England is an incredibly popular tourist destination but a high proportion of this tourism is focused around London and other major cities. This focus means that a lot of what the rest of the country has to offer is sadly missed by overseas travellers.
The North West of England is one such area. While the region boasts a higher-than-average amount of tourist destinations – including Blackpool, Manchester and Liverpool – the rest of the region can be somewhat overlooked by tourists. This is a shame because, despite the occasionally dull and cold weather, it is a region of terrific natural beauty and heritage.
So, what exactly does the North West have to offer beyond the hustle and bustle of Manchester, the culture of Liverpool and the gaudy lights of Blackpool?
The Wirral (or the Wirral Peninsula, to give its full name) is a region sandwiched between Wales and Liverpool and is one of the most geographically diverse destinations in the UK, offering beautiful sandy beaches, canals and hills. The region is flanked by the Irish Sea, which is a sight to behold on a brisk morning.
The Wirral has a vivid history, with artifacts from its Roman and Norman occupation both evident. The Wirral also plays host to the UK’s oldest stone lighthouse, Leasowe.
Chester is often overlooked in favour of the more lively cities of Manchester and Liverpool but is no less culturally or historically significant. Chester is a historic city, with many Saxon, Medieval and Roman features remaining largely intact. In fact, Chester is one of the few cities in the UK that remains walled (barring a 100m section).
Chester also hosts one of the UK’s oldest remaining castles, as well as a Roman amphitheatre and plenty of black-and-white Victorian architecture. If history isn’t your thing, the city has one of the largest zoos in the country, as well as plenty of shops and restaurants.
Blackpool is the most popular of the North West seaside resorts, but Southport is arguably better, with much of the region’s natural beauty retained alongside the traditional trappings of the British seaside (think Punch and Judy, fairgrounds and donkey rides).
Southport lies near the city of Liverpool and offers glorious beaches, the second longest entertainment pier in the UK as well as the largest flower show in the UK. It’s a brilliant combination of retro British seaside holidays and natural beauty.
As the destination is so popular with holidaymakers, there are a lot of hotels, resorts and caravan parks in Southport – you won’t struggle to find a friendly place to lay your head!
The Ribble Valley
Nowhere else in the UK offers the kind of escapism the Ribble Valley provides; lush green valleys and fells provide the backdrop for a relaxing break in one of the UK’s most naturally majestic locations. The Ribble Valley lies in Lancashire, with market towns such as Clithoroe in the region. Walks, bike rides or even just a nice lie-down in the open air; they’ll never be better than in the Ribble Valley.
If you do fancy taking a step back into civilisation, you’re in good hands. Clitheroe is fast developing a reputation for hosting some of the finest restaurants in the region, while towns like Longridge boast unique shops and cafes you won’t find anywhere else in the UK.
Those are just a few of the wonderful locations in the UK’s North West, but it really is worth hiring out a car and discovering the region for yourself too. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.