Tameside is a borough on the east side of Greater Manchester, with Ashton-under-Lyne its main town. The River Tame, which in the 19th century powered the local cotton mills, was historically the boundary between Lancashire to the north and Cheshire to the south. The cotton industry slumped in the 20th century, and the area became a mix of commuterland, light industry and derelict brownfield. In 1974 Tameside was created from townships both sides of the river, notably Ashton-under-Lyne, Audenshaw, Droylesden, Denton, Hyde and Stalybridge.
The town is often abbreviated to "Ashton" but that is a very common place name, so when taking transport always refer in full to "Ashton-under-Lyne".
Trains shuttle every 30 min between Salford Central, Manchester Victoria, 1 Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge. Change at Stalybridge for Huddersfield, with connections to Leeds and York. (The fast trains bypass Ashton and don't stop at Stalybridge.) Change at Victoria for most other destinations.
Another line runs to the south of the town, with trains every 30 min from Piccadilly via Hyde (North and Central) to Marple (Rose Hill).
From Manchester Airport, take any train running to Victoria then change for Ashton-under-Lyne. You can also change at Piccadilly where almost all airport trains are heading, but that's a big station and a long walk between platforms.
Ashton-under-Lyne is the terminus of the Metrolink orange and light blue lines. Trams take 35 min from central Manchester via Piccadilly, Etihad Campus and Droylesden. Ashton is in Fare Zone 3 so a single journey is £3.80; trams run every 5-10 min 06:00-00:00. Westbound, these lines run through city centre to Salford Quays and Media City, with the light blue line continuing to Eccles. Change in city centre for trams to Victoria, Bury, Oldham and Rochdale, to East Didsbury, to Wythenshawe and the airport, to Imperial War Museum and Trafford Centre (this line opened in March 2020), and to Old Trafford, Stretford, Sale and Altrincham. You must buy your ticket from machines on the platform before you travel.
Bus 219 runs between central Manchester and Ashton-under-Lyne every 10 min, taking 35 min. National Express and Megabus don't come this way, change at Manchester Chorlton St bus station.
Bus 350 runs between Oldham and Ashton-under-Lyne every 30 min, taking 80 min and saving a double-back via city centre.
Bus 409 runs from Rochdale every 15 min via Waterloo, Hathershaw, Oldham, Royton, Balderstone and Stoneyfield.
The M60 and M67 provide motorway access to the area. From central Manchester, follow the A635 for Ashton or the A57 east for Denton and Hyde.
Bus 346 runs from Ashton to Hyde every 15 min, taking 35 min.
Bus 387 runs hourly from Ashton to Stalybridge, Mottram, Hattersley and Hyde.
- 1 St Michael's Church (Anglican) dates back to the 13th C, but has been much altered. What you see now is a Victorian pocket-sized version of Manchester cathedral.
- 2 Dukinfield Junction (aka "Portland Basin") is the junction of three canals: the Peak Forest Canal, the Ashton Canal and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. All three are worth exploring, see "Do". There's a small museum in a converted warehouse, open Tu-Su 10:00-16:00, and free.
- 3 Stalybridge is a former mill village along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. It has a turbulent history: in the 19th C it saw riots by Luddites against mill mechanisation, and agitation against Catholics (codeword for Irish immigrants). Its main sight is the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery, upstairs in the library.
- 4 Hartshead Pike is a hill of 308 m (1010 feet) that rears up north of the golf course, with views on a clear day to Snowdonia. Near its summit is a stocky tower rebuilt in 1863. The entrance is bricked up: an inscription reads "Look well at me Before you go, And See You nothing at me throw". This advice is still relevant.
- 5 Buckton Castle east of Mossley was a medieval enclosure castle. There's not much left of it and you come for the moorland views.
- 6 St Anne's Church (Anglican) in Haughton, opened in 1881, is an outstanding example of Gothic Revival style.
- Hyde is a suburb south of Ashton. In its 7 Hyde Park is a memorial garden to the victims of Dr Shipman, the local GP or family doctor. He was much admired by his patients, but concern arose about the number of unexpected deaths of elderly women that he certified as "old age" before they were cremated to leave no evidence. In 1998 Mrs Grundy was so certified and had recently changed her will to cut out her family and benefit Shipman. Her body was exhumed and found to contain diamorphine (heroin). Shipman explained that she was an addict and showed investigators the computerised medical case-notes. It was quickly apparent that these had been re-written after her death - Shipman had simply no idea that his computer would retain edits. He was found guilty of 15 murders by lethal injection of diamorphine, and of the forgery of Grundy's will. A wider enquiry across places he'd worked in northern England concluded that he'd killed some 250, the most prolific serial killer in British history. There were widespread reforms to UK medical practice in the wake of this. Shipman hanged himself in Wakefield prison in 2004.
- 8 Werneth Low is a 279 m (915 ft) hill south of Hyde, bordering Stockport. "Werneth" is from verno an old Brythonic word for alder trees, while "Low" is equivalent to the Scottish law meaning a hill. It's an open area of country park, with views towards the Welsh mountains. On it stands Hyde Cenotaph.
- 9 is an old mill village perched on a bend of the River Etherow. One mill is still working, and there are 18th C mill cottages and an impressive railway viaduct.
- Walk, cycle or boat along the three canals that meet at Dukinfield Junction. All are fully navigable, have multiple access points to the towpath, and pubs along the way.
- - Huddersfield Narrow Canal, re-opened in 2001, is 20 miles long and has 74 locks. It heads east up the river valley through Stalybridge (where it wriggles between the legs of a pylon) towards Mossley. See Oldham and Marsden for its upper reaches, where it plunges beneath the Pennines along the 5675 yard (5189 m) Standedge Tunnel. It then descends to Huddersfield, where it joins other waterways eventually leading to the North Sea and into the Trent network. The Narrow Canal is only 7 foot wide so capacity is limited, but when it opened in 1811 it revolutionised transpennine transport.
- - The broader Ashton Canal was re-opened in 1974. It descends west for 7 miles through 18 locks via Audenshaw, Droylesden, Clayton, Bradford and Ancoats to Ducie Junction in Manchester, where it meets the Rochdale Canal. Four other connecting canals have been lost.
- - The narrow Peak Forest Canal was also re-opened in 1974. From Dukinfield Junction it crosses the Tame Valley by an aqueduct and heads south for 7 miles through Hyde, Woodley, Bredbury, and Romiley to Marple. At Marple it ascends a ladder of 16 locks to a junction with the Macclesfield Canal, which goes south into Cheshire. The upper stretch of the Peak Forest Canal continues for 7 miles without further locks through New Mills and Whaley Bridge to dead-end at Bugsworth in Derbyshire.
- - The Ashton and lower Peak Forest canals form part of the Cheshire Ring, a navigable 97-mile circuit which takes a week to putter round in a narrowboat.
- Walk the Pennines: the most scenic parts are just across the border into Derbyshire, but Ashton is a good base if you have a car. The Pennine Way traverses these moors from Edale to the scarp above Oldham and Rochdale then north across Yorkshire.
- Golf: Ashton-under-Lyne Golf Club is a mile northeast of town.
- Watch football: Manchester City's Etihad Stadium is only four miles away on the tram line to Piccadilly.
- Ashton Market is at Bow St off Wellington St. Regular outdoor and indoor markets are M-Sa, the Flea Market is Tu 08:00-16:30, and the Farmers Market is last Sunday of each month 09:00-13:00.
- Ashton Arcades has the usual High Street stores over two floors. It's next to the bus station.
- Puccini is an Italian restaurant at 141 Katherine St, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 7AW. It's open Su M 13:00-20:00, Tu-Sa 12:00-22:00.
- Lily's serves vegetarian Indian and Indo-Chinese food. It's at 85 Oldham Rd, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 7DY and open M 12:00-14:00, W Th 12:00-20:00, F Sa 12:00-21:00, Su 12:00-17:00.
- 1 The Witchwood, 152 Old Street OL6 7SF, ☏ . 24 hrs. Pub and live music venue since the 1960s; lots of big names have played here.
- The Ash Tree is a JD Wetherspoon at 9 Wellington Rd near the railway station. It's open Su-Th 08:30-23:30, F Sa 08:30-01:00
- The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn is the UK pub with the longest name, at 9 Market St Stalybridge SK15 2AL. Known locally as "The Rifleman", it's open M-Th 15:00-22:00, F Sa 12:00-01:00, Su 12:00-22:00. It's only 50 yards from the pub with the shortest name, Q. When The Rifleman opened in 2019 they bought the name from the owners of a place southside of the village that now calls itself "The Original Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn." That is both true and longer, but it's closed as a pub so it doesn't make the record books.
- 1 Village Hotel Club, Pamir Drive, Ashton Moss OL7 0LY (off A6140 just east of bridge over M60), ☏ . Good mid-range hotel on business park in town centre. B&B double £120.
- 2 Travelodge, Lapwing Lane, Audenshaw, M34 5QL (jcn A635 and A6140), ☏ . Good budget chain, great service. B&B double £80.
- 3 Premier Inn Manchester Tameside Hyde, Stockport Road, Hyde SK14 3AU (jcn M67 and A560), ☏ . Reliable clean, comfy chain hotel. Mottram Wood Pub & Carvery is on site. Double (room only) £30, breakfast £10 pp.
- Manchester for big city attractions.
- The Peak District just east has attractive karst scenery and moorlands.
- Cheshire has several stately homes and grand mansions, the nearest being Lyme Park in Disley near Stockport.
|Routes through Tameside|
|Bolton ← Oldham ←||anticlockwise clockwise||→ Hyde → Stockport|