North West England Travel Guide

Manchester Town Hall, North West England

The North West England Travel Guide introduces a region with great contrasts, from inspiring landscapes to lively seafronts and coastal towns. There are vibrant cosmopolitan cities and rural villages with character and charm for visitors to explore. Well documented history and art can be found. The locals are known as hospitable and very friendly, have had to endure some tough times when the traditional industries that were the integral to employment to the area starting to wind down. The region can look forward to better times ahead with cities such as Liverpool and Manchester undergoing regeneration and taking their place as vibrant centres of art and culture in the UK.

Overview and Attractions

That past decade has fortunately seen a turnaround the fortunes of cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, they have enjoyed a renaissance. They are viewed by many as at the forefront of the arts and culture and could rival London in this area. The rebirth of the area was shown by Manchester's hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2002, showing a poignant statement to the lofty ambitions of the city. Liverpool was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture in 2008, with the city subject to ambitious modernisation ready to show off its cultural credentials.

The City of Liverpool has emerged in recent years with renewed confidence, the European Capital of Culture title for 2008 has been a catalyst for many development and modernisation projects in the area. It has a proud history in culture and the arts, for the culturally minded the city has much to offer, there are the city's renowned national museums, theatres, concert halls and galleries to name but a few. The city is famous as the birthplace of the Beatles and fans can enjoy themselves on a magical mystery tour of Beatles landmarks. Liverpool has been at the heartbeat of British Pop and popular culture for a long time.

The Liverpool World Heritage Site includes the part of the city which is both authentic and relates to its history as a port. The World Heritage Site has been divided into 6 areas of distinctive townscape character, these include:

1. The Pier Head
2. The Albert Dock Area
3. The Stanley Dock Area
4. The Commercial Centre of Castle Street/Dale Street/ Victoria Street/Old Hall Street.
5. The Cultural Quarter around William Brown Street
6. The area of warehouses and merchants' houses around Duke Street.

With great historical and cultural significance of these areas of the city, many visitors take a trip to these areas.

Over the past two decades Manchester has seen a transformation in its fortunes. Gone are the days when it was associated with industries that were closing leaving a huge gap in both employment and communities. It is now regarded as one of the most vibrant cities in the UK, with a cultural and arts seen to rival the capitals and music and popular culture has been at the forefront of this drive. Well known bands such as Oasis, the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, and clubs like the famous Hacienda, have put Manchester at the forefront of youth and popular culture in the UK.

The city now has more than its fair share of designer shops and fashionable bars. Manchester is seen as a great place to party, there are many clubs and bars and more are springing up all the time. Well known for its shopping the independent boutiques are found in the Northern Quarter whilst the designer stores are found in King Street.

Manchester also has the Trafford Centre shopping complex that boasts one of the largest shopping areas in the UK. Stores to suit all budgets and tastes are found here along with many cafes, restaurants and a cinema complex. Built in the late 1990s the Trafford Centre has come to symbolise the progress Manchester has made in the past two decades.

In a city that regularly hosts world famous live events, international sport, and has museums and galleries Manchester ensures there is plenty to do for everyone. It has a great tradition as a sporting city, it has two premiership football clubs Manchester City and Manchester United perhaps the most famous club in world football. With football fans well catered for fans of football can see a match at either clubs stadium and experience the passion and great atmosphere that is found on match days.

The ancient city of Chester is often described as upmarket and elegant, take a closer look and it is easy to see why. Chester has great facilities for those that like retail therapy in its two-tiered shopping galleries. You can indulge yourself and dine in a top class Michelin starred restaurants and enjoy a great gourmet experience. There is history galore here, it is scenic too with lovely gardens and the wonderful countryside of Cheshire in the background.

Chester has plenty of designer shops in its historic buildings, the city was originally established in Roman times. Saxon princess Ethelfleda ordered the building of Chester’s famous surrounding walls; these famous walls attract plenty of visitors and are the most famous tourist attraction in Chester.

In the town centre there are examples of period architecture; the Rows are arcades raised above the walkways. Some buildings also feature black on white timber frames. This upmarket city is awash with history and elegance, its location in the county of Cheshire ensures the city is surrounded by beautiful English countryside and country lanes perfect for a country drive.

Lancashire boasts arguably the favourite seaside resort in the UK, Blackpool - that is among Europe's biggest, with plenty of fun and excitement on offer. Those wanting a quieter, rural experience can head to the Forest of Bowland and Pendle Hill, both are areas of renowned natural beauty. Walkers and Cyclists will find plenty of countryside and villages to explore whilst enjoying the fresh air and being rewarded with some stunning panoramic views.

Lancashire has some championship golf courses and historic houses, such as Leighton Hall, which offers magnificent views of the Lakeland Fells. Rufford Old Hall near Ormskirk is regarded as a fine example of Tudor houses, famous for its timber roofing and carved oaken furniture.

The Lancashire coastline comprises a variety of landscapes from the distinctive limestone scenery of Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to agricultural land, the seaside resorts of Morecambe and Blackpool and river estuaries of the Lune and Ribble. Walking on the Lancashire Coastal Way is popular and enables visitors to appreciate the history of the area and see first hand the present day activities. The busy harbours at Heysham and Glasson Dock are a contrast with the relaxed fun filled holiday atmosphere of the seaside resorts.

Blackpool is among the most famous seaside resorts in the UK, it has been a popular place to go on holiday for decades. It is a thrill seekers’ paradise. The bright lights of the Golden Mile and Blackpool Tower can be seen for miles around. The Pleasure Beach has some of the UK's most thrilling rides, the Pepsi Max Big One ride is for the real thrill seeker. It is Europe’s tallest and fastest roller coaster and will have you hurtling around at speeds up to 87mph. The Great Promenade Show has specially commissioned artworks from artists and designers and can be seen on the New South Promenade from Squires Gate to the Sandcastle Waterworld. The Blackpool Tower, a smaller-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, contains an aquarium, a ballroom, indoor adventure playground and an observation deck at some 518ft.

With its location close to the Scottish–English border, Carlisle has always been of strategic importance. Its location also makes it a good starting point from which to explore sections of Hadrian's Wall. The coast in this area is less visited and more low profile among visitors than the nearby Lakes, but for those that do visit beautiful scenery awaits them. Towns such as Whitehaven can be explored along the Coastal Path. The North West is brimming with fun filled activities for the whole family. Families will be at home here given the range of seaside resorts and activities for children.

The North West England region offers visitors some great holidays and short breaks in a fascinating region of the UK. Once the industrial heartland of the UK and at the heart of the industrial revolution, the region has transformed itself and is continuing to progress and modernise with the challenges of the 21st century. It remains a popular place to visit where you are sure to receive a warm and friendly welcome.

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