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Great eggs to crack


It feels like we’ve only just gone to bed after New Year’s Eve. Yet already 2011 has been racing by. Easter is fast approaching, meaning this is the ideal time to start planning for a well needed break.

Britain boasts many destinations that make it easy to forget about flying abroad. But, after running the finest luxury hotels in Leeds city centre, and welcoming guests to our fantastic serviced apartments in central Manchester, we believe there are no finer towns to pick when looking for an urban getaway.

Easter falls late this year, meaning those April showers should be on the wane. If you’re looking for some outdoors action, then try heading south from Central Manchester to the Mersey Valley. A culmination of Sale Water Park, Ivy Green, Urmston Meadows, and some 14 other conservation sites, this expansive open area lies in the city’s most south-westerly corner. Lakes with watersports, pubs, landscaping, woodland and a new Metrolink link bringing the Chorlton entrance just 25 minutes away from St Peter’s Square make it impossible to ignore.

On the other side of the Pennines, within similarly easy reach of the city centre, Leeds’ Roundhay Park stands like a jewel in the region’s green crown. One of the biggest areas of non-nationalised parkland in Europe, it’s easy to while away an afternoon exploring the leafy paths that criss-cross the prestigious site. And, should the heavens open, Tropical World is well worth the trip alone.

For a taste of Manchester’s political heritage, and an explanation as to how it became such a significant settlement, head to the People’s History Museum. Located in Castlefield, the world’s first Urban Heritage Site, walk through the doors for a guided tour of workers’ rights, suffragettes, The Manchester Guardian, trade unionism and the Communist Manifesto- all of which have roots in this town.

One of Leeds’ cultural highlights has to be the Royal Armouries. Not for the faint-hearted, by visiting Clarence Dock you can explore over 8,500 objects on display over five galleries, divided into categories like war, oriental and hunting. This is the flagship museum of its kind in the country, so expect a scale befitting this accolade.

Once you’ve ticked these off the list, explore Manchester’s historic grandeur inside the Royal Exchange Theatre and John Rylands on Deansgate- Britain’s oldest public library. Or simply take to the surrounding streets for a spot of consumerism in the birthplace of capitalism, what could be more Mancunian than that?

In lovely Leeds a visit to the Town and Civic Halls is a must, as both buildings offer breathtaking examples of neo Gothic and Georgian architecture. And, close by, The Henry Moore Institute retains one of the most cherished sculpture collections in Europe, from contemporary to classical, with special events running all year round.

Obviously then there’s a wealth of internationally acclaimed attractions, sites and sights to take in. And the north of England’s two largest cities both make for an ideal base to take in the surrounding Shires from. As such, whether staying central, or hitting the sticks, you’ll be celebrating the end of spring, and start of summer in style.

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