You just give it an idea of what you fancy doing – like something foodie, or cultural, or musical, or sporting – and a rough borough you want to travel to, and away it goes.
You can choose free things, family-friendly things, outdoor things, to do on a weekday or weekend.
Transport for Greater Manchester’s aim is that it will help travellers stuck for ideas to get out and discover some fun days out around their local area, without needing to jump in the car or travel far.
The Destination Generator will even tell you which stop to aim for and which tickets are the best value.
Renowned travel experts Lonely Planet named Manchester as one of its best ‘accessibility-friendly’ destinations to visit in 2023, with the city being the only UK location to make the guidebook’s annual Best in Travel list.
Some of Lonely Planet’s recommendations, such as the Manchester Museum and Castlefield Viaduct, can be reached using Metrolink, but there are so many more hidden gems to be found across Greater Manchester.
Danny Vaughan, TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, said: “Whether travelling a few stops or across the network, Metrolink is a convenient, value-for money and accessible way of getting around Greater Manchester.
“There are flexible and affordable ticketing options for all travellers, whether it’s paying as you go with contactless – never paying more than the daily cap, or making use of a one-day family travelcard which covers travel for two adults and up to three children.
“Whatever the weather this summer, Metrolink can get you where you want to go, and if you’re stuck for ideas our Destination Generator will help you plan your trip.”
Sheona Southern, Managing Director at Marketing Manchester, said: “There are a variety of attractions across Greater Manchester for visitors to explore on Metrolink, from East Lancashire Railway in Bury, IWM North in Trafford, The Lowry in Salford, and fantastic green space in places like Sale Water Park.
“We’re delighted to work in partnership with TfGM to highlight just how accessible the region is, and we hope the Destination Generator is a fun way for visitors to uncover more of the unexpected in Greater Manchester.”
Some of the days out in Greater Manchester to be discovered:
Oldham Way Walks
Spanning a whopping 40 miles, the Oldham Way is a popular challenge for keen walkers – but if you break it down into sections there’s something for everyone, even total novices.
There are seven recommended routes, some of which you can easily get to using the tram network.
If you get the tram to Failsworth, you’ll find yourself along a gentle section of the Oldham Way that follows the Rochdale Canal towpath.
Nearest stop: Failsworth
Tucked in in the beautiful Chorlton is Pottery Corner, a creative studio and gallery where you can paint your own pottery.
Designed to let your creative streak run wild, the studio space also offers baby imprints, clay classes, parties, and special occasions.
It’s been under its current ownership for seven years and is well worth the journey across to Chorlton.
Nearest stop: Chorlton
The East Lancashire Railway
Train fanatic or not, the East Lancashire Railway is always a popular day out.
Slicing its way through picturesque towns like Ramsbottom and Summerseat, plus miles and miles of stunning Lancashire scenery, there are loads of different days out on offer.
Along the way you can discover real ale bars, quaint tea rooms, quirky boutiques, markets, restaurants, cafés and more.
Nearest stop: Bury
Museum of Transport
This hugely underrated museum just outside the city centre seems like an appropriate place to visit on public transport – it’s an absolute goldmine of public transport going all the way back to 1824.
There’s an 1890s horse-drawn bus, a full-size prototype Metrolink tram, and an old Beverley’s Beers van.
It’s a bargain too – adult tickets are £5 while under 16s can go free with any paying adult.
Nearest stop: Queens Road
Portland Basin Museum
Another hidden gem, this time over in Tameside, is the Portland Basin Museum, housed within a restored 19th-century Ashton Canal Warehouse.
The waterside, newly-refurbished heritage centre celebrates the people, events and industries, which have shaped the history of Tameside over the past two hundred years.
You can even step back in time on a 1920s street, with the sights and sounds of bygone Tameside brought back to life.
Nearest stop: Ashton-Under-Lyne
Featured image: East Lancashire Railway
Things To Do
Stockport is hosting a Town of Culture Weekender with 50+ events – and it’s all FREE
Stockport will be marking its current Town of Culture title later this month, and it’s set to see the town come together for a huge celebration.
In case you missed it, Stockport was named Greater Manchester’s ‘Town of Culture’ for 2023 back in May of last year, so what better way to celebrate the coveted title than hosting a weekend packed full of cultural festivities for all the family, with access to some of the town’s must-visit venues? We can’t think of one.
And the Stockport Town of Culture Weekender is setting out to do just that.
With over 50 events and activities taking place over the weekend of Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March, the Town of Culture Weekender will shine a light on the impressive variety of culture and creativity happening in the Greater Manchester town, as well as the work and projects that’ve been delivered during the duration of the ‘Town of Culture’ year so far.
🎉Get ready to celebrate with Stockport as we host the ultimate cultural extravaganza this month!🎉
Join us for the Stockport Town of Culture Weekender on March 23rd and 24th, where the town centre will be buzzing with over 50 FREE events and activities for all ages!🎨🎶 pic.twitter.com/nSYMdtUNkj
Marking the end of the town’s ‘Town of Culture’ status with a bang, activities will be taking place at 25 locations across the Stockport borough.
Over the two days, visitors will be given the opportunity to explore some exciting new spaces, all while enjoying an event programme packed with live music, art, comedy, and history.
So, what are some of the dozens of free events you can get stuck into over the two days then?
Well, for starters, the newly-opened town centre park – which is the first green space in the UK to be built on top of a transport interchange, in case you didn’t know – will play host to many of the activities across the weekend.
Stockport is hosting a Town of Culture Weekender later this month / Credit: One Stockport (Supplied)
A ‘Carnival of the Animals’ parade, which is curated by carnival arts organisation, Global Grooves, and features giant animal puppets, is one of the stand-out events on the lineup, but some of the other highlights have to include a grandpa comedy duo, live music with Pandemonium Steel Band, Tai Chi and Yoga taster classes, and a Stockport Sculpture Trail too.
Music and dance will be showcased at venues including Merseyway Shopping Centre, AMP, Petersgate Tap, Magnet, Spinning Top and the Market Place, while Stockport Library will be bringing fun to little ones with a Bluey Day full of games and crafts based on the popular animation series.
There’ll be more than 50 FREE events across 25 town centre locations / Credit: One Stockport (Supplied)
A series of Stockport-themed walks, tours, and activities will also take place across the weekend, while The War Memorial Gallery will also be hosting the Stockport Rising Exhibition showcasing the works of five local celebrated artists.
And, for those interested in exploring the town’s many attractions, there’s set to be free entry for all over the weekend – including the newly re-opened Hat Works Musuem, the Stockport Air Raid Shelters, and Stockport Museum.
Stockport Town of Culture Weekender is taking place on Saturday 23 and Sunday 25 March, and you can find more information ahead of the event here.
Featured Image – One Stockport (Supplied)
Things To Do
A pug cafe with a ball pit and themed cakes is opening in Salford today
A cafe where you can hang out with pugs while you tuck into your coffee and cake is opening in Salford today – and this time it’s permanent.
There’ve been plenty of pop-up dog cafes in Greater Manchester over the years, but CuppaPug will be putting down roots on Chapel Street for good.
Inside the bright pink space – described as a pug playground – there’ll be a ball pit and a pug wall, as well as 10 resident pugs.
And on the menu there’ll be smoothies, milkshakes, coffees, teas and cakes all inspired by the adorable squashy-faced pooches.
This Salford cafe will be the second location for CuppaPug, which launched in London in 2022.
The business was launched by owners Aaron Carty and Matt Pieterse, with the aim to create a safe and nurturing pug community.
They’ve been working with charities and organisations that rescue and rehome the popular breed, while educating owners. Those charity partners include National Pug Protection Trust, Manchester Pug Thing and Pug Life Rescue, where £1 from each booking is donated towards the rescue and rehoming of pugs.
Aaron is an ex-police officer turned digital media producer, as well as a successful drag queen performer as part of the Beyonce Experience that was seen on Britain’s Got Talent and UK Black Pride.
Guests can hang out with pugs at the new CuppaPug cafe in SalfordThere are pink interiors and 10 resident pugs at the CuppaPug cafe in Salford
Meanwhile Matt is a professional actor known for his roles on Channel 4’s Bleach, plus short film Mild Thing.
And completing the CuppaPug family are the pair’s resident pugs, Gaston, Bruce, Bowser, Beau, Gizmo, Bebe, and Baloo.
Speaking about where the idea of CuppaPug came from, Aaron said: “Our inspiration was to create an environment, a pug playground where the pugs can play and people can safely engage with the pugs.
“We want our customers to have an instant smile on their faces as they enter CuppaPug, we want them to feel the warmth and joy that pugs can bring and feel that spike in pleasure from hugging a pug.
CuppaPug founders Aaron Carty and Matt Pieterse. Credit: SuppliedCuppaPug founders Aaron Carty and Matt Pieterse. Credit: Supplied
“We are so excited to be opening in Manchester, it’s a fantastic city. We are so humbled by the families from the North travelling to London for a day trip just to spend an hour with our pugs. We thought we owed it to those pug lovers to open a second site up here.”
Matt said: “CuppaPug’s vision is to firstly amplify the education of owning a dog, the responsibility and commitment it takes, continuing to share our pugs with people to bring them joy, help with mind wellness and mental health and rescue pugs.
“Manchester has an amazing pug community as well as its own non-profit organisation ‘Manchester Pug Thing’ that we wanted to help, not only with regular donations but to amplify the organisation and the work they do.”
The 10 resident dogs for the new Salford pug cafe have been chosen through a six-week application and rehearsal process, with 60 dogs whittled down to the final 10.
CuppaPug opens on Chapel Street in Salford today (Friday 1 March). You can book one-hour slots to visit at £15 per person here.