Manchester lies at the heart of a tangle of motorways in the northwest of England, about a half hour across the Pennines from Yorkshire. It's 70 miles from the southern edge of the Lake District. The city spreads west toward the coast and the mouth of the River Mersey and Liverpool. To see any great natural beauty, you must head east to the Peak District, a national park less than an hour's drive southeast of Manchester. It’s also where you’ll find two of the grandest and best-preserved historic homes in all of Britain: Chatsworth and Haddon Hall.
- Manchester. This vibrant city mixes a compelling industrial heritage with cutting-edge urban design and thriving music and club scenes. Great museums and art galleries justify its blossoming status as the United Kingdom's second city of culture.
- Liverpool. The imposing waterfront, the pair of cathedrals, and the grand architecture make it clear that this city—now undergoing a postindustrial rebirth—is more than just the Beatles. Even so, the many museums don't leave out the city's place in rock-and-roll history.
- The Peak District. Britain's first national park is studded with an array of stately homes, but the real stars of the show are its dramatic moors, sylvan dales, atmospheric limestone caverns, and superb walking trails.
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