My Top Ten Days Out in the North West

With the New Year upon us, I thought it would be good to start with the top ten places I would like to visit this year.  Having only managed to visit one of these last year, I am determined to tick these of my list in 2012. Ranging in prices, location and experience, this list provides a selection of outings to suit all tastes and budgets. A few do have end dates so make sure you visit those first! All these suggestions are suitable for adults and children alike.

1. Clitheroe

Clitheroe is great day out not only does it offer a large variety of unique and boutique shops there is also a fantastic selection of cafés, bars and restaurants to enjoy that well earned afternoon tea! There are many walks that begin in Clitheroe which you can find out more about here.

You will also find in Clitheroe, the Platform Gallery which provides a unique market place for handmade crafts from across the UK.  You can visit the craft exhibitions, buy stunning gifts in the Craft Shop or take part in workshops and educational opportunities.  For further information and opening times visit the website here.

Clitheroe Castle Keep is also host to TAKEN, a sound installation by contemporary classical composer Ailís Ní Ríain. Inspired by the story of the Lancashire witches, TAKEN allows the visitor to imagine how the 12 individuals may have felt during their last four months in captivity whilst awaiting trial. December is an excellent time to visit with the cold, windy, icy weather adding to the experience.  Find out more about TAKEN here and on our blog.

2. Panopticons

Have you visited the Panopticons yet? Designed to attract visitors into the countryside to enjoy the stunning landscapes that this delightful area has to offer. There are four Panopticons altogether each situated on a high-point site commanding spectacular views.

Colourfields, in Blackburn’s Corporation Park, allows you to enjoy a panoramic view of the park below, with the town beyond and distant views out towards Lytham, Southport and Fleetwood.

Singing Ringing Tree is situated on Crown Point above Burnley, look north for a superb view of Pendle Hill or east for a glimpse of the Cliviger wind turbines on the Yorkshire border.

Atom, nestles on the hillside high above Wycoller village, there are breathtaking views of the Pendle landscape all around, including the historic settlement of Wycoller, now a conservation area.

Halo is the centrepiece of a former landfill site on Top o’ Slate above Haslingden. You can enjoy commanding views of the Rossendale Valley, Greater Manchester and into Hyndburn, Burnley and Ribble Valley.

For more information, visit http://www.visitlancashire.com/panopticons/. You can also download various maps and guides for walking around the Panopticons and other areas of interest here

3. The Greenway – Padiham & Preston

The Greenways are perfect for an afternoon walk or cycle with the family; constructed along disused railway lines they provide a safe, beautiful and alternative way to discover the countryside.

The Preston Greenway was constructed along the formally disused railway line that formed part of the Bamber Bridge to Preston extension of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. The greenway links Penwortham, Bamber Bridge and Preston City Centre and forms part of the National Cycle Network.

The Padiham Greenway was created on a disused railway line that runs between Rosegrove and Padiham in Burnley. The Padiham Greenway has been developed as part of a longer route between Great Harwood and Burnley which is designed to create an off-road trail that connects people to facilities and open spaces in and around the towns that flank the route.

4. Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk via Burscough.

The Chapel Gallery is situated in the lively town of Ormskirk. Their diverse programme brings some of the most inventive contemporary fine art and craft from across the UK to the region, while also supporting locally based artists in the development of their careers. There are plenty of activities to keep young minds absorbed and with an on site Café and Contemporary Craft Shop, the gallery is the perfect place to visit on a day out. Ormskirk itself offers a variety of shops and cafés and an afternoon can be easily spent wandering around the town.

On route to Ormskirk why not stop off in Burscough and visit Gallery on the Wharf, the new permanent home for the Art and Craft Guild of Lancashire. As 2011 marks the silver anniversary of the Guild, the gallery opening in February makes it an exciting year for everyone. There is a wide variety of work on offer including ceramics, furniture, textiles, jewellery, glass, art, photography and turned wood from original designs all displayed in the unique setting of Burscough Wharf. Visit the website for more information.

 5. Brockholes

Brockholes is a new kind of nature reserve, an unreserved reserve owned and managed by The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside. There’s lots to see and do at Brockholes, you can hunt out the floating Visitor Village which houses a restaurant, shops and Welcome Centre or explore the family-friendly hides, walking trails and play area.  A fantastic free day out accessible by car and public transport. Visit the website for more information.

6. TATE Liverpool

See the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at Tate Liverpool till 29th January. The first exhibition of its kind to explore how Lewis Carroll’s stories have influenced the visual arts, inspiring generations of artists. The exhibition will provide insight into the creation of the novels and the inspiration they have provided for artists through the decades. Alice in Wonderland  offers  visitors a rare opportunity to view Carroll’s own drawings and photographs, alongside Victorian Alice memorabilia and John Tenniel’s preliminary drawings for the first edition of the novel.

7. Museum of Lancashire

Find out the history of Preston’s Guild in 2012 with a visit to the recently refurbished Museum of Lancashire. They have a lot to offer and admission is completely free! Whether your interests lie in Preston or the wider heritage of Lancashire, the Museum of Lancashire gives you a great introduction to all things Lancashire. With displays, interactives and activities aimed at different ages, there really will be something for all of the family to enjoy. Why not top off your visit with a relaxing coffee and cake in our Gateway café.

8. Cedar Farm

Cedar Farm nestling in beautiful countryside is surprisingly situated just 15 minutes from junction 27 of the M6. Providing an inspirational and creative shopping experience, the wonderful array of unique shops, selling contemporary crafts, clothing, home furnishings and mystic gifts is complemented by a group of creative working artists; here visitors have an opportunity to purchase artwork made by some of the most talented people in the region.

The cafe@cedarfarm, serves delicious freshly prepared food and the Coffee Roastery are both award winning places to eat and drink.

With regular exhibitions, free parking, a children’s playground and farm animals to feed, it’s a perfect place to spend an hour or two. Although, if you want to spend longer, you can book onto one of the courses or have a pamper day at the beauty salon.

With opportunities to feed the variety of animals and drop in to Pots of Fun to paint a pot, in between coffee and cake and wander round the unique shops, Cedar Farm makes a great afternoon out for the family or adults alike.

 9. Valley of Stone.

The Valley of Stone is a project which celebrates the quarrying and stone working heritage of Rossendale.  From the late 18th century to the time of the First World War quarrying was a major industry in Rossendale, employing thousands of men. The Valley of Stone project tells the story of this great industry, conserves remains, provides a programme of guided walks featuring Rossendale’s stone working heritage and celebrates this heritage through a number of arts-based activities. You can read more about Mid Pennine Arts’ involvement and the sculptures we commissioned in Lee Quarry here.

Why not visit these sculptures and take the family and your bikes along for an active, cultural and historical day out all rolled into one!

10. BFG at the Dukes.

One of Roald Dahl’s most popular children’s stories, The BFG which follows the adventures of Sophie a little girl with a big heart and she’s going on a whizzpoppingly wonderful adventure this Christmas, as she meets the Big Friendly Giant and sets off on an unbelievable journey.  From her sleepy orphanage, to magical Dream Country and beyond, join Sophie in this brand new production promising excitement, just a touch of danger and larger than life characters. In a faithful adaptation of the classic story, The Dukes brings this heartwarming tale of friendship and bravery to the stage with amazing puppetry, masses of fun and plenty of surprises along the way.

Visit the Official Roald Dahl Website, which is packed with information and games as well as up to date news from the World of Roald Dahl.

The BFG is on till 7th January. Why not make a day out of it and visit Lancaster home to the Storey Gallery and Gallery23

One of my many New Year resolutions is to organise more days out and actually do them – something I have been guilty of these last few years!

Please let us know if you visit any of the above and what you thought by leaving your comments below.

ENJOY!

Author: Rebecca Fitton

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One response to “My Top Ten Days Out in the North West

  1. Greetings! Very helpful advice on this article! It is the little changes that make the biggest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!