Manchester is the starting point for many spectacular train rides.

Ditching the road for rail is a great way to explore the rugged hillsides and beautiful villages without the stress of driving.

Several direct lines from Manchester's city centre stations pass through some of the best parts of the great British countryside.

Which makes getting to the destination itself a large part of the fun.

Leave the car behind, sit back and relax and let the train take you away from the city and enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the way.

Stockport Viaduct
Local train crossing the Stockport Viaduct

Manchester - Crewe

Watch the cityscape transform into miles and miles of countryside along this scenic route. The train travels out of the city and across Stockport Viaduct, offering amazing views across the town.

It then heads out to the suburbs before powering through the expansive Cheshire plains, past small traditional villages, and the famous Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank before reaching the railway town of Crewe. one of the most historically significant stations in the world.

The route to Crewe passes the Jodrell Bank Observatory

Stop off at one of the stations between Alderley Edge and Sandbach for a traditional pub lunch, or at Goostrey for the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. Start at Manchester Piccadilly or Stockport for direct trains out across Cheshire.

Cost: From £9.40 return

Distance: 28 miles

Journey time: Express service takes 32 minutes, while a local stopping service takes around an hour.

Manchester - Clitheroe

Views across Longridge Fell
Views across Longridge Fell

Locally known as the Ribble Valley Line, this stunning journey links the city centre with the market town passing through some of the most picturesque parts of Lancashire.

Heading out of Manchester, the route heads north following the Irwell Valley to Bolton before ascending over the West Pennine Moors and across the Ribble Valley, boasting stunning views towards Longridge Fell, the Yorkshire Dales and Pendle Hill.

The route offers great views of Pendle Hill

While the journey itself is a breathtaking experience, there's plenty to see and do at the stops along the way.

Try one of the walks passing by Entwistle, the gateway to the West Pennine Moors or bring your walking gear and head out to the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from Clitheroe.

Start at Manchester Victoria for direct trains down the Ribble Valley Line.

Cost: From £12.20 return

Distance: 37 miles

Journey time: Most services take around 75 minutes.

Manchester - Chester

The Mid Cheshire Line passes through some beautiful parts of the countryside

The Mid Cheshire Railway Line passes through the gorgeous Cheshire countryside and some of the region's thriving towns and villages including Knutsford, Northwich, Hale and Altrincham.

Hop on and off and experience some of the most scenic areas of the county, where you can explore Cheshire's rich history and culture while taking in some of the spectacular scenery.

Stop at Northwich and visit the Anderton Boat Lift - one of only two working boat lifts in the UK - or head to the Salt Works and learn how this sleepy town was once the salt capital of the world.


Or, jump off at Delamere and enjoy 972 hectares of forest and meres, tracks and trails.

Or alight at Knutsford, the hometown of esteemed writer Elizabeth Gaskell and travel back in time at the Heritage Centre.

Finish at the historical city of Chester, the best preserved walled city in England with its ancient streets, and two-tier medieval galleries of shops.

Direct routes from Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport.

Cost: From £13.40 return

Distance: 33 miles

Journey time: The fastest route is 55 minutes, the slowest 1 hour 46 minutes.

Manchester - Buxton

The Buxton Line
The Buxton Line travels through the picturesque Peak District

Escape from the urban confines of the city into the Derbyshire valleys with a trip down the picturesque Buxton Line.

Despite being a relatively short journey, the service passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK.

The route stops at a number of charming towns and villages before heading six miles up a steep hill and arriving at the ancient spa town of Buxton.

image of The Torrs at New Mills

Stop at New Mills for a spectacular view of a natural rocky gorge, known as The Torrs, and take the Millennium Bridge across the River Goyt.

Alight at Dove Holes for some of the most stunning walks around.

Or take the full route over to Buxton and explore the vast history of what was once one of Britain's premier natural thermal spa towns, full of impressive Georgian and Victorian architecture.

Start at Manchester Piccadilly for a direct train out of the city and into Derbyshire.

Cost: From £11.30 return

Distance: 20 miles

Journey time: Average duration is about an hour

Manchester - Sheffield

The scenic surroundings of the Hope Valley on the way to Sheffield

Heading south out of Manchester, this stunning route is well known as one of the most scenic in Britain, passing through sweeping green valleys and rugged hillsides through the scenic Hope Valley.

There are two branches to the line, both which pass through the suburbs of Greater Manchester before rejoining at the High Peak village of Chinley.

From here, it passes through the two-mile long Cowburn tunnel, emerging in the beautiful surroundings of the Hope Valley.

A train at Grindleford

The route stops at a number of charming and historical villages, all which act as a gateway to some of the finest and most well-known walking and hiking routes in the Peak District, before heading through the three-and-a-half mile long Totley Tunnel and into Sheffield.

Stop off at the tiny village of Edale for the popular walking routes up Mam Tor and the imposing Kinder Scout, or pick up The Pennine Way.

Or alight at Grindleford for a variety of landscapes, including open moorland, wooded river valleys (including Padley Gorge) and several gritstone escarpments. Wherever you stop, you're sure to find a great country pub and some fantastic scenery.

Rolling country at Chinley Churn

Start at Manchester Piccadilly for direct trains along the Hope Valley line.

Cost: From £14 return

Distance: 33 miles

Journey time: Duration varies between 50 minutes and 75 minutes depending on which branch you travel on.

Manchester - Oxenholme

Oxenholme countryside
The view of the hillsides on the way into Oxenholme

Head out to the magnificent Lake District National Park on a direct train from Manchester to Oxenholme, the gateway to the Cumbrian countryside.

Heading out of the city, this route heads north towards Preston, passing through miles and miles of green countryside and around the outskirts of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, through the historical city of Lancaster before skirting Morcambe Bay.

The train passes through Lancaster and by Morcambe Bay

It then heads through Carnforth, past picturesque Arnside and Silverside before arriving in Oxenholme, just outside the popular tourist spot of Kendal and at the very edge of the Lake District.

Start at Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Airport for direct routes to Oxenholme, Kendal.

Cost: From £21.30 return

Distance: 60 miles

Journey Times: Direct trains take around 70 minutes.

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