20 things to do in Southport, UK

20 things to do in Southport, UK | PACK THE SUITCASES

After a gorgeous autumnal day out there, I decided to write up some of the best things to do in Southport. I grew up in a village near to Southport, so I spent a lot of time there when I was younger and used to know it really well. But since I moved away over 10 years ago, SO much has changed. I’ve only ever been back on flying visits rather than for a full day out (usually just drunken evenings to be honest). So returning for a day in Southport this autumn was like visiting an entirely new town for me.

If you don’t know it, Southport (or ‘Sowie’ as locals used to call it – possibly still do) is a seaside town in the North West. It was a popular Victorian holiday destination and like most coastal towns, has had its fair share of shops closing down and an air of faded grandeur. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to return, sober and in the cold light of day, to find it’s actually a really nice day out now. Southport even has pockets of real brilliance in the form of art, craft beer and food.

Anyway, onto 20 things to do in Southport – in no particular order…

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10 things to do in Stockport: a town of vegan eats and vintage treats

Things to do in Stockport UK | PACK THE SUITCASES

I thought I’d put together this little list of some of my favourite things to do in Stockport, one of the 2 nearest large towns to where I currently live (the other is Macclesfield, which I also recommend). Stockport is often overshadowed by the city of Manchester being so close to it, but it actually has some brilliant places to eat and drink as well as some lovely vintage shops worth seeking out. Unfortunately, it also has a fairly run down shopping area, a generic retail park and a brand new chain restaurant/cinema complex, so this can give a negative first impression. I wasn’t taken with it at all when we first visited. It wasn’t until we ventured to one of the food events on that I found all the little hidden gems round the old town and lovely market area and started to see a different side to Stockport.

So here are a few things to do in Stockport that I take friends to when they come for a visit or that I recommend to people who are in the area…

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A guide to Macclesfield Treacle Market, Cheshire

A guide to the Macclesfield Treacle Market | PACK THE SUITCASES

The Treacle Market, Macclesfield, Cheshire, is something we’ve been meaning to go to for ages. It’s a food/craft/vintage market that runs on the last Sunday of every month.

I don’t know why we’ve taken so long to get round to going – it’s only a few stops away from us on the train. Being on a Sunday, it’s perfect for us because we’re always busy with horses or nights out on Saturdays. So we finally got round to going to the one in August and it was brilliant. I do love a market, but it’s hard to find a good’un. Food ones are a bit boring once you’ve actually eaten and they’re often overrun with screaming children, which I am allergic to. Vintage/craft ones are frequently full of old junk and someone’s hideous homemade Celtic jewellery. You end up wandering round and never actually buying anything. The Treacle Market is the opposite of this situation – we came home with loads of actually nice stuff.

And Macclesfield turned out to be lovely. It’s not somewhere we know very well, even though it’s so close to where we live now. It’s really pretty and has lots of good places to eat and drink, so it’s a good place to wander round when you’ve wrung the market dry too. We’ve already planned to go back to try a Scandinavian restaurant we had our eye on and I want to take my mum to the market. That’s how good it was.

So this is what we got up to…

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A winter weekend break in Shrewsbury: things to do

A winter weekend break in Shrewsbury | Pack The Suitcases

The town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire is perfect for a winter weekend away or just a day trip around Christmas time. For some reason, people seem to pick Chester or York for a weekend of shopping and eating, overlooking the smaller Shrewsbury, which is exactly the same deal but without the crowds. It has pretty Tudor buildings, a public garden designed by the famous Percy Thrower of Gardener’s World fame, cosy pubs, good restaurants and independent shops. And you can get there easily by train, which means sampling all said cosy pubs is a must.

The Guardian recently featured Shrewsbury in their top 10 UK towns for winter breaks, similar to their top 10 UK towns list that featured our other favourite, Kirkby Lonsdale. There’s obviously a running theme here.

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12 things to do in Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

Things to do in Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here are some lovely things to do in Kirkby Lonsdale, a beautiful market town in Cumbria, UK. If you like cute cobbled streets, pretty scenery and consuming your own bodyweight in food and beer, read on.

I’ve been going to Kirkby Lonsdale since I was a child so I’d like to say I know it pretty well. I enjoy returning there as an adult too, and my other half Chris is now in love with it as well. So I’ve compiled this list of things to do in Kirkby Lonsdale based on some nice photos and memories from our last summer trip there but also on many years of holidays when I was growing up that were based around eating, drinking and exploring there.

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