The enthralling rivalry between the Merseyside club, Liverpool and Manchester powerhouse, Manchester United form the foundation upon which English football has taken its modern form. While new super-clubs like United's crosstown rivals, Manchester City and London clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal, have posed a credible challenge, the two traditional giants of the English game still contest in the most heated match of the season, the North-West Derby.
The intense rivalry has taken shape over centuries of industrial and economic rivalry, periods of dominance and the close proximity between the two historic cities. For any football buff, these two cities are a dream visit. Anfield, Liverpool's home ground, and Old Trafford, United's home stadium, are two of the most widely recognized sporting amphitheaters of the world. The two destinations have seen a crop of world class players take center stage over the years and the passion for their teams runs deep within their families.
On the other hand, even if you are not a football fan, these two cities offer great insight into the contrasting cultures of England. A trip to Liverpool needs to include a visit to The Beatles Story, an exhibition built in tribute to the legendary 60s English rock band. The unique Beatles-themed museum offers an atmospheric insight into the life, culture and music of the popular group. It also contains recreations at The Casbah Coffee Club, The Cavern Club and Abbey Road Studios. Popular Beatles items, such as John Lennon's spectacles, George Harrison's first guitar and the solo careers of every Beatle can also be discovered here.
After a date with The Beatles, take a ferry ride at the Mersey River Explorer Cruise. See the architecture of this gorgeous city by river and make sure to stop by at the U-boat Story, which is home to a real WWII submarine. Explore Liverpool's wildlife while listening to River Mersey's fascinating maritime history. From smuggling, music to war, grasp how these influenced the course of the Merseyside city.
A small trip to the nearby Royal Liver Building should also make your itinerary. Lining the city's waterfront, it is a renowned landmark in the city and is home to the fabled liver birds that watch over the city and sea. Legends say that if these birds were to ever leave from here, the city would cease to exist.The birds are said to have watched over the seamen and their families when they would be out on the sea.
An hour's journey from Liverpool, Manchester is a city of just as much grandiose as its Merseyside rival. The Quays, Greater Manchester's special waterfront destination, would be a good place to start exploring the city. Here, you can expect to find entertainment, leisure, and cultural activities from taking cruises along the Manchester Ship Canal to indulging in theatre at The Lowry.
Castlefield should easily be the next location you should make your way to in Manchester. An inner city conservation area, Castlefield is home to the Bridgewater Canal, which was built in 1761 to transport coal to the city from Worsley. It is a supreme example of the history of the city and its culture.
While United have for long dominated the scene in English football, their noisy neighbours, Manchester City are a growing force to be reckoned with. A small trip to the Etihad Stadium can never not be on your agenda. The Champions of last year play their football here and a match among them and United is a treat to any individual, whether a football fan or not, as two fan-bases separated by heritage and history face off against one another.