Ditch the guidebook and visit the places where the locals love to dine, drink and dance. These are the destinations that make the North a wonderful and unique region
1. Tom Finney Statue at Deepdale, Preston
Forget the ancient wonders of the world. You can’t see the Colossus of Rhodes, but you can visit Tom Finney’s statue at Deepdale! Tom was Preston North End’s own colossus, playing over 400 times for North End between 1946 and 1960. There is little footage of the Preston Plumber in his pomp, but his statue uses a fountain to recreate a famous photo of Finney beating a Chelsea defender at a waterlogged Stamford Bridge. Once you’ve seen it, why not pick up a ticket for a match at the home of England’s first league champions?
2. Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle
Away from the multiplexes of the Metrocentre and The Gate, step back in time to the last newsreel cinema still standing in the UK. A Newcastle institution, the Tyneside Cinema was built in 1937 by Dixon Scott, the great-uncle of Alien and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott. It has inspired modern film-makers, but it’s the three unique screens that cinephiles will appreciate as they take in the latest blockbusters and art-house pictures. The Classic, with its beautiful red curtain, has been restored to its Art Deco splendour, The Roxy’s striking green seats match the décor of the adjacent Tyneside Bar, while the Electra houses a row of comfy sofas in front of its massive screen.
3. King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Radio 1 named King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut as the UK’s best live music venue three years in a row and it has won NME’s best small venue in the UK. It’s easy to see why – as a venue which pledges to provide a platform for new bands, it certainly delivers. Coldplay, Radiohead and The Manic Street Preachers all played here before they were famous, and it’s also where Creation Records boss Alan McGee discovered Oasis. If you want to see the most exciting bands in Britain, this is the place to be.
4. The Angel Inn, Windermere
With views over beautiful Lake Windermere, it’s hard to find a better location to sup a pint of locally brewed beer this summer. Many pubs offer views around the National Park, but perhaps not within such easy reach of a train station. Just a mile down the road from the end of the line at Windermere, this is a perfect place to stop for a drink as you walk to the lake or The World Of Beatrix Potter. Or stay longer for tea, or even spend the night. The Guardian rated it as one of the top 10 B&Bs in the Lake District.
5. The Curry Mile, Manchester
Lahore meets Las Vegas on Wilmslow Road. It’s possible to find great Pakistani and Indian restaurants all over Manchester (Zouk off Oxford Road is one of the finest) but with its bright neon lights enticing you, and some 70 restaurants on its half-mile strip, it is an experience like no other in Britain. It’s said to have the largest concentration of Indian restaurants outside the Indian subcontinent. The choice is overwhelming but The Mughli is the place to eat. It’s recommended by Nigel Slater, who has praised its glorious Mughlai food.
6. South Cliff Lift, Scarborough
A lift might not sound like an obvious alternative wonder of the North, but this isn’t just any old elevator; it’s Britain’s oldest funicular railway, and its hydraulic system was powered by seawater. South Cliff Lift began transporting tourists from the esplanade to Scarborough Spa in 1873 and, while visitors no longer ‘take the waters’, it remains a memorable form of transport and a quirky link between the shops and the sea.
7. The Warehouse, Leeds
Manchester’s Haçienda is now a block of flats, while Liverpool’s Cream is limited to a handful of events a year, but The Warehouse in Leeds is still going strong 35 years after it originally opened its doors to disco lovers in 1979. Since then, it has hosted everyone worth seeing from The Sugar Hill Gang to The Stone Roses and now, having been restored in 2010 to its former glory, it is home to legendary house nights Back To Basics and Hard Times, plus the bass-driven beats of Sticky Feet. DJ recently voted it as one of the top 100 clubs in the world and it’s easy to see why.