challenge and the set of Coronation Street. Essentially, Salford Quays pretty much covers all bases for those looking for a full day out!
Lastly, I headed North to Heaton Park via the 156. The park is probably best known for having hosted Parklife festive for the last nine years, although as a big fan of walking I was excited to explore the expansive green space and hills certainly lacking from Manchester’s city centre.
Heaton Park didn’t disappoint, with beautiful views of both the city and the Pennines from Heaton Hall. I loved walking among the wildlife of the park’s trails, and would really recommend the trip for anyone needing to clear their head. There’s also a boating lake, a garden centre and woodland walks to enjoy, making the day far from boring. In fact, visiting Heaton Park was my favourite trip because it was something a bit different to my day-to-day experience as a student.
All in all, I’d encourage everyone to take a day out on the bus, whether it’s because you’ve got something specific in mind or just fancy a wander around and a change of pace. There really are so many hidden gems to discover in Manchester for as little as a £3 return journey, so why not get out there and explore your city?