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Your guide to the very best of culture and countryside in England’s Northwest

Volume 2 Issue 1: where culture comes first

www.primenorthwest.co.uk

Volume 2, Issue 1

Spring/Summer 2010

The Lakes Come Alive! Inside

CUMBRIA MAKES A SPECTACLE OF ITSELF GET PRIMED FOR PICASSO AT TATE LIVERPOOL PLUS THE CULTURE & COUNTRYSIDE LISTS FOR ENGLAND’S NORTHWEST


PRIME SPOTS: England’s Northwest COLOPHON

Prime is published by the Marketing Department of the Northwest Regional Development Agency. Volume 2, Issue 1 – April 2010. To register for future issues of Prime please email your name and postal address to venw@nwda.co.uk or call 0845 600 6040.

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Prime is edited and designed by Hemisphere Design and Marketing Consultants. Printed by Gyroscope on paper manufactured using elemental chlorine-free pulp and woodpulp sourced from sustainable forests. Cover: Lakes Alive by Tony West. Credits: p3 & 21 martinlawrencephotography.com; p5 Commandos Percu © Ron Rutter, Wrongsize © Erich Richmond, Pig & Farmer © Tony West; p10 The Charnel House © Succession Picasso/DACS 2009 © 2009 Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art New York/Scala, Florence; p11 Colombe au rameau d’olivier © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2010 Credit: Saint-Denis – musée d’art et d’histoire, cliché: Irène Andréani; p14 American soldiers monitor the construction of the Berlin Wall, 1961 by Don McCullin; p14 poster courtesy of AAM Archives Committee; p14 Quanta 2009, acrylic on canvas 213x152cm © Mark Francis; p15 Steve Messam Lily 2009 proposal image; p16 Foulard for Third World Youth Festival, East Berlin, 1951 © Collection Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; p16 Meow: Magnus Hastings; p17 Institute de Cultura de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 2002 © Spencer Tunick; p18 L.S. Lowry A Landmark 1936 © The Lowry Collection, Salford; p19 Tony West; p25 Nigel Hillier/ Guardian News & Media Ltd 2010; p25 Ghosts in the Woods by Mike Smallcombe in Grizedale Forest, image © Alan Walmsley).

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GH: Guest House SA: Serviced Apartments

Manchester Town Hall

The Lowry’s two performing spaces provide a strong mix of music, ballet, opera, theatre and comedy.

The largest indoor arena in Europe, this is the place to catch the Lady Ga Gas of this world on their latest blockbusting tour.

MUSIC VENUES

Manchester Apollo

The Bridgewater Hall

Stockport Rd, Ardwick Green M12 6AP T: 0161 273 6921 W: livenation.co.uk

Royal Northern College of Music 124 Oxford Rd M13 9RD T: 0161 907 5555 W: rncm.ac.uk

This first-rate musical conservatoire is the place to catch the classical stars of the future, as well as an eclectic mix of classical and contemporary artists.

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ACCOMMODATION RATINGS

The number of stars gives you an indication of accommodation standard, cleanliness, ambience, hospitality, service and food. Generally, the more stars the higher the level of quality.

THINGS TO SEE

Victoria Station M3 1AR T: 0844 847 8000 W: men-arena.com

One of Europe’s best venues for classical music and home to not one but three orchestras: the Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and the Manchester Camerata.

All information correct at time of going to press but information may change, so please check directly with venues for up-to-date information.

All accommodation featured in Prime has been quality assessed by VisitBritain or the AA – look out for the star rating next to each establishment.

MEN Arena

Pier 8, Salford Quays M50 3AZ T: 0843 208 6000 W: thelowry.com

Lower Mosley Street, Petersfield M2 3WS T: 0161 907 9000 W: bridgewater-hall.co.uk

Essentials and Culture List photography: Jonty Wilde, Jill Jennings and Britainonview/Rod Edwards.

All maps are source: © Crown Copyright and database right 2009. Ordnance Survey License GD021102/100022432.

The Lowry

Band On The Wall &+(6+,5(

25 Swan Street, Northern Quarter M4 5JZ T: 0161 834 1786 W: bandonthewall.org

Historic and eclectic music venue that has recently re-opened after a major re-fit. Best place in town for jazz, folk and global sounds, plus check out the fab graphic equalizer light artwork on the exterior.

Big old converted cinema hosting comedy and music gigs.

Academy Oxford Road M13 9PR T: 0161 275 2930 W: manchesteracademy.net

Albert Square M60 2LE T: 0161 234 5000

This gothic glory is a testament to Victorian civic pride. with arched ceilings, mosaic floors and symbolism in every stonework cornice and stained glass window.

Chethams School of Music Long Millgate M3 1SB T: 0161 834 9644

Originally founded in the 15th century, this is one of Manchester’s hidden jewels. The 17th century quadrangle wouldn’t look out of place in Oxford, and it also boasts the oldest library in the English-speaking world.

Not one but four spaces at this Universitybased venue provide a sliding scale of size to suit any artists current quota of fame.

John Rylands Library

Matt & Phred’s

One of the real gems of Manchester’s architectural history, this fantastic Grade I-listed piece of Victorian high gothic has recently undergone a £16.8m refurbishment, creating a new state-of-the-art visitor centre to enhance access to its rare collections.

64 Tib Street M4 1LW T: 0161 831 7002 W: mattandphreds.com

Ronnie Scott’s in miniature, this atmospheric Northern Quarter institution is where you can hear jazz of the highest order on most nights.

The Deaf Institute 135 Grosvenor Street M1 7HE T: 0161 276 9350 W: thedeafinstitute.co.uk

Eclectic ex-theatre venue complete with skylights, glitterball, little balcony and raked seating behind the dance floor.

150 Deansgate M3 3EH T: 0161 306 0555 W: manchester.ac.uk/library

The Quays W: thequays.org.uk

Hop on a tram for a trundle out to The Quays – just 15 minutes outside the city centre and you’re in a whole different landscape of big water, big skies and big buildings, including The Lowry and Imperial War Museum North. 39


PRIME NUMBERS: Contents Prime yourself…

FEATURES:

As we emerge from the chill of winter, let your thoughts turn to the pleasures of spring and summer, pleasures that you will find aplenty in England’s Northwest.

LAKES ALIVE:

Some of the world’s best performance artists go to town in the countryside

With some of the most beautiful and varied countryside you’ll find in the UK, there’s nowhere better for a great getaway. If the majestic peaks, tranquil lakes and stunning coastline of England’s Lake District don’t tempt you, then try the lush green countryside of Lancashire or Cheshire’s superb gardens of distinction to get you out and about in the fresh spring air.

PICASSO:

There are numerous fabulous events taking place in England’s Northwest this spring and summer to give you a good reason to visit. One of the UK’s most inspiring outdoor festivals this year is Lakes Alive, a series of events across Cumbria where the world’s finest performance artists will work their magic against a backdrop of ruined abbeys, picturesque harbours and majestic mountains. In Cheshire, one of England’s most stately country houses is giving itself and its grounds over to the creative whims of a collection of international artists in the second Tatton Biennial, whilst 2010’s must-see exhibition, Picasso: Peace and Freedom, will be drawing the crowds from all over Europe to Tate Liverpool.

It’s not just football and shopping you know... Make the most of a weekend in one of the UK’s most dynamic and vibrant cities.

PRIME CUTS:

Prime is your guide to the best of culture and countryside in England’s Northwest. In it you’ll find insider tips on what to do, what not to miss and the unique things that make the region so distinctive, from where to find the UK’s biggest selection of wine to the best gingerbread you’ve ever tasted. So come on and try a change of scenery — what are you waiting for?

Page 4 Poetry in motion

Page 10 Peace talks

This year’s must-see exhibition is happening in Liverpool

PRIME LOCATIONS:

Page 6 48 hours in The South Lakes

A weekend in Cumbria isn’t just about the glorious scenery – there’s also a wealth of culture and cuisine to boot.

Page 12 48 hours in Liverpool

Page 14 Events for summer & autumn 2010

Who needs to head off abroad when there’s so much happening at home? There’s no shortage of great events in England’s Northwest this year.

THE ESSENTIAL LISTS:

Where to stay, what to see and do...

Page 22 The Lake District & Cumbria Page 29 Cheshire Page 35 Lancashire Page 40 Liverpool Page 44 Manchester

THE CULTURE AND COUNTRY LISTS: Everything you need to know about museums, galleries, theatres and music venues...

Page 24 The Lake District & Cumbria Page 32 Cheshire Page 38 Lancashire Page 42 Liverpool Page 46 Manchester

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FIRST OFF:

Lakes Alive 2010 For most people, think of Cumbria and it’s the poetry of Wordsworth that springs to mind. This summer there’ll be a different kind of artistic expression spreading itself all over the region’s hills, lakes and harbours as some of the best outdoor performers in Europe descend on the Lake District for a summer-long series of events guaranteed to make you gasp out loud. From aerial acrobatics, parades of mythological sea creatures and a bizarre circus, to a re-enactment of the sinking of the Titanic and the biggest, loudest firework display you can ever imagine, there’s a riot of over-the-top occasions to fire your imagination. The events below are a taster of what’s in store, but visit www.lakesalive.org for more details and the latest information.

29 April–2 May

4–6 June

1 August

Sufi:Zen

Zircus Plus

Lakes Alive

Furness Abbey, Barrow-in-Furness

Barrow Park, Barrow-in-Furness

Penrith Town Centre

An Asian-themed food tasting session starts off the evening, after which the audience is led at twilight into the atmospheric and majestic ruins of Furness Abbey for a world premiere performance of a new dance piece by the acclaimed South Asian Dance Company, Akademi. Expect to be transported to a mystic netherworld. Tickets essential.

Three days of the best in contemporary circus, with over 20 acts from around the world both outdoors in the park and in a specially erected Big Top.

Penrith is taken over by giant strolling creatures, comic creations, imaginative marionettes and enchanting shadow puppets as over 20 different performance groups from Catalonia, Spain, Holland, Switzerland, France, the UK and beyond hit the streets.

29–30 May

Lakes Alive The Harbour, Whitehaven

Two days of madness and mayhem over the May Bank Holiday weekend featuring musical premieres, Spanish street processions, and the best of European street theatre. 3–5 June

We Built This City City centre, Carlisle

Architecture, flash-mob style, as one of the city’s squares is filled with hundreds of cardboard boxes and the audience invited to build whatever they like to the backdrop of DJ’s and live bands, with construction experts on hand to help turn their creations into reality. As much fun to watch as to do. 4

23–24 July

Titanic Carlisle Castle, Carlisle

The legendary sinking of the Titanic during an April night in 1912 is brought to life as an apocalyptic theatrical inferno with live music and stunning fire and water effects, by the German theatre group, Theater Titanick. 28–30 July

Into the Woods Talkin’ Tarn Country Park, Brampton; Whinlatter Forest; Grizedale Forest

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise, or in this case a variety of strolling performers and static shows on this nature trail with a difference. Picnicking teddybears not guaranteed.

30 August

Bombs Per Minute The Harbour, Maryport

Expect a visual and sonic treat as Les Commandos Percu, a French group of master percussionist and pyrotechnicians, blow your mind with an extravaganza of sound and light. 2–5 September

Mintfest Various venues, Kendal

Kendal’s international festival of street arts and theatre offers everything from the completely inspirational to the fantastically bizarre. Over 200 international performers descend on this pretty Lake District market town for four action-packed days that bring its streets and parks alive with performances across six outdoor venues. 5


PRIME LOCATIONS: 48 hours in the South Lakes

Getting here

The South Lakes lie just to the west of the M6 motorway, making road access really easy. London to Oxenholme by one of Mr Branson’s super fast Pendolino trains takes just over two and a half hours, with either Kendal or Windermere just a quick change or 20 minutes taxi ride away. Alternatively you can arrange a car hire pick up at Oxenholme station at www.enterprise.co.uk.

A place to lay your head

If it’s luxury you’re after, head to Windermere, where you can take your pick from three boutique-style beauties, all with fabulous food reputations too: The Samling (1), Linthwaite House (2) and Gilpin Lodge (3). For a more relaxed and informal stay, try one of the area’s superb gastropubs such as The Punch Bowl Inn (4) at Crosthwaite or The Masons Arms (5) at the evocatively named Strawberry Bank. The quaint coastal village of Arnside has the chic and stylish B & B Number 43 (6) to tempt you, or if you fancy something special, treat yourself to a stay at the Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms L’enclume (7) in the lovely village of Cartmel.

A breath of fresh air

After a rib-sticking breakfast (that will invariably include the mouth-watering local Cumberland sausage) you need to fill your lungs with some good Cumbrian fresh air. In the South Lakes that doesn’t mean you have to get out your ropes and climbing gear, as there are numerous lovely walks available to suit all abilities. For a superb vista up the length of Lake Windermere take the track up to the summit of local viewpoint, Gummer’s How (8), where you’ll feel on top of the world without too much exertion. Alternatively head to High Dam (9), a beautifully picturesque tarn near Newby Bridge that can be reached by a well-marked footpath from the National Trust car park just above the village of Finsthwaite. If you’re lucky enough to be staying in the boutique comfort of Number 43 in Arnside, a stroll out up Arnside Knott (10) is guaranteed to blow any cobwebs away.

Many visitors to Cumbria head straight for the highest, steepest, deepest bits looking for thrills and adventure, not realising the delights they’re missing out on by bypassing the south of the county. OK, so the countryside may not be quite so hardcore, but there are views to die for, lakes to paddle in, country houses and gardens to visit, not to mention the Michelin-starred restaurants, award-winning microbreweries and some seriously boutique places to stay. So if you fancy getting your fix of the great outdoors with a little side order of comfort and luxury then give the beautiful rolling countryside of the South Lakes a whirl.

A spot of lunch

If you’ve worked up an appetite you can give it a good seeing-to at any of a number of great Lake District pubs. The Brown Horse (11) at Winster is a good choice, as is the award-winning pub and microbrewery, The Watermill Inn (12) at Ings. Alternatively you could try The Tower Bank Arms (13) at Sawrey: you might just recognise it from its illustration in The Tales of Jemima Puddleduck – Mrs Heelis, aka Beatrix Potter, used to live next door.

Take a trip

Once you’re out of your car, there are a number of uniquely Cumbrian forms of transport to sample. For a leisurely cruise, take one of the Windermere steamers that ply up and down the lake, allowing you to stop off and explore in Lakeside (14), Bowness, (15) and Ambleside (16). Alternatively you can do the paddling yourself by heading to Coniston Water, the lake that inspired Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, where you can hire a boat at Coniston Boating Centre (17), by the Bluebell Café, and potter about at your leisure. A more unusual way of getting from A to B is the small but perfectly formed railway journey from Lakeside to Haverthwaite (18). Lovingly restored steam and diesel locomotives make the 20-minute journey through the beautiful Leven Valley countryside, carefully scheduled to tie in with the departure times of the Windermere steamers from Lakeside.

see map overleaf for locations 6

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There are plenty of places to get your cultural fix in the South Lakes. For art in the outdoors, the Grizedale Forest Sculpture Trail (19) takes you on a lovely meandering wander through forest paths before surprising you with a 20ft Viking statue, massive steel insects or huge paintings hung from the treetops. Renowned environmental sculptor Andy Goldsworthy has also left his mark on the South Lakes with his series of Sheepfold installations (20) and there’s even an Antony Gormley figure overlooking the lake at Coniston (21). If you prefer your culture undercover, the South Lakes market town of Kendal has more than enough to keep you occupied. On the outskirts of town, Abbot Hall Art Gallery (22) is set in a beautiful Georgian house overlooking the River Kent and its long-standing relationship with the Tate means that there’s always a great selection of traditional and contemporary art on display. Right in the town centre, the Brewery Arts Centre (23) is the main hub for arts and entertainment in the South Lakes region. With theatres, galleries and a cinema, there’s always bound to be something worth catching.

Retail therapy

Whilst in Kendal, it’s worth a stop-off at Wainwright’s Yard (24), where distinctive independent stores sell everything from designer homewares to local crafts and produce – and, no, that isn’t just the famous Kendal Mint Cake. On the way out of town, don’t miss Low Sizergh Barn (25), a farm shop and tearoom where you’ll find one of the best selections of local and speciality foods in Cumbria. Off next to Windermere, home of the all-conquering Lakeland housewares empire. Shopping for high-end kitchenware may not be on your normal list of weekend treats, but the Lakeland’s First Floor Cafe (26) is worth a visit all on its own – Executive Chef Steven Doherty was previously in charge of La Gavroche in London.

Glorious gardens

The South Lakes is home to some of Cumbria’s loveliest country houses. Levens Hall (27), just south of Kendal, dates back to Elizabethan times and has the most inspirational topiary gardens, well worth a visit at any time of year. The fine tea rooms serve wonderfully old-fashioned cakes and their own-brewed Morroco Ale, made to a secret Elizabethan recipe. Holker Hall (28), on the way over to Cartmel, also boats glorious grounds, but this time it’s the amazing spring display of rhodedendrons that’s the main draw. Holker also has a great farm shop where they sell produce raised on the estate, including their famous Holker Saltmarsh Lamb.

Useful links

golakes .co.uk visitcumbria.com words worth.org.uk forestry.gov.uk/gri zedalehome sheepfoldscumbria .co.uk abbothall.org.uk | breweryarts .co.uk wainwrights yard.co m lowsizerghbarn.co .uk lakeland.co.uk | lev enshall.co.uk holker.co.uk windermere -lakecru ises.co.uk lakedistrict.gov.uk | lakesiderailway.c o.uk thebrownhorseinn .co.uk towerbankarms.co.u k | watermillinn.co.u k thesamlinghotel.co .uk linthwaite.com | gil pinlodge.co.uk the -punchbowl.co .uk masonsarmsstraw berrybank .co.uk no43.org.uk lenclume.co.uk /ro oms

walkingbritain.co.uk

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FIRST OFF:

Picasso: Peace and Freedom Womaniser? Playboy? Compulsive extrovert? Picasso’s personal peccadilloes are probably as famous as his paintings, but a new exhibition at Tate Liverpool aims to change all that. Picasso: Peace and Freedom will throw a radically different light on arguably the most influential and prolific artist of the 20th century.

Peace talks… Following its blockbusting Gustav Klimt exhibition in 2008, Tate Liverpool has brought out the big guns again for a show that will make a visit to Merseyside an essential part of any culture vulture’s itinerary this summer. This new exhibition brings together over 150 of Picasso’s works from across the world and shines a spotlight on how Picasso’s political preoccupations in the period following the Second World War are reflected in his creative output. For the first time, Picasso the artist will be put into the broader social and cultural context of his times. True revolutionary Picasso always claimed that he had fought like a true revolutionary through the weapons of his art. His long exile from his native Spain in opposition to Franco’s regime had made him naturally attracted to left-leaning causes and after experiencing the brutal Nazi occupation of Paris, he joined the French communist party in 1944, just six weeks after the city’s liberation. He remained a party member for the rest of his life, seeing communism and the ideal of peace as a way to keep the world free of fascism. As the darling of the Western art world, Picasso’s propaganda value to the communist party was immense, as was the generosity with which he donated his time, money and most importantly, his work.

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such as Charlie Chaplin, were viewed with suspicion and by the frostiest depths of the 1950s Cold War, Picasso’s association with communism had undermined his reputation in the USA. When Picasso tried to make his first ever visit to the United States in 1950 to take part in a peace conference, the authorities even refused to grant him a visa, viewing him as a potentially ‘subversive alien’. The problem for Picasso was that most of his market and his admirers were in the bourgeois West yet his work did not fit well with the Soviet aesthetic of the time – in Russia they hated his work but liked his politics, but in America the opposite was true. Peace-monger As a member of the Communist Party, Picasso’s art expanded to include numerous posters and on-demand sketches for the party newspaper as well as overtly political works such as the monumental painting The Charnel House, inspired by the first horrific images from the liberated concentration camps, which is being seen in the UK for

the first time in over 50 years as part of this exhibition. But it was his dove, first drawn for the poster of the First World International Peace Congress in 1949 that brought his art to millions more people: reworked countless times by the artist, it became the ubiquitous symbol of the peace movement, appearing on everything from scarves, mugs, posters and T-shirts to postage stamps in the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. He even gave his daughter the name Paloma – Spanish for dove. So popular was the dove image in the 1950s that it was targeted for caricature in anti-Communist propaganda campaigns, with the New York Times in 1950 deriding what they referred to as Picasso’s ‘fat little pigeons’.

Cold War warrior

The exhibition at Tate Liverpool brings together paintings and drawings from 1944– 73 and is the first ever, in-depth exploration of the post-War period of Picasso’s life and work. Outside the gallery, the city will also be marking the peace connection between Picasso and its favourite son, John Lennon, with a special On the Waterfront festival weekend from 16–18 July, based around the theme of War and Peace. Highlights will include a special sound and light performance on the river entitled A Wave at Picasso, plus a Picasso-inspired Peace Garden, commissioned by Tate Liverpool with the artist Sophie Cullinan and the creation of a giant dove of peace sand sculpture.

Picasso’s involvement with communism even earned him an FBI file, which remained open until his death. In the paranoia of McCarthy’s America, individuals acquainted with Picasso,

www.tate.org.uk/liverpool www.onthewaterfrontliverpool.com

“Hundreds of millions of people know and love Picasso only through the doves. The snobs sneer at those people… Of course it is impossible to know Picasso by the dove alone, but one has to be Picasso to make such a dove.” Ilya Ehrenburg, friend of Picasso, writing in his memoirs 11


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To be where the action is, head down to the Albert Dock where you’ll find the glammed up crowd flitting between Babycream (22), the bar/restaurant offspring of super-club Cream, the Pan American Club (23) and Blue Bar and Grill (24) – all within a stiletto’s totter

Liverpool’s got the world’s second most famous waterfront view after Manhattan and the best way to see it is to take a trip on the famous Ferry out across the Mersey. From the river you can take in the full glory of the Three Graces (32) – the triumvirate of magnificent buildings that are testament to the city’s historical standing as one of the world’s greatest sea ports and are now officially declared a World Heritage Site. While you’re down at the riverside make sure that you visit Tate Liverpool (33) at Albert Dock, the UK’s largest modern art gallery outside London.

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All that jazz

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In the evening, head up to Hope Street where you’ll be spoilt for choice with top-class eateries, including the eponymous 60 Hope Street (19), the London Carriage Works (20) or The Lower Place (21), situated in the basement of the city’s wonderful art deco Philharmonic Hall. If you’re lucky enough to be around on a concert night, it’s definitely worth catching the Liverpool Philharmonic (21), currently flying high under their fabulous new conductor Vasily Petrenko.

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Park life

Take a five-minute cab ride outside the city centre and you’ll find yourself in the leafy surroundings of Sefton Park, with the added attraction of Lark Lane (30), Liverpool’s answer to the King’s Road, just a two minute stroll away. The park also has a fantastic Victorian Palm House (31), now renovated and home to exotic afternoon jazz performances as well as equally exotic plant species. Lark Lane itself has a quirky vibe with independent cafes, bistros, retro clothing shops and craft outlets.

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With such a high WAG quotient, Liverpool has never been short of designer outlets, most of them located in and around the Cavern Walks (16) shopping centre. But the recently opened Liverpool One (17), a brand new shopping area in the heart of the city has seriously upped the ante. If you prefer your shopping with a more bohemian bent, then head for Bold Street (18) where you’ll find quirky fashions and cool homewares in shops like Microzine and Utility.

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After breakfast, you can wander round the Walker Art Gallery (10) – effectively the National Gallery of the North – with its fantastic collection covering everything from Holbein to Hockney, or you can visit World Museum Liverpool (11) whose fascinating exhibits cover all the cultures of the globe

Retail therapy

Start off your Sunday with a trip to the jaw-dropping Anglican Cathedral (26), a monumental gothic edifice at one end of Hope Street. Heading back towards the Philharmonic Hall you’ll pass the hidden Georgian gem that is Falkner Street, which has a couple of great Sunday brunch options to while away an hour or so with the Sunday papers – try Number Seven Deli (27) or Quarter (28). Alternatively, mooch down to the Ropewalks area where FACT (29) – the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology – is another good bet.

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Cultural enlightenment

Out to brunch

If you’ve worked up an appetite you can give it a good seeing-to with a rib-sticking lunch at The Monro (13), Liverpool’s latest gastro pub, or for something lighter try Delifonseca (14) for fabulous deli sandwiches and the best chunky chips in town. Alternatively, head up to Hope Street to the Everyman Bistro (15), a Liverpool Institution set in the atmospheric basement of the Everyman theatre.

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Start off with a cocktail or two at the latest place to be seen. Alma de Cuba (7) is an ultra cool refurbishment of a 200-year-old Polish Catholic church that’s been transformed into a funky bar and Caribbean-themed restaurant. Another buzzing option is Mosquito (8), sister bar to the stylish Living Room franchise, with a cocktail list as long as the Beatles back catalogue. For a more chilled dining experience, choose Ziba (9) at the Racquet Club for exquisite modern British food.

A spot of lunch

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Shaken or stirred

of each other. For hip live music, try Korova (25), part owned by Liverpool band Ladytron, where you can brush shoulders with musos, catch the latest bands or simply chill out in individual booths watching the performance on your own TV screen. ES NC

If style is your thing then head for Hope Street Hotel (1), an independent boutique hotel where all the luxuries are provided with great flair and fantastic service. Liverpool is now awash with fab new places to stay, ranging from the classy Hard Day’s Night Hotel (2) (where there’s no prizes for guessing the theme of the decor) to the waterfront luxury of one of the UK’s nicest Malmaisons (3) or the four-star deluxe Radisson Blu (4). If you want to be closer to the night life action then try 62 Castle Street (5), a refurbished old Victorian building at the heart of the city, or Hilton Liverpool (6) with its spectacular views.

that have been touched by Liverpool’s seafaring past. But the pièce de resistance has to be the refurbished St George’s Hall (12), a magnificent piece of Victorian pomp considered to be one of the finest neoclassical buildings in the world.

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Mersey Rail

PRI

London to Liverpool by one of Mr Branson’s super fast Pendolino trains takes just over two hours. It’s just as easy from other parts of the country: all main line services from Scotland, the North East and Midlands run to Liverpool via either Manchester or Crewe. Liverpool’s John Lennon airport is just eight miles outside the city centre and has a number of low-cost airlines operating cheap flights inbound from several UK airports.

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Getting here

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PRIME LOCATIONS: 48 hours in Liverpool

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PRIME CUTS: MAY–SEPTEMBER Events this summer & autumn

8 May–26 September

Tatton Park Biennial Tatton Park, Cheshire T: 01625 374400 W: tattonparkbiennial.org

This second Biennial of contemporary art at Cheshire’s most notable stately home turns the expansive grounds, lakes and gardens into a laboratory for creative experiment and exchange. Over 20 emerging and internationally recognised artists will explore our ‘sense of place’ and what roots us to a particular location through a diverse range of commissions and installations.

Highlights of what’s on across England’s Northwest

Until 6 June

China: Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868–1872 Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool T: 0151 478 4499 W: liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

12–15 May

The first of two remarkable photographic exhibitions in the Northwest this spring, these images from a journey round the regions of China by the Scottish photographer and travel writer John Thomson provide a beautifully affecting window on a completely different world.

FutureEverything Manchester T: 0843 208 0500 W: futureeverything.org

After 15 years of breaking new ground, the festival formerly known as Futuresonic returns as FutureEverything, ready to scare the oldies with commissioned artworks and interventions that explore how we work, play, create and relate in the contemporary digital world. This year it’s mobile and locative arts in the age of the iPhone and Android that are in the spotlight i.e. apps for everything. Music events include Ryoji Ikeda, Mike Vainio, Konono No.1, Omar Souleyman and Plaid.

Until 13 June

Shaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin Imperial War Museum, Manchester T: 0161 836 4000 W: iwm.org.uk/north

The man whose images have defined the 20th century’s seminal moments in conflict is 75 this year and this largest-ever UK exhibition of his work is a fitting tribute. From his iconic shot of a shell-shocked US marine in Vietnam to his coverage of the human cost of war in areas like Cyprus and Biafra, this is amazing stuff. Not to be missed.

Until 12 September

29 April–2 May

Until June 20

Beyond the Boundary

Lakes Alive: Sufi:Zen

International Slavery Museum, Liverpool T: 0151 478 4499 W: liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ism

Furness Abbey, Barrow-in-Furness W: lakesalive.org

Contemporary Art Iraq Cornerhouse, Manchester T: 0161 200 1500 W: cornerhouse.org

Manchester’s contemporary art space is always a good bet for catching thought provoking and engaging shows. The latest is the first comprehensive UK exhibition of new and recent contemporary art from Iraq since the first Gulf War, looking at the perspectives that are emerging from artists working in a culture marked by conflict and turmoil. Until 3 July

Mark Francis: Arena Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal T: 01539 722464 W: abbothall.org.uk

Magnified cells and microbes may sound like strange subjects for a painter, but British artist Mark Francis turns them into powerful abstract images that explore the dynamic between the man-made and the natural.

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14 May–8 August

High Kicks and Low Life: Toulouse-Lautrec

Get your silly mid on at this exhibition exploring the relationship between culture, class, and the game of cricket. As well as being a legacy of British imperialism, cricket has also been a means of resistance against it, with historic and contemporary stars of the game helping to hit racism for six. Until 28 November

Elizabeth Gaskell Bicentenary Celebrations Various venues, Cheshire and Manchester W: thegaskellsociety.co.uk

The 200th anniversary of the birth of the author of Cranford is the excuse for this year-long celebration of all things Gaskell. There are walking tours around her home town of Knutsford (the ‘real Cranford’) plus exhibitions, talks and performances around the fashion, music and politics of her times.

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool T: 0151 478 4199 W: liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker

1 May–30 June

Exhibition of Lautrec’s evocative prints portraying life and art in the theatres of gay Paris, including his iconic Moulin Rouge posters and depictions of the legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt.

Bowland Arts Festival

14 May

See feature on pages 4 & 5 for more details.

W: bowlandarts.co.uk

Great reason to visit one of the UK’s loveliest spots, The Forest of Bowland. Artists’ open studios, exhibitions, music and performance events, plus creative workshops, talks and walks exploring the interaction of environment and culture. 6–16 May

Liverpool Comedy Festival Various venues. Liverpool W: liverpoolcomedyfestival.co.uk

Get your tickling stick out for this annual laugh-fest in the city that has mirth as its middle name. This year’s line up features the likes of John Bishop and Paul Merton.

Light Night Liverpool Various venues, Liverpool W: lightnight.co.uk/liverpool.php

Liverpool gets in on the act that’s been sweeping other European cities over the last few years – the trend for opening up galleries and museums at night. Wander round venues such as Tate Liverpool and the Bluecoat after hours to see a different side to what’s on offer. 15–16 May

Blackpool Pride T: 07926 116584 W: prideblackpool.com

Where better than Blackpool for a weekend of riotous, over-the-top fun with artists, events and the prerequisite parade? 15


4–6 June

Lakes Alive: Zircus Plus Barrow Park, Barrow-in-Furness W: lakesalive.org

See feature on pages 4 & 5 for more details. 5 June–3 July

The Importance of Being Earnest Library Theatre, Manchester T: 0161 236 7110 W: librarytheatre.com

28 May–6 June

Screen Deva Various venues, Chester T: 01244 409113 W: chesterperforms.com

One of the UK’s newest film and digital media festivals, this one takes place in a variety of venues not normally used for cinema and has a programme covering all genres. 29–30 May

Lakes Alive: Whitehaven The Harbour, Whitehaven W: lakesalive.org

18–31 May

19–22 May

Queer Up North

Liverpool Sound City

T: 0161 234 2942 W: queerupnorth.com

Various venues, Liverpool. T: 08444 771 000 W: liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk

Europe’s leading festival of lesbian, gay and queer arts, with a jam-packed programme of dance, music, exhibitions, cabaret, comedy and film from around the world. Celebrating its 18th birthday this year so expect some serious partying.

All modern pop life is there at 35 different venues across the city centre. Artists include Paloma Faith, British Sea Power, The Maccabees, Delphic and Speech Debelle.

19–23 May

Picasso: Peace and Freedom

Keswick Mountain Festival Various venues, Keswick T: 017687 75738 W: keswickmountianfestival.co.uk

Learn to climb, scramble and canoe at this five day festival of all things vertical, or, if you’re really hardcore you can test your mettle at the Keswick Triathlon. For those less adventurous there’s also a programme of art and photography exhibitions plus a range of inspirational speakers that this year includes Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

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21 May–30 August Tate Liverpool T: 0151 702 7400 W: tate.org.uk/liverpool

If your image of Picasso is of an extrovert playboy swanning around the Mediterranean, then this new exhibition will undoubtedly change your mind. Over 150 works gathered from across the world are evidence of his role as a tireless political activist and campaigner for peace in the first ever, in-depth exhibition of his post-war period. One of the must-see exhibitions of 2010.

After 58 years Manchester’s Library Theatre Company is leaving its current home for a three-year touring stint whilst it gets a new refurbished home at Manchester’s old Theatre Royale, the city’s oldest surviving theatre building. It’s finishing its run at The Library with the Oscar Wilde classic that was the very first show it presented there. Bring your own handbag. 7–12 June

Columbo — Prescription: Murder The Lowry, Salford Quays T: 0870 787 5781 W: thelowry.com

Dirk Benedict, of The A-Team and original Battlestar Galactica fame, dons the dodgy brown raincoat to play the cult TV detective in this stage adaptation of the grimy gumshoe’s first case.

See feature on pages 4 & 5 for more details.

11 June–14 July

3–5 June

Chestival

Lakes Alive: We Built This City City centre, Carlisle W: lakesalive.org

See feature on pages 4 & 5 for more details. 3–20 June

Mamma Mia Echo Arena, Liverpool T: 0844 8000 400 W: echoarena.com

Go on, be a Dancing Queen for the night, as the all-conquering musical juggernaut of Abba’s hits makes it to Merseyside. 4–6 June

Holker Hall Garden Festival Holker Hall, Nr Cartmel, Cumbria LA11 7PL T: 015395 58328 W: holker.co.uk

Sitting in the soft, rolling fells of the South Lakes, the beautiful gardens of this gem of a stately home are renowned, amongst other things, for their fantastic rhododendrons. This weekend-long festival of flowers and food is an ideal time to see them at their best.

Various venues, Chester W: chesterfestivals.co.uk

Not really one festival, but an amalgamation of all of Chester’s best bits, from the Roman Weekend and the traditional Mystery Plays to the ever popular Summer Music Festival. New this year is Rhino Mania – a herd of 70 rhino sculptures designed by artists and community groups that will be positioned around the city during the summer months.

18–20 June

26 June–6 November

Barnaby Festival

Industrial Revolutionaries: People who shaped the Modern World

12 June–26 Sept

25–26 June

Everyday People by Spencer Tunick

Chester Races Weekend

The Lowry, Salford Quays T: 0843 208 6000 W: thelowry.com

The Roodee, Chester T: 01244 304610 W: chester-races.co.uk

Everything a race event should be – top-flight gee-gees, fabulous outfits and lots of bubbly. Fancy a flutter?

Exhibitionism on a huge scale from the master of the mass nude, American artist Spencer Tunick. Taking the mass of working people shown in LS Lowry’s paintings as his inspiration, he’s taking heated buses full of nude volunteers to eight locations in Salford and Manchester to create his first ever, multisite installation. The record of this remarkable weekend in film and photography will be exhibited at The Lowry as part of its 10th birthday celebrations.

Various venues, Macclesfield W: barnabyfestival.org.uk

The traditional St Barnabas Day Festival gets a major makeover this year as the centre of Macclesfield turns into one big gallery for a range of arts installations and events.

26 June–17 October

William Morris: a Sense of Place Blackwell Arts and Craft House, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3JT T: 015394 46139 W: blackwell.org.uk

Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston T: 01772 258 248 W: harrismuseum.org.uk

Major new exhibition looking at the issues that were preoccupying the citizens of the industrial revolution 150 years ago and how these issues are echoed in 2010, from employee/worker relations, child labour and the need for temperance to the possible surprise results of upcoming elections. 26–27 June

Arley Garden Festival W: arleyhallandgardens.com

Floral displays, garden tours and a fab food fair are all part of this wonderful festival of gardening in one of Cheshire’s prettiest country estates.

Exhibition exploring the design, creative writing, socialism and conservation work of the founder of the Arts & Crafts movement. 17


28–30 July

8 August

Lakes Alive: Into the Woods

Blackpool Air Show

Talkin’ Tarn Country Park, Brampton; Whinlatter Forest; Grizedale Forest W: lakesalive.org

South Promenade, Blackpool T: 01253 478222 W: visitblackpool.com

See feature on pages 4 & 5 for more details. 30 July–1 August

Kendal Calling Lowther Deer Park, Kendal T: 0844 888 9991 W: kendalcalling.co.uk

30 June–14 July

2–11 July

16–18 July

23–24 July 2010

Chester Summer Music Festival

Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival

On the Waterfront: War & Peace

Lakes Alive: Titanic

Various venues, Chester T: 0845 241 7868 W: chesterfestivals.co.uk

Various venues, Liverpool T: 0151 702 5324 W: arabicartsfestival.co.uk

Pier Head, Liverpool W: onthewaterfrontliverpool.com

Carlisle Castle, Carlisle W: lakesalive.org

Annual classical music bonanza, designed around the joy of choral music. This year features a performance of Fauré’s Requiem by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, plus the always top-notch Tallis Scholars.

Programme of music, dance, literature, film and food staged across the city in venues including the Bluecoat, FACT, the Philharmonic Hall and National Museums Liverpool.

See feature on pages 4 & 5 for more details.

1–31 July

2–3 July

Liverpool Summer Pops

Concerts in the Forest

Echo Arena, Kings Dock, Liverpool T: 0844 8000 400 W: echoarena.com

Delamere Forest, Northwich, Cheshire W: forestry.gov.uk/delamerehome

This weekend festival on Liverpool’s £250million new-look waterfront looks at the issues of war and peace through two giants of 20th century culture – John Lennon and Pablo Picasso. With pyrotechnic displays, live street theatre and other visual spectaculars, events will draw on the landmark Picasso exhibition at Tate Liverpool and the concurrent John Lennon exhibition at the Beatles Story Museum at Albert Dock.

Returning for its 10th year with a starry line-up including Rod Stewart, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jools Holland and Joan Armatrading.

Music wafts through the treetops in this series of atmospheric outdoor concerts, this year featuring Simply Red and James Morrison.

1 July

RNCM Symphony Orchestra The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester W: bridgewater-hall.co.uk

The talented young musos from Manchester’s renowned conservatoire tackle an orchestral programme that includes a new piece written by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. 1 July 2010–12 June 2011

Savage Grandeur & Noblest Thoughts Wordsworth Museum & Art Gallery, Grasmere W: wordsworth.org.uk

Subtitled Discovering the Lake District 1750–1820, this exhibition traces the effect of the awe-inspiring Cumbrian scenery on the artists and poets of Wordsworth’s time.

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15 July–8 August

Theatre in the Park Grosvenor Park, Chester T: 01244 409113 W: chesterperforms.com

If it works in Regent’s Park in London then why not in Chester? Bring a picnic and a blanket to enjoy this three-week run of summer evening performances of Shakespeare’s tale of romance and heroics, Much Ado About Nothing. 17 July

Cholmondeley Firework concert Cholmondeley Castle, Malpas, Cheshire T: 01829 772432 W: cholmondeleyfireworks.com

Another stately Cheshire pile, this one echoing to the sounds of champagne corks and fireworks as the Manchester Camerata perform a Last Night of the Proms programme complete with real cannons in the 1812. A truly idyllic setting for an outdoor concert so get that hamper packed.

17 July–30 October

The Loneliness of Lowry Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal T: 01539 722464 W: abbothall.org.uk

Mysterious bleak landscapes, desolate seascapes and deserted buildings are the subjects of some of LS Lowry’s most powerful yet lesser known works and this exhibition examines a different side of the artist who cites his inherent loneliness as one of the main influences on his work. 21–25 July

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire W: rhs.org.uk/tattonpark

One of the must-sees of the UK’s annual gardening calendar, this is the northern version of the Chelsea Flower show, set in one of Cheshire’s most famous gardens. Rub shoulders with the Beeb’s gardening celebrities as they debate the whys and wherefores of wisteria.

23–25 July 2010

Maryport Blues Festival Various venues, Maryport T: 01900 602122 W: maryportblues.co.uk

Now in its 12th year, this well-loved festival has attracted some of the biggest legends in blues to appear in a small Cumbrian harbour town, from Van Morrison and Chuck Berry to Buddy Guy and Dionne Warwick. Headlining this year is Robert Cray and his band with the line-up featuring over 40 bands and 150 musicians from all over the globe. 24–30 July

Rossini’s La Cenerentola Clonter Opera Theatre, Congleton, Cheshire T: 01260 224514 W: clonteropera.com

Cheshire’s equivalent of Glyndebourne is the perfect way to spend a summer’s evening, with this year’s featured opera being Rossini’s unique take on the Cinderella story. The indoor opera theatre is set in beautiful wooded grounds where you can enjoy a picnic before the evening performance. 26 July–1 August

24:7 Theatre Festival Various venues, Manchester T: 0845 408 4101 W: 247theatrefestival.co.uk

As the city where the UK’s first rep theatre was established in 1908, Manchester has always had a passion for all things dramatic. This celebration of new writing features trailblazing, original performances taking place in a variety of unusual venues. See the hot new names in writing and acting here first.

A mini-Glastonbury in a beautiful location, this independent music bash was shortlisted for Best UK Small Festival last year for its unique combination of contemporary music and art running alongside traditional rural entertainment. Eight performance stages within spitting distance of each other that will feature the likes of Wild Beasts, OK GO, Erol Alkan, The Futureheads and Calvin Harris. 30 July–15 August

Lake District Summer Music Festival Various venues, Cumbria T: 0845 644 2144 W: ldsm.org.uk

A chance to experience beautiful chamber music in glorious settings, this gem of a classical music festival always delivers some events to remember.

The seafront at Blackpool provides a great backdrop for this festival of the air, with The Red Arrows the star attraction. 12–21 August

50 Years Of Coronation Street Abridged — Live! The Lowry, Salford Quays T: 0843 208 6000 W: thelowry.com

To mark the 50th anniversary of Britain’s longest-running soap, Corrie’s own script writers have come up with this riotous romp through the history of the nation’s favourite street, covering more than 2,000 storylines, including 115 deaths, 37 births and 86 marriages in two hours of mind-boggling stage craft. 14 August–14 September

Pennine Lancashire Festival of Food & Culture Various venues around East Lancashire T: 01254 688040 W: penninelancashirefestivals.com

Hallé Fireworks & Light Spectacular

Celebration of all things foodie with events ranging from culinary canal cruises and pony trekking picnics to steam train lunches, champagne balloon flights, ale trails and brewery tours. Includes the famous World Gravy Wrestling Championships – seriously.

Tatton Park, Cheshire T: 01625 374400 W: tattonpark.org.uk

19–22 August

31 July

One of the biggest and best of the ‘summer concert in a stately home’ vernacular, featuring the on-form Hallé Orchestra in gorgeous surroundings with plenty of big bangs to spice up the Wagnerian finale. Pack a picnic. 1 August

Lakes Alive: Penrith Penrith Town Centre, Penrith W: lakesalive.org

See feature on pages 4 & 5 for more details. 6–8 August

On the Waterfront: Let’s Dance Pier Head, Liverpool W: onthewaterfrontliverpool.com

A weekend of dance-based spectacular performances on Liverpool’s epic waterfront includes aerial dance troupes, dancing on water and a lavishly over-the-top Tea Dance, complete with Glen Miller Tribute Orchestra. Plenty of demos and workshops if you want to get your toes tapping.

Southport Flower Show Victoria Park, Southport T: 01704 547147 W: southportflowershow.co.uk

The largest independent flower show in the country takes place in this charming seaside town, colloquially known as Lancashire’s ‘garden by the sea’. 20–30 August

Manchester Pride Various venues, Manchester T: 0161 831 7700 W: manchesterpride.com

Manchester city centre turns rainbowcoloured for one of the UK’s biggest and best Pride celebrations. Running over 10 days, the festival culminates in The Big Weekend over the bank holiday, including the always wonderfully over-the-top parade. Expect some serious partying.

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2–5 September

Lakes Alive: Mintfest Various venues, Kendal W: lakesalive.org

The Lake District & Cumbria

See feature on pages 4 & 5 for more details. 3 September–17 November

Blackpool Illuminations

THE ESSENTIAL LIST Page 22

Blackpool Promenade W: visitblackpool.com

How to get here, and where to stay, eat and drink...

The biggest free light show on earth has been pulling the crowds since 1879. Best way to enjoy the spectacle is to hop on an opentop tram along the promenade.

THE COUNTRY LIST Page 24

10 September–12 September

What to see and do...

World Fireworks Championship

THE CULTURE LIST Page 26

Blackpool Promenade W: visitblackpool.com

Everything you need to know about museums, heritage, galleries, theatres and venues...

Spectacular pyrotechnic displays from the winners from previous years’ contests in a ‘Champion of Champions’ extravaganza. 11 September–9 January

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester T: 0161 235 8888 W: manchestergalleries.org

Mexican-Canadian electronic artist who produces large-scale interactive installations using robotics, projections and other devices, to create dynamic kinetic art works. As an international Biennial circuit favourite, his new commission for Manchester Art Gallery is bound to attract much critical attention. 21 August

28–29 August

Lesley Garrett & Manchester Camerata

Creamfields

Lytham Green, Lytham St Annes T: 01253 658666 W: lytham2010.co.uk

For one night only, the seafront of this quaint coastal town transforms into a concert arena as the UK’s favourite opera diva fronts a music and fireworks extravaganza to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. 27–30 August

Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival The Muni Theatre, Colne, Lancashire T: 01282 661234 W: bluesfestival.co.uk

Chicago, Mississippi, New Orleans... and Colne? Believe it or not, this market town in Lancashire can truly claim to be the UK’s ‘home of the blues’ with this festival that brings together the best of UK and international blues talent. Celebrating its 21st anniversary, the big names in this year’s line-up include Peter Green, Georgie Fame, Dr Feelgood and Omar and the Howlers. 20

Daresbury, Halton, Cheshire T: 0151 707 1309 W: creamfields.com

It wouldn’t be August Bank Holiday without Creamfields, the UK’s biggest dance festival. Big it up for this year’s line-up. which includes Leftfield, Calvin Harris, Audio Bullys and Armin van Buuren. 28–30 August

Cartmel Races Cartmel Racecourse, Cumbria T: 015395 36340 W: cartmel-racecourse.co.uk

Horse racing in the home of sticky toffee pudding in this traditional bank holiday racing bonanza in one of Cumbria’s gastro hot spots. 30 August

Lakes Alive: Bombs Per Minute The Harbour, Maryport W: lakesalive.org

See feature on pages 4 & 5 for more details.

18 September–28 November

Liverpool Biennial Various venues, Liverpool T: 0161 235 8888 W: biennial.com

One of the world’s biggest contemporary art jamborees outside Venice, the Biennial is living proof of Liverpool’s love affair with the arts. The always intriguing shows are staged all over the city with the aim being to introduce British audiences to up-andcoming international artists and trends. The next edition of Prime will be available from August and will contain a full listing of events in England’s Northwest from September to January. To make sure you receive your copy, register at www.primenorthwest.co.uk, email your details to venw@nwda.co.uk or call 0845 600 6040 21


THE ESSENTIALS: The Lake District & Cumbria Not only does the Lake District have some of the UK’s most stunning scenery, it also has some of its most varied. With beautiful lakes, enchanting forests, changing coastline and 100 peaks that are over 2,000 feet high all within a 30 mile stretch, it’s the perfect place to go ‘wandering lonely as a cloud’. But Cumbria is no longer just the territory of the cagoule-clad rambler or the crag-hopping adrenaline junkie (even though both are seriously well catered for). With Michelin-starred restaurants, seriously indulgent spa hotels and even the traditional B&Bs and self-catering cottages undergoing something of a boutique reinvention, the Lakes is also a place where you can enjoy a little luxury and sophistication. For a culture fix, check out Lakes Alive, a summer-long programme of spectacular outdoor arts events. For more info go to www.lakesalive.org. HADRIAN'S WALL GLASGOW A7 A69

A689

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

A69

CARLISLE

RAIL

WORKINGTON

A66 COCKERMOUTH

You can reach the southern Lakes by car from either Liverpool or Manchester in little over an hour and the northern Lakes in just over two. All parts of Lakeland are easily accessible from the M6 motorway, which runs north to south just to the eastern side of Cumbria.

By train

The west coast mainline from London to Glasgow makes it easier than you think to get away to Cumbria. To get to Oxenholme (where a quick change will take you directly to Kendal or Windermere) takes just over 2½ hours from Euston and it’s just over 3 hours to get to Penrith, where a 20 minute taxi ride will get you to Keswick, right on the shore of Derwentwater. There are also regular direct trains between Manchester Airport and Windermere and between Manchester Airport and Barrow-in-Furness and the Western Lake District.

GET THE INFO…

PENRITH KESWICK

WHITEHAVEN

W: golakes.co.uk T: 01539 822222

A66

CASTLERIGG STONE CIRCLE

M6

RAIL

A591 A685

BEATRIX POTTER’S HILL TOP FARM

STEAMERS WINDERMERE

RAIL

L’enclume Restaurant

The Northwest’s top small hotel in 2009, this is the place to get away from it all. The new Lake House annexe has its own private lake and spa to add to the already sumptuous range of rooms and suites, some with their own gardens and outdoor hot tubs.

The Linthwaite House Hotel Crook Road, Windermere LA23 3JA T: 015394 88600 W: linthwaite.com

Bijou hotel boasting great views of Windermere where the styling is described as ‘Ralph Lauren meets Raffles’ and the restaurant is a gastronome’s delight.

The Samling Ambleside Road, Windermere LA23 1LR T: 015394 31922 W: thesamlinghotel.co.uk

Perched on a hill above Lake Windermere, the Samling makes a perfect weekend escape. One of Cumbria’s best ‘boutiques’, (previous guests include the Cruises apparently), so expect elegant surroundings, impeccable service and Michelin-starred food.

Sharrow Bay Ullswater, Penrith CA10 2LZ T: 017684 86301 W: sharrowbay.co.uk

The grandaddy of Lake District country house hotels, Sharrow Bay set the standard for others to follow. Worth going for the spectacular Ullswater views and the afternoon teas – it’s an occasion in itself.

Drunken Duck Inn Barngates, Ambleside LA22 ONG T: 015394 36347 W: drunkenduckinn.co.uk

One of the best things about staying in Cumbria is waking up to amazing views and the Pheasant doesn’t disappoint. Peacefully set in its own gardens and woodland, it makes an ideal base for exploring northern Lakeland.

The Punch Bowl Inn Crosthwaite, Lyth Valley LA8 8HR T: 015395 68237 W: the-punchbowl.co.uk

Everything you look for in a gastropub can be found in this cosy bolthole. The nine bedrooms all have roll-top baths and sink-into beds and the food in the elegant restaurant is top notch.

The Queen’s Head Troutbeck, Windermere LA23 1PW T: 015394 32174 W: queensheadhotel.com

This 400-year old classic Lakeland hostelry has kept all the charm of its old beams and flagstone floors but given its rooms (and its cuisine) a 21st century makeover.

Hall Hills Dalston, Carlisle CA5 7AN T: 016974 76779 W: hallhills.co.uk

Forget the chintz – this is the five-star boutique-style version of self-catering. Set in the lovely Eden Valley, this cluster of 17th century buildings has been renovated into luxury cottages. Winner of Northwest’s best self-catering accommodation award to boot.

Ann’s Hill Bridekirk, Cockermouth CA13 0NY T: 01900 827838 W: annshill.co.uk

More five-star, self-catering luxury, this time in a lovingly-converted barn on the outskirts of Cockermouth. Spacious, contemporary design with every comfort catered for.

Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands LA11 6PZ T: 015395 36362 W: lenclume.co.uk

Chef Simon Rogan’s Michelin-starred restaurant in this über-cute South Lakes village has been so successful that he’s now taken his gastro empire one step further. Rogan & Company is his more casual bar/ restaurant set-up located just two minutes walk from the famous Cartmel Racecourse.

Lucy’s of Ambleside & Lucy Cooks Church Street, Ambleside LA22 0BU Mill Yard, Staveley, Kendal LA8 9LR T: 015394 32288 W: lucysofambleside.co.uk & lucycooks.co.uk

Foodie mecca at the top of Lake Windermere with specialist grocery store, restaurant and bistro. Also has a brasserie outpost in Bowness plus a cookery school near Kendal where you can don your pinnie for interactive, hands-on, one-day courses.

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop Church Cottage, Grasmere LA22 9SW T: 015394 35428 W: grasmeregingerbread.co.uk

Not like any other gingerbread you’ve ever tasted, the secret recipe for this little slice of heaven dates back to 1854. A must-have purchase if you’re anywhere nearby.

The Old Crown Hesket Newmarket CA7 8JG T: 016974 78288 W: theoldcrownpub.co.uk

What is believed to be Britain’s first cooperatively owned pub is set in a picture perfect village in the Caldbeck hills. Superb real ales are brewed in the microbrewery around the back, and even Prince Charles has popped in for a pint of ‘Great Cockup’ porter.

Beautifully situated 17th century inn that has reinvented itself as a relaxed but classy gastro destination, with innovative pub food, a fishing tarn and its own on-site microbrewery. Take your pick from 16 tastefully designed and comfy rooms – choose the Garden room for the best views over the surrounding fells. Market St, Kirkby Lonsdale LA6 2AU T: 015242 71965 W: sun-inn.info

A590 RAIL A590 BARROW-IN-FURNESS

BROUGH

PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK

Bassenthwaite Lake CA13 9YE T: 017687 76234 W: the-pheasant.co.uk

The Sun Inn

KENDAL

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By road

M6

A66

A595

GETTING HERE

Windermere and Keswick are well served by National Express coaches (0870 580 8080) from all parts of the country.

A596

The Pheasant Inn

Gilpin Hotel and Lake House Crook Road, Windermere LA23 3NE T: 015394 88818 W: gilpinlodge.co.uk

By bus

A595

PLACES TO STAY

LANCASTER

17th century inn in a bustling market town in the beautiful Lune Valley. All the traditions of flag floors, roaring log fires and cask ales but combined with high quality contemporary cuisine and rooms replete with all mod-cons. 23


THE COUNTRY LIST: The Lake District & Cumbria Hadrian’s Wall

Ruskin’s View

East of Carlisle T: 01434 609700 W: hadrians-wall.org

The discerning Victorian thinker was so captivated by this spot overlooking the River Lune that he described it as ‘one of the loveliest scenes in England’. Admired by Wordsworth and Constable too, it was also the subject of a JMW Turner painting.

Castlerigg Stone Circle Just outside Keswick

Even though it is dwarfed by the surrounding mighty peaks of Skiddaw, Helvellyn and Blencathra, this 5,000-year-old circle of 48 craggy standing stones has an awesome presence and dignity.

Sheepfolds Various locations across Cumbria W: sheepfoldscumbria.co.uk

Andy Goldsworthy has made his name creating art out of found objects in natural environments. This series of 46 installations was created as part of a seven-year project to bring to life a number of derelict sheepfolds across the Cumbrian countryside. GPS coordinates and directions to all the folds are listed on the website.

Wastwater Wasdale Head

Officially crowned as ‘Britain’s favourite view’ by the BBC after seeing off competition from 16 other UK beauty spots. This dramatic location is where England’s deepest lake is overlooked by England’s highest mountain, with the steep-sided valleys almost seeming to disappear into the lake’s glassy surface. The Lakes at its most majestic.

Aira Force Ullswater

Force is the Cumbrian name for waterfall and you’re unlikely to see a prettier one than Aira, sparkling and tumbling its way down a 70ft drop through craggy Lakeland slate. Take in the view from the stone bridges spanning the top and bottom of the drop, but get there early or late to avoid the crowds. 24

Via Ferrata

Pony Trekking

Windermere Lake Cruises

Honister Slate Mine, Borrowdale, Keswick CA12 5XN T: 017687 77230 W: honister-slate-mine.co.uk/via_ferrata.asp

Limefitt Park, Troutbeck LA23 1NT T: 015394 31999 W: lakelandponytrekking.co.uk

The best way to enjoy the beauty of Lake Windermere is from the water, with regular sailings up and down its length every day throughout the year.

Altitude = adrenaline and you’ll get high in more ways than one on this ‘iron road’ up the mountainside. A zip wire and harness mean you can follow the practically vertical old slate miners trail in safety.

Ullswater ‘Steamers’

Grizedale Forest Cycling

The rugged and inspiring Troutbeck Valley is the route of the old coach road from Windermere to Penrith and makes for great riding country. If you’re a beginner you can simply explore the gentle lower reaches of the valley or the more experienced can head up to the high fells on tough Lakeland ponies.

Lakeside, Bowness and Ambleside T: 015394 43360 W: windermere-lakecruises.co.uk

THINGS TO SEE Kirkby Lonsdale

THINGS TO DO

This UNESCO world heritage site is the most visited attraction in the north of England. From Carlisle across the border into Northumberland, there are places where you can walk parts of the wall, with the Birdoswald Fort and visitor centre near Brampton one of the best places to get the historic low-down.

Hardknott Pass Duddon Valley to Eskdale

Give your gear box a work out as you test your mettle on one of Britain’s steepest roads. Rising to 1,291 feet with a gradient of 1 in 3 in places, the hairpin bends of this narrow winding road will reward you with some stunning views across the flanks of the fells to the Isle of Man beyond.

Gummer’s How Nr. Newby Bridge

A short and easy walk up to this viewpoint at the southern tip of Lake Windermere will reward you with what is arguably the best panoramic view in southern Lakeland. As well as a belter of a view up Windermere itself, you can see across to the Coniston and central fells, as well as the broad panorama of Morecambe Bay in the distance.

Grizedale Forest Park Grizedale. Hawkshead LA22 0QJ T: 01229 860010 W: forestry.gov.uk/grizedale

Ullswater T: 017684 82229 W: ullswater-steamers.co.uk

Taking one of the atmospheric old lake steamers on Ullswater is not only a joy in itself, it’s a great way to access some lovely and not too taxing walks, including the popular lakeshore walk to Patterdale.

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Ravenglass CA18 1SW T: 01229 717171 W: ravenglass-railway.co.uk

Known affectionately as ‘la’al Ratty’, this is the oldest narrow-gauge railway in England. Originally built in 1875 to carry iron ore, it now provides an entertaining seven mile, 40-minute steam train journey that winds its way through the beautiful forests and fields of lower Eskdale to Ravenglass on the Cumbrian coast.

Water Walking Brundholme Road, Keswick CA12 4NL T: 017687 75687 W: keswickadventurecentre.co.uk

Yes, you can truly walk on water without getting wet in these bizarre see-through plastic balls that allow you to wobble your way across the surface of Derwentwater like a demented hamster in a wheel. What it lacks in decorum it makes up for in fun.

Grizedale Visitor Centre, Hawkshead LA22 0QJ T: 01229 860369 W: grizedalemountainbikes.co.uk

The wooded flanks of the Furness Fells are laced by a myriad of forest roads and tracks and make for ideal cycling territory. You can hire a mountain bike for a full or half day and pedal your way to some sublime views along Lake Coniston.

Greystoke Castle Greystoke, Penrith CA11 0TG T: 017684 83722 W: greystoke.com

The immense grounds of the stately pile that was once the ancestral home of Tarzan, King of the Jungle, is now a centre for training in country sports and pursuits. Learn the arts of falconry, clay-pigeon shooting and archery or indulge in the slightly less rural pastime of off-road driving.

Sunsoar Paragliding Mallerstang, Kirkby Stephen CA17 4SY T: 0845 220 6066 W: sunsoar-paragliding.com

Hawkshead Trout Farm Boat House, Ridding Wood, Hawkshead LA22 0QF T: 015394 36541 W: hawksheadtrout.com

Discover how much better fish tastes if you’ve caught it yourself with a range of courses in the mysterious art of fly fishing on the small but beautifully formed Esthwaite Lake, handily located just south of Hawkshead.

The No.79 bus ride in Borrowdale

Reckoned to be one of the UK’s most scenic bus rides, the ‘Borrowdale Rambler’ runs along the B5289, down the side of Derwentwater and through the dramatic valley of Borrowdale, stopping at various waterfalls, fells and hamlets along the way.

THINGS TO BUY

Top quality outdoor gear, Cumberland sausage, Kendal mint cake, Grasmere gingerbread, damson gin, contemporary art.

Try out this exhilarating sport at one of the North of England’s only training centres. By the end of the day you’ll be gliding with confidence above the glorious Eden Valley on the Cumbria/Yorkshire Dales border.

Situated between Coniston and Hawkshead, this beautiful forest hides over 80 works of art and sculpture scattered through the woodland. There’s a new visitor centre to get all the info from before you head out, plus walking and cycling routes with beautiful views and plenty of arty pit stops.

High Head Sculpture Valley High Head Farm, Ivegill, Carlisle CA4 0PJ T: 016974 73552 W: highheadsculpturevalley.co.uk

Secluded valley just below Carlisle where brass, wood, stone and iron sculptures are displayed beside the natural beauty of woodland and water. 25


THE CULTURE LIST: The Lake District & Cumbria THEATRES & VENUES

Grasmere LA22 9SH T: 015394 35544 W: wordsworth.org.uk

GALLERIES

Castlegate House Gallery

Brewery Arts Centre

Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Highgate, Kendal LA9 4HE T: 01539 725133 W: breweryarts.co.uk

Kendal LA9 5AL T: 01539 722464 W: abbothall.org.uk

Cockermouth CA13 9HA T: 01900 822149 W: castlegatehouse.co.uk

The Brewery is the buzzing hub for arts and culture in the South Lakes, with a 450 seat auditorium for theatre, dance and comedy, three cinema screens, an exhibition and gallery space, plus a suitably bohemian bar and restaurant. It’s the host venue for a number of Kendal’s annual festivals, including the Gateway Roots Music Festival in Spring and the Mountain Festival in September, but whenever you visit, there’s bound to be something on worth catching, with artists of the calibre of Seth Lakeman, Portico Quartet and Thea Gilmore putting in appearances.

The high-profile exhibitions at Abbot Hall have attracted national attention since it started its innovative partnership with the Tate in 2001. The gallery is housed in a lovely Georgian villa on the banks of the river Kent and in recent years the gallery has hosted major exhibitions by artists such as Lucian Freud and Bridget Riley, to name but a few.

Theatre by the Lake Lakeside, Keswick CA12 5DJ T: 017687 74411 W: theatrebythelake.co.uk

Does just what it says on the tin – plays, concerts, performances and exhibitions all set in a fabulous spot overlooking a panorama of mountains on the edge of Derwentwater. As well as good quality touring theatre, opera and ballet shows, it has a regular classical music series and plays host to many events in the Lake District Summer Music Festival and the annual Keswick Mountain Festival. Open all year round.

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Dove Cottage & The Wordsworth Museum

Blackwell Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3JT T: 015394 46139 W: blackwell.org.uk

Blackwell is a superb example of a turn-ofthe-20th century Arts and Crafts house. Now lovingly restored and open to the public, it’s a living and breathing example of the distinctive architecture of the period as well as housing a fantastic and ever-growing collection of Arts and Crafts artefacts. Often holds outdoor sculpture exhibitions in its beautifully manicured grounds.

Beatrix Potter Gallery Main Street, Hawkshead LA22 0NS T: 015394 36355 W: nationaltrust.org.uk

For lovers of Jemima Puddleduck et al, this gallery displays Beatrix Potter’s original watercolour illustrations.

The inspiration that the Cumbrian scenery continues to give to 21st century artists is evidenced by the area’s concentration of small, independent, contemporary art galleries. Castlegate House is one of the best, specialising in the work of Northern English and Scottish artists, from paintings and sculpture, to ceramics, jewellery and glass.

Farfield Mill & Heritage Centre Sedbergh LA10 5LW T: 015396 21958 W: farfieldmill.org

Wordsworth’s picturesque former home has been lovingly restored and features a whole host of the poet’s original possessions, from his marital bed to his ice skates. A stone’s throw away is the Jerwood Centre, home to the Wordsworth Trust’s manuscripts, books and prints, plus a gallery holding exhibitions of modern art inspired by the poet’s work.

Brantwood Coniston LA21 8AD T: 015394 41396 W: brantwood.org.uk

The grand old man of Victorian art and letters, John Ruskin, chose one of the bestsited houses in the country to make his home. Overlooking Coniston Water, the house and gardens are open to the public and there’s an ongoing programme of exhibitions to enlighten you about his life and work.

The pretty town of Sedbergh is right on the border between Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales and makes a great base for exploring both. This restored textile mill is one of its key visitor attractions, providing four floors of workshops, heritage displays and craft studios, with galleries dispalying and selling contemporary art, jewellery and crafts and a good on-site cafe.

Tullie House Museum and Gallery

MUSEUMS

Laurel and Hardy Museum

Hill Top Near Sawrey, Hawkshead LA22 0LF T: 015394 36269 W: nationaltrust.org.uk

Seriously quaint 17th century farmhouse where Beatrix Potter wrote her stories and Renée Zellweger got to practise her English accent again.

Tullie House, Castle Street, Carlisle CA3 8TP T: 01228 618718 W: tulliehouse.co.uk

Located at the heart of Carlisle’s historic quarter, next to the cathedral and castle, Tullie House is the ideal place to start exploring Hadrian’s Wall Country, with its extensive Roman collection. Brogden Street, Ulverston LA12 7AH T: 01229 582292 W: laurel-and-hardy.co.uk

A museum devoted the mirthful twosome in the town of Stan Laurel’s birth, this tiny ramshackle building has the world’s largest collection of Laurel and Hardy memorabilia.

Cumberland Pencil Museum Main St, Keswick CA12 5NG T: 017687 73626 W: pencilmuseum.co.uk

Cumbria’s pencil industry grew from the naturally occurring graphite mined out of the local fells, as this quirky museum explains.

HERITAGE Levens Hall Sizergh, Kendal LA8 0PD T: 015395 60321 W: levenshall.co.uk

Elizabethan stately home dating from the 14th century. Renowned for its topiary garden, the oldest in Britain and the on-site restaurant that sells rib-sticking local fayre and its own spiced Elizabethan beer.

Holker Hall & Gardens Cark-in-Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands LA11 7PL T: 015395 58328 W: holker.co.uk

Beautifully situated stately home in the rolling hills of the Cartmel peninsula with great views over Morecambe Bay. Well worth a visit for its 25 acres of justly-famous gardens.

Furness Abbey Barrow in Furness LA13 0PJ T: 01229 823420 W: english-heritage.org.uk

Atmospheric sandstone ruins of what was once one of the wealthiest abbeys in England. Soak up the history, then take a wander up to the limestone plateau above the abbey for some fabulous views across Morecambe Bay.

Hutton-in-the-Forest Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith CA11 9TH T: 017684 84449 W: hutton-in-the-forest.co.uk

Stately home with elegant grounds that according to local legend was the Green Knight’s castle in the Arthurian tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

PRIME VIEW Martin Salter-Smith Walking guide, Lake District & Europe Why I love it

I love Cumbria because it’s a microcosm of the most beautiful scenery in the world Favourite restaurant

Zeffirelli’s in Ambleside, a vegetarian Italian restaurant with a cinema upstairs too. Best view

Stop on the Birker Fell road (between the Duddon Valley and Eskdale) where you can see the whole of the south-western Lake District Fells spread out before you. You don’t even have to get out of the car! Favourite shop

Whenever I’m in Grasmere I have to go to the Gingerbread shop – it’s like no gingerbread you’ll taste anywhere else. Favourite bar/pub

The Newfield in Seathwaite is a 17th century inn set amongst the amazing walking country of the Duddon Valley. I can’t think of a better place to round off a day’s walking. Hidden gem

Paddle across Coniston Water and walk across the field to Bank Ground Farm (“Holly Howe” in Swallows and Amazons). Here you can have lunch or afternoon tea. There’s no menu – you just help yourself and pay what you think it’s worth! If you do one thing while you’re here…

Get away from the car! You won’t appreciate the tranquillity of the Lake District until you slow the pace down. W: pathwayswalks.co.uk

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Cheshire

THE ESSENTIALS: Cheshire

THE ESSENTIAL LIST Page 29 How to get here, and where to stay, eat and drink...

THE COUNTRY LIST Page 32 What to see and do...

THE CULTURE LIST Page 33 Everything you need to know about museums, heritage, galleries, theatres and venues...

If you’re after archetypal idyllic British scenery then you need look no further than the lush green peaks and plains of Cheshire.

GETTING HERE

With its gorgeous countryside and abundant produce, Cheshire is awash with picturesque villages, charming country inns and mouth-watering gastropubs and restaurants. You can also take your pick from some of England’s most popular stately homes and gardens, ranging from mansions full of art treasures and historic deerparks to horticultural and historical marvels.

One of the top 20 airports in the world, Manchester Airport sits practically on the Manchester/Cheshire border making a domestic flight a quick and easy way to get here. Easy car hire and a well-connected air rail interchange provide plenty of onward travel options.

By plane

If all that greenery gives you urban withdrawal symptoms, you can always head for Chester, where the city’s remarkable Roman and medieval heritage is mixed with a tempting selection of contemporary charms, ranging from chic new boutiques and restaurants to a leisurely boat cruise along the tree-lined River Dee.

By road

All parts of Cheshire are easily accessible from the main north-south M6 motorway. The attractions of East Cheshire are just 30 minutes drive south of Manchester, with Chester just over an hour away from Manchester along the M56.

By train

Crewe, Wilmslow, Macclesfield, Warrington and Chester are all on direct lines from London, with the journey to Chester taking just a couple of minutes over two hours from London Euston.

MANCHESTER

LIVERPOOL & MERSEYSIDE

STOCKPORT

DUNHAM MASSEY

RAIL

By bus

WARRINGTON LYME PARK

NORTON PRIORY TATTON PARK ELLESMERE PORT

WILMSLOW

A49 A556

FRODSHAM M56

THE EDGE

NORTHWICH A523 DELAMERE FOREST

CHESTER

CHESHIRE PEAKS

Cheshire is well served by National Express (0870 580 8080) from all parts of the country.

GET THE INFO… T: 0845 6477868 W: visitcheshire.com

MACCLESFIELD A53

WINSFORD JODRELL BANK

A51 RAIL

A41

M6

CREWE

STAFFORDSHIRE NANTWICH CHOLMONDELEY CASTLE

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RAIL

29


PLACES TO STAY

The Pheasant Inn

The Green Bough Hotel

PLACES TO EAT & DRINK

Joseph Benjamin

Chester Grosvenor & Spa

Higher Burwardsley, Tattenhall CH3 9PF T: 01829 770434 W: thepheasantinn.co.uk

60 Hoole Road, Chester CH2 3NL T: 01244 326241 W: chestergreenboughhotel.com

The Bells of Peover

Northgate Street, Chester CH1 2HT T: 01244 344295 W: josephbenjamin.co.uk

Tripadvisor’s No.1 hotel in Chester, this restored Victorian town house hotel trails a raft of awards behind it, including Best Small Hotel in England in 2006. Quiet elegance, exemplary service and a location just a few minutes walk from the historic city centre.

One of Cheshire’s most picturesque pubs. Situated down a cute cobbled lane, adjacent to a picture-perfect church, the Grade I-listed building dates from the 13th century but a recent revamp has brought its culinary reputation bang up to date.

Eastgate, Chester CH1 1LT T: 01244 324024 W: chestergrosvenor.com

This luxurious five-star hotel and top-notch spa is a Chester institution and the ultimate Cheshire-set weekend escape. From its Grade II-listed, black and white timbered exterior you may be expecting a cacophony of chintz, but inside it’s all muted contemporary tones and understated elegance, plus a restaurant that has retained its coveted Michelin star for 19 consecutive years.

ABode Chester Grosvenor Rd, Chester CH1 2DJ T: 01244 347000 W: abodehotels.co.uk

Newly opened, this latest outpost of chef Michael Caines’ gastro empire is a spanking new hotel with fantastic views over the city’s racecourse, plus an eponymous restaurant and champagne bar on the fifth floor complete with outdoor terrace. A Michelin star is bound to beckon.

Located right in the middle of the Sandstone Trail, this destination dining inn with boutique hotel-standard rooms makes an ideal base for enjoying Cheshire’s walking country. Take your drink out onto the terrace for the most breathtaking sunset views across the Cheshire Plain to the Welsh mountains.

The White House Manor New Road, Prestbury SK10 4HP T: 01625 829376 W: thewhitehousemanor.co.uk

Restored Georgian townhouse in the leafy Cheshire suburbs voted Northwest Small Hotel of the Year in 2008. Tastefully designed rooms, a delightful garden and a first-class restaurant, plus a location that’s ideal for visiting the statelys at Tatton and Lyme Park or striding out over the Cheshire Peaks.

Oddfellows 20 Lower Bridge Street, Chester CH1 1RS T: 01244 400001 W: oddfellows.biz

This grand 17th century Georgian manor house has been transformed into a sumptuous dining venue, with four luxury boutique suites for staying over in the converted 3rd floor attic space. There’s a wonderful walled garden, a swanky champagne bar and a rather glamorous and grown-up Pantry that does fabulous bistro food and a mean afternoon tea.

Harrop Fold Farm Macclesfield Road, Rainow SK10 5UU T: 01625 560085 W: harropfoldfarm.co.uk

17th century farmhouse given a new lease of life as boutique B&B and self-catering accommodation, with the added attraction of art and cookery courses if you fancy getting creative with a cupcake or two. Fresh flowers, antique beds and soul-lifting views will help you unwind and the superb Aga-cooked breakfast will set you up for the day.

The Cobbles, Knutsford WA16 9PZ T: 01565 722269 W: thebellsofpeover.co.uk

The Duke of Portland Penny’s Lane, Lach Dennis CW9 7SY T: 01606 46264 W: dukeofportland.com

Voted the Northwest’s top gastropub in 2009, this elegant reworking of a traditional Cheshire inn boasts great food, an excellent range of cask ales, plus an extensive outdoor eating area where you can catch the last drop of sunshine at the end of the day whilst looking out over the lush Cheshire countryside. Hog roasts and barbeques in the summer months too.

Located right next to the city walls, this cute deli-restaurant has been voted Chester’s best small restaurant for two years on the trot. The tasting plates are a great way to try the local and homemade delicacies before you buy.

Cheshire Smokehouse Vost Farm, Morley Green, Wilmslow SK9 5NU T: 01625 548499 W: cheshiresmokehouse.co.uk

Nationally famous farm shop with a bijou winery, an artisan bakers and a fabulous cafe. A complete gastronomic destination in the heart of the Cheshire countryside.

Cheshire Peaks pubs

Try The Leathers Smithy at Trentabank Reservoir in Macclesfield Forest, The Crag Inn in Wildboarclough and The Ship Inn at Wincle, to name but three.

PRIME VIEW Neal Bates Operations Manager, Brunning and Price Why I love it

Chester has a truly magical blend of ancient tradition and cosmopolitan chic – it’s got boutique shopping, an amazing racecourse, a beautiful Cathedral, a well stocked zoo, along with some of Cheshire’s best bars and restaurants. Favourite restaurant

Upstairs at the Grill on Watergate Street. The steaks at this Manhattan-style steakhouse and cocktail bar are the best around. My favourite is the 12oz Delmonico with all the trimmings! Best view

From the Roman walls down onto the UK’s oldest racecourse – magnificent. Best shopping/retail experience

Tessuti menswear, Watergate Street. Loads of great labels with lots of lesserknown brands as well. They’ve got a ladies shop in the Grosvenor precinct too. Best outdoor experience

Llandegla Forest is 30 minutes south of Chester, and offers some of the best mountain biking trails in the UK. Favourite bar/pub

The Grosvenor Arms in Aldford, 10 minutes from the city centre. It’s cosy in the winter and has fabulous gardens for those long sunny afternoons. If you do one thing while you’re here…

Stroll along the Roman walls and down to the river, then try a Cheshire farm ice cream from the kiosk near the bandstand – sticky toffee pudding is my favourite.

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THE COUNTRY LIST: Cheshire

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

The Edge

Lyme Park

THEATRES & VENUES

Chester Cathedral

Jodrell Bank Visitor Centre

Cheshire Peak District

B5087 Macclesfield Road, Alderley Edge

Disley, Stockport SK12 2NX T: 01663 762023 W: nationaltrust.org.uk

Clonter Opera Theatre

12 Abbey Square, Chester CH1 2HU T: 01244 324756 W: chestercathedral.com

Holmes Chapel SK11 9DL T: 01477 571339 W: manchester.ac.uk/jodrellbank/viscen

Cheshire’s eastern edge is where you’ll find the county’s most dramatic scenery. There are peaks, forests, lakes and reservoirs with an abundance of country walks and great pubs in-between. Highlights include Teggs Nose, White Nancy, Shutlingsloe (Cheshire’s ‘Matterhorn’) and Shining Tor peaks, the picturesque Wildboarclough valley, Wincle village, Macclesfield Forest and the heart-inthe-mouth journey along the Cat & Fiddle road to Buxton.

Delamere Forest Linmere, Delamere, Northwich CW8 2JD T: 01606 889792 W: forestry.gov.uk

Cheshire’s largest area of woodland, with easy-to-follow forest paths and viewpoints over sun-dappled meres. Cycle hire is available at the forest visitor centre and every summer there’s a series of atmospheric outdoor concerts, with James Morrison and Simply Red on the list for 2010.

Forest-clad red sandstone escarpment with fantastic views across Cheshire, Greater Manchester and beyond. Influence for The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Alan Garner’s famous 1960s children’s book. The Edge’s many caves and cracks are said to be entrances to the netherworld.

Mow Cop A mile east of the A34

Castle folly remains on a hill near Congleton, on the Cheshire-Staffordshire border.

STATELY HOMES & GARDENS Tatton Park Knutsford WA16 6QN T: 01625 534400 W: tattonpark.org.uk

Beeston Castle

Thought to be England’s most complete historic estate, this fine Georgian mansion is full of art treasures and original furnishings, but it is the glorious 1,000 acres of parkland, with lakes and a herd of deer, that most people come to see. Makes a glorious outdoor concert venue in the summer.

Chapel Lane, Beeston CW6 9TX T: 01829 260464 W: visitcheshire.com

Arley Hall and Gardens

Remains of an imposing medieval fortress set on a precipitous rock outcrop that dates back to the Crusades. Worth a visit for the tea shop and the superb views which purportedly stretch over eight counties. 32

THE CULTURE LIST: Chester & Cheshire

Northwich CW9 6NA T: 01565 777353 W: arleyhallandgardens.com

The Hall at Arley is very charming but it’s the gardens that draw the crowds, with Arley cited in the top 10 gardens to visit in the UK.

Set on the edge of the Peak District, this gorgeous country house and grounds will be familiar to many as the setting for Colin Firth’s famous wet T-shirt moment in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice series.

Dunham Massey Altrincham WA14 4SJ T: 0161 941 1025 W: nationaltrust.org.uk

Swettenham Heath, Congleton CW12 2LR T: 01260 224514 W: clonteropera.com

Cheshire’s equivalent of Glyndebourne is this 400-seat opera venue in a gorgeous woodland setting.

Alexander’s Jazz Cafe Rufus Court, Chester CH1 2JW T: 01244 340005 W: alexandersjazz.com

Elegant Georgian mansion whose lovely grounds are home to an ancient herd of fallow deer. Great cream teas too.

Continental-style cafe bar by day and venue for jazz, blues and comedy by night. Reportedly the longest-running comedy club outside London.

Cholmondeley Castle

MUSEUMS & HERITAGE

Malpas SY14 8AH T: 01829 720383 W: cholmondeleycastle.com

This romantic castle looks like something out of a Brontë novel, standing high on a rise above a lake with sweeping grounds that echo to the sound of champagne corks for its annual summer fireworks concert.

Ness Botanic Gardens Neston Road, Ness, Neston CH64 4AY T: 0151 353 0123 W: nessgardens.org.uk

Superb botanic gardens overlooking the Dee Estuary. Winner of the Cheshire’s Large Attraction of the Year award in 2008. Further gardens at www.visitcheshire.com

Norton Priory Museum & Gardens Tudor Road, Manor Park, Runcorn WA7 1SX T: 01928 569895 W: nortonpriory.org

A medieval priory established in 1134 is the basis for an award-winning museum, plus a fabulous walled garden.

Quarry Bank Mill Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 4LA T: 01625 445896 W: nationaltrust,org,uk

If industrial heritage is your bag, this is a real treasure trove – a restored industrial community in the Cheshire countryside complete with working water mill.

This Grade I-listed building dates back to the 16th century and with many modifications over the years it’s like a living architectural text book. The impressive interior and the surrounding gardens and cloisters are an oasis of calm in the city centre bustle.

THINGS TO DO The Rows Eastgate, Chester

Effectively double decker shops, these black and white buildings date from the middle ages but are now packed with contemporary boutiques to taunt your plastic.

Concorde Manchester Airport Aviation Viewing Park, Sunbank Lane, Altrincham WA15 8XQ T: 0161 489 3932

Marvel at one of the 20th century’s most iconic pieces of engineering in a purposebuilt museum hanger at Manchester Airport and you’ll understand why G-BOAC Alpha Charlie was the pride of the BA fleet.

Chester Boat The Groves, Chester CH1 1SD T: 01244 325394 W: chesterboat.co.uk

Go boating on the river Dee, cruising through Chester and the surrounding countryside.

The iconic Lovell Radio Telescope is a prominent feature of the Cheshire skyline. The on-site science centre provides eyeopening 3D views of the solar system while for more down-to-earth pursuits there’s an arboretum and environment centre.

Chester Ghost Tours T: 01244 406626 W: ghostcity.co.uk

Discover your inner Derek Acorah with a trip round what many consider Britain’s ‘most haunted’ city. The Chester Ghosthunter Trail is a night-time guided walk around the city’s spooky and scary places, with tales of eerie goings-on across the centuries.

Chester Zoo Upton-by-Chester CH2 1LH T: 01244 380280 W: chesterzoo.org

You’re never too old for a good zoo, and Chester is one of the best.

JF Polo Academy Nortons Lane, Great Barrow, Cheshire CH37JZ T: 07734 236326 W: jfpoloacademy.com

Go swinging with the Cheshire set and discover whether you’re a natural at one of the world’s most glamorous sports with a two hour introductory lesson. 33


THE ESSENTIALS: Lancashire

Lancashire THE ESSENTIAL LIST Page 35 How to get here, and where to stay, eat and drink...

Lying between Manchester and the Lake District, Lancashire is blessed with a wide range of environments, from its cheeky seaside resorts such as Blackpool and Morecambe to the splendid rolling countryside of the Forest of Bowland and Lune Valley. A new generation of places to stay is now enticing visitors to come and sample its charms, from restored art-deco masterpieces to Michelin-starred country boltholes and boutique B&Bs.

THE COUNTRY LIST Page 38 What to see and do...

THE CULTURE LIST Page 39

Lancashire has also been steadily developing a reputation as one of England’s best foodie locations. From Goosnargh duck to Lancashire cheese, local produce is inspiring a new generation of restauranteurs and retailers. The Ribble Valley Food Trail, which takes in the picturesque towns of Clitheroe, Longridge and a number of villages in the lush Forest of Bowland, is an ideal introduction to the gastronomic delights in store. Visit www.ribblevalleyfoodtrail.com for more information.

Everything you need to know about museums, heritage, galleries, theatres and venues...

GETTING HERE By road

The M6 motorway runs through central Lancashire making it easily accessible from all parts of the UK. Junctions with the M65 and M55 take you off into the east and west of the county respectively.

By train

The west coast mainline from London to Glasgow stops at Preston and Lancaster with London to Preston taking just over two hours. Change at Preston for connections to other parts of Lancashire, including Blackpool and the coast.

By bus

Good bus services throughout Lancashire – check with National Express (0870 580 8080) for routes and timetables and with Traveline (0871 200 2233) for local bus services.

ERIC MORECAMBE STATUE

GET THE INFO…

MORECAMBE

W: visitlancashire.com and tastelancashire.com

LANCASTER

LANCASTER TOWN HALL

FOREST OF BOWLAND FLEETWOOD M6

BLACKPOOL TOWER

A585

A586

A587

CLITHEROE

BLACKPOOL A59

M55

CLITHEROE CASTLE

RAIL M65

LYTHAM ST. ANNE’S

PRESTON

A584

BLACKBURN

A59

PANOPTICONS

ECCLESTON RAIL A565 CUMBRIA A59

M6

M61 MANCHESTER

ORMSKIRK

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PLACES TO STAY

Stanley House

Northcote

PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK

Ye Horns Inn, Goosnargh

Bashall Barn

The Ashton Lancaster

Mellor, Nr Blackburn BB2 7NP T: 01254 769200 W: stanleyhouse.co.uk

Northcote Road, Langho, Blackburn BB6 8BE T: 01254 240555 W: northcote.com

Three Fishes

Goosnargh, Nr Preston PR3 2FJ T: 01772 865230 W: yehornsinn.co.uk

Twitter Lane, Bashall Eaves BB7 3LQ T: 01200 428964 W: bashallbarn.co.uk

Small, boutique hotel which manages to combine a real out-in-the-countryside feel while being just minutes away from the M6 and M65. The quality and attention to detail that have gone into Stanley House started attracting awards almost from the day it opened, and the food in its Cassis restaurant comes highly recommended.

This old manor house set in lush countryside in the Ribble Valley is a destination for serious foodies. Award-winning chef Nigel Haworth has a unique approach to regional specialities (Lancashire cheese ice cream anyone?) and the great wine list means that it’s best to stay overnight in one of the well-appointed rooms.

Dating back to 1720, Ye Horns Inn is a wonderfully characterful, traditional coaching inn that’s been serving fantastic local food and locally brewed ales for generations. Needless to say Goosnargh duck is the speciality and the generous portions mean that doggie bags are provided if you can’t manage to finish. They also do portions of their superb puddings to take away.

Located on a working dairy farm just outside Clitheroe, this farm shop and restaurant has gone from strength to strength and has been voted the best on-farm restaurant in the UK for 2010 in the Local Food Awards.

Wyresdale Road, Lancaster LA1 3JJ T: 01524 68460 W: theashtonlancaster.com

This award-winning B&B is perfectly located for visiting Lancaster, the South Lakes or the Forest of Bowland. A handsome Georgian house, it’s been given a makeover to die for, with dramatic decor, luxurious fabrics and sumptuous bathrooms. Awarded five stars and a Visit Britain gold award within five months of opening, which must be a record.

The Inn at Whitewell Dunsop Road, Whitewell, Nr Clitheroe BB7 3AT T: 01200 448222 W: innatwhitewell.com

Wonderfully atmospheric, rambling old coaching inn dating back to the 1300s, complete with authentic creaking floorboards and the odd stuffed fox. It boasts one of the best views in Lancashire across the beautiful Forest of Bowland, while inside there are roaring fires, a great restaurant and fantastic breakfasts (good black pudding of course). Has a bijou wine merchants on site too.

The Midland Hotel Marine Road West, Morecambe LA4 4BU T: 01524 424000 W: elh.co.uk

A classic piece of 1930s architecture that has been recently restored into an Art Deco-inspired tour-de-force, undoubtedly helping Morecambe to be recently voted best reinvented seaside town by Coast magazine. This little bit of Miami’s South Beach on the Lancashire coast has 30s inspired rooms and enough spa treatments to pamper the most demanding diva.

Penny Street Bridge Penny Street, Lancaster LA1 1XT T: 01524 599 900 W: pennystreetbridge.co.uk

Set in an Edwardian sandstone building this bar, lounge and brasserie also has top-ofthe-range rooms. The feel of a bright, vibrant French bistro but with all the plus points of a traditional English pub.

Number One South Beach 4 Harrowside West, Blackpool FY4 1NW T: 01253 343900 W: numberonehotels.co.uk

This boutique B&B brings a bit of Miami to Blackpool, with superb quality and comfort, along with great views of the Prom.

Mitton Road, Mitton, Nr Whalley BB7 9PQ T: 01254 826 888 W: thethreefishes.com

The Highwayman Burrow, Kirby Lonsdale LA6 2RJ T: 01524 273338 W: highwaymaninn.co.uk

The Clog & Billycock Billinge End Rd, Pleasington, Blackburn BB2 6QB T: 01254 201163 W: theclogandbillycock.com

When he’s not winning Michelin stars for his food at Northcote, Nigel Haworth’s other hobby is Ribble Valley Inns, a small group of coaching inns and country pubs. The Three Fishes was the first to open its doors and its superlative local food continues to draw the crowds and the awards. The Highwayman was named Lancashire’s dining pub of the year in the 2010 Good Pub Guide and the Clog and Billycock is the latest addition to this burgeoning gastro empire – expect the Haworth signature approach of tempting contemporary twists on traditional local fayre.

La Locanda Main Street, Gisburn, Clitheroe BB7 4HH T: 01200 445303 W: lalocanda.co.uk

A village in the heart of the Ribble Valley may not be where you’d expect to find genuine traditional Italian cuisine, but that’s exactly what you’ll find in this cottage-style restaurant. Proprietors Maurizio and Cinzia combine the best fresh local produce with specially imported Italian delicacies to create mouthwatering food that recently saw them voted Taste Lancashire restaurant of the year.

Huntley’s of Salmesbury Whalley Rd, Samlesbury PR5 0UN T: 01772 872820 W: huntleys.co.uk

Another working dairy farm in the Ribble Valley that’s diversified in a big way, Huntley’s has so many strings to its bow it’s now hard to count them. There’s a farm shop selling fantastic local produce, a restaurant, an antique emporium, an ice cream shop that makes and sells over 80 flavours of ice cream, plus it’s home to Barrica Wines, recently voted the top independent wine retailer in the UK.

Cowman’s 13, Castle Street, Clitheroe BB7 2BT T: 01200 423842 W: cowmans.co.uk

Five generations of butchery knowledge have created this nationally renowned sausage emporium that sells over 75 mouthwatering different varieties. Worth the wait in the inevitable queue – you’ll never want to eat a supermarket sausage again.

Byrne’s of Clitheroe 12 King Street, Clitheroe BB7 2EP T: 01200 423152 W: dbyrne-finewines.co.uk

Oenophiles will think they have died and gone to heaven in this independent familyowned wine business dating back to the 1870s. Don’t be fooled by the small exterior – inside is a rabbit warren of caves that display what is reputed to be the largest selection of wines in the country.

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THE COUNTRY LIST: Lancashire

THE CULTURE LIST: Lancashire

PRIME VIEW Jane Cuthbertson Owner, Barrica Wines Why I love it

THINGS TO SEE

Panopticons

MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

HERITAGE

Forest of Bowland

Blackburn, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale W: visitlancashire.com/panopticons

Harris Museum and Art Gallery

Stonyhurst College

Looking around the hills of East Lancashire you’d be forgiven for thinking that the aliens have landed, with this remarkable set of art works set on imposing viewpoints that are visible for miles around. Ranging from a bronze, egg-shaped sculpture in Pendle to an eerily evocative Singing Ringing Tree near Burnley, these are places to contemplate the meaning of life.

Market Square, Preston PR1 2PP T: 01772 258248 W: harrismuseum.org.uk

Hurst Green, Clitheroe BB7 9PZ T: 01254 826345 W: stonyhurst.ac.uk

As well as the gallery and museum, the Harris is also worth a visit for the building itself, a splendid Grade I-listed temple to Victorian civic pride. Inside you’ll find an impressive selection of artworks acquired by the wealthy cotton barons of the day.

Stonyhurst is Lancashire’s answer to Hogwarts – a magnificent 16th century manor house that’s an independent school during term-time but well worth a visit in the summer, when the impressive interiors and extensive gardens are open to the public. JRR Tolkien wrote parts of his Lord of the Rings trilogy whilst staying here, with his mythical Shire supposedly based on the lush local countryside.

W: forestofbowland.com

This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is Lancashire’s hidden gem, a heart-stoppingly beautiful area of rolling hills, lush woodland, burbling rivers and amazing wildlife. Originally a hunting reserve for the monarchy, part of the Forest is still owned by the Duchy of Lancaster. It is also purportedly the inspiration for the idyllic Shire of Lord of the Rings fame.

Beacon Fell Country Park Goosnargh, Nr. Preston PR3 2NL

This gorgeous little country park consists of woodland, moorland and farmland, with the eponymous fell offering spectacular views of the Forest of Bowland and Morecambe Bay. An abundance of wildlife (but don’t try bagging your own Goosnargh duck) and a great place for bilberry picking too.

River Hodder, west of Great Mitton

Pendle Hill

Kendal to Carnforth W: waterscape.com

Nr Colne BB8 9NW

Pendle Hill dominates its surroundings, with views that stretch all the way to the Isle of Man on a clear day. Its dramatic history dates all the way back to the Bronze Age but it is best known for the Pendle Witches, the most famous example of alleged witchcraft in English history. Still makes the most of its spooky past, with large numbers of visitors turning up to climb it every Halloween.

The Great Promenade Show New South Promenade, Blackpool FY4 1RW T: 01253 478104 W: thegreatpromenadeshow.co.uk

This unique collection of wonderful modern sculptures ranges from an astonishing tide organ, whose haunting tunes are created by the action of the waves, to the world’s largest mirror ball, which pays homage to the town’s status as ballroom capital of the world.

Eric Morecambe’s statue Promenade, Morecambe

Bring a little sunshine into your life with a visit to Morecambe’s statue to its most famous son. Guaranteed to make you smile. 38

Cromwell’s Bridge This picturesque bridge earned its name after Oliver Cromwell’s 8,000-strong army crossed it on its way to give the Cavaliers a sound thrashing in the Battle of Preston in 1648.

THINGS TO DO Lancaster Canal One of the UK’s most scenic canals, this 41-mile, lock-free stretch of waterway meanders delightfully through the Forest of Bowland, the rolling countryside of Wyre and the Silverdale coast. A waterbus runs on the canal in the summer months, with a variety of cruises to choose from.

Gisburn Forest Nr Wigglesworth, OS Grid Reference: SD749576 W: forestry.gov.uk

One of the best places in the Northwest to go mountain-biking, Gisburn Forest offers bike trails for all levels of experience, as well as tracks for walking and horseriding.

Blackpool Tower & Circus Promenade, Blackpool FY1 1BJ T: 01253 622242 W: theblackpooltower.co.uk

Lancashire’s mini-Eiffel might be a monument to seaside kitsch, but it’s worth the trip to the top for the superb views across the Irish Sea. The circus is also one of the UK’s best, but it’s the ornate splendour of the Tower Ballroom that’s currently drawing the crowds after its show-stopping appearances on Strictly.

Clitheroe Castle Museum Castle Hill, Clitheroe BB7 1BA T: 01200 424568 W: lancsmuseums.gov.uk

New museum housed in Clitheroe’s picturesque castle which comes complete with 18 acres of lovely formal gardens and a Castle Keep dating back to 1186. As well as the museum there’s an art gallery with changing shows and a spanking new cafe in the museum’s contemporary glass extension.

Haworth Gallery Accrington BB5 2JS T: 01254 233782 W: hyndburnbc.gov.uk

If Tiffany glass is your thing, then you’ll be in seventh heaven in this gallery housing what is considered to be the finest collection in public hands outside the US. Set in an elegant Edwardian country house, the gallery also houses an impressive collection of 19th century oil paintings.

THEATRES & VENUES The Grand Theatre 33 Church Street, Blackpool FY1 1HT T: 01253 290190 W: blackpoolgrand.co.uk

Grand by name and grand by nature, this is a riot of plush velvet, gilt and chandeliers, all restored to its original Victorian splendour. Officially Britain’s National Theatre of Variety, it is the place to catch touring shows, including comedy, opera, and musicals.

Dukes Theatre & Cinema Moor Lane, Lancaster LA1 1QE T: 01524 598500 W: dukes-lancaster.org

Arts venue that covers a lot of bases from theatre, comedy and music performances to cinema screenings and a small gallery.

Hoghton Tower Hoghton, Nr. Preston PR5 0SH T: 01254 852 986 W: hoghtontower.co.uk

A stately home dating back to Norman times, Hoghton Tower has ramparts, dungeons – the works, plus one of the most impressive drives you’ll ever see. William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and King James I have all been guests here, with the latter famously knighting a loin of beef ‘Sir Loin’ at a banquet held in his honour. Reputedly the third most haunted house in Britain.

Lancaster Castle Castle Parade, Lancaster LA1 1YJ T: 01524 64998 W: lancastercastle.com

This prominent spot has been used as a fortification since Roman times and you can trace the centuries through its buildings, including the 12th century Keep and 14th century Witches’ Tower. Candlelit tours of its rooms and passageways make the most of its spooky heritage.

Lancashire’s got such diversity of scenery and facilities. The people are friendly and everything is readily accessible, from town centre shopping to secluded walks. Favourite restaurant

Freemasons Arms at Wiswell. Amazing food served in a relaxed ambiance by staff and owners who can’t do enough for you. Best view

The view from the top of Jeffrey Hill near Longridge. You can look over the reservoir right across the valley. When the sun shines, it’s beautiful. Best outdoor experience

A day out on the Leeds-Liverpool canal from Garstang. Pack a picnic, hire a boat and have a grand day out with friends. Favourite bar/pub

It has to be the Millstone at Mellor. It’s such a welcoming atmosphere, with fabulous food, friendly staff in a beautiful village – the beer’s not bad either. Hidden gem

Ollerton Fold near Withnell in Chorley, a beautiful hamlet in a very picturesque setting, plus a lovely walk down to the river. If you do one thing while you’re here…

Book to see a show in Blackpool at The Grand Theatre. It’s what they do best and the building is gorgeous and worth a visit in it’s own right. W: barricawines.co.uk

Whalley Abbey The Sands, Church Lane, Whalley BB7 9SS T: 01254 828400 W: whalleyabbey.co.uk

These substantial ruins of a 14th century Cistercian Abbey are set in beautiful gardens and woodland beside the River Calder. The town of Whalley is also a good stop-off point on the Ribble Valley food trail – remember to check out Breda Murphy’s award-winning bistro and deli while you’re there.

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THE ESSENTIALS: Liverpool

60 Hope Street

The Quarter

60 Hope St L1 9BZ T: 0151 707 6060 W: 60hopestreet.com

7 Falkner Street L8 7PU T: 0151 707 1965 W: thequarteruk.com

New landmark building at the heart of the remodelled city centre. Right next to the new shopping district Liverpool ONE, plus spectacular views over the waterfront.

Gastronomic destination set over three floors of an old Georgian townhouse. Famed for its seafood, there’s also a more informal cafe/bar bistro in the basement.

Malmaison Liverpool

The London Carriage Works

Relaxed Italian-style bistro-cum cafe, just round the corner from the Liverpool Phil. Pavement tables look out across the wellfilmed Georgian cobbles of Falkner Street, featured in many a BBC period drama.

Hilton Liverpool 3 Thomas Steers Way L1 8LW T: 0800 804 8922 W: hilton.co.uk

7 William Jessop Way, Princes Dock L3 1QZ T: 0151 229 5000 W: malmaison-liverpool.com

Malmaison’s first purpose-built hotel is an elegant addition to the city’s iconic waterfront architecture. All the features you would expect, from the plush interior ambience to the ‘place to be seen in’ bar and brasserie.

Part of the über-chic Hope Street Hotel, this restaurant always attracts rave reviews. Apparently named when construction workers discovered the original sign in the stonework during its refurbishment.

Racquet Club

Everyman Bistro

Hargreaves Building, 5 Chapel Street L3 9AG T: 0151 236 6676 W: racquetclub.org.uk

This refurbished Victorian gentlemen’s club may only have eight rooms but what it lacks in size it makes up for in style with a city chic meets country house vibe. Its Ziba restaurant is also an eating destination in its own right.

After beefing up its cultural credentials with its stint in the spotlight as European Capital of Culture, Liverpool now has a tangibly renewed sense of optimism and self-confidence. A swathe of new hotels, a major new shopping area, a new arena and convention centre — 2008’s frenzy of regeneration and artistic activity has resulted in both a rejuvenated city centre and a permanent uplift in Liverpool’s cultural aspirations. Architecturally, Liverpool is a city of statement and grandeur — it boasts more Georgian terraces than Bath and the imposing Victorian warehouses of the city centre are finding new life as boutique hotels and fine restaurants. On top of that, the city centre is surprisingly compact and easy to get around, and you’d need a heart of stone not to be enchanted by its willfully irreverent wit and bowled over by the warmth of the Liverpudlian welcome. 40

GETTING HERE

PLACES TO STAY

By plane

Hope Street Hotel

Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport is situated just eight miles south of the city centre, with flights to and from many major European cities and an express bus operating to take you into the city centre.

40 Hope St L1 9DA T: 0151 709 3000 W: hopestreethotel.co.uk

Take the westbound M62 off the M6 motorway and it takes you straight into Liverpool city centre. It is also an umbilical cord joining Liverpool to Manchester, only 35 miles away.

Hope Street is the elegant Georgian thoroughfare joining the city’s two cathedrals and along its length you’ll find a concert hall (the Philharmonic), a theatre (the Everyman) and a slew of bars and eateries. The hotel sits half way along it, a 19th century building that was converted into ‘Liverpool’s first boutique hotel’ in 2001. In the intervening time it has won numerous awards for its chic design, impeccable service and classy ambience.

By train

Hard Day’s Night Hotel

By road

Mainline intercity services run into Liverpool Lime Street station from all over the country.

GET THE INFO… Tourist Information Centres Liverpool Visitor Centre Whitechapel L1 6DZ

Liverpool John Lennon Airport Tourist Information Centre Arrival Hall South Terminal L24 1YD Visitor information: T: 0151 233 2008 W: visitliverpool.com Accommodation enquiries: T: 0844 870 0123 W: visitliverpool.com

Central Buildings, 41 North John Street L2 6RR T: 0151 236 1964 W: harddaysnighthotel.com

40 Hope St L1 9DA T: 0151 705 2222 W: thelondoncarriageworks.co.uk

62 Castle Street 62 Castle St L2 7LQ T: 0151 702 7898 W: 62castlest.com

Another revamped Victorian edifice in the heart of Liverpool’s city centre, this bijou boutique hotel has 20 generously-sized suites equipped with all mod-cons, and the ground floor houses a Room restaurant and bar.

PLACES TO EAT & DRINK Alma de Cuba St Peters Church, Seel Street L1 4BH T: 0151 702 7394 W: alma-de-cuba.com

The place to be seen for the style-conscious, this Cuban/Miami/carnival-inspired bar and restaurant serves up crafted cocktails and elegant eats in a refurbished old church.

5–9 Hope Street L1 9BH T: 0151 708 9545 W: everyman.co.uk

Delifonseca 12 Stanley Street L1 6AF T: 0151 255 0808 W: delifonseca.co.uk

A little hidden gem – a foodie cornucopia in the city centre that is the place to go if you have a serious cheese fetish. The restaurant is worth a visit too – the chef is ex-London Carriage Works so expect good things.

HoSt 31 Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9HX T: 0151 708 5831 W: ho-st.co.uk

A Liverpool institution, the Everyman Theatre’s basement bistro has always been a gathering place for local creative types, attracted to the slightly bohemian ambience and the hearty portions of the fabulous homemade food.

Asian fusion food comes to Liverpool in this funky restaurant from the people behind 60 Hope Street. Contemporary design, trendy lighting and a mean duck gyoza are all good reasons to check it out.

The Monro

The Philharmonic

92 Duke Street L1 5AG T: 0151 707 9933 W: themonro.com

36 Hope Street L1 9BX T: 0151 707 2837

Named after a Georgian trading ship, this top-notch gastropub puts the emphasis on quality organic British food. Robust menu with the likes of rabbit pie, Cheshire wild boar, Lancashire ostrich and Welsh buffalo.

Not the Hall, but the staggeringly ornate pub across the road, which boasts the only gentlemen’s toilets in the country that a lady may visit – they’re listed.

Panoramic

27 Parliament Street L8 5RN T: 0151 707 7747 W: thisisleaf.co.uk

West Tower, Brook Street L3 9PJ T: 0151 236 5534 W: panoramicliverpool.com

The name gives it away really – 360º views of the Liverpool skyline are what you get in what is reputed to be Britain’s tallest restaurant at 100m above sea level.

Leaf Tea Shop & Bar This unusual but imaginative venue is a tea shop and gallery by day and a live music venue by night, and is as far away from chintz as you can get. Recently voted in the top 50 UK tea shops by The Independent.

No prizes for guessing the inspiration behind this new four-star hotel just along the way from the Cavern Club. A refurb of a classic city centre Grade II-listed building, the hotel has an on-site restaurant, bar and art gallery, all featuring specially commissioned artworks celebrating the lives of the Fab Four.

Radisson BLU Liverpool 107 Old Hall St L3 9BD T: 0151 966 1500 W: radissonblu.co.uk

This Scandinavian owned hotel is like an ocean liner looking out over the Mersey. Very Scandinavian in feel as well with cool design and a light-filled atrium inside. 41


THE CULTURE LIST: Liverpool

Mr Chambre Hardman’s Photographic Studio 59 Rodney Street L1 9EX T: 0151 709 6261 W: nationaltrust.org.uk

The Georgian house of this acclaimed photographer is a unique time capsule of Liverpool life in the mid-20th century and features an evocative collection of his work.

Museum of Liverpool Pier Head L3 1DG T: 0151 478 4499 W: liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

Due to open in 2011, this new waterfront museum is destined to become a major city landmark as well as showcasing Liverpool’s unique contribution to the world.

THEATRES Liverpool Playhouse Williamson Square L1 1EL T: 0151 709 4776 W: everymanplayhouse.com

ART GALLERIES

FACT

Victoria Gallery & Museum

Walker Art Gallery

88 Wood Street L1 4DQ T: 0151 707 4444 W: fact.co.uk

Ashton Street, Liverpool L69 3DR T: 0151 794 2348 W: liv.ac.uk/vgm

FACT is an award-winning cultural centre dedicated to showcasing the work of artists working in film, video and new media from across the globe. Situated in the Rope Walks area of the city centre, home to music studios and design collectives by day, and to interesting clubs and bars by night.

This gallery devoted to the decorative arts is located in a magnificent Victorian building just behind the Metropolitan Cathedral. Part of Liverpool University and the northern outpost of the V&A, its fine cafe makes an ideal afternoon tea location.

William Brown St L3 8EL T: 0151 478 4199 W: liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

The Walker sits at the heart of Liverpool’s central cultural quarter alongside the magnificent neo-classical St George’s Hall. Often referred to as ‘the National Gallery of the North,’ it is renowned for the breadth and depth of its collections, ranging from renaissance masterpieces to contemporary pieces by the iconic names in modern art.

Tate Liverpool Albert Dock L3 4BB T: 0151 702 7400 W: tate.org.uk/liverpool

The Liverpool outpost of the Tate empire is housed in a wonderful conversion of Grade I-listed warehouses at Albert Dock. The UK’s largest modern art gallery outside London, it draws on the wide range of 20th and 21st century artwork from the Tate Collection and develops its own innovative changing exhibitions programme.

View Two Gallery 23 Mathew Street L2 6RE T: 0151 236 9444 W: viewtwogallery.co.uk

Behind an unassuming doorway in the Cavern Quarter you’ll find Liverpool’s leading independent gallery – a positive Aladdin’s cave of contemporary art. Only open from noon on Thursdays through to Saturday. 42

The Bluecoat School Lane L1 3BX T: 0151 702 5324 W: thebluecoat.org.uk

This Grade I-listed old schoolhouse has been a focus for contemporary arts, crafts and design in the city since the 1960s. A £12.5million transformation in 2009 has restored the building to its former glory, with the addition of a spanking new art gallery and performance space.

Lady Lever Art Gallery Lower Rd, Port Sunlight Village, Wirral CH62 5EQ T: 0151 478 4136 W: liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

The Lever Brothers soap magnate, William Hesketh Lever, did a lot for this part of the world. Not only did he build the delightful garden village of Port Sunlight (named after his famous soap) but he also created within it the beautiful Lady Lever Art Gallery to house his extensive collection of art. Worth crossing the Mersey for.

Antony Gormley’s Another Place Crosby Beach, Crosby W: visitliverpool.com

Not strictly a gallery, but Antony Gormley’s series of 100 life-sized iron ‘men’ spread over 3km of sandy beach is a great example of good public art at its most affecting.

Liverpool Empire

THINGS TO SEE

Lime Street L1 1JE T: 0844 847 2525 W: liverpoolempire.org.uk

St George’s Hall

The largest two-tier theatre in the country, and the place to see big musicals and shows.

MUSIC VENUES Liverpool Philharmonic Hall Hope Street L1 9BP T: 0151 709 3789 W: liverpoolphil.com

The Philharmonic Hall is a riot of art-deco flourishes, from the window etchings in the bar to the frescoes of mythological muses on the auditorium walls. Home to a resurgent Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, whose conductor Vasily Petrenko is so on-side he even plays for the orchestra football team.

Cavern Club 8–10 Mathew Street L2 6RE T: 0151 236 1965 W: cavernclub.org

Housed in a 19th century music hall, this 700-seat theatre has one of the UK’s oldest repertory theatre companies. Produces three or four of its own shows per year, interspersed with quality touring product.

Infamous as the first home of the Fab Four, this is probably the most well-known club in the world. It has remained faithful to the original Merseybeat décor and is obviously a huge draw to the Beatles tourist crowds.

Everyman Theatre

O2 Academy Liverpool

13 Hope Street L1 9BH T: 0151 709 4776 W: everymanplayhouse.com

11–13 Hotham Street L3 5UF T: 0151 707 3200 W: o2academyiverpool.co.uk

This small but consistently innovative theatre is where every Liverpool actor and writer you can think of – from Julie Walters to Willy Russell – cut their creative teeth.

Formerly known as The Lomax, this 19th century warehouse is the place to see rock legends, indie all-stars and cutting edge dance and urban acts.

Royal Court Theatre

Echo Arena Liverpool

Roe Street L1 1HL T: 0870 787 1866 W: royalcourtliverpool.com

Home of the Rawhide comedy club, the stalls of this old theatre have been replaced with cabaret-style tables and a packed programme of local and national comedians.

Kings Dock L3 4HP T: 0844 8000 400 W: accliverpool.co.uk

Shiny new state-of-the-art concert venue at Kings Dock by the side of the Mersey. Now the main venue in town for big name concerts, comedy and sports events.

William Brown Street L1 1JJ T: 0151 225 6909 W: stgeorgesliverpool.co.uk

Considered to be the finest neo-classical building in Europe, St George’s Hall is worth seeing both inside and out.

Three Graces Pier Head, North of Albert Dock T: 0151 233 2008 W: visitliverpool.com

Together, the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building create one of the most recognisable waterfronts in the world. Officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Albert Dock Albert Dock L3 4AF W: albertdock.com

This collection of restored Grade I-listed warehouses is home to many of Liverpool’s museum and heritage attractions, including Tate Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Cathedral House, Mount Pleasant L3 5TQ T: 0151 709 9222 W: liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk

Irreverently known as Paddy’s Wigwam by locals, the Metropolitan Cathedral stands at one end of the aptly-named Hope Street that connects it with its Anglican counterpart.

Liverpool Cathedral 6 Cathedral Close, St James Mount L1 7AZ T: 0151 709 6271 W: liverpoolcathedral.org.uk

Largest cathedral in the UK, 5th largest in the world, highest gothic arches in the world, UK’s largest church organ – the list goes on.

MUSEUMS Merseyside Maritime Museum Albert Dock L3 4AQ T: 0151 478 4499 W: liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

Fascinating museum devoted to the history of shipping in Britain from the 13th century onwards.

World Museum Liverpool William Brown Street L3 8EN T: 0151 478 4393 W: liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

Historic treasures from across the globe, with internationally important collections in archaeology, ethnology and the natural and physical sciences, plus a Planetarium. 43


THE ESSENTIALS: Manchester

Hilton Manchester

City Inn Manchester

303 Deansgate M3 4LQ T: 0161 870 1600 W: hilton.co.uk/manchester

1 Piccadilly Place, 1 Auburn Street M1 3DG T: 0161 228 0008 W: cityinn.com

Set in the bottom half of Beetham Tower, the gleaming glass edifice that punctuates the city skyline, the Hilton Manchester is cool, Scandinavian-esque and has views to die for. Take the trip up to the lush cocktail bar on the 23rd floor for giddying panoramic views over the city and the countryside beyond.

If you like your hotels simple, stylish and contemporary then the City Inn is an ideal choice. In a very handy location, connected by a curving footbridge to Piccadilly station..

Velvet Manchester

Shiny modern hotel in a great location, right on the edge of the Northern Quarter. Ideal if you’re going to an event at the Arena.

2 Canal Street M1 3HE T: 0161 236 9003 W: velvetmanchester.com

Situated at the chilled end of Manchester’s gay village, Velvet has been one of Canal Street’s best destinations for food and drink for over a decade. With nineteen New York loft-style bedrooms in the adjacent Velvet Hotel means you don’t have far to walk home.

ABode Manchester 107 Piccadilly M1 2DB T: 0161 247 7744 W: abodehotels.co.uk/manchester

Manchester’s history as the world’s ‘original modern’ city is writ large on its impressive Victorian streets, now juxtaposed with thoroughly up-to-the-minute shards of steel and glass as the city’s skyline comes over all Manhattan. But this contemporary attitude is still mixed with the down-to-earth humour and genuine, no-nonsense approach to life that you’d expect in the city that’s consistently shown that there are no limits to its imagination or its ambition. There’s a buzz about the place that makes it as vibrant and immediate as any European capital. Manchester is now the ideal destination for the cosmopolitan weekender, with its distinctive tram system making the city really easy to get around and its rich selection of museums, galleries and theatres ensuring that you’ll never be short of things to see and do.

44

GETTING HERE

PLACES TO STAY

By plane

The Lowry Hotel

One of the top 20 airports in the world, you can fly into Manchester from over 200 worldwide destinations. There’s a direct half hourly rail service into the city centre that takes about 20 minutes or alternatively you can take a cab for the approximate nine-mile trip.

By train

On the west coast mainline service from London to Glasgow – services are frequent so one of Mr Branson’s Pendolinos will get you to Manchester from London in just over two hours. There are frequent direct trains from Manchester to Liverpool, so you can sample a bit of what both cities have to offer without too much difficulty.

By road

Manchester is at the centre of the extensive Northwest motorway network so it’s easy to get at from all sides of the country. London’s about a three-hour drive and you can nip down the M62 to Liverpool, just 35 miles away, in no time at all.

GET THE INFO… W: visitmanchester.com T: 0871 222 8223

50 Dearmans Place, Chapel Wharf M3 5LH T: 0161 827 4000 W: thelowryhotel.com

Located on the Salford side of the river Irwell, where the clean white exterior of one of Rocco Forte’s landmark hotels fits perfectly against the curves of Santiago Calatrava’s Trinity Bridge. All the comfort and mod cons you’d expect, plus an on-site luxury spa.

Radisson Edwardian Free Trade Hall, Peter Street M2 5GP T: 0161 835 9929 W: radisson.com

Built originally as a paean to free trade and democracy, the Free Trade Hall spent most of its life as a concert venue, primarily as the home of the Hallé Orchestra. Its reincarnation as a five-star luxury hotel has been handled sensitively, with the musical theme pervading its suites, restaurants and bars.

Chic, contemporary refurbishment of a Victorian cotton merchant’s warehouse and part of chef Michael Caines’ hotel empire. The eponymous MC restaurant on the hotel’s lower floor has upped the city’s dining ante with its sublime modern British cooking.

Malmaison Manchester Piccadilly M1 1LZ T: 0161 278 1000 W: malmaison.com

Smart and somewhat theatrical hotel with all the touches you’d expect from a Mal. Well located near Piccadilly station and close to Canal Street, the interior is all rich colours, plush carpets and velvet cushions, producing a suitably seductive mood for cocktail hour.

Crowne Plaza 70 Shudehill M4 4AP T: 0161 828 8600 W: cpmanchester.com

Staying Cool

SA

&

Castlefield, Manchester Central and Cathedral Quarter T: 0161 832 4060 W: stayingcool.com

Chic and über-stylish serviced apartments in good locations across the city centre that combine boutique standard self-catering accommodation with top hotel-type services.

PLACES TO EAT & DRINK Canal Street

The UK’s original gay village is still one of the most exciting areas of the city, with a range of bars and cafes running along the canalside.

Northern Quarter

By day it’s the place to shop for hip vintage clothing, vinyl and crafts, by night it’s about the individualistic bars, from the laid-back quirkiness of Noho, Common, Cord, Odd and Trof to the sophisticated mixology of Black Dog Ballroom, Walrus and Socio Rehab.

Harvey Nicks Brasserie 21 Cathedral Street M1 1AD T: 0161 828 8888 W: harveynichols.com

Head to the second floor for great brasserie

food, plus an award-winning restaurant with panoramic views over Exchange Square.

Yang Sing 34 Princess Street M1 4JY T: 0161 236 2200

Frequently cited as the best Chinese restaurant in Europe, this Manchester institution has a vast 300-dish menu.

Grado New York Street, Piccadilly M1 4BD T: 0161 238 9790

Surprisingly authentic tapas bar and restaurant with a wine list of over 100 Spanish specialities. Muy bien.

Mr Thomas’s Chop House 52 Cross Street M2 7AR T: 0161 832 2245

One of the best wine lists in town, all the better to wash down the exemplary English food which yes, does include chops.

Ning 92–94 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter M4 1LJ T: 0161 238 9088 W: ningcatering.com

A fantastic range of fresh and aromatic South East Asian food. Reckoned by some to have the best Pad Thai this side of Bangkok.

Peveril of the Peak 127 Great Bridgewater Street M1 57Q T: 0161 236 6364

This gem of a pub, where the splendidly tiled green exterior is matched by the splendid ales on offer inside.

The Briton’s Protection 50 Great Bridgewater Street M1 5LE T: 0161 236 5895

Historic pub where you can rub shoulders with the Hallé’s brass section as they nip out the back of The Bridgewater Hall for a quick interval half.

The Midland Hotel Peter Street M60 2DS T: 0161 236 3333 W: qhotels.co.uk

This imposing red brick edifice is the granddaddy of the Manchester hotel scene, dating back to 1903. The Grade II-listed building has been tastefully and extensively refurbished for the 21st century, ensuring that every luxury is readily available, whilst still keeping its stately sense of history.

45


THE CULTURE LIST: Manchester MUSEUMS

ART GALLERIES

MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry)

Manchester Art Gallery

Liverpool Road, Castlefield M3 4FP T: 0161 832 2244 W: mosi.org.uk

As you would expect in the city that kick started the Industrial Revolution, this museum is full of fascinating insights into England’s industrial history and also boasts a great collection of planes, trains, cars and steam engines.

Imperial War Museum North The Quays, Trafford M17 1TZ T: 0161 836 4000 W: iwm.org.uk/north

Designed by Daniel Libeskind, IWM North is a real attention-grabber – more like architecture as environmental sculpture. On the inside, its thought-provoking exhibitions have won it a prestigious national silver award in the Enjoy England tourism awards 2009.

Manchester Museum Oxford Road M13 9PL T: 0161 275 2634 W: manchester.ac.uk/museum

Part of Manchester University, the museum covers all the ‘ologies’ from archaeology to zoology. The original building was the work of Alfred Waterhouse, architect of Manchester Town Hall, with the 2003 refurbishment undertaken by Ian Simpson, architect of the new Beetham Tower.

People’s History Museum Left Bank, Spinningfields M3 3ER T: 0161 838 9190 W: phm.org.uk

Recently reopened after a £13million refit and extension, this national museum focusses on the struggle of working people in the UK to achieve democracy, starting with the demands for parliamentary representation that led to the Peterloo Massacre through the struggle for universal suffrage to the political state of the nation in the modern day. Part of the building is a lovingly restored old pumphouse, which sits happily next to the light and airy new architecture of the main galleries. Great new cafe space overlooking the River Irwell too.

46

Mosley Street M2 3JL T: 0161 235 8888 W: manchestergalleries.org

Gallery showing off the wealth of the city’s artistic legacy, including its famous collection of Pre-Raphaelites and a great selection of modern pieces. A new sculpture by Antony Gormley adorns the light filled atrium.

The Lowry Pier 8, Salford Quays M50 3AZ T: 0843 208 6000 W: thelowry.com

Landmark building set against the vast water and sky background of The Quays at Salford. A whole day out in itself with art galleries, two theatres, a gift shop and several restaurants.

Whitworth Art Gallery The University of Manchester, Oxford Road M15 6ER T: 0161 275 7450 W: whitworth.manchester.ac.uk

The Library Theatre St Peter’s Square M2 5PD T: 0161 236 7110 W: librarytheatre.com

Great collection of art and design, from watercolours, prints, drawings, modern art and sculpture. Superb cafe too.

Manchester’s Library Theatre Company is the oldest repertory theatre company in the UK. It’s about to go walkabout to other venues sometime in 2010 as it prepares to move to a new home in the refurbished Theatre Royal.

Chinese Arts Centre

Contact

Market Buildings, Thomas St M4 1EU T: 0161 832 7271 W: chinese-arts-centre.org

This national showcase for Oriental culture is a great place to catch exhibitions by Chinese artists. The centre’s chilled-out tea shop also provides a haven of peace and tranquillity.

Cornerhouse 70 Oxford Street M1 5NH T: 0161 200 1500 W: cornerhouse.org

The best place in the city for contemporary art, sculpture and photography. Also houses a three-screen arthouse cinema, a fine bar and a welcoming, easy-going cafe.

THEATRES The Royal Exchange St Ann’s Square M2 7DH T: 0161 833 9833 W: royalexchange.co.uk

Consistently top-notch performances in both the Main and Studio theatres but worth a visit just to see the jaw-dropping, dramatic interior that was once the city’s Cotton Exchange.

Oxford Road M15 6JA T: 0161 274 0600 W: contact-theatre.org

Architecturally madcap building that looks almost Gaudi-esque. With a stated mission of catering for the 13–30 age group, the theatrical product veers towards the cutting edge and contemporary.

Palace Theatre Oxford Road M1 6FT T: 0161 245 6600 W: livenation.co.uk

The major venue in Manchester for touring West End productions, this is a classic example of a Victorian variety theatre – all gilded statues and red plush seating.

Opera House Quay Street M3 3HP T: 0161 828 1700 W: livenation.co.uk

Slightly smaller sister venue to the Palace, this is another traditional theatre venue, veering more towards opera, ballet and one-off comedy or musical shows.


Your guide to the very best of culture and countryside in England’s Northwest

Volume 2 Issue 1: where culture comes first

www.primenorthwest.co.uk

Volume 2, Issue 1

Spring/Summer 2010

The Lakes Come Alive! Inside

CUMBRIA MAKES A SPECTACLE OF ITSELF GET PRIMED FOR PICASSO AT TATE LIVERPOOL PLUS THE CULTURE & COUNTRYSIDE LISTS FOR ENGLAND’S NORTHWEST

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