It is a region with great cities of international standing and equally great rural landscapes
Things To Do
Follow in the footsteps of Peter Rabbit – visit Beatrix Potter’s tiny home, Hill Top, near Sawrey in Cumbria, where you’ll see recognisable landmarks depicted in her illustrated children’s books. It’s owned by the National Trust, fittingly, since it was Beatrix Potter that helped to found the organisation.
Take a leisurely trip on the Lancaster Canal that flows for 41 miles from Preston to Tewitfield, and through Lancaster. With no locks and great views of the Silverdale coast and the Forest of Bowland, it’s a scenic journey.
With the epic Mancunian TV soap now filmed at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays, take a guided Coronation Street Tour behind the scenes of the former site, where you can have your picture taken at the bar when you visit the Rover’s Return and pick up on gossip of the Street.
Visit Liverpool and take the ferry across the Mersey. Mersey Ferries operate River Explorer Cruises up and down the river.
At a leisurely speed, take a chauffeur-driven Isle of Man Trike Tour around the 37¾-mile TT Races motorcycle course. Starting at the Grandstand in Douglas, you’ll see iconic landmarks of the course.
When To Visit
If you plan to go to Lancashire, you could visit Blackpool for Showzam, a 10-day festival of circus, magic and variety entertainment every February and, of course, the Blackpool Illuminations, held since 1879, between August and November each year. If that sounds far too ordinary, there’s always World Gravy Wrestling in Bacup, held every August!
Visit Greater Manchester and see Chinatown burst into a riot of colour during February’s Chinese New Year celebrations, while July sees the spectacular RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park. Or head to Merseyside for the Grand National in April, while the International Beatleweek Festival is in August.
The M6 (A74M from Scotland) running up and down the west of England makes access to the north west quick and easy. From the east of England the M62 crosses the Pennines north of Manchester direct to the centre of Liverpool. An alternative route to Greater Manchester and Merseyside is via the M56 and the M53 into The Wirral.
Tolls are applicable on the Mersey Tunnels between Birkenhead, Wallasey and Liverpool, with hefty breakdown charges including an additional surcharge if you’ve broken down due to a fuel shortage or flat tyre. Check restrictions if you are hoping to tow your caravan along these routes. The Queensway Tunnel (from Birkenhead) has a maximum gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes, plus 3.9-metre height, 2.7-metre width and 12-metre length restrictions. Larger/heavier vehicles/outfits can cross using the Kingsway Tunnel (from Wallasey) where the maximum height is 5 metres, width is 2.9 metres and length 12.2 is metres.
Minor roads in Cumbria can be very narrow with few passing places and lined with stone walls so do check prior to travelling to a campsite about access. In particular avoid using the Kirkstone, Honister, Wrynose and Hardknott Passes. They are particularly narrow and some of the highest, steepest roads in the country – they are not suitable for towing caravans. The A592 running along the edge of Windermere from Newby Bridge to Bowness-on-Windermere can become heavily congested at weekends, bank holidays and peak season, so anticipate delays on this route.
Travel to the Isle of Man via two ferries (Ben-my-Chree and Manannan) operated by the Steam Packet Company with crossings to Douglas from Heysham, Liverpool, Dublin and Belfast. Vehicles towing caravans must provide accurate details of height and length at the time of booking as vehicles in excess of the declared length/weight may be refused shipment. If accepted, the vehicle will be subject to a surcharge.