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Best Hiking Spots Near Manchester | CitySuites

06/04/2023

Escape the concrete jungle, and witness Manchester's most tranquil, unique and picturesque walks and spots!

Greater Manchester is full of exciting scenic spots for families, couples, weekend breaks or even if you need something to up your Instagram game. 

Today, we look at the most photogenic spots in Manchester for you to explore. It doesn't just stop at green spaces, because we'll also be looking at any urban spots for those with a camera.

Whether it's a grand library or an even grander landscape, you'll be surprised by how much Manchester offers!

Table of Contents

  1. Instagrammable Spots
  2. Family-Friendly Spots
  3. Dog-Friendly Hikes & Spots
  4. Seasonal Green Spaces
  5. Hidden Green Spaces

What Is Manchester's History With Green Spaces? 

A quick note on Manchester's history with green space development. 

One of the city's vast natural parks, Philips Park, opened on 22nd August 1846 as one of the UK's first municipal parks intended for public use. 

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Since then, the development of green spaces has been a recurrent process, building various parks across Greater Manchester (including Heaton Park, Alexandra Park, and so on). The city understands the importance of green spaces: better environments for wildlife, improved attractions for visitors, and refined quality of life are just some of the benefits of green spaces within urban areas.

Manchester has lots of ongoing developments when it comes to natural spaces in and around the city centre and is expected to be one of the greenest cities on a global scale. 

At CitySuites, we always want to ensure we're involved in Manchester's green development. Read our page on the aparthotel's commitment to environmental friendliness.

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Top Instagrammable Spots In Manchester

Everyone who wants to post their weekends and holidays goes to Instagram. 

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Manchester is filled with various parks and spaces that can enhance your Insta game. Below are some of the best selections that CitySuites recommends for visitors (and residents) of Manchester. 

Who are these walks for?

For anyone looking to supply their social media with wonderful pictures. 

Heaton Park

Heaton Park is not too far from CitySuites, reachable by car in 16 minutes or by transport for 30 minutes.

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Heaton Park is a community park located in Northern Manchester. Spanning 600 acres of luscious greenery, the park offers diverse activities and amenities for visitors to enjoy. This includes a quality golf course, animal farms, a lake with boating options and outdoor concerts and events. 

The lavish natural space in these areas makes it one of the most scenic parks in Manchester.

Facts about Heaton Park!

Heaton Park has been used for various films and TV shows. Including Peaky Blinders and Coronation Street! 

This park hosts one of the most popular annual festivals known in Manchester: Parklife!

The park is full of history, being owned by the wealthy Egerton family during the 18th and 19th centuries, used as a training ground during WWI, and so much more. 

The park is home to various bird species, making it a fantastic spot for bird watching.

Sale Water Park 

Sale Water Park is located in Sale, not too far from CitySuites. 

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The park covers over 150 acres of green land and offers a variety of activities. Being close to a river and a range of trails available, the park offers opportunities for walking, cycling and water sports. The park also boasts many tourist-friendly amenities, such as a playground, nature reserves and a visitor centre. 

The amount of wildlife, activities and other features make the area a bright spot for photography, too! 

Facts about Sale Water Park

The lake covers over 50 acres of land, making it one of the largest in Manchester!

Sale Water Park is a stone's throw away from Manchester's Ship Canal, an important trading area during the 19th and 20th century

Opened in 1970s, Sale Water Park was building from a former gravel pit, which was eventually filled with water to create a lake.

The park is home to a variety of bird species, making it a fantastic spot for bird watching.

Castlefield Urban Heritage Park

Castlefield Urban Park is an 8-minute drive from our aparthotel. It's also a doable 20-minute walk away.

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Slightly smaller than other entries in this post, Castlefield Urban Heritage Park is a mere 20-acre park in Manchester's Castlefield. The park has diverse features, including historical buildings, landmarks, sculptures and artworks, and of course, running canals. 

This is a park located within the city, offering a wide range of attractions for those interested in Manchester's heritage. Full of spots for your Instagram! 

Facts about Castlefield Urban Heritage Park 

The park is home to the Roman fort of Mamucium, built in AD 79. 

The canals found in the park were used to transport goods in Manchester's industrial districts, transferring materials such as coal and raw cotton back in 1894.

Despite having the name "urban", the park is actually full of wildlife, including swans, ducks and other bird species!

There is a "Trans Pennine" sculpture in the park, designed by Kevin Atherton in 1999, marking the opening of the Trans Pennine Trail.

Photogenic Urban Spots In Manchester City Centre

John Ryland's Library 

John Ryland's Library is a fairly large institution that contains over 1 million printed books and manuscripts detailing various works from well-known authors and creatives. 

Known for its magnificent neo-Gothic architecture, the building features stained glass windows, complex stonework and vaulted ceilings that are worth taking photos of. 

How does it contribute to Manchester's green initiatives?

The building has installed wind turbines on its roofs, as well as solar panels to apply renewable energy throughout the structure. 

According to their blog about Rylands going green, enough energy will be produced each day to ensure the building's heating and power requirements are met. 

On rainy days, the building will use miniature water wheels, utilising the power of rainwater from the roofs. 

Royal Exchange Theatre 

Royal Exchange Theatre hosts some of the well-known theatre spectaculars happening throughout Manchester each year. 

The visually-stunning architecture makes the theatre an incredible place for photography. Inspired by Victorian detailing and marble columns found in 19th-century buildings, the site is truly something to behold. 

Looking for theatre breaks in Manchester? Why not check out the musicals to watch this year?

How does it contribute to Manchester's sustainability?

The theatre's commitment to sustainability has been evident since its opening. In 2019, the building unveiled "The Den", which is a travelling pop-up theatre designed as a low-carbon space for Greater Manchester communities. The piece was shortlisted for Best Creative Programming back in 2020.

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Top Family-Friendly Walks

We believe that everyone should have the chance of experiencing Manchester's ever-growing green spaces in Manchester. 

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We've selected some of the most memorable, family-friendly walks that visitors can find within its greater area. While Manchester has diverse walks that pack a challenge, some walks are easy enough for the entire family to experience. We've listed our recommendations below. 

Who are these walks for?

These walks and spots are ideal for those with families, that want something easier to experience. No steep hills or long walks, just easy trails for both children and adults.

Lyme Park 

Lyme Park is located outside of the city centre, with a 54-minute drive away - though it's worth the visit!

Lyme Park is one of Manchester's family-friendly walks, offering a strong range of easy walking trails. Ideal for the family!

The park contains lots of features fit for any age. This includes any-level walking trails, formal gardens, open spaces for picnics and so much more. 

Fun Facts About Lyme Park!

The country house is home to a variety of artistic materials - including sculptures, portraits, and so on.

This place has been used as a setting for iconic films - including BBC's "Pride & Prejudice".

The estate was owned by the Legh family back in the 20th century, collecting over 60,000 rare books and manuscripts.

Lyme park is home to some of the most exciting wildlife available, including red and fallow deers!

Dovestone Reservoir

Located in the Peak District, the 50-minute drive to the reservoir is every bit worth it. 

Dovestone Reservoir is home to some of the most picturesque views within the Greater Manchester area. Don't let the rugged hills scare you, as there are plenty of trails available for all abilities. You can take in views of the reservoir itself with an easy, circular walk, or opt for a stronger hike towards their massive hill climbs. 

Either way, you'll be sure to have a great time with the family in Dovestone. With cafes, gift shops and an array of trails, you can easily access the park via transport or drive!

Fun Facts About Dovestone Reservoir!

Did you know that Dovestone Reservoir is home to a special fish species called the pike? Who can grow up to 4ft long and weigh around 50 pounds?

Wildlife is quite dense in the reservoir, including birds and fishes. A perfect place for fishing and bird-spotting

The reservoir was built around the natural hills surrounding it back in 1967, with River Tame going through its natural structure.

Yeohman Reservoir, located next to  Dovestone, was actually constructed during 1876 - 1880! 

Family-Friendly Experiences in Manchester

Science & Industry Museum 

The Science and Industry Museum showcases some of Manchester's finest historic and educational pieces. Located in Deansgate, the museum boasts a wide range of exhibits and events throughout the year, including a music-related event for children, and other experiences suited for families. 

The museum curates interesting stories about various topics - such as computing, the railway system, the textile industry, and so on. It's a fun experience for anyone to enjoy!

How is the museum becoming green?

The building has implemented measures that contribute to Manchester's sustainable practices. This includes LED lighting for their 1830 Warehouse, instant water, and a comprehensive management system for their building that allows easy control over their energy. 

Their goal is to reduce their building's CO2 emissions by 65% by 2030. 

Manchester Art Gallery 

This public art museum features a strong selection of artworks extending from various periods and styles. Their vision is to become an inclusive gallery for people, educating minds on the role of creativity and what it can offer for cities like Manchester. 

Manchester Art Gallery boasts a list of exhibitions that are sure to entertain and educate families visiting Manchester, from free events to more premium entertainment. 

Is Manchester Art Gallery eco-friendly?

Yes! Since Manchester City Council's declaration of climate emergency in July 2019, the gallery has actively looked for ways in contributing to the city's mission in becoming carbon neutral. 

There have been various ways the building has created its site as environmentally friendly. Reducing waste and increasing recycling, encouraging biodiversity through bee-keeping and helping support greener travel are just some of the ways Manchester Art Gallery is contributing to the bigger picture.

Want to learn more about family-friendly events in Manchester? Read our blog on things to do with toddlers this year in Manchester!

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Dog-Friendly Hikes And Spots In Manchester

Dogs are everybody's best friend, and they deserve to enjoy the green spaces and sustainable spots in Manchester as much as anyone else! Fortunately, Manchester is fully on-board with dogs - there are quite a few parks and spaces that fully welcome pets. 

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So grab your dog's tennis ball and favourite treat, as we take you through the most dog-friendly spots in Manchester and beyond. 

Who are these walks for?

These walks are for those that want to enjoy a scenic route with their pet. Because we want to make sure each item listed below are dog-friendly, we make sure that the walks within these areas are easy for both residents and animal friends.

Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail

This trail is around 50 minutes to an hour away from CitySuites depending on your type of transport.

The Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail is a dog-friendly path, offering calm and serene views as you go through its 13-mile trail. 

Don't let the number scare you (or your pet), though. You don't have to finish it as you can easily get back to the beginning or leave at various points. The landscape is mostly woods and meadows following the Ladybrook River, so buckle up your and your dog's hiking gear if you want a relatively easy or challenging hike! 

Fun Facts About Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail 

The trail used to be a hub containing mills, farmhouses and buildings across the river. 

The path passes through various known locations in Manchester, including Mersey at Cheadle and Cheadle Hulme.

It's quite close to Lyme Park, so if you have time, check out both parks!

This trail was built back in 1970, offering various ways to see rare wildlife in Manchester

Mid Cheshire Rail Walks - Altrincham Circular 

This walk starts all the way from Altrincham, about a 40-minute journey using the tram or drive from CitySuites.

There are actually a few trails in the Mid Cheshire rail walk which are all linked together, but the walk from Altrincham is possibly the most well-known and accessible in Manchester. The good thing is that trams are now allowing dogs on board!

The circular walk visits various woodlands, open country views and an attractive stretch of the Bridgewater Canal. The walk starts and is also finished at Altrincham Interchange, allowing you to visit one of the most vibrant cities in Manchester: Altrincham with plenty of dog-friendly restaurants and venues to visit. 

Fun Facts About The Mid Cheshire Rail Walks 

As mentioned before, the Mid Cheshire walks are various trails that interconnect with each other

The routes follow the path of former railway lines that were built back in the 19th century - commonly used for transportation.

The railway lines that these paths follow pass through lots of historic landmarks, including the Roman city of Chester and the medieval town of Nantwich

These walks are so vast, that they also played a part in the cultural history of Cheshire (for reference, Altrincham is the middle point between Manchester and Cheshire!).

Three Canals & A River 

Three Canals & A River starts at Portland Basin Museum, a 40-minute drive or an hour bus from CitySuites.

A three-mile walk along various Ashton, Huddersfield Narrow and River Tame, this trail covers a series of walks and trails made to show walkers various landmarks and attractions. Mostly follow various canals through the city, the walk is very dog-friendly in the sense that every walk you find within this path is easily trekked. 

Fun Facts About Three Canals & A River

The "Three Canals" refer to the Ashton, Rochdale and Bridgewater Canals with the "River" referring to River Medlock

The trail is around 26 miles long, taking around 10 hours to complete on foot! Don't let this scare you, though, there are various points where you can leave and head back to the city. 

All canals were made between the 18th and 19th centuries and used for transporting goods around the city.

The Rochdale Canal was one of the first canals built in the UK, playing a key role in goods transportation during the Industrial Revolution.

Where Else Are Dogs Welcome In Manchester?

Embankment Cafe

If you want a place to take your dog, look at none other than Embankment Cafe. For spots closer to the city, this cafe boasts delicious coffees, and tea, as well as baked goods and smoothies. 

It's a place where you can bring friends for a chill day out, your laptop if you need a relaxed work environment, or your dog to keep yourself comfy! 

Is Embankment Cafe eco-friendly?

The cafe offers options for non-dairy drinks, helping reduce products that could potentially harm animals.

Secondly, they also sell reusable, over-the-counter tote bags, which are durable, stylish and last a long time, making them less harmful to the environment.

CitySuites is always looking for ways to become more environmentally friendly. So keep an eye on Embankment Cafe and other CitySuites properties for their green updates!

Afflecks 

Afflecks Palace is a nifty shopping centre, popular for alternative and independent fashion, music and art products. 

With four floors of stalls and shops from independent business owners, Afflecks Palace is an ideal place for those looking to support smaller businesses (while also having options for high-quality goods). 

What have been their sustainable efforts?

Similar to CitySuites, Afflecks Palace has also established a new sustainable cafe: "Potion". 

Potion delivers exceptional breakfast at 10:30 am, with lunch and drinks served all day long for shoppers and traders alike. The cafe also aims to expand on its zero-waste, sustainable lifestyle to add to many of the building's own eco-friendly goals.

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Best Seasonal Green Spaces In Manchester

Some believe there are specific times to grab your hiking boots and take a walk around Manchester. However, we believe that people may miss out on some of the most astonishing views if they wait for warm weather only. 

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We've established the great number of spaces that Manchester has, but what seasons do these spaces bloom? 

In this list, we want to walk our guests into the most scenic spots in Greater Manchester during each season. So, if you're a big fan of a snowy peak or a sunny hill, the best list of spots you can find is highlighted below. 

Who are these walks for?

These walks will prove challenging regardless of what season you decide to trail through them. So, we highly recommend that you have some experience in hiking through difficult trails before going! Or at least, be with a professional hiking group.  

PLEASE BRING APPROPRIATE HIKING GEAR!

Mam Tor - Winter Time 

Mam Tor is located a little outside of Manchester City Centre, right in Peak District. The trail is around 1 hour by train from Manchester Piccadilly (or an hour drive from CitySuites)

For those looking for a challenging walk - but a rewarding view - a winter walk in Mam Tor is the ideal choice. The walk poses a hard test for hikers, in the sense that snow and ice are most likely going to be in the way. However, those brave enough to take on Mam Tor during winter will be rewarded with the most breathtaking views imaginable in the UK. 

The crystalline trails, snowy mountains and likely peaceful views are an experience in themselves. 

Fun Facts About Mam Tor

Mam Tor has an extended history of human settlement and habitation, with the most notable evidence suggesting the hill was used as a defensive site by the Celts (and later, the Romans). 

During sunnier and warmer days, hikers might find paragliders and hang-gliders flying through the hills.

Hikers may also find ruins of a castle built on the summit of Mam Tor - as a result of war during the Middle Ages (the 1400s, Wars of the Roses). 

Over millions of years, the layers of shale and sandstone found on the hills have steadily tilted and eroded, creating the iconic ridges of the Peak District. 

There are lots of walks in winter that you can go to, to get that crystal, picturesque content for your social media! Check out the best winter walks article written by MEN's Zara Whelan for more inspiration!

Marsden Moor - Spring 

Marsden Moor is located between Manchester and Leeds. With a 42-minute drive or an hour and 20-minute ride by public transport, the place is fairly reachable from CitySuites. 

With the weather becoming gradually warmer, sunnier, and overall better in the UK, we can't recommend Marsden Moor's stunning trails enough. Located near Huddersfield (West Yorkshire), the landscape that hikers go through is paraded with vibrant wildflowers and showering sunlight - the landscape, essentially, comes alive.

Fun Facts About Marsden Moor

Marsden's Moors covers over 5,000 (around 18 square miles) acres of land, making it one of the biggest trails that hikers can walk through, listed in this post.

With size comes habitats. Marsden Moor is home to a list of wildlife. Chances of seeing rare birds (such as the golden plover) and species of reptiles and amphibians are fairly high.

You can reach the Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre from Marsden Moor, which Is part of the longest canal tunnel in the UK.The moors was used for filming "Gentleman Jack" and "The Huntsman: Winter's War"

Kinder Scout - Summer 

Kinder Scout is located in the same direction as Mam Tor, as both are located in the same area roughly in Peak District. The trail is reachable by car, with around 1 hour and 20 minutes of driving. 

When summertime hits in the UK, the weather becomes significantly warmer - meaning sunnier views are on the horizon. For this, we highly recommend taking a quick or lengthy hike through Kinder Scout. 

Kinder Scout is an incredible walk because there are both easier treks and more challenging hikes available within the area. Either option offers outstanding views over the Peak District landscape during the summer! 

Fun Facts About Marsden Moor

Kinder Scout was featured in 2005's "Seven Natural Wonders" as one of the wonders of the Midlands (despite being an area located in Northern England). 

In clearer conditions (such as summer time), you can view Manchester city centre and certain areas of Greater Manchester, as well as Snowdonia's mountains from Kinder Scout.

Kinder Scout contains "Kinder Downfall" which is the tallest waterfall in the Peak District.Part of the hike is actually considered to be the highest point in the Peak District, Derbyshire and East Midlands! 

Tandle Hill - Autumn 

Tandle Hill is located in Royton, Greater Manchester. This area is reachable by car, and transport, and if you feel up to the challenge, it's also a nice cycle away from CitySuites!

Tandle Hill is the oldest country and largest park in Oldham, covering over 48 hectares of parkland (118 acres), and is considered one of the favourite hiking places amongst hikers in the UK. Autumn time means an elegant change in the hill's landscape. With leaves changing into a comforting autumn hue and the sunsets offering a tranquil spectrum of pinks, purples and oranges, there's no better time to visit Tandle Hill. 

The trail contains lots of historical landmarks that hikers can encounter. This includes the Crompton War Memorial - a landmark dedicated to the local men who lost their lives in World War I, as well as historical mills and the iconic Rochdale Canal. 

Fun Facts About Tandle Hill 

Tandle Hill's Park is around 48 hectares. This is around 85 football fields!

The Rochdale Canal (accessible via Tandle Hill) used to be a transport route that transferred various goods including coal, wool and cotton.

Tandle Hill's use is so old, human activity used to date back around 10,000 years ago.It's a great spot for kite-flying, so hikers might see lots of kites around Autumn Time when the wind is picking up!

Are you looking for exceptional stays in Manchester? CitySuites is always offering unique, luxury apartments. Book your apartment today!

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Best Hidden Natural Spaces

We've established that there are several green spots around Manchester, so it's safe to assume there are lesser-known areas that are relatively peaceful during peak hours. 

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Sometimes it's nice to get away from it all, and with the vast areas available in the city, there's a fantastic selection of green spots in Manchester and beyond. 

In this list, we highlight Manchester's gorgeous, and quiet, natural spaces. 

Sackville Gardens

Sackville Gardens is about 15 minutes away from CitySuites if you drive. But it's also a fairly walkable 20-minute distance away.

Sackville Gardens is a public space found in Manchester City Centre, close to the Rochdale Canal and Whitworth Street. This place is quite secluded from the busy atmosphere that the city brings, so it's ideal for

Sackville Gardens is home to a life-sized bronze Alan Turing statue, commemorating the computer pioneer. This small, ornamental garden is perfect for relaxing and truly shines when the area is blessed with sunshine. 

Fun Facts About Sackville Gardens

There are also two other memorials in the Garden: The Tree of Life (planted on World AIDS Day in 1993) and The Beacon of Hope by both Warren Chapman and Jess Byrne-Daniels

Alan Turing, a famous mathematician and computer scientist who cracked the German Enigma Code during WWII.

The park was named after the Sackville family, landowners during the 18th and 19th century.The garden is often used during annual events such as Manchester's Pride Parade.

St. John's Gardens 

St. John's Gardens is located next to Spinningfields, which is not far at all from CitySuites (around an 8 minute drive, but you can walk there easily in 15 minutes,

St. John's Garden is another secluded natural space area, founded within Lower Byrom Street (next to Byrom Street) - offering luscious greenery that includes radiant wildflowers and smooth grass. 

The garden is also close to Spinningfields, which is home to high-end restaurants! Despite being surrounded by elite venues, the gardens is relatively quiet and beautiful during sunnier days. 

Facts About St. John's Gardens

The public park in Manchester opened in 1932 and was originally called St. John's Churchyard

In 2013, St. John's Gardens won the "Green Flag Award", being recognised as one of the cleanest and friendliest public green spaces in Manchester.

The park features notable sculptures, including a memorial to the church and those buried in its graveyard.It's a smaller park that covers approximately 2.5 acres. However, it's more compact with greenery! 

Parsonage Gardens

Parsonage Garden is around 7 minutes on foot from CitySuites.

This is another small, public park in Manchester located around Deansgate. The park has several attractions for anyone looking for peace and quiet - including luscious trees, ideal spots for picnics, a fountain and smaller trails for tranquil walks. 

It's ideal for anyone wanting a break from the city's energetic atmosphere!

Facts About Parsonage Gardens

Parsonage Gardens is located on the site of a former church graveyard, much like St. John's Gardens in Spinningfields.

The park hosts quite a few different bird species. You will often find robins, blackbirds and sparrows when you spend time here.

It's one of the smaller public parks in Manchester, but quite popular for its size.While the park underwent a complete renovation in 2005, the park officially opened back in 1905, just after the church on-site was demolished!

There are plenty of great walks in Manchester city centre that you can explore on foot!

Manchester: A Green City 

There are lots of ways Manchester has improved its sustainable efforts.

The Climate Change Action Plan: Buildings and Energy 

Manchester City Council has enabled a plan for reducing CO2 emissions from operational estates and streetlighting by at least 50% by 2025 - and a further 50% reduction between 2025 and 2030.

Plans are split for both the Council and the city. 

The Council aims to complete a carefully-tailored plan for reducing carbon production from buildings between 2020 and 2030 - this includes the rollout of street lighting LED replacements and achieving fewer tonnes of CO2 per annum on completion.

The city will undertake a plan of ensuring all social housing properties are on the path to zero carbon, reduction in emissions and energy bills for residents, as well as organisations and businesses. 

Development of green spaces 

The Manchester Green & Blue Infrastructure Strategy is a development plan by the Manchester City Council, which looks are improving the city's green (parks, gardens, natural spaces, etc.) and blue (waterways, canals, and other bodies of water) infrastructures. 

The goal is by 2025, Manchester will contain heavy elements of green and blue spaces that improve quality of life, delivering support for biodiversity, and wildlife as well as residential and commercial purposes. 

Optimising transportation in Manchester 

Electric buses produce zero tailpipe emissions, leading to better air quality, reduced noise pollution and improved public health outcomes. 

E-scooters provide an eco-friendly alternative to transportation, and these scooters available across Manchester. The frequent use of these scooters means less air and noise pollution. 

Rentable bikes provide similar benefits to E-scooters; less air and noise pollution due to the lack of diesel or engine required. The public can also expect benefits regarding better health, too.

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