Thanks to Liverpool and Manchester, this is the third most populous region of England, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. The North-West also lays claim to the tallest mountain (Scafell Pike), the biggest lake (Windermere) and the second largest area of national parks. It’s all about contrast – and there’s no shortage of activities here to keep holidaymakers happy. So, if you’re heading to the north-west, check out Campsited for a wide choice of places to stay.
What are you waiting for?
1. For long-haired (and short-haired) lovers of Liverpool
Mention Liverpool and the majority will think Sixties pop, mop tops and Scouse accents but there’s so much more for visitors to uncover. Crowned European City of Culture (in 2008), Liverpool is the home of the Tate Art Gallery, the Royal Liver Building, a vibrant theatre scene, and, of course, several Beatles-themed magical mystery tours! And dotted along nearly two miles of shoreline at Crosby Beach, you’ll find 100 life-size figures standing at the mercy of the tides. Another Place, a permanent sculpture installation, is the inspiring work of Antony “Angel of the North” Gormley.
2. Have a bite of Wet Nelly
Despite the unusual name, Wet Nelly is a local delicacy in Liverpool and it’s no more racy than a moist version of Nelson cake (a Lancashire fruit cake). It’s also a particular tea-time favourite at Speke Hall, a rare timber-framed Tudor manor house now owned by the National Trust. Go for the cake and, while you’re there, soak in the exquisite park and woodland setting, right on the banks of the River Mersey.
3. Walk with witches and literary giants in Lancashire
The Lancashire countryside – with its beaches and waterways, moorland and areas of outstanding natural beauty (including the Forest of Bowland) – offers great birdwatching and wildlife spotting opportunities. But there’s also plenty to attract the history buff and book lover, too. Take your pick of the walking trails on offer and retrace Tolkien’s steps along the Ribble Valley (whose place names are echoed in The Lord of the Rings) or uncover the grisly true story of the Pendle witch trials which took place 400 years ago. Legal history was made when the evidence of nine-year-old Jennet Device led to the execution of 10 people, including her entire family.
4. From Victorian stuffed animals to contemporary art
Find out what earned the Whitaker Museum in Rossendale a Lancashire Tourism Award in 2015. The recently refurbished main galleries play host to natural history specimens from Victorian collectors – look out for an enormous python terrorising a taxidermied tiger – and interesting local history displays. The Fine Art Gallery showcases the talent of homegrown artists from the North-West, and if you look in the gardens you may spot the Rossendale hens which keep the café in fresh eggs.
5. Go from WAGs to riches in Cheshire
The affluent area between Wilmslow, Prestbury and Alderley Edge, popular with footballers, celebrities and entrepreneurs, has been dubbed as the Golden Triangle. But if WAG spotting isn’t your bag, Alderley Edge is also a site of special scientific interest because of its unique geology – with a red sandstone escarpment offering stunning views across the surrounding countryside. This part of Cheshire is steeped in folklore. It is linked with Merlin the sorcerer, and King Arthur and his knights are said to sleep somewhere beneath the sandstone cliffs. Another popular legend, dating from the 1750s, links the Edge to a sorcerer, a white mare and buried treasure.
6. Discover a museum worth its salt
More than 2,000 years ago - and certainly long before Walker’s invented the ready-salted crisp - the Romans were extracting salt from the ground in Cheshire where they built a number of salt towns. Following a £10m investment, the Lion Salt Works Museum opened in Marston in June 2015, to reveal the history and science behind this highly-prized condiment. From Marston village, you can explore the footpaths, waterways and attractions of the Northwich Woodlands nearby and the wider Weaver Valley (where the hydraulic Anderton Boat Lift is to be found).
7. Following fashion “on the ration” in WW2
Pass the new Coronation Street set and continue along Trafford Wharf Road in Manchester to arrive at the Imperial War Museum North, the first building by architect Daniel Libeskind in the UK. The factories and warehouses of Trafford Park were a major target in the Manchester Blitz in WW2 and the museum itself is built on the bombed-out site of the Hovis Grain Silos. From 27 May 2016 to 1 May 2017, “Fashion on the Ration” explore street style of the 1940s, with wardrobe wonders such as the air-raid shelter onesie and jewellery made from aeroplane parts!
8. Get ready to face your fears - safety harness included!
Explore the fells of the Lake District from a totally different perspective – by trying your hand at abseiling. There’s a choice of outdoor adventure companies in the south, north and western lakes, all with expert instructors and, of course, the full safety kit. Abseils vary in length from 15 to 50 metres, catering for the complete beginner to the more experienced adrenalin junkie!
9. Explore the wildlife of the Lakes
As you roam the Lake District, keep a pair of binoculars to hand so you can soak in the natural beauty that inspired the likes of Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome. The Cumbria Wildlife Trust is on a mission to protect and preserve the county’s many habitats and species and has 44 wildlife reserves here - 38 of which are open to the public. Local residents to look out for include red squirrels, otters and ospreys.
10. Learn how to forage for your own food
Who said there was no such thing as a “free” lunch? Our coastline, our woodlands and hedgerows are bursting with seasonal treats, and if you want to learn what’s good to eat and when, then why not sign up for a foraging lesson with Galloway Wild Foods? Mark Williams is a full-time, fully insured wild food teacher who knows all the best foraging spots in the North-West of England (as well as the South-West of Scotland). Prices start at £75 for adults (£40 for children), and his sessions are rounded off with a tasty outdoor cook-out!
Why not plan your next camping trip in the North-West of England – and discover for yourself what makes visitors fall in love with this part of the country. Visit Campsited to find your perfect site, and let us help you start your adventure in the great outdoors.
And look out for our blog on camping in the North-West with kids