Get excited about England because London’s getting a shake-up — with new American hotels and Australian eateries staking claim — and Manchester offering slick bars and soccer dreams. Here are five of the best ways to do England differently.

Experience American-sized luxury in Covent Garden

Vintage chandeliers, brass, crimson, mohair and damask adorn the interiors at the first NoMad Hotel outside of the United States. The new NoMad London offers 91 rooms, including an opulent Royal Opera Suite with a gold bathtub and tall, light-filled windows. On-site NoMad restaurant reworks some American favourites, such as tender suckling pig served with wild greens. “Be sure to visit my favourite street in London, Lambs Conduit, which is just a short walk from Covent Garden,” says Kristin Millar, the hotel’s general manager. “Take advantage of the prix-fixe lunch menu at Noble Rot, too. It’s the best deal in town with a stellar wine list to match.”

Eat Aussie classics abroad

Milk Beach, UK

If you’re feeling homesick, duck into one of Milk Beach’s two London venues – one in Queen’s Park and the other in Soho – for a refined taste of modern Australian. At its Soho outpost, the restaurant leans into the coastal-chic appeal with a sun-kissed, white-washed fitout. While it might look like Bondi inside, expect a Melbourne-calibre flat white, Four Pillars gin in the Milk Beach Martini and dishes with delectable South-East Asian flavours. The Robata grilled prawns in fermented chilli butter is a must-order, along with Milk’s take on a Golden Gaytime ice-cream.

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Lace up your boots at the Theatre of Dreams

Old Trafford Stadium, UK

Ronaldo, Beckham and Rooney are just some of the big names that have called Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium home. For many die-hard fans of the club and the game, this is a place worth making a pilgrimage to. On the Museum & Stadium tour, you’ll see the club’s Champions League trophies and get to walk through the players’ tunnel and stand pitchside. Don’t go home without your personalised jersey.

Embark on a railway adventure for all ages

East Lancashire Railway, UK

Hop aboard a thunderous steam train ride through the English countryside with East Lancashire Railway. The journey begins in Bury, a 30-minute drive from Manchester city centre and home to the Bury Transport Museum. Take the kids on one of the historic 20-kilometre train line’s heritage locomotives, stopping in towns such as Ramsbottom, for artisan markets and a brownie tasting plate at the Chocolate Café.

Grab an after-hours tipple at the business end

Sterling, UK

Hotel bar Sterling – a moody, sexy space – recently opened underneath Manchester’s historic Stock Exchange Hotel. The drinks list is long but you can’t go wrong with a slick Martinez (Roku Gin, Asterley Bros. Estate vermouth, dry cherry and orange bitters). Bar snacks, such as truffle cheese gougères, are provided by Lush by Tom Kerridge, the celebrated chef at the helm of Bull & Bear restaurant, also in the Stock Exchange Hotel.

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Image credit: Benoit Linero

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