Category: Travel Writing

How to spend a Great British seaside weekend in Southport, Merseyside

To Southport, the Paris of Merseyside for my contribution from the Northwest to a summer series from Telegraph Travel about British seaside towns.

Here’s my take on Southport, including a visit to Southport Market [pictured above].

Southport feels like a resort waiting for something — and preferably not another Poundland.

“But exploring the backstreets offers its reward.

Personally, I could happily spend an afternoon mooching around the Victorian arcades with the twin-level Wayfarers Arcade, built in 1898, a study in wrought iron and glass.

Cambridge Arcade has been restored to its 1850s glory with a glass canopy now shielding local businesses, such as Mersey micropub, the Tap and Bottle.

A craft ale bar and bottle shop, the sign outside proclaims it ‘good enough for John Cooper Clarke and the guy from Countryfile (not John Craven)’.”

Read the full story via Telegraph Travel: Southport feels like a resort waiting for something to happen.

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How to follow the official Harry Styles tour of Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

To Holmes Chapel, east Cheshire for an unlikely musical pilgrimage in an equally unlikely location.

I joined a sneak preview of the new Harry Styles Harry’s Home Village Tour [pictured above], which launched this weekend.

Read a sample from my article here:

When we finally arrived at the Twemlow Viaduct, it looks like a cross between the sometimes graffiti-covered grave of Jim Morrison in Paris’s Pére-Lachaise cemetery and an alcohol-free, teenage festival.

The messages range from “My mum loves Harry” to the more philosophical, “You bring me home”.

After three hours, I was desperate for a coffee and a sausage butty at the Village Kitchen, one of the local businesses offering fan deals back in the village.

But first I fell into conversation with 52-year-old superfan Andrea McGill [pictured below].

She lives locally and was one of the first visitors to test drive the new tour, having sat in the ITV studio audience the evening Harry first auditioned.

Clutching a slate-heart message to her idol and sporting a I Hiked to Harry’s Wall sweatshirt from the new merch range, she said:

“We’re happy to share Harry and his message of kindness with the world.”

Tours £20pp; more information from Holmes Chapel Partnership.

Read the full story via the iNewspaper: I joined the offical Harry Styles walking tour of his home village

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How to spend a weekend in the Cheshire town of Macclesfield, home of Joy Division

To east Cheshire for a travel guide to Macclesfield, the market town with a musical heritage.

My favourite part of my journey was a tour of sites associated with the singer and lyricist, Ian Curtis, of the band Joy Division.

Read this extract as a taster of the feature:

Macclesfield has become a pilgrimage for music fans and the mural of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, painted by the Manchester-based artist Akse [pictured above], has firmly put Macclesfield on the tourism map.

Curtis lived in the town and died by suicide at his home on Barton Street in 1980. Local independent tourist guide, Trevor Stokes (email [email protected], or call 07446 771752) runs a tour of associated sites.

Throughout the two-hour tour (by donation), Trevor interweaves the narrative about Curtis’ life with his own family story, both growing up on local estates in the Seventies.

The most moving stop is Curtis’ simple grave beside Macclesfield Crematorium, one of the locations featured in Anton Corbijn’s 2007 film Control.

The tour ends at Proper Sound, a record store and cafe with a collection of Joy Division memorabilia.

Read the full story via the iNewspaper: Macclesfield: the market town with a community pub and musical pedigree

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How to spend a weekend in North Shropshire’s Oswestry and Ironbridge

I spent a couple of days recently in the North Shropshire region, visiting the town of Oswestry with its deli-cafe Niche [pictured above] and the nearby World Heritage Site at Ironbridge.

The story appeared in this weekend’s iNewspaper travel section.

Read an extract here:

This border market town is a good base for exploring North Shropshire and North Wales, with an attractive mix of historic buildings, al fresco cafés and rolling countryside.

Plans for a new passenger rail service, connecting Wrexham and Shropshire to London via the West Midlands, are making headlines locally.

The Wrexham, Shropshire and Midlands Railway, mooted to launch in 2025, would call at Gobowen, Shrewsbury and Telford.

There is even talk of reconnecting Oswestry’s heritage-rail station to its mainline neighbour at Gobowen, three miles north.

And read the full article via the iNewspaper: The Shropshire Market Town with a heritage railway, castles and thriving food festival.