Or so the saying goes…
I am a northern girl through and through, which is mainly backed up by my inability to go more than two hours without a cup of tea, and a yearning to have cake at every opportunity.
I grew up in the North (Manchester to be precise) and I have never really had the desire to move further south than Nottingham – where I did a stint back in 2009 before realising that a particular university course was not for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love London; I really do. I love the hustle and bustle of the city life; I love that you can turn a street corner and be met by little-cobbled mews streets intertwined within the main tourist spots and I love that every time I visit, I discover something new. And even when I was younger, I felt as though I needed to be there to get anywhere with my career.
But as it happened, I stayed up in Manchester, and I absolutely love it up here. I know one day I will move to a different city, but the North West is my home for now. So when The Car People got in touch to ask whether I would like to celebrate the beauty of the North, I couldn’t say no!
Here is my round up of all the amazing places in the North that I hope encompasses the beauty above the A50!
Where better place to start? The city I have called home for almost 27 years, and the one I will be sad to leave one day. Manchester has it all; a great music scene, more bars than you can visit, a huge shopping centre, countless green spaces, quirky cafes, 5-star restaurants, a supportive blogging scene – the list is endless. Often described as the London of the north, you have everything within walking distance instead of losing the will to live on the tube.
Chester is one of those places that I’ll never get bored of going to. I’ve been more times than I can count, but I am always the one to suggest it. It’s less than a 30 minute drive from my house, but feels as though you’re somewhere completely different. The Roman walls, amphitheatre and beautiful ruins, make this city a must visit if you’re up north. And obviously being home to the races means that day drinking is always acceptable!
I’ve only been to Skipton once a couple of years ago, but I fell in love. It was so quaint and peaceful, but had enough there that you wouldn’t get bored. And if you do get to visit in summer, there were a lot of pubs that backed on to the canal, making them a perfect beer drinking spot!
If you’ve followed my blog for a while or have my on social media, you’ll know that York is one of my favourite places in the country. It reminds me of being in Harry Potter, and I love that there’s always something new to explore. The amount of old English pubs amongst unconventional cocktail bars make it a very popular destination for travellers from all over the world. And you can sit by the river and get merry. Plus they have the nicest fudge shop ever!
Me and my boyfriend visited the Lake District this time last year, and we’ve always been desperate to go back and visit some new places. We stayed in Borrowdale, which was about 10 minutes from Keswick, and it was one of the most calming experiences I have ever had. There was little phone signal, which was actually a blessing, and we got to have some of the nicest food I have ever tasted in loads of different restaurants. Definitely somewhere I would recommend, and absolutely stunning scenery.
Only about 15 minutes from my house, but completely different to my nearest town of Altrincham. Knutsford is always somewhere I thought that rich, old, middle-class people lived (which they definitely still do…) and had nothing for cool, hip twenty-somethings, but some of the best nights out I’ve had have been here. It reminds me quite a lot of Chester but on a smaller scale and is home to the beautiful Tatton Park. There’s also a selection of different restaurants and bars, and you’re really spoilt for choice as some of them are incredible. There’s a monthly food market too, which is worth a visit if you’re ever up this way.
One of my favourite places south of Manchester is Chorlton, as it feels like a smaller version of the city but not as busy. Chorlton is one of those places that you feel you might need a beard and to own something from a charity shop to fit in, but even if you don’t, the amount of food and drink choices you have will keep you entertained. A short walk down the road is Chorlton Water Park, which is a tranquil paradise.
I spent a lot of time in Lymm growing up as my Grandparents lived there so I will always have a special connection to the village. It is only a short drive from my house but is often overlooked because there isn’t that much to do there (although it has one of the best ice cream parlours I have ever been to). If you fancy a walk, it takes between 1-2 hours along the canal from Altrincham, and is worth it if A) you want to do something different and don’t mind walking in a straight line and B) it’s lovely and sunny!
Llandudno is one of those places that you assume is just full of older people; I mean it is, but it’s also a really cute little seaside down. I went here a couple of years ago and ended up taking a wrong turn and driving up to the top of Great Orme, which is basically a giant hill for those of you who don’t know… but it turned out to be quite a great mistake as the views were amazing. They also had a toboggan at the top and a skylift which I definitely wasn’t expecting.
Keeping on topic, last bank holiday, myself and a couple of friends took a trip to Conwy in Wales for the day. The thing I love about living in the North West is that you’re only an hour away from North Wales. I’d never been to Conwy before and only knew of the castle, but it was a beautiful little town and perfect for a day out. It definitely helped that when we visited it was glorious sunshine so we could eat ice cream on the harbour, but nevertheless, I’ll definitely be back there this summer.
I ended up going to Scarborough by chance on a work trip a couple of years ago, and keep meaning to go back. Up until that point, I had only heard that it was the Blackpool of the east, so I wasn’t expecting much when I arrived; but after having a wander around by myself, I was actually amazed at how beautiful the seafront was. There were rows and rows of brightly coloured beach huts, and it was a great place to explore by myself. Although there were quite a few amusement arcades up and down the shore, it just reminded me of family days out when I was younger.
12. Peak District
Last August I did a 12-mile hike around Kinder Scout in the Peak District. I had never done anything like that before (and haven’t since) but it was a great way to see a part of the UK that I never had before. We jumped on the train from Picadilly to Edale and started the walk from there. Altogether it took us about 6 hours (maybe more, I’ve kind of blocked that bit out) and we had amazing weather for it which always makes the difference. There were bits where you have to scramble over rocks and other bits where you had to wade through mud, and I lost my trainer a couple of times, but it was definitely worth it when you make your way to the pub at the bottom!
Last but not least is one of my favourite places I have ever been – the beautiful Edinburgh. I visited last Christmas and had been a couple of times when I was younger, but I just feel so in love with the city when I’m there. I think it’s because it has the hustle of being the capital, but turn off the main street and you’re in a different world. Edinburgh is definitely somewhere I would consider living one day – watch this space!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog about all of the places I think are beautiful up North. And as the saying goes, I can’t say I agree!
If you have any recommendations for places you think I would enjoy visiting, please leave them in the comments.
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This blog was written in collaboration with The Car People.