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Beatles, Brontë and indulgent shopping

Three days in Liverpool, Leeds, and Yorkshire’s heritage sites 

Arriving in Liverpool by rail from Manchester Airport will take 1 hour and 30 minutes or from London by rail, 2 hours and 15 minutes to 3 hours and 20 minutes depending on the rail service. 

Day 1 - Liverpool

The Cavern Club Stage. © Marketing Liverpool

Liverpool is officially the World Capital of Pop and in 2008 European Capital of Culture. It is also one of the friendliest cities in England.

Start your day on a coach tour of Liverpool or a Beatles Magical Mystery Tour exploring the many hallowed Fab Four sites in and around the city including the bright-red Strawberry Fields gates in the charming Woolton Village where John Lennon grew up. Die-hard Beatles fans can go one step further by booking a National Trust tour of John Lennon’s childhood home, Mendips, along with Paul McCartney’s childhood home in nearby Allerton. Tours are restricted to 15 people at a time so you’ll need to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Stop for lunch at one of Hope Street’s renowned restaurants before spending the afternoon exploring Albert Dock, home to the largest group of Grade I listed buildings in Britain.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the docks are full of fascinating attractions including the free-entry Merseyside Maritime Museum, where you can discover the untold story of the Titanic. In the same building is the International Slavery Museum, the only national museum in the world dedicated to the history of the transatlantic slave trade.

Culture vultures will enjoy a wander through the Tate Liverpool which has a permanent collection featuring Picasso and Matisse. Head to the Museum of Liverpool to explore how the port, its people, and their cultural and sporting significance have shaped the city’s story.

Cameras at the ready for the magnificent Three Graces buildings at nearby Pier Head which include the Royal Liver Building crowned with mythical Liver Birds, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building – each Grade I or II listed and part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Away from the water, make some time for the Walker Art Gallery which houses one of Europe's finest collections of paintings, drawings, sculpture and decorative art from the 13th century to the present day. A few doors down, you’ll find the Grade I listed St George’s Hall – widely regarded as one of the finest neo-classical buildings in the world. Or for a spot of retail therapy, stop by Liverpool ONE, a huge open-air shopping and leisure district in the heart of the city.

In the evening, take your seat at the Echo Arena for a live concert, head to the world-famous Cavern Club to twist and shout or pull up a pew and make friends with the locals in one of many traditional pubs or trendy cocktail bars.

Did you know? Liverpool’s waterfront is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, putting it on a par with the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. 

Bronte Parsonage Museum. © Visit Bradford

Depart Liverpool and travel east towards Manchester/ Leeds (M62) to Junction 24 - follow the signs for Halifax and through Hebden Bridge, a pretty canal town nestled in the Yorkshire Pennines. Alternatively, travel directly to the charming town of Haworth on the A629 north from Junction 24, towards Keighley. The journey directly to Haworth from Liverpool takes 2 hours by road.

A wander through Haworth’s cobbled streets lined with quaint shops and tea rooms is like taking a step back in time. It’s where the Brontë sisters lived with their brother in the Parsonage – now a visitor attraction known as the Brontë Parsonage. Emily Brontë’s gothic masterpiece Wuthering Heights was inspired by the dramatic moorlands behind the Parsonage.

Next, head towards Shipley, (the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway runs along the route – eg Oxenhope, Haworth to Keighley) east of Haworth, via Keighley to Shipley (A629/A650) and to the World Heritage Site of Saltaire.

During the 19th century Bradford became ‘Wool Capital of the World’ - a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution led by Sir Titus Salt. This forward-thinking industrialist and philanthropist founded Saltaire in 1853 - a vast textile mill and village that provided self-contained living space for workers, a welcome alternative to the then ‘dark satanic mills’ of other West Yorkshire cities at the time.

More recently Salt's Mill has been converted into a modern complex complete with shops, restaurants and the 1853 Gallery which houses a collection of the works of the famous artist, David Hockney, who was born in nearby Bradford.

Travel on to Leeds (half an hour depending on traffic).

Enjoy a cocktail at one of Leeds’ rooftop bars, grab dinner at the trendy Trinity Kitchen or The Cross Keys - an award-winning gastropub, and then catch a play at the Leeds Grand Theatre.

Henry Moore at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. © Jonty Wilde

Start the day browsing opulent offerings from the likes of Mulberry, Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood in the ornate Victoria Quarter. For something less harsh on the bank balance, pop into The Corn Exchange to shop for independent goods under a vast, grade-I listed dome.

Follow that with a visit to the Royal Armouries. One of the largest collections of historic arms and armour in the world, it’s comprised of the National Collection of Arms and Armour, the National Artillery Collection, and the National Firearms Collection. It’s also the Keeper of the Tower of London history. In the reign of Elizabeth I, selected items began to be arranged for display to visitors, making the Royal Armouries heir to one of the oldest curated visitor attractions in the country.

Next, travel on the M1 South to Wakefield (25 minutes) to visit The Hepworth Wakefield - one of the finest contemporary art museums in Europe. Wakefield’s collection of modern British art features some of the most significant British sculptors of the 20th Century including

Barbara Hepworth who was born in Wakefield, and who the museum is named after, and Henry Moore, born in nearby Castleford.

Just 20 minutes south (A636/M1 Junction 38/A637 towards Huddersfield), is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park – an international centre for modern and contemporary art, experienced and enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year.

Explore open-air displays by some of the world’s finest artists including Henry Moore, enjoy fascinating exhibitions throughout four stunning galleries and be inspired by the beauty of an historic estate.

The centre is free to enter but be aware there are parking charges.

Travel to Manchester/Manchester Airport via M1 north/M62 west

Overnight Manchester/Manchester Airport

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