Stockport is the UK's largest town and is a superb base for exploring the area, with excellent road connections across the North West...
Stockport is certainly a bustling town, with good shopping in its Merseyway shopping area, interesting pubs and eateries around its market place and market hall, and entertainment at the Plaza, a restored art deco cinema which hosts films, comedy, music and theatre.
By organising car rental in Stockport, it's easy to whizz around the town itself, taking in attractions such as the Hat Works Museum, dedicated to the history of hat making in Stockport. In the 19th century the town was the largest producer of hats in the UK, with the local football team, Stockport County, named 'the Hatters' after the industry. Additionally, the football ground is one of the oldest in the English League and the current team name goes back to 1890.
You can also take in the Stockport Art Gallery and Museum and the WWII Air raid tunnels where the town's population sheltered in the war and are now open to visitors. The town centre also offers Staircase House, a 15th century residence restored to its glory.
Bramhall Hall offers great walks in the grounds of the historic house and Chadkirk Chapel is worth a visit for its black and white timbered buildings. You will also find many parks, such as Reddish, Vernon and Etherow Country Park, for walks.
Manchester Airport (MAN) is the nearest airport and is only 15 minutes away along the M60 and M56 motorways. You can pick up your hire car here or at one of various downtown locations in Stockport.
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Opting to rent a car will give you the easiest way to take in the best of the area. Within just a few miles' drive there is a huge range of places to visit...
Just south of the town centre you can take the A6 towards Buxton, a stone built spa town in Derbyshire. Along the way you pass Lyme Park, a National Trust property set in extensive grounds and used as the setting for Mr Darcy to emerge from the lake in the film production of Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth. The Peak District is then on your doorstep with the Blue John Caverns, a huge range of walking trails, and country villages with homely pubs and cafes for sustenance.
The silk town of Macclesfield is also south of the town and the gateway to many walking routes along the canals and hills bordering the Cheshire Plain.
Greater Manchester offers many places to drive to. Visit the huge shopping and entertainment complex of the Trafford Centre, Bury and Bolton for their markets and, of course, Manchester city centre, which is packed with museums and art galleries, restaurants, bars and cafes, the Sports City, home to the GB cycling squad and, of course, the stadiums for Manchester United and Manchester City which can both be visited.
Heading along the M56 from Stockport, your hire car can take you to Chester, a historic Roman town with a wonderful collection of unspoiled black and white buildings in the centre, and just beyond, the Snowdonia National Park is an easy drive.
Using the M60, M61 and M6, the Lake District with fantastic scenic countryside can be made in a day trip, or if you prefer the traditions of a British seaside resort then you can head to Blackpool with its Pleasure Beach for rides and entertainment, piers and famous tower.
Liverpool is less than an hour west of Stockport, with its waterfront and impressive city centre buildings, as well as the impressive Antony Gormley statue installation 'Another Place' on Crosby beach and the famous red squirrels in the National Trust park at Formby.