“American tourists who know and love Britain expect history to greet them at every turn”, writes veteran travel writer Gretchen Kelly in the latest issue of influential American business magazine Forbes.
“In Bath, the Regency comes to life right out of the pages of Jane Austen. In Richmond, the places and characters in Dickens pages leap out from every half-timbered corner,” says Kelley, who boasts having been to 80 countries including crossing the Wadi Rumm on a camel in the steps of Lawrence of Arabia and touring the Paris sewers under the old Opera House searching for the real Phantom of the Opera.
So where is this place that so impressed her that she gushes about finding “a veritable tapas of time travel where the history-loving tourist will feel that he or she has fallen down a rabbit hole into an Alice In Wonderland-like journey through time?”
Here’s a clue. It’s 15 minutes from Manchester by train. Much quicker on a Virgin Pendolino.
Take a bow Stockport, where, some locals might feel, the town’s fairly recent discovery of its own considerable attractions has been long overdue.
Stockport Old Town, which now has its own dedicated website and has secured £7 million investment to bring unoccupied heritage buildings back to life, has just seen the opening of The Produce Hall, an Alty Market-style food and drink destination in the historic Market Place.
The initiatives seem to be striking a chord, because the Forbes article says: “This trip, visitors will actually get to meet the real Mad Hatter with a visit to the first major attraction one finds when stepping off the train.”
The Alice in Wonderland link is, of course, the Stockport Hat Works Museum[…]