Manchester, Liverpool, and the Peak District

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Manchester, Liverpool, and the Peak District - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Another Place

    Crosby Beach

    A hundred naked, life-size, cast-iron figures by sculptor Antony Gormley stand proudly on the 2 miles of foreshore at Crosby Beach, weathered by sand and sea. Unlike most other statues, you are permitted to interact with these and even clothe them if you wish. Check tide times before you go, and be aware that it's not safe to walk out to the farthest figures. The site is 6 miles north of downtown Liverpool; to get here, take the Merseyrail train to Blundellsands or Crosby from Liverpool Central or Moorfields Stations. A taxi will cost around £35–£40.

    Mariners Rd., Liverpool, Liverpool, L23 6SX, England
    0845-140–0845-for tide times

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 2. Beatles Story

    Entertaining scenes at this popular attraction in the Albert Dock complex re-create stages in the Beatles' story (and their later careers as solo artists). You'll find everything from the enthusiastic early days in Germany and the Cavern Club to the White Room, where "Imagine" seems to emanate from softly billowing curtains. A shop sells every conceivable kind of souvenir a Fab Four fan could wish for.

    Albert Dock, Liverpool, Liverpool, L3 4AD, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: £18
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  • 3. Central Library

    City Centre

    This 1930s structure was once the biggest municipal library in the world, and today its circular exterior, topped by a line of Doric columns and a massive Corinthian portico facing St. Peter's Square, is a major focus for Manchester's most prestigious civic quarter. Notable sights within the library are a British Film Institute archive, a free-to-view collection of 2,000 films and TV programs relating to the United Kingdom and its people (including more than 100 depicting life in Manchester and the Northwest); the Henry Watson Music Library with a DJ-mixing desk and instrument collection that is free to use; and the Children's Library, as well as free Wi-Fi, displays on local history, and a convenient café.

    St. Peter's Sq., Manchester, Manchester, M2 5PD, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 4. Chatsworth House

    One of England's greatest country houses, the "Palace of the Peak" is the ancestral home of the dukes of Devonshire and stands in vast parkland grazed by deer and sheep. Originally an Elizabethan house, it was altered over several generations starting in 1686 and now has a hodgepodge look, though the Palladian facade remains untouched. It's surrounded by woods, elaborate gardens, greenhouses, rock gardens, and a beautiful water cascade—all designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century and, in the 19th, Joseph Paxton, an engineer as well as a brilliant gardener. Plan on at least a half day to explore the grounds; avoid Sunday if you can as it gets very crowded. Inside are intricate carvings, superb furniture, van Dyck portraits, Sir Joshua Reynolds's Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Her Baby, John Singer Sargent's enormous Acheson Sisters, and fabulous rooms, including the Sculpture Gallery, the library, and the Painted Hall. On the estate, you'll also find a working farm with milking demonstrations, an adventure playground, cafés, restaurants, a tea shop, and a farm shop; you can even stay in several cottages scattered throughout the grounds.

    Off B6012, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: House, gardens, farm, and adventure playground £29; house and gardens £26; gardens only £15; farmyard and adventure playground £7, Closed 2nd wk of Jan.--late Mar.
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  • 5. Crich Tramway Village

    A 15-minute drive outside Matlock, this period village includes the National Tramway Museum of Antique Vehicles and a tram restoration workshop with a public viewing gallery. On the vintage streets, you can board old trams that take you to the surrounding countryside and back. Spend your pennies in the old-fashioned sweets shop or ice cream parlor before exploring the woodland walk and play areas.

    Crich Village, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5DP, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: £20, Closed Nov.–mid-Mar.
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  • 6. Haddon Hall

    One of England's finest stately homes, and perhaps the most authentically Tudor of all the great houses, Haddon Hall bristles with intricate period detail. Built between 1180 and 1565, the house passed into the ownership of the dukes of Rutland and remained largely untouched until the early 20th century, when the ninth duke undertook a superlative restoration that revealed a series of early decorative 15th-century frescoes in the chapel. The finest of the intricate plasterwork and wooden paneling is best seen in the superb Long Gallery on the first floor. A popular filming location, Haddon's starring roles include The Princess Bride (1985), Pride and Prejudice (2005), and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). It has its own onsite restaurant.

    A6, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1LA, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: £23.90, parking £3.80, Closed Nov. and late Dec.–early Apr.
  • 7. International Slavery Museum


    In the same building as the Merseyside Maritime Museum, this museum's four dynamic galleries recount the history of transatlantic slavery and trace its significance in contemporary society. "Life in West Africa" reproduces a Nigerian Igbo compound; life aboard slave ships bound for the Americas is revealed in the "Enslavement and the Middle Passage" section; and "Legacy" examines the effect of the African diaspora on contemporary society.

    Hartley Quay, Liverpool, Liverpool, L3 4AQ, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon.
  • 8. IWM North

    The Quays

    The thought-provoking exhibits in this striking, aluminum-clad building, which architect Daniel Libeskind described as representing three shards of an exploded globe, present the reasons for war and show its effects on society. Hourly Big Picture audiovisual shows envelop you in the sights and sounds of conflicts while a time line from 1914 to the present examines objects and personal stories from veterans showing how war changes lives. Excellent special exhibitions cover everything from life in Britain during the Blitz to artistic responses to conflict. The museum is on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in The Quays, across the footbridge from the Lowry. It's a five-minute walk from the MediaCityUK stop of the Metrolink tram.

    Trafford Wharf Rd., Manchester, Manchester, M17 1TZ, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 9. John Rylands Library

    Millennium Quarter

    Owned by the University of Manchester, this Gothic Revival masterpiece designed by Alfred Waterhouse was built by Enriqueta Augustina Rylands as a memorial to her husband, a cotton magnate. Constructed of red sandstone in the 1890s, the library resembles a cathedral and contains some outstanding collections of illuminated manuscripts and beautifully illustrated books. Among the many highlights are the oldest known fragment of the New Testament in existence, dating from around AD 100; an original Gutenberg Bible; and several works by William Caxton (c.1417–92), who introduced the printing press to the English-speaking world. There's a lively temporary exhibition program as well.

    150 Deansgate, Manchester, Manchester, M3 3EH, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 10. Manchester Museum

    University Quarter

    This University of Manchester--owned museum is located in a superb Gothic Revival building with modern add-ons. Its latest extension had added a superb South Asia gallery and a Chinese culture gallery. Embracing anthropology, natural history, and archaeology, it features one of the U.K.'s largest ancient Egyptian collections as part of the extensive Ancient Worlds galleries, a beautiful Living Worlds gallery designed to raise questions about our attitude towards nature, and a vivarium complete with live frogs and other amphibians and reptiles. A lively events program for all ages helps lure in repeat visitors.

    Oxford Rd., Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, England
  • 11. Maritime Museum


    This wonderful museum captures the triumphs and tragedies of Liverpool's seafaring history over five floors. Besides exhibits of maritime paintings, models, ceramics, and ships in bottles, it brings to life the ill-fated stories of the Titanic and Lusitania; the Battle of the Atlantic; and the city's role during World War II. Seized, the gallery for the Border Force National Museum, explores the heroes and villains of the world of smuggling, together with the story of mass emigration from the port in the 19th century, while the Life on Board gallery looks at everyone from merchant sailors to leisure cruise-liner passengers.

    Hartley Quay, Liverpool, Liverpool, L3 4AQ, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 12. Museum of Science and Industry


    The venue's historic buildings, one of which is the world's oldest passenger rail station (1830), hold marvelous collections relating to the city's industrial past and present, although conservation, restoration, and expansion over the next few years will mean certain areas are off-limits or obscured by scaffolding. You can walk through a reconstructed Victorian sewer, be blasted by the heat and noise of working steam engines, see cotton looms whirring in action, and watch a planetarium show. Allow at least half a day to get the most out of all the sites, temporary exhibitions, talks, and events.

    Liverpool Rd., Manchester, Manchester, M3 4FP, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, charges vary for special exhibits
  • 13. Peak District National Park

    The United Kingdom's first-ever national park (inaugurated in 1951, paving the way for a further nine parks), the Peak District provides a wild green space for the estimated 20 million people who live within an hour’s journey of it, including the inhabitants of Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent, as well as to the millions people who visit each year. Located mostly in northern Derbyshire but including parts of Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, Cheshire, and Yorkshire, the national park is generally divided into the Dark Peak (gritstone moorlands) and the White Peak (limestone), but it has a remarkable diversity of landscapes that make it popular with hikers, cyclists, climbers, and cavers. It's also much-loved for the spa towns, country houses, and heritage sites that are found within the park itself. Visitor centers with information on outdoor activities in the region can be found in Bakewell, Castleton, Derwent, and Edale. Public transport is patchy; it's best explored by car.

    Derbyshire, England
  • 14. Poole's Cavern and Buxton Country Park

    The Peak District's extraordinary geology can be seen up close in this large limestone cave far beneath the 100 acres of Buxton Country Park. Inhabited in prehistoric times, the cave contains, in addition to the standard stalactites and stalagmites, the source of the River Wye, which flows through Buxton. The Country Park paths take you up to Grin Low, home to the Victorian fortified hill marker Solomon's Tower, the remains of several Bronze Age burial chambers, and views of Mam Tor and Kinder Scout. There's also a fun Go Ape! treetop adventure course on site. Admission to the cave includes a guided tour lasting nearly an hour.

    Green La., Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 9DH, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: £14.50
  • 15. RHS Garden Bridgewater


    This 154-acre garden has transformed the heritage grounds of Worsley New Hall into a delightful green space for both locals and visitors. There's a kitchen garden, a stream-side Chinese garden, community growing spaces, a learning garden, and a play area.

    Off Leigh Rd., Manchester, Manchester, M28 2LJ, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: £12.65
  • 16. Speedwell Cavern

    This is the area's most exciting cavern by far, with 105 slippery steps leading down to old lead-mine tunnels blasted out by 19th-century miners. Here you transfer to a small boat for the claustrophobic ¼-mile trip through an illuminated access tunnel to the cavern itself. At this point you're 600 feet underground, with views farther down to the so-called Bottomless Pit, a cavern entirely filled with water. An on-site shop sells items made of Blue John, a mineral found nowhere else in the world.

    Castleton, Derbyshire, S33 8WA, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: £17
  • 17. Tate Liverpool


    This offshoot of the London-based art galleries of the same name occupies a handsome conversion of Albert Dock warehouses by the late James Stirling, one of Britain's leading 20th-century architects. There is no permanent collection; challenging exhibitions of modern and contemporary art change every couple of months. There are children's activities, an excellent gift shop, and a dockside café-restaurant.

    Albert Dock, Liverpool, Liverpool, L3 4BB, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; charges for certain special exhibitions vary
  • 18. The Beatles' Childhood Homes

    City Centre

    A must-see for Beatles pilgrims, this tour takes you to Mendips, the 1930s middle-class, semidetached house that was the home of John Lennon from 1946 to 1963, and 20 Forthlin Road, Paul McCartney's childhood home. After his parents separated, John joined his aunt Mimi at Mendips; she gave him his first guitar but banished him to the porch, saying, "The guitar's all very well, John, but you'll never make a living out of it." Meanwhile, Forthlin Road is a modest 1950s council house where a number of the Beatles' songs were written. The tours leave from Liverpool South Parkway Station or Speke Hall. Advanced bookings are essential as visits are strictly limited.

    Liverpool, Liverpool, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From £29, Closed Dec.–Feb.
  • 19. Walker Art Gallery

    City Centre

    With a superb display of British art and some outstanding Italian and Flemish works, this is one of the best British art collections outside London. Don't miss the unrivaled collection of paintings by 18th-century Liverpudlian equestrian artist George Stubbs or works by J. M. W. Turner, Claude Monet, Frederic Lord Leighton, and the Pre-Raphaelites. Modern artists are included, too; on display is one of David Hockney's typically Californian pool scenes. Other excellent exhibits showcase classical Greek and Roman sculptures as well as china, silver, and furniture that once adorned the mansions of Liverpool's industrial barons. There are temporary exhibitions, including those focusing on photography, and a dedicated children's art space. The café holds center stage in the airy museum lobby.

    William Brown St., Liverpool, Liverpool, L3 8EL, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; charge for temporary exhibitions
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  • 20. Whitworth Art Gallery

    University Quarter

    This University of Manchester–owned art museum is beautifully—and uniquely—integrated into the surrounding parkland through its art garden, sculpture terrace, orchard garden, and landscape gallery. Some of the free events and activities take you into the park itself, including children's outdoor art clubs. The renowned collections inside the gallery embrace British watercolors, Old Master drawings, postimpressionist works, wallpapers, and an outstanding textile gallery befitting a city built on textile manufacturing. There's also a learning studio for families and a "café in the trees" overlooking the art garden, with a seasonal British menu.

    Oxford Rd., Manchester, Manchester, M15 6ER, England

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free

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