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North England by train
The North of England has a history, landscape and culture which are distinct from the rest of the country, and it is very proud of it. This is a land of great battles, ancient fortifications and majestic buildings, not least the walled city of York itself.
From that past, the industrial revolution leapt into life and the great metropolises of Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham grew up out of a century of technical innovation. Today they’re full of music, great food and top attractions.
Meanwhile, the great fells and lakes of the Lake District and the rolling green land of the Yorkshire Dales remain vast spaces of beauty and calm, rewarding visitors with country charm and awe-inspiring views.
Northern England is easily accessible by train from London.
London > Birmingham
After only 1h25 from London-Euston, you’ll be stepping off from the train in Birmingham, England’s second most populous city. This major international commercial hub is also a simmering hotpot of contemporary culture, art and performance and a bustling bar and club scene. Start with the IKON located on the Oozells Square, not far from the New Street railway station. The IKON is England’s seminal modern art space, where you’ll find the world’s largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite works.
Birmingham is not short of attractions for families and friends. The Thinktank with its Planetarium is ideal for children. The modern science museum has ten themed galleries of immense, inspiring and interactive fun. You’ll be able to investigate everything from full size locomotives and aircraft to intestines and taste buds.
At lunch time, the cosmopolitan nature of Birmingham, mirrored by the sheer variety and quality of its restaurants will offer you a myriad of choice. Try a cheese naan in one of the award winning Indian restaurants located in the Balti triangle and have a drink in one of the top bars of the city.
One original thing to do in Birmingham is to visit the BBC Birmingham’s Public Space at The Mailbox. You’ll be able to have a go at being a TV anchor, presenting the news and the weather forecast. After lunch, take a leisurely stroll through outdoors Birmingham. Did you know Sutton Park is one of Europe’s largest and most appealing urban parks? Or that the city has more trees than Paris? And more miles of canal than Venice? Beautiful Birmingham - you don’t know the half of it!
In the afternoon, you’re spoiled for choice with entertainment options; there’s theatre at the Birmingham Hippodrome, ballet at the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and the biggest names in contemporary music at the LG Arena.
Our tip: Take the train and stop at Bourneville (12 min trip) for a pilgrimage to the Cadbury World, where half a million chocolate lovers find their happiness every year.
A Blue Badge walking tour of the city is a great way to learn some of its most fascinating secrets, including its time as ‘Victorian workshop of the world’.
Birmingham > Manchester
The train will take you to your next stop – Manchester (1h28 trip). The city is a buzzing northern metropolis bristling with music, football fervour and soaring gothic and industrial architecture. State-of-the-art visitor attractions and the hip Northern Quarter offer unrivalled variety for visitors interested in music, fashion and history. Music lovers, be sure to see a gig at the Deaf Institute. Everyone should investigate the architectural wonders of John Ryland’s Library (it’s more like a cathedral). Then explore Castlefield Urban Heritage Park, a preserved portion of the north’s industrial past, and the first heritage park of its kind.
Did you know that the Manchester Liverpool Road is the world’s oldest railway station? You can visit the building which is now part of the Museum of Science and Industry.
Our tip: Manchester really, really loves football. Join the crowds at a game in the historic Old Trafford stadium commonly known as the Theatre of Dreams, home to the world most popular football team - Manchester United.
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