M6, Junction 18; 14 minutes
Vegetarian or vegan options
Parking available onsite
Earthlings and would-be astronauts pull in here to be wowed by the enormous, 90m-high Lovell Telescope. Built in 1957 and the world’s first steerable radio telescope, the Cheshire landmark is still a working part of Manchester University where scientists probe the cosmos to reveal its secrets. You’ll need to buzz to enter and turn your phone off to avoid interference with the radio signals. Educational and interactive displays in the space, star and planet pavilions are fascinating for children and adults alike, teaching the curious about the Big Bang, how the telescope works and mysteries of the observable universe.
Mind filled, turn your attention to tummies in the Planet Pavilion Café, which serves hearty breakfasts and appetising lunches. Cakes, salads, pasties and sandwiches are made on-site every day and can be enjoyed in the airy café or on the terrace. There are 35 acres of tended grounds where you’re welcome to stroll and picnic.