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Things to Do in North West England

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Blackpool Pleasure Beach

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.

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Cavern Club
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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.

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Anfield Stadium
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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.

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Peak District National Park
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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.

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Old Trafford
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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.

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Royal Albert Dock
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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.

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Beatles Story
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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.

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Mersey Ferries
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Running right through the heart of the city, the Mersey River is the lifeblood of Liverpool, and the city’s iconic ferries have sailed its shores for more than 800 years. Today, the Mersey Ferries remain a must-see attraction for visitors to Liverpool.

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Old Sarum
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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.

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John Rylands Library
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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

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More Things to Do in North West England

Liverpool Cathedral

Liverpool Cathedral

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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.

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Imperial War Museum North

Imperial War Museum North

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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.

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Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall

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Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stretches 73 miles (117 kilometers) across the north of England, all the way from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. Built in AD 122 under Emperor Hadrian’s orders and finished four years later, the wall marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire in Britain.

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Merseyside Maritime Museum

Merseyside Maritime Museum

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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.

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Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

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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.

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Walker Art Gallery

Walker Art Gallery

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Take time out from the bustling city streets with a visit to the Walker Art Gallery, home to a diverse collection of artwork that spans eight centuries. Peruse masterpieces by artists, such as Monet, Rembrandt, and David Hockney, and enjoy an experience in the Big Art for Little Artists gallery, a hands-on space designed for young children.

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Science and Industry Museum

Science and Industry Museum

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Delve into Manchester’s inventive and industrial heritage at the Science and Industry Museum. Housed in a building that served as the world’s first passenger railway station, the museum includes a wide collection of vintage vehicles, historical machinery, hands-on exhibitions, and other engaging offerings.

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Yorkshire Dales National Park

Yorkshire Dales National Park

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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.

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Strawberry Field

Strawberry Field

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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.

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Etihad Stadium (City of Manchester Stadium)

Etihad Stadium (City of Manchester Stadium)

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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.

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Radio City Tower (St. Johns Beacon)

Radio City Tower (St. Johns Beacon)

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At 138 meters (452 feet), Radio City Tower is a prominent feature of the Liverpool skyline, and its observation platform provides aerial views of the city and beyond. Built in 1969, the tower began life as St. John’s Beacon—a ventilation shaft topped with a revolving restaurant—and is now a regional communications tower.

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Blackpool Tower Eye

Blackpool Tower Eye

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.

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Sefton Park

Sefton Park

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Enjoy a break from the bustling city center and discover the historic grounds of Sefton Park, a 200-acre (81-hectare) green getaway that hosts nature trails, children’s play areas, and a boating lake teeming with wildlife. Stroll leafy avenues, explore a Victorian conservatory, or relax in one of the park cafes to absorb the atmosphere of the Grade I English Heritage site.

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Penny Lane

Penny Lane

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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.

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