There’s an overnight stay in Wales where you can cosy up in your own cabin… 1375 feet below ground.
Not for the faint-hearted, this unusual accommodation is the deepest underground sleep on the planet, built into the bottom of the world’s largest and deepest former slate mine.
While the cabins themselves are pretty luxurious, with proper beds, electricity, and even WiFi, it’s stressed that this is very much an off-grid adventure camp.
Guests have to hike up into the mountains of Eryri, or Snowdonia, with a guide, before descending all the way through the abandoned Victorian slate mine.
You’ll have to traverse decaying bridges, ancient stairways and via ferratas (basically planks of wood fastened to the sheer mine walls), obviously with proper safety gear and a guide to help lead the way.
Still, once you’ve travelled 1375 feet underground, at least you’re rewarded with… Oh… A huge cavern where the temperature sits at a chilly 10⁰C.
The cabins are heated but the spaces around them are not, and guests are advised to wrap up warm for their night in one of the most beautiful and unusual locations in the UK.
Go Below’s Deep Sleep experience in north Wales opened earlier this year, with four twin cabins as well as the extra-special grotto available to book.
The grotto is built into the rock face and has a log burning fire – it truly looks like something from Lord of the Rings.
As well as the two-hour guided scramble through the mine, the package to stay at Deep Sleep includes an expedition-style evening meal, with dishes like BBQ pulled pork, orzo pasta Bolognese, and Tuscan stew, plus breakfast the next morning to fuel your journey back to above ground.
Deep Sleep costs £350 for a private cabin or £550 for the grotto, with expeditions happening once a week.
The day-long holidays you can go on with a flight from Manchester
If you ever feel like you need a change of scenery, but get put off by all the admin of booking hotels and annual leave to actually leave Manchester, these there-and-back-in-a-day flights might be about to change the game.
Manchester Airport has rounded up a handy list of the places you can fly to for a day trip from our home city.
You could be lounging with an Aperol Spritz in a beautiful European city by 10am, and home in time for your usual bedtime.
In fact, you can get as far as Morocco, Ibiza or Majorca with time for an explore and a couple of meals before you have to head back to the rain.
Recent research from travel agents’ association ABTA shows city breaks have overtaken beach holidays as Britons’ favourite type of overseas trip.
And Manchester Airport is finding that these compact one-day city breaks are starting to take off, with budget airlines offering flights with no baggage charges or hotels to worry about.
And half the time, these flights are way cheaper (and faster) than an Avanti service down to London for the day…
Manchester Airport serves around 200 direct destinations, many of which have return flights the same day.
12 day trips you can do with a flight from Manchester Airport
Dublin is one of the cities you can get to with a flight from Manchester for a day trip
Depart Manchester 06:55, Arrive Dublin 07:55;
Depart Dublin 21:55, Arrive Manchester 22:55.
A pint of Guinness, some live music in Temple Bar, and a wander down colourful cobbled streets – just a hop across the Irish Sea will land you in Ireland’s vibrant capital. It’s probably the most common international day trip you can do from Manchester with regular Ryanair flights.
Depart Manchester 07:05, Arrive Amsterdam 09:25;
Depart Amsterdam 21:30, Arrive Manchester 21:50.
With a flight time of just one hour and 20 minutes, and flights available in the early morning and late evening, you can give yourself a full 12 hours to explore the Dutch capital. This beautiful, cultural city is home to the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House, plus a buzzing food and drink scene.
Depart Manchester 17.10, Arrive Ibiza 21.05
Depart Ibiza 10.50, Arrive Manchester 12.40
Forget New York being the city that never sleeps – Ibiza is the island that never sleeps. If you’re a party animal and can manage on barely any sleep, you can jet to Ibiza after work and arrive in time for the clubs opening, party the night away and be home less than 24 hours later.
Depart Manchester 07:05, Arrive Paris 09:35;
Depart Paris 21:35, Arrive Manchester 22:00.
The ‘City of Light’ offers plenty to keep you busy – and flight times are only around an hour and a half, again with daily early morning and late evening flights available. If you’re well-organised, a full day will give you more than enough time to go on a sightseeing tour of the city – from the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre, with a few people-watching cafe stops along the way.
Depart Manchester 08:30, Arrive Alicante 12:15;
Depart Alicante 21:20, Arrive Manchester 23:10.
In less than three hours you could swap Manc drizzle for Spanish sunshine, with regular Ryanair flights to the Costa Blanca hotspot of Alicante. That gives you more than nine hours to soak in as much sun as sangria as possible.
Depart Manchester 07:25, Arrive Belfast 08:25;
Depart Belfast 20:55, Arrive Manchester 21:55.
Northern Ireland’s capital is a fantastic destination for a mini-break. Titanic Belfast tells the story of the how the famous cruiseliner was built in the city’s docks, and Belfast also boasts a zoo and a castle. The National Trust-owned Crown Liquor Saloon in the city centre is a popular spot for a beer and pub lunch – its look and feel has changed very little in nearly 200 years. And you can smash it out in a day with flights arriving by 8.25am and returning to Manchester at 8.55pm.
A day trip around Barcelona is possible with return flights from Manchester
Ryanair outbound / Vueling inbound:
Depart Manchester 06:40, Arrive Barcelona 10:00;
Depart Barcelona 19:20, Arrive Manchester 20:50.
One of Europe’s liveliest and most fascinating cities is only two and a half hours away, and you can get there and back in a day from Manchester by mixing a Ryanair and a Vueling flight. Admire the majestic La Sagrada Familia, explore the Gothic Quarter, and visit the city’s football stadiums. Or just hit the beach and eat tapas. Whatever.
Jet2.com outbound / Ryanair inbound:
Depart Manchester 06:30, Arrive Majorca 10:15;
Depart Majorca 21:30, Arrive Manchester 23:15.
Majorca is consistently one of the most popular destinations for passengers travelling from Manchester Airport, year after year, the travel hub says. It’s a family favourite with golden sandy beaches that are conveniently closed to the airport. You can spend more than 11 hours relaxing and living the island dream before you have to fly home again.
Depart Manchester 07:45, Arrive Cork 09:00;
Depart Cork 20:20, Arrive Manchester 21:35.
Another popular Irish destination, although perhaps lesser known than Dublin or Belfast, is Cork – the Republic of Ireland’s second city. It is one of the cheapest overseas day trips you can take from Manchester, with return flights frequently available for between £30 and £40pp with Ryanair. The English Market is a great place to grab a bite to eat, and the city also plays host to a number of museums and galleries, great shopping and authentic Irish pubs.
Loganair outbound / easyJet inbound:
Depart Manchester 08:35, Arrive Newquay 10:00;
Depart Newquay 17:00, Arrive Manchester 18:10.
Flights to Newquay, Cornwall’s biggest resort town and a water sports mecca, take a little over an hour from Manchester – waaay quicker than trying to drive to one of the UK’s most popular destinations. You’ll have a good seven hours to surf or kayak or kitesurf or explore the beautiful location on dry land, if you prefer.
Ryanair outbound / easyJet inbound:
Depart Manchester 06:20, Arrive Agadir 10:15;
Depart Agadir 19:15, Arrive Manchester 23:25.
Did you expect Africa to pop up on this list? Because we didn’t. But you can go all the way to Agadir in Morocco for a nine-hour day trip, where attractions include themed gardens, its Museum of Arts (which explores the surrounding region’s Berber heritage), the Souk El Had market, and beaches.
Depart Manchester 06:55, Arrive Munich 09:55;
Depart Munich 21:55, Arrive Manchester 23:00.
Beer and bratwurst are top of the agenda for day-trippers to Munich, which is just a two-hour hop from Manchester. Its old town is filled with gothic architecture, including the Residenz and Alter Hof palaces, along with traditional beer halls like the 16th century Hofbräuhaus. That’s 12 hours of steins and sausages.
Visit fashion capital Milan and get back the same day
Depart Manchester 06:15, Arrive Milan-Bergamo 09:25;
Depart Milan-Malpensa 22:15, Arrive Manchester 23:30.
Milan is a global centre for fashion, and its iconic cathedral and the neighbouring square are the main draw for tourists. The surrounding area is filled with boutique stores, restaurants, pizzerias and ice cream shops. There are always lots of flights daily between Manchester and Milan’s two airports too.
All flight times correct and available on various dates across the year at the time of writing. Timings and availability are subject to change.
Featured image: Unsplash
Travel & Tourism
Plans for 24/7 ‘night bus’ trial on some services in Greater Manchester revealed
Plans for a 24/7 ‘night bus’ trial to start on some popular services in Greater Manchester have now been revealed.
Details of the long-awaited pilot have been revealed alongside the launch of ‘phase two’ of Bee Network public transport franchising in across the region this week – but, at this moment in time, the trial is still subject to “ongoing engagement, funding, and approval”, according to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
TfGM says the so-called ‘night bus’ pilot is set to launch in phase one bus areas, and is anticipated to include the V1 and 36 services.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, and transport bosses at TfGM are keen to introduce 24/7 services to “supporting people working in the night time economy”, as this means customers will never miss the last bus home, whatever time of the day.
"People here will have better, more frequent bus services…"
Hear from @MayorofGM, Andy Burnham who today visited Bury Interchange to mark almost one month to go until the launch of the second phase of the #BeeNetwork in Bury, Rochdale, Oldham and parts of Salford.
Services could also run hourly to “fill the gap in current provision” – which is thought to be between around 1am and 5am – seven days a week, and TfGM says it is currently in the process of working with partners to look at “the right level” of ‘TravelSafe’ support to make sure people feel as comfortable as possible on these services when it comes to their personal safety.
Andy Burnham has confirmed the trial will start “later this year”.
He added that the aim of the pilot is to “ensure that people working in hospitality, manufacturing, healthcare, or any number of other roles can get to and from work safely using public transport”.
“The details are currently being developed, and are subject to further engagement,” Mr Burnham continued, “but it will provide us with a blueprint as to what can be achieved as a part of the Bee Network in support of people in Greater Manchester.”
Plans for 24/7 ‘night bus’ trial on some services in Greater Manchester have been revealed / Credit: TfGM
As mentioned, details of the proposed 24/7 ‘night bus’ pilot have been revealed alongside the unveiling of what ‘phase two’ of the Bee Network means for Greater Manchester.
In case you’re unfamiliar, the Bee Network launched back in September of last year, and is our region’s “vision” for an integrated ‘London-style’ public transport system that “changes the way people travel” across all 10 boroughs – with the ‘phase one’ rollout bringing bright yellow buses to Bolton, Wigan, and parts of Bury and Salford.
‘Phase one’ consists of 188 bus routes, but ‘phase two’ is set to, quite literally, cover new ground.
When we launch the 2nd stage of the @BeeNetwork on 24/3, we will make improvements to your timetable.
This will include more frequent services and/or earlier and later running on the following routes: 17, 18, 52, 59, 67, 67a, 83, 97, 98, 100, 135, 350, 409, 423, 467, 468.
That’s because, on Sunday 24 March, buses in Oldham, Rochdale, and further parts of Bury, Salford, and north Manchester will come back under public control for the first time in almost 40 years.
The change will mean a total of 324 bus routes – 188 routes in ‘phase one’, and 136 routes in ‘phase two’ – totalling 50% of the bus network in Greater Manchester, will be managed TfGM as part of the Bee Network.
Services in ‘phase two’ will be operated by Stagecoach, First Group and Diamond under a franchising arrangement.