Manchester, Liverpool and North West Travel Guide

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Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle

Manchester and Liverpool occupy the opposite ends of an axis, the Manchester Ship Canal, which runs through the middle of old Lancashire county. An industrial area of northwest England, this region is famous for its gritty, hardscrabble colliery and mill towns, music legends and football (soccer) teams. The Beatles and other purveyors of the Mersey Beat put Liverpool on the map in the 1960s. Since the 1980s and 90s Manchester United, an unstoppable football powerhouse, and Oasis, a heavily Beatles-influenced rock band, have added glitter to the city’s grim industrial past.

Though the history of the area can be traced back to William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book, the industrial revolution and shipping in the 18 th and 19 th centuries effectively brought the Northwest of England to international prominence. Cotton mills produced material for export and depended on the importation of raw cotton from the American South. This source dried up during the American Civil War with devastating consequences for Lancashire mills. Liverpool became the predominant port in England during the 18 th , 19 th and early 20 th centuries, carrying slaves and immigrants, as well as first-class passengers, to America in tall ships and ocean liners. Today, the Liverpool docks have been transformed into a cultural center that, among other things, celebrates the shipping and musical heritage of the city.

Besides the post-industrial cities of Liverpool and Manchester, visitors to the Northwest should take in the unique cultural experience of Blackpool, a seaside town with a flair for the kitschy. The Blackpool Tower, a smaller scaled replica of the Eiffel Tower, can be seen from miles away on a clear day. The whole town seems to revel in its carnival atmosphere. For a more subdued experience of seaside bathing on the chilly Irish Sea, try Southport, a genteel Victorian town situated between Liverpool and Blackpool.

Accommodations in the Northwest cater to short visits in a range of hotels and B&Bs or long-term visits in rented, self-catering cottages, apartments, and canal boats. Even walkers who take advantage of the many public footpaths that crisscross the countryside and bicyclists will find lodging suited to their particular needs.


Contributors

September 22, 2004 change by davidx

July 17, 2009 change by kimerly

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