The new year beckons new things to see, do and experience – and exploring some of the country’s beauty spots is a worthy resolution.
There are so many benefits to being in the great outdoors, including giving a huge boost to health and mood.
Although the centre of Manchester is a phenomenal cityscape, you don’t need to travel far to experience the overwhelming beauty of the British countryside.
Whether you’re making a to-do list for the new year or just need some travel inspiration, you won’t go far wrong with some of these stunning destinations.
Take a look at some of the absolutely stunning places you need to visit in 2020 – all of which are surprisingly close to Manchester.
Monsal Dale, White Peak
A trip to the peaceful Monsal Dale is sure to be a calming experience. Set in the picturesque Derbyshire countryside, it’s a place where you can walk along a babbling river, have a picnic by a weir and explore nearby caves. Head to the top of Monsal Head and experience panoramic views of the stunning surrounding area. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and a Special Area of Conservation. The elegant Headstone Viaduct that straddles the countryside was built by the Midland Railway over the River Wye.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Yorkshire
Where are meets the beautiful British countryside. Spend a day exploring the picturesque grounds of the park while discovering a whole host of prominent works from UK and international artists including Henry Moore, Barbera Hepworth, and the temporary collection from contemporary conceptual artist Damien Hirst. The 500 acre grounds of 18th century Bretton Hall offer a stunning backdrop to this open-air gallery.
Top Withens and Brontë waterfalls, Hebden Bridge
Discover the ruins of Top Withens, a farmhouse which is said to have been the inspiration for the location of the Earnshaw family home Wuthering Heights in the novel by Emily Brontë. It lies on the Pennine Way, a popular walking route, and is a popular spot with literary tourists. Breathtaking views from the remains of the farmhouse look out over the stunning countryside and unique landscape.
The surrounding moors make up part of Brontë Country-which also include the Brontë waterfalls – also said to feature in the novel.
Dovedale, Peak District
A renowned beautyspot found in the southern tip of the Peak District, Dovedale is a nature reserve dominated by ancient ash woodland, flower-speckled meadows and a river brim full of wildlife. It’s well known for its impressive natural limestone ravines but probably most famous for its stepping stones across the clear waters of the River Dove.
Matlock Bath , Peak District
The stunning village of Matlock Bath was one of the UK’s first tourist destinations as a spa town, which quickly became a hotspot for Victorian visitors. These days, its popularity retains largely owing to its amazing location. Set in a gorge and ideally seated on the banks of the River Derwent, this gorgeous historic village also boasts a backdrop of wooded hillsides, limestone crags while maintaining the character and interest that impressed early visitors.
Forest of Bowland, Lancashire
Expanses of sky meet sweeps of open moorland, gentle lowlands, criss-crossed with dry stone walls and dotted with farms and villages in this stunning stretch of countryside. A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Forest of Bowland AONB covers 312 square miles of rural Lancashire and adjacent Yorkshire all just waiting to be discovered.
Chapel-en-le-Frith, High Peak
The historic capital of the Peak, Chapel-en-le-Frith originated from a small chapel, built in 1225. Today it retains its historical charm as a small rural town full of independent boutiques and eateries. Take the Old Town Trail for a free self guided walking trail of Chapel’s historic centre, or venture just outside the town up Eccles Pike, and be rewarded by 360-degree panoramic views out across to all the major Dark Peak summits.
Grin Low, Buxton
Explore the beautiful Grin Low and Buxton Country Park. Throughout the park you will find panels explaining the fascinating history and wildlife of the site. You can enjoy the wide, open spaces of grasslands, stroll along the pathways and through the glades of Grin Low Woods, or explore Poole’s Cavern show cave, which is famous for its incredible stalactites and stalagmites, with tours available all year round. Head to the summit of Grin Low Hill you’ll find Buxton’s very own folly, Solomon’s Temple. From the unique vantage point of Solomon’s Temple you can look down on the beautiful spa town of Buxton.
The village is nestled in an upland valley in a superb scenic location to the south of Macclesfield Forest. Wildboarclough claims to be where the last wild boar in England was killed. The village is now a quiet backwater, popular with visitors at weekends. Walkers come to ascend Shutlingsloe, the Matterhorn of Cheshire – which rises 506 metres to the west of the village.
Lud’s Church, Leek
This deep, moss covered valley is completely other-wordly. 18 metre deep chasm created in the Roaches’ gritstone caused by a giant landslip, which over the ages has been covered from top to bottom in vibrant moss. It’s also know for it’s history – having been used as a secret place for worship for people who would have otherwise been prosecuted in the 15th century. However folklore has it that the chasm was created by the devil’s finger nail as he scraped back parts of the earth.
Hope Valley, Peak District
This unique part of Derbyshire is home to some of the best-loved Peak District locations including Winnats Pass, Mam Tor and the Great Ridge. Whatever spot you visit in Hope Valley, you are sure to be rewarded with some of the best views and beautiful little villages in the whole of Britain.