M6, Junction 18; 14 mins
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. Please note there is a charge to park (the first 30 minutes are free if popping in, simply validate your ticket).
Buy The Extra Mile Guide
The Extra Mile: Delicious Alternatives to Motorway Services is your essential glovebox guide to good food on the move. The guidebook is a great gift for motorists and foodies who prefer to avoid motorway services and boring, big-brand food. Find independent cafes, pubs, local coffee and tea shops and lovely farm shops near motorway junctions and main roads. To improve your journey, support small businesses and discover real local flavours, order your copy today (edition 4 published March 2023 and available now).