4 overlooked small cities of the North West that are worth your while
The English North West only consists of Manchester, Liverpool and Preston, right? Wrong! In the first article on our blog, we will focus on four beautiful, yet often overlooked small cities of the North West.
This rainy and windy region of England offers so much more than its biggest urban centres. Leave the traffic and noise behind – we’re taking you on an adventure!
Ambleside – the real heart of the Lake District
Although The Lake District is an absolute classic when it comes to holidays, it’s really hard to get tired of it! Honestly, there are few things better than after walking up a steep rocky summit just to look down and see a valley of green with tiny lakes and small settlements peppered around. Oh, and did we mention there are sheep grazing about? It’s one of the most breathtaking parts of the UK in our book, perfect for a visit at any time of the year.
However, we’ve noticed something. When we talk about Lake District, the first city that comes to mind is Windermere. It’s not surprising – after all if you arrive from Southern parts of the country, or even Cumbria, it’s the first bigger town you are going to encounter.
And while we can’t deny it its picturesqueness or importance, there’s much more to Lake District than just Windermere.
One of the examples is definitely Ambleside, a town located a couple kilometers up North from Windermere. Let’s talk about why you should head there for your next excursion.
Ambleside lies at the feet of such peaks as Red Screes, High Street and Fairfield, which all open up to Helvellyn – the third-highest point in England. What is more, it is where plenty of mountain trails meet. That makes Ambleside a perfect base for hiking trips.
If you’re afraid you’re going to miss out on the Windermere Lake, don’t be! If you head out from Bowness-on-Windermere, you can reach Ambleside by both road and water. Yes, Ambleside also has access to the Lake! However, contrary to Windermere, it has more of a mountain-y and less tourist-y feel to it. You’re much more likely to see hardened, wind-hewn faces and North Face jackets than shorts and flip-flops.
Lancaster/Morecambe – more than meets the eye
While being a small student town, Lancaster offers much more than crowded night outs in dodgy clubs and three Jagerbombs for a fiver.
It’s a city with history, the remnants of which are filling its streets. Lancaster was one of the sides of the War of The Roses, the red-colored flower still being an important symbol of the town. Visit the Lancaster Castle or take a walk down the ancient Roman Lune Aqueduct.
Not really interested in history? Just take a walk around the centre and appreciate beautiful, quirky architecture. Go see the Ashton Memorial erected by Lord Ashton in memory of his deceased wife. It’s one of the most breathtaking buildings in the entire city and definitely one of the most beautiful parks we’ve ever seen – one you can lose yourself for hours in!
Pop in to Hodgson’s Chippy for an award-winning fish and chips. Oh, and make sure to visit the market (every Wednesday and Saturday)! It’s the best opportunity to try locally made pies, hog buns and fish, as well as to buy some food for the soul – second-hand books and records!
While Lancaster enjoys a fair share of popularity among holidaymakers, it is a neighboring city of Morecambe that’s one of the most overlooked small cities of the North West. Once a sprawling seaside resort, Morecambe had a bit of a falling out from grace starting in the 1980s. However, all it takes is one walk down the promenade, a cone of chips in hand, to completely fall in love with the city.
Penrith – the most overlooked gem of the North West
Out of all the locations in this article, we believe Penrith is definitely the most overlooked small city of the North West. You never really think of Penrith and say “hey, we should go there for our next weekend escape”. You should though! It’s an undiscovered gem that offers much more than meets the eye.
Once you exit the train station, you will immediately notice the ruins of Penrith Castle, a structure built in the 14th century to defend the land against the Scots. Take a moment to walk around within the walls. We love to just close our eyes and imagine being transported to the castle’s finest times.
Just outside the ruins, there’s a beautifully designed Castle Park with its memorial gate and symmetrical tree lanes. If you feel like having a longer walk, we recommend going to the centre. The web of tiny narrow streets is the only maze we’d love to get lost in, and Penrith has got its fair share of passages and entries you feel like you’re the first one discovering.
Last, but not least, Penrith is located just a couple kilometres North East from the Lake District, with whom it has got an excellent train and bus connection. That makes this town a perfect base to go on hikes.
Chester – ancient romanticism with a modern twist
We close off our list with Chester – a town that has its roots in the ancient Roman conquests. It was created as a supply fortress for the armies. Its defensive beginnings are still visible, as one of the main historical attractions are the Chester city walls dating back to the 1st century AD. It’s a city that lives and breathes ancient history. While taking a walk down the walls, you might notice an amphitheater. There are also the hauntingly beautiful Roman Gardens with walking lanes surrounded with shards and bases of ancient columns.
There’s something special about cities such as Chester. The town itself is very much forward-looking, yet the ghosts of the past seem to be walking down its streets. It’s good to take a moment and try to hear their voices telling us stories about the lives of people centuries ago.
Do you agree with our list of overlooked small cities of the North West that are worth visiting? What city would you add? If you’ve had a chance to visit one of these, please feel free to share your experience in the comments below!
If not, and you’d like to, over here at LuvHolidayHomes, we can help you book your next unforgettable experience. Check us out and book now!
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