When you mention art appreciation to someone, they probably think of strolling through galleries in Florence, Paris and New York, but the truth is that you can appreciate some of the finest the world of art has produced much closer to home. Many people from other countries appreciate the fact that the UK is an artistic powerhouse, both now and in the past, but when you live here it can be easy to take for granted, in particular the culture and history which is on offer outside the city of London. Not only will the offerings in the regions present an aesthetic road less travelled, but the journey will cost considerably less than one which involves traversing the capital.
Setting out on a journey of this kind, full of anticipation and optimism, it’s hard to imagine anything going wrong, but the truth is that accidents can sometimes happen and what may have started as the trip of a lifetime may end up causing you pain or injury. If this does happen, it’s vital that you should be aware of the option of making a claim for compensation. Not everyone knows where to go to seek advice or how to even begin the process of a claim. At NoWinNoFee you can find lots of up-to-date info on how the claims process works and great reading material which may come in useful. Even the most minor injuries can end up costing you money and having a detrimental effect upon your life, and if this was the result of someone else’s negligence then it’s simply wrong that you should have to pay the price, in physical, mental or financial terms.
Leaving that aside, however, in the assumption that everything does run smoothly, the art and culture available in two neighbouring but distinctive UK cities, Manchester and Liverpool, should provide you with at least two or three days of pleasure and stimulation, or even more if you choose to approach things at a more leisurely pace.
The city of Manchester, home of the industrial revolution, offers a host of artistic and cultural highlights and the most difficult thing may well be choosing what to leave out, and how to pack it all in. The logical first port of call is probably Manchester Art Gallery, which houses works form all around the world, spanning everything from the lyricism of Turner to the northern romanticism of Pierre Adolphe Valette and the stylised realism of L.S. Lowry.
Culture isn’t always contained in galleries, of course, and a walk around the streets of Manchester will unveil sights such as the remains of a Roman army camp, one of the world’s oldest schools (Chethams’ School of Music) and, should refreshment be required, a cocktail bar on the twenty third floor of the stunning Beetham Tower which offers (somewhat expensive) drinks and stunning views of the whole city.
Other must-see attractions include The Lowry, a gallery named after and featuring a huge collection by local artist L.S. Lowry, and the Imperial War Museum of the North which, as well as offering a fascinating if sobering portrait of man’s inhumanity to man, happens to be housed in a stunning Daniel Liebeskind building which is a work of art in its own right. An added bonus is the fact that these two buildings, housed by the redeveloped Salford Quays, are separated only by a short walk and, for sports fans, it’s another quick trek to take a look at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, probably the most famous football team in the world. Although guided tours are available, even a casual stroll around the outside of the ground will capture some sense of the scale of the club, as well as guaranteeing you’ll bump into fans from all over the world.
Little more than a forty minute drive or train journey away is the city of Liverpool, close neighbour and fierce rival to Manchester. As is the case with Manchester, much of the aesthetic pleasure to be drawn from the city can be found by simply walking the streets and admiring the stunning architecture. Guided walks run regularly, but even without them you can’t fail to be impressed by what has been described by English Heritage as ‘Britain’s finest Victorian City’, something which is also recognised in the number of listed buildings and the UNESCO designation of ‘World Heritage Site’ granted to six areas within the city centre.
To get a thorough grounding in all this history, pay a visit to the Museum of Liverpool on the redeveloped waterfront. The museum tells the story of Liverpool's rise to prominence and prosperity on the back of the slave trade and its story since, taking in the Beatlemania of the sixties, the relative decline of the nineteen eighties and it’s more recent re-emergence as a cultural hub. The museum forms part of the Albert Dock, an area which fell into steep decline with the withdrawal of industry, but which has since been rebuilt and reinvigorated to stunning effect. As well as shops, restaurants and the Mersey Maritime Museum, it is home to Tate Liverpool, housing one of the UK’s largest collections of contemporary and modern art. Other galleries to pay a visit to during your stay in Liverpool are the Lady Lever Art Gallery, dedicated to fine and decorative arts, including paintings, tapestries and ceramics and the Walker gallery, which contains pieces dating as far back as the 13th century and includes works by artistic giants such as Degas, Monet and Rembrandt.
If all of this sounds somewhat exhausting, it should be remembered that it’s merely a brief taster of what these two cities have to offer. The fact that they are both within easy travelling distance of some of England’s most beautiful countryside merely adds to the appeal, and means that trip of a few days may end up lasting considerably longer.