International travel is slowly coming back into our lives, but with countries turning from green to amber to red faster than a traffic light, many of us will be vacationing at home this year.

As thousands upon thousands of people make their way to the (relatively speaking) tropical south coast of Cornwall and Devon, we are aiming much closer to home.

There is so much to explore here in the Northwest, some of which is so beautiful you might think you have teleported to New Zealand or the Italian coast.

Read more: Heaton Park Lightopia Lantern Festival returns this winter with A Christmas Fantasy show

For families, for couples, for groups of friends and for lone rangers, there is a vacation not too far from Manchester to enjoy.

Here are five great vacation destinations to explore.

What’s your favorite vacation spot in the Northwest? Share your recommendations in the comments below.

Ribble Valley



The Ribble Valley

You only need an hour’s drive from Greater Manchester to find yourself in one of the country’s most beautiful countryside.

The Ribble Valley in Lancashire is so varied and incredibly beautiful that it has even inspired many of the Lord of the Rings landscapes by JRR Tolkien.

There you will find many picturesque villages, including Downham, which has no overhead cables or road markings and has retained every inch of its period charm.

It’s also a walker’s paradise, whether it’s a stroll along the Ribble River (perhaps with a quick swim), a stroll through the woods in the Forest of Bowland, or a walk in the woods in the Forest of Bowland. ‘a quick climb to the top of Pendle Hill.

You can also explore Clitheroe Castle and Museum and stroll through the streets of this ancient market town.



Gisburne Park

Where to stay: There are plenty of places you can stay, but you’ll find a good mix of accommodation in Gisburne Park, from glamping (with proper beds, fireplaces, and hot showers) to self-catering lodges with hot tubs.

There’s a heated outdoor pool, strutting peacocks, an on-site restaurant and bar, plus 1,000 acres of grounds to explore.

Where to eat: This corner of Lancashire is a haven for award-winning gourmet pubs.

The Whitewell Inn, the Wiswell Freemasons, and the Parkers Arms are all worth a visit – and will even accept you in your muddy hiking boots.

Portmeirion




Once named Britain’s second most picturesque village, Portmeirion is perhaps the closest to most of us for a European break this summer.

The village on the Welsh coast was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village.

A jumble of colorful buildings includes a cave, plaza and a magnificent bell tower, with Castell Deudraeth a short distance from the main village.

There are also free guided tours around Portmeirion, which will show you all the highlights.




Where to stay: Rooms are available throughout the village and in Castell Deudraeth, but you can’t beat a stay at Hotel Portmeirion, which has been around for almost a century.

The hotel offers views of the estuary as well as an outdoor swimming pool.

Where to eat: If you want a chic and chic meal, head back to Hotel Portmeirion and its art-deco restaurant, but there are also plenty of charming cafes in the village to try.

For the true “I am truly in Italy” experience, sit down at Caffi Glas and enjoy pizza, pasta and ice cream.

Lytham Sainte-Anne




St Annes has been a favorite vacation spot for Mancunians for decades, and for good reason.

Blackpool’s quieter neighbor is set on a beautiful stretch of the Lancashire coastline and boasts an ornate Victorian pier, a boating lake and the much-photographed row of colorful beach huts.

There is plenty to keep visitors of all ages entertained, whether you want to stroll along the sand dunes, veg on the beach, visit the ornamental pond, or play mini golf.

The town itself is full of restaurants and guesthouses, its own art gallery and Lytham Hall, a magnificent Georgian country house.

And of course, it’s only a short distance from the giant playground that is Blackpool.

Where to stay: For luxury, it has to be the Clifton Arms, a giant four-star hotel with waterfront views.

But there are also plenty of B & Bs and self-catering apartments with something to suit all budgets.

Where to eat: This is common with tourism hot spots, there is a good mix of cuisines available at Lytham St Annes, from Chinese and Indian to Greek and Italian.

Locals rave about the Turkish grill restaurant Anatolia Sea View, and you will find one of the best chippies in the country at Seafarers, which has a dining area as well as a take-out offering.

The Lake District




It’s obvious, but with so much more time spent in the UK, it’s a great opportunity to truly explore the Lake District.

There is so much to do in this beautiful national park – hiking may be the main attraction, but you can also hire a canoe, paddle board, or small electric boat for a few hours, or go for a swim in one of the sites suitable for swimming. some lakes.

Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth both lived and wrote here, and there are museums dedicated to the two writers, as well as National Trust sites like Hill Top and Wray Castle to explore as well.

Time can be a little unpredictable here, but with the right equipment there really is nothing better.



Low wooden bay

Where to stay: If you want to feast on, Low Wood Bay is a favorite.

There’s an outdoor infinity pool, but there’s also a full spa and indoor pools, so you’ll be happy to shelter here if the weather changes.

Where to eat : The lakes have many Michelin stars for such a sparsely populated area – there is the famous L’Enclume in Cartmel, The Old Stamp House in Ambleside, HRiSHi in Bowness-on-Windermere and The Forest Side in Grasmere, to name just a few. that they little.

The Drunken Duck in Barngates is one of the best gastro pubs ever, and for brunches you can’t go wrong with Homeground in Windermere.

Chester




If your idea of ​​a vacation is long lunches, leisurely strolls through the shops, and perhaps an occasional day trip to a stately home, it’s Chester’s.

Chester was recently named the second most stylish city for a break in the UK (beaten only by Bath).

It’s a maze of alleys and city walls, with its famous black and white Tudor buildings lining the streets.

Stroll around the city walls, take a day trip to Chester Zoo, admire the beauty of Chester Cathedral or just sit back and sip wine all afternoon.




The choice is yours.

Where to stay: Hiltons, Crowne Plazas, Holiday Inns – you’ll find all the names of familiar hotels in town.

One of the newer kids in the area is The Hotel Chester, a £ 4.6million luxury aparthotel.

Here are five new hotels on the way.

Where to eat: Have a drink at Lono Cove, which will soon be opening its first bar in Manchester.

In terms of restaurants, you can always count on Elite Bistros’ Sticky Walnut, or the famous Hypha, or any number of popular and casual restaurant chains that dot the city.

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