Things to Do in North West England
The mighty Etihad, also known as the City of Manchester Stadium, is the home of Manchester City Football Club. Built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the award-winning venue is among the UK’s largest with seating for more than 55,000. In addition to football games, the stadium hosts live concerts, other sports matches, and stadium tours.
Perched 380 feet (116 meters) up the Blackpool Tower, the Blackpool Tower Eye has indoor and outdoor observation decks and commands spectacular views. Visitors can soak in the panoramas, stand on the glass Skywalk above Blackpool promenade, and enjoy a 4D cinematic journey through Blackpool’s history as a curtain-raiser to their visit.
Discover a symbol of Liverpool and gain insight into the city’s history with a visit to the National Heritage-listed Liverpool Cathedral. As the largest religious building in Britain, the Anglican cathedral boasts neo-Gothic architecture, distinctive artwork, and a 328-feet (100-meter) tower that provides sweeping views across River Mersey.
Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock, formerly an important industrial center, is now home to popular attractions including Tate Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum, and The Beatles Story. Explore its cobbled paths to gain insight into the city’s heritage, marvel at its architecture, or simply unwind in one of the dock’s many bars or restaurants.
Opened in 1896 and still a popular spot for an adrenaline rush, the 42-acre (17-hectare) Blackpool Pleasure Beach is packed with fairground attractions, in addition to the 11 white-knuckle roller coasters and simulator rides, gentle family carousels and the UK's only Nickelodeon Land, where kids can meet characters such as the Rugrats and Spongebob Squarepants.
The most popular daredevil rides include the notorious Grand National mega coaster and the 85-mph Big One, Britain's highest coaster at 214 feet (65 meters). The fun park's stomach-churning Red Arrows Skyforce was designed in collaboration with the world-renowned Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.
Indoor attractions include a Ripley's Believe it or Not!, skating performances at the arena, live musical shows, penny arcades and the Horror Crypt. Other activities include bowling, golf and talent shows, while more than 20 food outlets and shops are scattered across the park. There’s even luxury accommodation at the sleek Big Blue Hotel.
Anfield Stadium, home turf for Liverpool Football Club, is hallowed ground for fans of the Reds. The 54,000-capacity venue not only hosts matches, but also contains the Liverpool FC Story, a museum chronicling the club’s history, and the Steven Gerrard Collection, comprising memorabilia relating to the former captain.
This Beatles-centric museum is stuffed full of Fab Four memorabilia, from George Harrison’s first guitar to John Lennon’s orange-tinted glasses. Exhibits trace the journey of Liverpool’s hometown heroes and the rise of Beatlemania, and include a full-scale replica of the famous Cavern Club and a walk-in yellow submarine.
An idyllic expanse of grassy peaks, rugged peat moors and stone-brick villages; the Peak District National Park became Britain’s first national park back in 1951 and remains one of the country’s most visited regions. With over 555 square miles (1,438 square kilometers) to explore, it’s an obvious choice for lovers of the outdoors and the vast network of hiking, cycling, horse riding and climbing routes include famous long distance trails like The Pennine Way.
Additional highlights of the Peak District National Park include the Castleton Caves; the 2,087-foot (636-meter) peak of Kinder Scout; and Chatsworth House, the magnificent estate of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Other popular destinations include the town of Bakewell, renowned for its Bakewell Tarts; the Georgian spa town of Buxton; and the historic village of Eyam, known for its fascinating plague history.
Yorkshire Dales National Park covers well over 700 square miles of rolling countryside, dramatic limestone valleys, wildlife reserves, and historic ruins. Join the over eight million visitors who come here each year, and spend a day hiking, cycling, and horseback riding on the park’s 500-plus miles of trails.
Famous as the stage where the Beatles made their debut in 1961, Liverpool’s Cavern Club has become a place of legend, hosting not only the Fab Four, but the Who, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Queen, Elton John, and many more household names. The influential club remains one of Liverpool’s top live music venues to this day.
More Things to Do in North West England
This beautiful cathedral has a long history. It first opened its doors as a small parish in the 1420s and grew over the next 400 years, along with the city where it is located.
Intricate detail can be found throughout this building, which achieved cathedral status when a new diocese was created in 1847. Wood-carvings in and around the choir stalls tell a story of life in the distant past. Other historical artifacts include the Angel Stone, which is located in the wall of the South Porch and dates back to around 700. There are also more recent historical displays, such as the “Fire Window,” a window which was destroyed during WWII and then replaced, and depicts the Nazi attack.
Inspiring the 1967 Beatles’ song Strawberry Fields Forever, Strawberry Field in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton functioned as a Salvation Army children’s home from 1936 to 2005. As a boy, Lennon would sneak in to play, and enjoyed watching the band at the annual garden party. These experiences would go on to inform his later songwriting.
The John Rylands Library is oft considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Resurrected in the 1890s and taking more than a decade to construct, the gothic and gorgeous library was designed by architect Basil Champneys. It opened its doors on the first of the year, 1900. In 1972, the historic library became a part of the University of Manchester.
Today, John Rylands Library is part of the third largest academic library in the UK, and the Deansgate building houses some of the most significant books and manuscripts ever written, along with extensive collections and rotating exhibits. One of five National Research Libraries, there are more than 4 million books and manuscripts in the library, along with 41,000-plus electronic journals, 500,000 e-books and hundreds of databases
Visit the modernist Metropolitan Cathedral and gain insight into Liverpool’s religious history as you explore its crypts, treasury, and unique structure. As you take in its unusual circular design, learn about the Catholic cathedral’s close relationship with its Anglican sister on the other end of Hope Street, or attend a service or concert for an immersive experience.
Discover Liverpool’s status as a British port city at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Its three exhibition floors reveal the city’s nautical history, from its role in both World Wars to its darker past as a slaving port, as well as waterfront views of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Royal Albert Dock and its industrial architecture.
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hadrian’s Wall took a decade to construct from AD 122 onwards to prevent rebel tribes in Scotland from repeatedly crossing the frontier and attacking Roman territory. Standing around five m (16 ft) high and three m (9.5 ft) across, the wall was guarded day and night by soldiers housed in a series of 16 forts and settlements constructed along its 135 km (84 mile) length between Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast and Wallsend in the east. Housesteads Fort is located near present-day Hexham in Northumberland National Park and stands high on a hill with far-reaching and spectacular views across bleak, undulating moorlands. Originally known as Vercovicium, it was home to 800 soldiers at any one time and the garrison is one of the best preserved of all Roman forts, with the barracks, dining halls, hospital, granaries and even communal latrines still clearly visible in the neat stone layouts; parts of the gates and encircling wall still stand too. It was active for more than 200 years before the Roman Empire collapsed, after which Housesteads was abandoned for centuries and only rediscovered in the 19th century. Today a small museum by the fort highlights the history of the Roman invasion of Britain as well as the construction of Housesteads; artifacts recovered from the fort and displayed there include jewelry, scraps of leather shoes and weapons.
One of the best zoos in the United Kingdom, the Chester Zoo houses 20,000 animals from 500 species, all spread out over 125 acres for the park's 1.6 million yearly visitors to learn about.
Highlights include the Tsavo Black Rhino Reserve; the Realm of the Red Ape; the Fruit Bat Forest; the Hi Way family of Asian elephants; and the Islands at Chester Zoo, meant to replicate the environment of South East Asia with native species such as the Sunda gharial crocodile and the Sumatran tiger. To move about the park with ease, take a ride on the Zoofari Monorail (extra fee), which offers a great view from above and has stations throughout the park.
In addition, travelers can explore the historic Oakfield House, home to the Mottershead family when they opened the zoo in 1931, and a number of themed children's play areas. When you're hungry, stop in at one of the park's cafes and restaurants.
With a capacity of nearly 75,000, Old Trafford is the UK’s second-largest football (soccer) stadium and home of Manchester United since 1910. Beside Premier League fixtures, the venue has hosted Olympic games, rugby league finals, and several international cup matches. The on-site museum houses the team’s famous continental treble trophy.
Made famous by the Beatles song, Penny Lane is lined with shops and small businesses. Before the Beatles hit the big time, John Lennon and Paul McCartney used to catch the bus from here. Some of the places name-checked in the lyrics—such as the shelter in the middle of the roundabout and the barbershop—can still be seen today.
Nestled just north of the English border in Scotland, the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop is known for hosting the marriages of couples who had fled England’s restrictive marriage laws during the 1700s and 1800s. The quaint shop remains a wedding venue and draws visitors with its marriage rooms, museum, shop, and restaurant.
Blackpool's first-ever (and Lancashire’s only purpose-built) comedy club, the Comedy Station is the only comedy club in Blackpool that hosts a completely professional lineup. Here you can laugh along with comedians from around the world that have appeared on shows such asMock the Week,8 out of 10 Cats,Live at the Apollo, and more.
St. Peter’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool, is more than an example of Gothic Revival architecture—it is also a significant site in musical history, as it was here in 1957 that John Lennon first met Paul McCartney. Also here are the graves of Eleanor Rigby, John Lennon’s Uncle George, and Bob Paisley, the renowned Liverpool FC manager.
Just outside of Salisbury, England is the Old Sarum, one of the oldest settlements in the country. It was originally built as a hill fort and eventually grew into a castle and a cathedral. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the cathedral was demolished and the settlement was mostly abandoned. Building materials from the old cathedral were used in constructing the new one located in the modern town of Salisbury. Today you can wander through the remaining foundations of the cathedral and castle and learn about the history of Salisbury's origins. The ramparts consist of two banks of earth separated by a ditch.
On certain days, medieval tournaments, open air plays, and mock battles are held here. Old Sarum is located on 29 acres of rare grass chalkland making it a beautiful natural setting for exploring the Wiltshire countryside. Footpaths cross through the ramparts and offer views of the tall spire of the new cathedral. Old Sarum is not far from Stonehenge and is often included on tours of the region.
The Imperial War Museum North—one of five branches of the Imperial War Museum throughout England—is housed in a Daniel Libeskind–designed building meant to resemble a globe split into shards. The museum houses a collection of more than 2,000 objects that relate to global conflict and show how the specter of war changes lives forever.
- Things to do in Liverpool
- Things to do in Manchester
- Things to do in Yorkshire
- Things to do in North East England
- Things to do in East of England
- Things to do in York
- Things to do in Middlesbrough
- Things to do in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
- Things to do in Birmingham
- Things to do in Belfast
- Things to do in South East England
- Things to do in South West England
- Things to do in The Scottish Highlands
- Things to do in Western Ireland
- Things to do in South West Ireland