Head to Grasmere in the Lake District to purchase some world-famous gingerbread
Things To Do
Head to the tiny town of Grasmere in the Lake District to purchase some world-famous gingerbread. The delicious delicacy is made in a tiny (we mean really tiny) old bakehouse to a very old, traditional recipe. Expect to queue – but it’s worth the wait. Afterwards you could nip up to Dove Cottage, poet William Wordsworth’s first family home, and the neighbouring Wordsworth Museum.
Climb the flat-topped Pendle Hill in Lancashire for some fine views across the Forest of Bowland and towards the Yorkshire Dales. If you don’t ‘see the light’ (George Fox established Quakerism while sat on the hilltop), follow the Walking with Witches Trail or head to the Pendle Heritage Centre to find out more about the Pendle Witches.
With the epic Mancunian soap now filmed at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays, take a guided Coronation Street Tour behind the scenes of the former site, where you can have your picture taken at the bar of the Rovers Return and pick up on the gossip of the Street.
Find out about the Fab Four with a visit to The Beatles Story in Liverpool’s Albert Dock. Then head to The Cavern Club, where it all began, to start a Magical Mystery Tour (yellow bus obligatory) and see all the relevant sights associated with the band. You can even see inside the childhood homes of Lennon and McCartney courtesy of the National Trust.
Step offshore to the red-rocked Hilbre Islands Nature Reserve, noted for their bird and Atlantic grey seal colonies. The three islands, off the Wirral Peninsula, can be accessed by causeway at low tide, though care and caution must be taken in order to prevent being cut off by the incoming tide.
When To Visit
If you plan to go to Lancashire, you could visit Blackpool for Showzam, a 10-day festival of circus, magic and variety entertainment every February and, of course, the Blackpool Illuminations, held since 1879, between August and November each year. If that sounds far too ordinary, there’s always World Gravy Wrestling in Bacup, held every August!
Visit Greater Manchester and see Chinatown burst into a riot of colour during February’s Chinese New Year celebrations, while July sees the spectacular RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park. Or head to Merseyside for the Grand National in April, while the International Beatleweek Festival is in August.
The M6 (A74M from Scotland) running up and down the west of England makes access to North West England quick and easy. From the east of England, the M62 crosses the Pennines north of Manchester direct to the centre of Liverpool. An alternative route to Greater Manchester and Merseyside is via the M56 and the M53 into The Wirral.
Tolls are applicable on the Mersey Tunnels between Birkenhead, Wallasey and Liverpool, with hefty breakdown charges including an additional surcharge if you’ve broken down due to a fuel shortage or a flat tyre. The Queensway Tunnel (from Birkenhead) has a maximum gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes, 3.9m height, 2.7m width and 12m length. Larger/heavier vehicles/outfits can cross using the Kingsway Tunnel (from Wallasey) where the maximum height is 5m, width is 2.9m and length 12.2m.