Distance: 452 kilometres
Ignore the figure above. England is so rich with inviting country lanes that you will be detouring along scenic routes, enjoying the drive and not worrying about time or distance. When you see a sandstone cottage serving scones with jam and cream you’ll be hard pressed not to swerve off road.
- An English Premier League football game at Liverpool’s home stadium Anfield has a crowd atmosphere and energy you won’t forget.
- The Peak District is one of England’s most dramatic countryside areas, with stone walls, roadside pubs and paddocks of sheep.
- Stoke is the place to visit to understand Britain’s long love affair with pottery at the World of Wedgwood museum.
- Stratford-upon-Avon is a crucible of English culture as the celebrated birthplace of Shakespeare
- The Cotswolds are as surreal as a fairytale, with village after tiny village of yellow historic sandstone houses sunk in river valleys and atop hills
Days 1 and 2 – Liverpool
Since becoming a City of Culture, Liverpool has a new lease on life. Cultural attractions are now just as competitive as the classic attractions. They include the Tate Museum, filled with contemporary and historic art, depending on the exhibitions. There’s also sculpture installations at nearby Crosby Beach. The classic attractions of this northern city are The Beatles and a football club. In terms of musical heritage, there are city tours geared around The Beatles lives before worldwide domination. The Magical Mystery Tour partners locations that influenced songs with the actual tunes as you cruise along in a rainbow van. Both Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane are real places and you can have a trophy shot next to the signs. There’s also the Cavern Club, open every night with cover bands that give some indication of the real deal back in the 60’s. Then there’s the renowned football club, book in advance to reserve seats at the hallowed grounds of Anfield and watch the world game in the company of die-hard supporters.
Day 3 – Liverpool to Peak District
This is a beautiful drive, so take your time. From Liverpool it’s motorways to Manchester and below, but you well and truly know when you have arrived in the Peak District for the undulating hills, stone fenced farms and paddocks announce it. Chatsworth House is a popular destination, an imposing estate house fit for royalty with gardens and greens to match. This was the setting for Darcy’s house in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Other towns worth stopping in at include Bakewell, home to the famous tart, which is done altogether differently in the town compared to Mr Kipling’s variety.
Day 4 – Stoke Upon Trent
Stoke is under the radar for international tourists, but is a well know day out for local domestic day trippers. It is known as the potteries region for it has forged two mainstays of crockery and china – Wedgwood and Emma Bridgewater. World of Wedgwood is a treat for coffee, tea, design and art lovers alike. After a museum which displays centuries of Wedgwood designs, visitors can walk through the factory where artists sit and painstakingly create the intricate designs that the company is famous, and loved by the Queen, for. Travellers can also take part, with classes in throwing a pot – think Ghost the movie. You can also draw and stencil your own design onto a Wedgwood plate. Afterwards, the salon with its tea sommeliers is a must-visit. Not to mention the factory outlet store for gifts to bubble wrap and pack in the suitcase home.
Day 5 – Stratford Upon Avon
Shakespeare’s home town ramped up their homage to the world’s favourite writer and playwright for his 400th anniversary in 2016. This includes a new attraction in the form of his former school. The attraction opened in 2016 and includes an interactive classroom of the ilk that Shakespeare would have experienced. Visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre for a taste of the backstage machinations of producing one of his plays.
Day 6 – Cotswolds
If ever a place was chocolate box picture book perfect, the Cotswolds wins by a country mile. Row after idyllic row of country stone manors set amongst valleys and hills of green with streams and narrow rivers, it is a place you must walk around. Use the car by all means but then ditch it to absorb the rural atmosphere.
Day 7 – London
It’s the end of the road for this trip, and the lure of dynamic London eases the pain. There will be traffic, so build a little more time into your tarmac schedule. Once in town, the attractions are plentiful. Shopping, theatre, high tea, fine dining, museums, history, art. It’s been said before, but it’s worth paraphrasing again: If you’re bored of London, you’re bored of life.
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