The Folk Train is a unique form of musical fun and one of my favourite Manchester pastimes! There are 2 excursions from Manchester Piccadilly Station every month, each session hosting a different folk band.
The Glossop Folk Train runs on the 4th Thursday of every month, taking the 18:59 train from Piccadilly to Glossop. Look out for the people holding musical instruments on the platform and make sure you get into the same carriage as them. The train is a regular commuter, so sometimes you’ll see a few locals or tourists with surprised looks on their faces.
On arrival in Glossop, the whole group walks to the Glossop Labour Club where the band will play a set (stationary this time). The merriment continues until the group catches the 21:48 back to Manchester for the band to play their final set of the night.
The same idea goes for the Hathersage Folk train, which runs on the second Sunday of the month. The train groups leave Piccadilly at 11:45, head to Hathersage’s Little John Inn and take the 14:31 train to return to Manchester together. If you feel like exploring the lovely Peak District village after the performance, trains run throughout the afternoon.
There’s no charge for the music, but a hat is passed around in the pub to collect donations for the band. Book yourself a standard off-peak return train ticket for either journey (Glossop £6.50; Hathersage £12.10). And keep up to-date on any time changes or cancellations on the Folk Train’s Facebook fan page.