2008’s European Capital of Culture, Liverpool, still reigns strong as one of Northern England’s most visited cities. Whether you’re looking to discover the music scene that gave birth to The Beatles, walk along the famous Pier Head Waterfront or catch one of the city’s world famous football teams in action, there’s plenty to keep you busy in the legendary Liverpool. An extensive bus and train network serve the city, but for a more entertaining way to get around town, here are a few alternatives.
Since the country’s first steam railway opened up in 1825, England has become a champion of rail travel, with a vast network of tracks running the length and breadth of the country. Today, high speed, comfortable trains run from London to destinations in every corner of the UK, as well as the cross-channel Eurostar running to locations in France and Belgium.
“Remember, remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason, why gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot.” So goes the famous British rhyme, a reminder of the fateful night back in 1605 when Guy Fawkes and a team of catholic conspirators hatched a bold plot to smuggle gunpowder into the cellars of the House of Lords and blow up the capital’s famed Houses of Parliament with the King, Lords and Commons inside. The conspiracy, uncovered the night before, didn’t quite go to plan, with Fawkes, being arrested, tortured and executed for his part and Londoners taking to the streets to light bonfires in celebration of their King being saved.
An industrial city tracing the southernmost borders of Yorkshire, Sheffield is perhaps best known as the gateway to the Peak District, one of England’s most popular National Parks. While not technically part of Sheffield, the city makes a great starting point for hikers and campers, and with some 22 million annual visitors to the park, there’s a steady stream of visitors passing through.
With the UK’s biggest festival, Glastonbury, on its biennial hiatus, its up to the Leeds and Reading Festivals to fly the flag for England’s rock scene in 2012 and with a line-up that reads like a who’s who of the alternative music industry, it looks likely that they’ll live up to demand.
Dating back to 1971, Reading is one of the UK’s longest running festivals and since its sister festival started up in Leeds in 1999, the two festivals have run simultaneously over the final bank holiday weekend of the summer.
When you’re looking for somewhere to stay in England, don’t just think hotels, or even bed-and-breakfasts. I recently stayed at a conference center when there was no conference going on, and it was an excellent, budget option. It was part of CCT who have three venues dotted around south England, all of them close to places you probably want to visit.
1) Belsey Bridge, Ditchingham, East Anglia