The 28 best places to visit in the North West of England
Stretching from Carlisle to Merseyside and across to the Isle of Man, here we list the best places to visit in the North West
Encompassing famous towns such as Stoke, Liverpool and Manchester, and home to the Lake District, the North West of England is a very popular region for domestic and international tourism. But its the area’s stunning historic houses and gardens that are often overlooked but are the perfect day out for anyone exploring the region. From Capesthorne Hall to Muncaster Castle, the North West is a history lover’s paradise, and here we list the best places to visit in the region. You can also view a map of these places on our dedicated web page here.
Arley Hall, Northwich
Arley Hall & Gardens is a place of enormous character, charm and interest. Visitors are frequently struck by the warm and intimate atmosphere and the feeling that Arley is a much-cherished family home.
The elaborate ceilings and oak panelling, impressive fireplaces, intricate stained glass and beautiful contents are features which make Arley Hall so special. Visit and enter a piece of living history. Arley gives an intimate insight into life in the Hall and the history of a family that has cherished Arley as their home for over 550 years.
Bramall Hall, Stockpport
Bramall Hall is a superb example of a Tudor Manor House with origins dating back to the Middle Ages.
The Hall, one of the most beautiful treasures of England, is of great national importance. The magnificent 16th Century wall paintings, striking Elizabethan plaster ceiling, the Victorian Kitchens and Servants’ Quarters give this Hall its unique charm.
Capesthorne Hall, Macclesfield
Capesthorne Hall, built between 1719 and 1732 and set in 100 acres of picturesque Cheshire parkland, has been touched by nearly 1,000 years of history.
The Hall has a fascinating collection of fine art; marble sculptures; porcelains; tapestries and English, European, Far Eastern and American antique furniture collected by family members.
Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, Maplas
The Cholmondeley Family have resided in this part of Cheshire since the Norman times. The gardens were originally laid out in the early 19th Century using architectural elements from the formal gardens of the Old Hall.
When Lavinia, Marchioness of Cholmondeley came to live at Cholmondeley in 1947 together with her husband the 6th Marquess she set about creating ‘a garden of great romance’ introducing many specimen trees and shrubs, including rare magnolias, camellias and rhododendrons.
Special events in the North West
From car shows to festivals, plant fairs and tree climbing, historic houses and gardens are incredible spaces for all kinds of special events, and you can discover a range of these events on our dedicated page. Remember, if you’re a Historic Houses member, entry to events is often not included in your free access offer.
...also in Cheshire
Dorfold Hall, Nantwich
Originally built in 1616 Dorfold Hall is surrounded by enchanting gardens and woodland. Oozing old English charm at every corner, it makes for a breathtaking country house to visit.
The exquisite interiors of Dorfold Hall retain their original plaster ceilings and elegant oak paneling. The Drawing Room boasts an original barrel vault, dating from 1621, and whose plasterwork was created by Venetian Plasters. In 1771, the architect Samuel Wyatt redesigned the downstairs of the house and then, in 1862, William Nesfield was commissioned to change the size of the lake and the direction of the driveway.
Peover Hall, Knutsford
Peover Hall is an Elizabethan house and a rare gem that boasts a fascinating history and is still used today as a family home. The hall’s rich history stems back to 1585 when it was built by Sir Randle Mainwaring.
A new wing was added by the fourth baronet Sir Henry in the 1760s before the Peels bought the hall and estate in 1919, which was then acquired by the Brooks family some 20 years later.
Rode Hall & Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent
Rode Hall is a beautiful early eighteenth century country house with a fine collection of porcelain and extensive gardens set in a Repton landscape.
Home to the Wilbraham family since 1669, the extensive grounds boast a woodland garden, formal garden designed by Nesfield in 1860, a stunning two acre walled kitchen garden, which provides produce for the farmers’ market and tearooms and a new Italian garden.
Tatton Park, Knutsford
Tatton Park is one of the UK’s most complete historic estates. It is home to a Medieval Old Hall, Neo-Classical Mansion, 50 acres of landscaped gardens, a rare-breed farm and 1,000 acres of deer park. Our speciality shops, restaurant, adventure playground, events and educational programmes combine to make Tatton one of the most popular family days out in the North West.
The stunning parkland is home to two herds of deer and is ideal for exploring on foot or by bike. Tatton’s shops offer a wealth of gifts and produce reflecting the character of the estate.
Askham Hall, Penrith
Askham Hall features Grade II listed gardens which are open to the public for visits. The Hall is an award-winning restaurant with bedrooms and a wedding venue.
The gardens are full of stunning features, including colourful terraces, a 230ft long double herbaceous border, unusual species of plants, formal lawns, kitchen gardens, woodland, meadows and ponds. Take in the views down to the River Lowther and enjoy the secluded spots of the garden. You can also buy plants to take home.
Dalemain Mansion & Gardens, Penrith
Family home to the Hasells since 1679, Dalemain is a beautiful mixture of Medieval, Tudor & Georgian architecture situated in a landscape of rolling parkland, lakes and rugged Cumbrian hills.
The Hasells have tended the award winning gardens for generations, with interesting plantings including the meconopsis blue poppies, Tudor Knot Garden, old fashioned roses and sleeping Giantess.
Holker Hall & Gardens, Grange-over-Sands
Holker Hall & Gardens is the much-loved home of the Cavendish family, and has been in the family since it was built in the early 1600’s. The new wing was re-built in the 1870’s following a fire, and is now open to visitors.
There are no ropes or barriers, visitors are welcome to wander the rooms at their leisure. The award-winning gardens display a wonderful collection of trees, shrubs and flowers, and offer inspiration throughout the year.
Hutton-in-the-Forest consist of Medieval Pele towers, extended in 17th-century with a gallery and baroque central facade. In the 18th-century a suite of 3 rooms was added, and in the 19th-century a tower by Salvin.
The interiors span the centuries and contain a fine collection of portraits, English furniture, tapestries and china.
Isel Hall, Cockermouth
Standing on a steep slope above the winding River Derwent and two miles from Bassenthwaite Lake, Isel Hall is a spectacular building.
Its south facing terraces command glorious views to the river, which is banked with rhododendrons in the spring. In the distance are the Lakeland fells and Skiddaw.
...also in Cumbria
Levens Hall, Kendal
Levens Hall is an Elizabethan mansion built around a 13th-century pele tower, the much loved home of the Bagot family.
With fine panelling, plasterwork, Cordova leather wall coverings, paintings by Rubens, Lely and Cuyp the earliest English patchwork, an important collection of Jacobean furniture and Wellingtoniana combine with other beautiful objects to form a fascinating collection.
Lowther Castle, Penrith
Lowther Castle has enjoyed a rich and varied history. One of the finest Gothic buildings of the north west, the castle was completed in 1812. For a century or more Lowther played host to the great and the good of the United Kingdom.
But in 1936, the turmoil of the 20th century took over. The castle was abandoned, then occupied by the army and finally in 1957 partly demolished.
A relaxed welcome, enhanced by it’s unique literary connections and beautiful collections, await visitors to Mirehouse.
Visitors can enjoy the live piano music, unusual photographs and manuscripts and children’s activities as they wander through this family home.
Morland House, Penrith
The Grade 1 listed former Tudor vicarage has been home to the Markham family since 1828. Much enlarged in Victorian times, the house is set in four acres of stunning gardens, laid out around Morland Beck, which flows from one end of the garden to the other, via an impressive waterfall splashing down into the top rock pool.
Crossing the beck by a choice of picturesque footbridges or slippery stepping stones, one reaches the natural beauty of the secret Victorian quarry garden complete with grotto and cliff top walk.
Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass
In an idyllic setting amongst the Western Lake District fells, Muncaster offers an unforgettable experience for groups, for individuals and families; for days out or memorable special occasions.
With its historic haunted castle, Himalayan gardens and bluebell woods commanding Eskdale and the estuary from its lofty fellside position, Muncaster offers the complete day out.
When on the Isle of Man...
Milntown is the only country house and garden open to the public on the Isle of Man.
The house we see today has the Gothic facade put on by Deemster John Christian in the 1830s around an earlier Georgian core. It is by repute the most haunted house on the Island.
Browsholme Hall, Clitheroe
Browsholme Hall has been the ancestral home of the Parkers, Bowbearers of the Forest of Bowland since Tudor times.
Today it is still the family’s home and Robert and Amanda Parker invite visitors to enjoy its magnificent architecture, fabulous interiors, antique furnishings and lovely gardens. Visitors will not only view the remarkable antiquarian collection, but gain the genuine atmosphere of an historic family home.
Gresgarth Hall, Lancaster
A garden of 12 acres. The setting is in a valley cut of the surrounding fields over millennia by a tributary of the river Lune called Artle Beck.
The sound of water is ever-present. The terraces descend from the house to the lake, and are planted with roses, clementis and more tender plants in season, and the predominating pinks, purples and silver-whites compliment the rugged grey stone of the Gothic house.
Hoghton Tower, Preston
Steeped in history and commanding breathtaking views across Lancashire, Hoghton Tower offers something for everyone at all times of year.
Plan your fairytale wedding, take a tour round the house, wander through the gardens, sample local produce at the Farmers’ Market, or just call in for coffee and cake to soak up some history!
Leighton Hall, Carnforth
Leighton Hall is located in North Lancashire, it is nestled in a bowl of parkland, against a backdrop of the Lake District hills.
The ancestral home of the world-renowned Gillow furniture family, Leighton Hall is still lived in today and is no stuffy museum – there aren’t any roped off areas here!
Lytham Hall, Lytham
The fine Palladian style house was commissioned by Sir Thomas Clifton in 1752 to replace a previous house on the site, the seat of the Clifton family.
The house survives with little alteration today and is regarded as one of the best works of the eminent architect, John Carr of York. He spent ten years completing the design, which incorporated some of the earlier 16th-century house, the remains of which are still visible in the Courtyard and West Wing.
Towneley Hall, Burnley
Towneley Hall is set in over 400 acres of historic parkland and small formal gardens with woodland walks, trails and a large childrens play area.
The Hall contains fine period rooms hung with original 19th-century oil and water colour paintings including works by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema,Waterhouse and Johan Zoffany. The Hall is home to the Whalley Abbey Vestments and a vast collection of Lancashire made oak furniture.
Explore the former home of a famous author
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Manchester
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester is the former home of the famous author and her family. Her novels include Mary Barton, Cranford, North and South and Wives and Daughters and are enjoyed on television, stage and radio.
This beautifully restored family home has spectacular period rooms and re-imagined garden for visitors to enjoy. The House, combined with the story of Elizabeth Gaskell as a writer, public figure and private person, provides a unique and engaging experience.
A day trip to Southport...
Meols Hall in Southport, Merseyside, is a 17th-century Manor House with subsequent additions containing an interesting collection of paintings and furniture. The house has been in the Hesketh family for 27 generations and is still privately owned.
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