We are staying with friends in Harrogate in August and then plan to get the ferry from Liverpool to the Isle of Man. We will be driving and were wondering whether there are any hidden gems of places to stop for a day/overnight. If you draw a line between Harrogate and Liverpool it seems to epitomise a bleak urban industrial landscape but I am sure there must be more than that. We are two adults and a 9 year old son and we tend to like somewhere with a bit of rusticity about it, history (light!), countryside, wildlife (we will have done the theme park thing before going to Harrogate so hopefully son will be satisfied - famous last thoughts!).
Any ideas will be much appreciated.