Wednesday, November 2, 2011


(Includes Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside & Shropshire)

(includes Chester, Cheshire East & Knutsford)
Chester Grosvenor & Spa – City Centre, Eastgate; 011-44-012-4432-4024;; near Roman walls; elegant setting; more cost than value.
Mill Hotel & Spa – Milton Street; 011-44-012-4435-0035;; more congenial than Chester Grosvenor.

La Brasserie – City Centre, Eastgate (in Chester Grosvenor Hotel); 011-44-012-4432-4024;

CHESHIRE EAST (includes Lyme Handley & Tatton)
Sights & Sites
Lyme Park – Lyme Handley; 011-44-016-6376-2023;; large estate south of Disley, managed by National Trust; consists of mansion house surrounded by formal gardens, in deer park in Peak District National Park; passed to Legh family (of Lyme) by marriage in 1388; remained with Legh family until 1946 when given to National Trust; house dates from latter part 16th Century; in Baroque & Palladian styles; Lyme Caxton Missal on display in Library; in 1346, Edward III grants to Sir Thomas Danyers for his service to Black Prince in Battle of Crécy; on Sir Thomas’ death, estate passed to his daughter, Margaret, who in 1388 married 1st Piers Legh (Piers Legh I); Richard II granted Piers’ family coat of arms in 1397; Piers, however, executed 2 years later by Richard II’s rival for throne, Henry Bolingbroke; in 1415, Sir Piers Legh II wounded in Battle of Agincourt, his mastiff stood over and protected him for many hours through battle; mastiff later returned to Legh’s home & was Lyme Hall Mastiffs’ foundation (they were bred at hall & kept separate from other strains, figuring prominently in founding modern breed); strain died out around 20th Century’s beginning; during latter 18th Century Piers Legh XIII bought most furniture in house today.
Tatton Park – Tatton; 011-44-016-2537-4400;; historic estate containing mansion (Tatton Hall), manor house dating from medieval times (Tatton Old Hall), gardens, farm & deer park (2K acres) owned by National Trust; by 15th Century’s end, estate owned by Stanley family who built & occupied Old Hall; by 1580s building & owned by Brereton family; in 1598, estate bought by Sir Thomas Egerton, English Lord Chancellor; by 17th Century’s end owned by John Egerton, Sir Thomas’ grandson, who built new house on present mansion site; estate remained with Egerton family until last Lord Egerton died without issue in 1958; large painting collection includes works by Canaletto, Poussin, Chardin, Van Dyck, Vasari, etc; library contains 1st editions of 2 novels by Jane Austen; gardens worth special trip.

Sights & Sites
Tabley House – Tabley Lane; 011-44-015-6575-0151;; designed by John Carr of York for Sir Peter Byrne Leicester, completed in 1769; his son, Sir John Fleming Leicester, later 1st Lord de Tabley, was British painting’s 1st great collector & patron; J.M.W. Turner, Henry Thompson & James Ward were among many painters who stayed there; today, important works by them as well as by Dobson, Lely, Reynolds, Cotes, Northcote, Callcott, Fuseli, Lawrence, Opie, Martin, and others.

GREATER MANCHESTER (includes Manchester & Salford)
Bars & Nightclubs
Deaf Institute – 135 Grosvenor Street; 011-44-016-1225-6342;; multi-platform performance venue; by Trof owners; hip-hop.
FAC251 – 112-118 Princess Street; 011-44-016-1272-7251;; indie-music club in old Factory Records building.
Ruby Lounge – 34 High Street (Northern Quarter); 011-44-016-1834-1392;; live music venue.
Soup Kitchen – 31-33 Spear Street; 011-44-016-1236-5100; bar and DJ-spun music.
South – 4A South King Street; 011-44-016-1831-7756;; dance club; rave-ish.

Malmaison – 1 Gore Street; 011-44-0844-693-0657;; 167 bedrooms & suites; boutique.

Soup Kitchen – 31-33 Spear Street; 011-44-016-1236-5100; comfort food (sweet potato and feta lasagna), music, and bar.
Trof – 2A Landcross Road; 011-44-016-1224-0467;; English food in large proportions.
Trof – 6-8 Thomas Street; 011-44-016-1833-3197;; English food in large proportions.

Piccadilly Records – 53 Oldham Street; 011-44-016-1839-8008;
Vinyl Exchange – 18 Oldham Street; 011-44-016-1228-1122;

Sights & Sites
Manchester Town Hall – Albert Square; 011-44-016-1234-5000;; designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse & completed in 1877; decorated with imposing Manchester Murals by Ford Madox Brown illustrating city history; regarded as among Gothic revival architecture’s finest interpretations.

Sights & Sites
Islington Mill – James Street; 011-44-079-4764-9896;; multi-purpose cultural site in former cotton mill.

(includes Lake District [includes Ambleside, Arnside, Borrowdale Valley,
Cartmel, Cockermouth, Gosforth, Grassmere, Hawkshead, Kendal,
Keswick, Kirby Lonsdale, Lyth Valley, Penwirth, Windermere & Wirral])
Drunken Duck Inn – Barngates (off B5286, situated on crossroads between Coniston & Hawkshead); 011-44-015-3943-6347;; surrounded by fields near beauty spot of Tarn Hows; 5 Superior rooms are best choice, featuring luxurious touches such as Herdwick wool carpets, rococo-style furniture, Roberts radios & walk-in showers.
Eltermere Inn – Elterwater; 011-44-015-3943-7207;; 18th Century Georgian inn surrounded by lawns leading down to lakeshore; slate-floored bar with huge inglenook fireplace & comfy drawing room; of rooms, 2 best are Robin Goodfellow, with its A-frame beams & oak bed and Willy Goodwaller, with freestanding tub & rococo furniture.
Old Dungeon Ghyll – Great Langdale (from Ambleside, follow signs for Coniston to A593 before entering Clappersgate, then continue through Clappersgate before branching onto B5343, following signs for Langdale & passing through Elterwater & Chapel Stile, then continue 3 miles before turning right towards Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel); 011-44-015-3943-7272;; splendidly isolated among Great Langdale’s green fields (among Lake District’s most spectacular valleys); overlooked on one side by peak chain known as Langdale Pikes & on other by formidable Crinkle Crags & Bowfell; there’s been inn here for some 300 years, but most of present building dates from 19th Century & has fusty Victorian vibe, with old armchairs, faded watercolors & flock carpets; Hikers’ Bar is most atmospheric area; front-facing bedrooms offer panorama of Langdale’s craggy fells.
Drunken Duck Restaurant – Barngates (off B5286); 011-44-015-3943-6347;; Lake District’s most renowned gastropub; food is as close to fine-dining as pub grub gets: pig’s cheek, cherry-glazed duck & pork belly with faggots, washed down with ales from attached Barngates Brewery.
Eltermere Inn – Elterwater; 011-44-015-3943-7207;; restaurant has lake views & features Cumbrian classics such as slow-roasted belly pork & rack of lamb; if weather’s fine cream teas are served on lawn.
Old Dungeon Ghyll – Great Langdale; 011-44-015-3943-7272;; warm, regional restaurant, 2 bars (1 with occasional live music) & elegant lounge with log fire.

Number 43 – Promenade; 011-44-015-2476-2761;; on Morecambe Bay; posh b&b where guests pay prices similar to those in hotel but get more homely experience; set in terrace of enormous late-Victorian houses overlooking Kent Estuary, Number 43 comes painted in tasteful shade of pistachio; landscaped front garden leads to flagstoned terrace purpose-built for enjoying afternoon tea with lemon cake & Lloyd Loom chairs; interiors are equally fit for glossy magazine; 5 rooms, all en suite with mountainous beds & white duvets, lavishly stocked minibars & complimentary home-made flapjacks; 2 suites come with coastal views & binoculars; Arnside is also starting point for Cross Bay charity walks led by Cedric Robinson MBE, Queen’s official Guide to Kent Sands, while quick drive north gets you to Lake District.
Sights & Sites
Arnside Knott Circular Walk – as B5782 ends in Arnside, road continues, bending left & climbing hill & as road flattens, Arnside Knott signed to right (follow road round through housing estate, then after about .5 mile turn left up road, still following Arnside Knott signs, & National Trust car park is at this track’s end);; 4 km/2 hour walk; Arnside Knott is hill with 522' summit elevation; National Trust grazes Highland cattle on Arnside Knott; where Lucy Boston spent her childhood summers; worth special trip.
Arnside-Silverdale Coastal Path – while in Arnside, walk along Promenade with shops on left & turn uphill with Silverdale Road as far Redhills Road on right, then follow signpost designating New Barns - High Knott Road to junction with latter, then turn left, following 2 signs (Footpath to Silverdale & Private Road - Public Footpath only) to reach metal kissing gate on right (Public Footpath sign);; worth special trip.

Langstrath Country Inn – Stonethwaite; 011-44-017-6877-7239;; original building built around 1590; typical slate roof, sash windows & whitewashed façade; inside, divided between homely bar, excellent bistro & cosy, rather old-fashioned resident’s lounge, with floral fabric sofas & walking books to browse; while not lavish, bedrooms are more modern than you might expect.
Langstrath Country Inn – Stonethwaite; 011-44-017-6877-7239;; good bistro food.

Cartmel Village Shop – Square; 011-44-015-3953-6280;; Lake District spot that has been making incredible sticky toffee pudding for 20 years.
L’Enclume – Cavendish Street; 011-44-015-3953-6362;; featured in Trip; idyllic, riverside location; considered Britain’s best restaurant.

Kirkstile Inn – Loweswater; 011-44-019-008-5219;; tucked away northwest of Buttermere, Kirkstile is ale aficionado’s choice – in gorgeous location near little-visited Lake Loweswater; you don’t come here for luxury – proper old-school pub; furniture’s ancient, carpets worn & bar is clad in 80s tongue-&-groove; beers are home-brewed by pub’s own microbrewery; solid, homely food.

Wasdale Head Inn – Wasdale Head; 011-44-019-4672-6229;; surrounded by Scafell Pike & Great Gable Mountains, this secluded 200-year-old inn with annexes is 1.1 miles from Westwater and 9.3 miles from A595 (nearest main road); 9 casual rooms in main house offer en suite bathrooms, TVs, tea & coffee-making facilities, internet access & valley views; former barn has upgraded rooms with sitting areas, as well as 7 apartments with open-plan kitchens/living rooms; breakfast is free for room guests.
Wasdale Head Inn – Wasdale Head; 011-44-019-4672-6229;; restaurant/pub serves classic fare & real ales; wood-burning stove & beer garden; free WiFi is available in traditional, guests-only bar & lounge.

Sights & Sites
Dove Cottage & Wordsworth Museum – Stock Lane; 011-44-015-3943-5544;

Sights & Sites
Grizedale Forest – east of Coniston Water; 011-44-012-2986-0010;; scattered throughout forest are approximately 90 sculptures, often made from naturally occurring materials such as stone & wood; highest point is 314 m high Carron Crag, overlooking wooden panopticon sculpture.

Sights & Sites
Levens Hall – South Lakeland; 011-44-015-3956-0321;; must-visit; among most spectacular topiary gardens anywhere.

Cottage in Wood – Braithwaite (in Whinlatter Forest); 011-44-017-6877-8409;; boutique hotel in 17th Century coaching inn; stylish, contemporary rooms, categorized as garden, mountain, cottage & treetop, come with free WiFi, flat-screen TVs & coffeemaking-tea facilities; individual room features might include luxe wet rooms, whirpool baths, Bose sound systems &/or Skiddaw Mountains views; chic fine-dining restaurant.

Cottage in Wood – Braithwaite (in Whinlatter Forest); 011-44-017-6877-8409;; chic fine-dining restaurant in 17th Century coaching inn; tasting menus & lunch/dinner set-price meals in conservatory dining room with forest view & terrace; not suitable for children under 10.

Hipping Hall – Cowan Bridge; 011-44-015-2427-1187;; unpretentious, boutique countryside rooms & landscaped gardens.
Hipping Hall – Cowan Bridge; 011-44-015-2427-1187;; chic eatery.

Punch Bowl Inn – Crosthwaite; 011-44-015-3956-8237;; alongside historic stone church; 9 elegant, individually decorated rooms feature sitting areas, flat-screen TVs & vintage-style radios; some have vaulted ceilings, decorative fireplaces & expanded sitting areas with sofas; full breakfast & afternoon tea are included.
Punch Bowl Inn – Crosthwaite; 011-44-015-3956-8237;; modern British meals featuring local produce are served in smart restaurant with oak floors, while real ales are offered at slate-topped bar; considered local secret.

George & Dragon – Clifton; 011-44-017-6886-5381;; 18th Century coaching inn; countryside pub with rooms; 11 refined, understated rooms, all including en suite bathrooms, some of which have free-standing baths, as well as free Wi-Fi; family rooms add pull-out sofas; complimentary breakfast.
George & Dragon – Clifton; 011-44-017-6886-5381;; rustic-chic gastropub with flagstone floors, sofas & cosy alcoves; enclosed courtyard with seating, leading into beer garden.

Cuckoo Brow Inn – Far Sawrey (Windermere’s west side); 011-44-015-3944-3425;; distinctive gabled entrance & handsome bay windows; inn has served as travelers’ way-marker since around 1700; new owners have given interior thorough makeover, stripping place back to its essentials: timber floors, worn furniture, log-fires, curving wood-paneled bar; rooms renovated, too.
Cuckoo Brow Inn – Far Sawrey (Windermere’s west side); 011-44-015-3944-3425;; hearty, filling dishes are mainstay: try hunter’s hot-pot with thyme gravy.
Holbeck Ghyll – Holbeck Lane; 011-44-015-3943-2375;; featured in Trip; 1 Michelin star; tremendous views.

Sights & Sites
Ness Botanic Gardens – Neston Road, Ness (Neston); 011-44-015-1353-0123;; situated on Wirral Peninsular overlooking Dee Estuary; founded in 1898 by Liverpool cotton merchant with passion for gardens and plant collecting; 64 acres, 15K plants (many from Burma, China, Himalayas & Tibet).

(includes Clitheroe)
Inn at Whitewell – Dunsop Road, Whitewell (in Forest of Bowland); 011-44-012-0044-8222;; old coaching inn deep in country with Hodder River to fish, 5-mile views & good food; everything here is perfect; doors in bar lead onto terrace; bedrooms, some in Coach House, come with real luxury, perhaps peat fire, lavish 4-poster, fabulous Victorian power shower.

Inn at Whitewell – Dunsop Road, Whitewell (in Forest of Bowland); 011-44-012-0044-8222;; Whitewell fish pie is rightly famous; seared scallops, Bowland lamb, plate of local cheese (Queen once popped in for lunch).

(includes Allerton, Dingle, Liverpool, Mossley Hill, Speke, Toxteth, Wavertree & Woolton)
Sights & Sites
Beatles Homes (Paul McCartney) – 20 Forthlin Road.

Sights & Sites
Beatles Homes (Ringo Starr) – 9 Madryn Street.
Beatles Homes (Ringo Starr) – 10 Admiral Grove.

Malmaison – William Jessop Way (at Princes Docks); 011-44-0844-693-0655;; 130 bedrooms & suites.

60 Hope Street – 60 Hope Street; 011-44-015-1707-6060;; in Georgian townhouse excellent lamb and sea bream.

Liverpool One – 5 Wall Street; 011-44-015-1232-3100;; 42 acre retail complex; among Europe’s largest urban regeneration projects.

Self-Guided Walking Tours –; also can download app for iPhone.

Sights & Sites
Croxteth Hall – Croxteth Hall Lane; 011-44-015-1233-2030;; former Molyneux family’s (Sefton Earls) ancestral home & country estate; after 7th & last Earl’s death in 1972, estate passed to Liverpool City Council, which now manages it (after selling approximately half grounds); remaining grounds, Croxteth Park, once were Molyneux family hunting chase & now open to public; original house built in about 1575, and expanded in Tudor, Georgian & Queen Anne styles; Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children stayed at Croxteth Hall in 1851 before visiting Liverpool following day; Victorian walled garden & working country farm; also contains Mull Wood, which is part of 210 acres Croxteth Local Nature Reserve.
Everyman Playhouse – Williamson Square; 011-44-015-1709-4776;; theater.
Faulkner Square – Canning Street (on Liverpool city center border & Toxteth); 011-44-015-1225-5970;; local neighborhood park representing 1 of city’s earliest public open spaces.
Museum of Liverpool – Pier Head; 011-44-015-1478-4545;; waterfront museum; includes film about history of soccer and how it relates to Liverpool.

Sights & Sites
Beatles Homes (John Lennon) – Penny Lane.

Sights & Sites
Beatles Homes (George Harrison) – 25 Upton Green.

Sights & Sites
Beatles Homes (George Harrison) – 12 Arnold Grove.
Beatles Homes (John Lennon): 9 Newcastle Road.

Sights & Sites
Beatles Homes (John Lennon): 251 Menlove Avenue (called Mendips).
Beatles Homes (John Lennon): Beaconsfield Road (called Strawberry Fields, former Salvation Army Children’s Home, between A562 & Quarry Street).

(includes Halesowen, Ironbridge, Market Drayton, Shifnal, Shrewsbury & Wellington)
Sights & Sites
Leasowes – Leasowes Lane (off Mucklow Hill); 011-44-013-8481-4642;; 141 acre estate, comprising house & gardens; John Adams & Thomas Jefferson visited here to see Shentstone gardens.

Sights & Sites
Ironbridge Gorge Museums – Coach Road, Coalbrookdale (Telford); 011-44-019-5243-3424; or; collectively, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust; industrial heritage organization that runs 10 museums and manages 35 historic sites within Ironbridge Gorge, widely considered Industrial Revolution’s birthplace; located in Broseley, Coalbrookdale, and Ironbridge; World Heritage Site; 10 museum are: (1) Blists Hill Victorian Town, including Hay Inclined Plane; (2) Broseley Pipeworks; (3) Coalbrookdale Iron Museum; (4) Coalport China Museum; (5) Coalport Tar Tunnel; (6) Darby Houses; (7) Enginuity; (8) Iron Bridge and Tollhouse; (9) Jackfield Tile Museum; and (10) Gorge Museum; also associated with 10 Trust museums are Mews Craft Center at Jackfield and Merrythought Museum at Dale End.

Sights & Sites
Hodnet Hall & Gardens – Hodnet; 011-44-0163-068-5786;; call or check website for times open; timber-framed manor house surrounded by park, recorded on Christopher Saxton’s Map of Shropshire in late 16th Century; historically owned by Heber family; in 1752 Richard Heber received manor & estate as bequest from wife’s cousin; on Richard Heber’s death in 1766 his brother, named Reginald, who had taken Holy Orders & was parish (Malpas in Cheshire) co-rector, inherited estate; old hall demolished in 1870 when new hall in neo-Elizabethan style built; in 20th Century hall used as convalescent hospital during world wars & in WWII there was airfield on grounds for aircraft from Ternhill & RAF Shawbury; today hall is particularly noted for its gardens, created in 1922 when rare trees, shrubs & 7 lakes & pools added; gardens contains rhododendrons, camellias, crocuses, daffodils & magnolias; open to public on Sundays & Bank Holidays from early April to late September.

Creamery Cafe – Bridgnorth Road; 011-44-019-5273-0345;; extraordinarily average.

Heaven, Health & Beauty, Ltd. – 13 Market Place; 011-44-087-0166-5544;; get bee venom facial (nature’s Botox).

Apley Farm Shop – Norton; 011-44-019-5273-0345;; local farm store, butcher & delicatessen, with dairy & baked produce, cafe & play barn.

Sights & Sites
Apley Walled Gardens – Apley; 011-44-077-4601-3050​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ or 011-44-077-4074-3966 (head gardener);; supplies fresh & seasonal produce for local businesses including Apley Farm Shop & Creamery Cafe, as well as private, pre-booked guided tours led by Head Gardener.
Weston Park – Weston-under-Lizard; 011-44-019-5285-2100;; country house set in more than 1K park acres landscaped by Capability Brown; worth special visit.

Albrighton Hall – Ellesmere Road; 011-44-019-3929-1000;; spa and new wing recently added (somewhat incongruously to original structure); sylvan setting and great breakfasts.

Sights & Sites
Apley Castle – Hadley (near Wellington); Apley Castle was moated, fortified manor house; by early 14th Century manor owned by Charlton family, who had become major regional landowners; in 1327 Sir Alan Charlton received license to crenellate manor house; building work occurred shortly afterwards, producing square building set around central courtyard; descendants expanded castle considerably into Elizabethan mansion during late 16th & early 17th Centuries, using grey ashlar stone; in 1642 castle passed by marriage to Thomas Hanmer, who married Francis Charlton; with English Civil War, Hanmer, royalist, fortified mansion, which formed valuable strategic stronghold close to Shrewsbury but sacked by Parliamentary forces during war; 2nd mansion, also called Apley Castle, was subsequently built between 1791-94 for Charltons & repaired 1st castle reused as stableblock for this building; this building demolished in 1955 & stables fell into disrepair; in 1996 stables, including their medieval elements, renovated & turned into private house; Grade 2* listed building not open to public.

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