North England Travel Guide

Newcastle Tyne Bridge, North England - © Zaphodzuk

The North England Travel Guide introduces you to the North of England. Northern characteristics of determination, a no nonsense common sense approach and good sense of humour are famous throughout the UK. The well known cities in this part of England are Leeds and Newcastle, there is also the Dales National Park and the historic cities of York and Ripon known for their cathedrals. The attractive, town of Harrogate, coastal resorts such as Scarborough and historic attractions such as Hadrian’s Wall ensure visitors have a range of attractions and places of interest in the region.

Overview and Attractions

North England has its fair share of treasures, there are the hills of Northumberland and the lively cities of Tyne and Wear among others. A history and heritage that is rich and varied are found here as you travel around the area. Northumberland has more castles than anywhere else in England making it a paradise for those with an interest in history and culture. Some of the castles are still used whilst others are now historical remains. The majority of Hadrian’s Wall is still standing despite being close to 2,000 years old, its route is now a National Trail and has been a World Heritage site since 1987.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the North Pennines and Northumberland Coast ensure a great environment for walkers and for those that like to explore. Northumberland National Park enjoys a wonderful landscape from the Cheviot Hills to the Moors to the rivers. The park is a haven for walkers, cyclists, horse riders, visitors can enjoy rock climbing, fishing, bird watching and even golf, there is something for everyone, making it a fascinating place to visit.

There are some character filled villages such as Etal that are linked by a miniature railway. Hexham has an interesting market to visit and Berwick's Elizabethan walls allow you to see a great view of the coastline. You can go seal spotting around the Farne Islands on a boat trip from Amble and Seahouses. Relaxation is at hand in the quiet costal areas of Druridge Bay and Beadnell.

County Durham is home to world heritage sites and a fashionable café culture too. The highest waterfall in England, High Force is here at Upper Teesside. From over ground you can venture underground to Killhope Museum's leadmines at Upper Weardale. The area offers spectacular scenic views making it a walker’s delight. At Barnard Castle you can explore the great ruins and see Bowes Museum. There is also historic Raby Castle famous for its deer park.

The acclaimed Durham Cathedral forms part of the world heritage site. The Cathedral is perhaps the best known Norman building in the UK and among the best loved, it is still an active Anglican Church attracting worshippers from the area and pilgrims. Visitors can take a tour of the cathedral and learn more about the fascinating building with so much history.

Durham Castle is located a short distance from the Cathedral and together they form the world heritage site in the area. The castle is a Grade 1 Listed Building and is currently a working castle, being part of University College part of Durham University. The castle provides students with a very historic place for students to live and study during their time at the university. Historically the castle has been the chief residence of the Bishops of Durham. Visitors can take tours of the castle to learn more about the rich history of the castle.

Durham City itself has some interesting individual shops and restaurants and has an Oriental Museum. Beamish, the North of England Open Air Museum is resplendently set in over 300 acres of scenic countryside, it aims to recreate life in the North of England in the early 1800s and 1900s as it was. It is a winner of the British Museum of the Year and its European equivalent, it recreates the recent history of the area in a way that brings it to life and provides both education and entertainment for visitors of all interest both young and old.

Fans of cricket that most quintessential of English sports are well catered for at the Durham County Cricket Ground that hosts Durham County and England One Day internationals. Harperley POW Camp, has been turned in to a museum that includes a restaurant and play area. Durham offers an exciting city life, known for its good shopping and culture but in addition has the added fun and relaxation of the coast.

The area of Tyne and Wear has many museums, galleries and shops to explore during the day and bars and plenty of night life to keep you entertained well in to the night. The city of Newcastle has suffered with an image of being a northern industrial city struggling to cope with the decline of the coal and shipbuilding industries, the past decade or so has seen an upturn in the city's fortunes. Some have labelled it the rebirth of Newcastle, where it is coming out of its shell and showing what it can truly offer. The river banks of the Tyne have been re-developed the city has wide-ranging selection of museums and art galleries including the Hancock Museum, the Museum of Antiquities, and the Hatton Gallery, that is sure to appeal to those that appreciate culture and the arts.

Like Newcastle, Gateshead has enjoyed a re-birth of late, which led to in it being forwarded as a candidate for European Capital of Culture in 2008. The extensive redevelopment of the Quays area, which now features an international centre for contemporary art BALTIC, and the construction of Millennium Bridge are perhaps two of the most visible signs of the progress made in the area. Gateshead also boasts a huge shopping complex that is a haven for shoppers of all tastes, the MetroCentre. The MetroCentre is among the largest shopping complexes in the Europe, with a huge range of shops, outlets and leisure facilities.

Beaches and peaceful countryside are within close proximity. Gibside estate is a favourite for riverside walks. Attractions for the whole family include the Blue Reef Aquarium you can walk literally under the sharks. Literature fans of Catherine Cookson can see an exhibition of her life and times at South Shields Museum and the Art Gallery. The National Glass Centre in Sunderland has pieces by Europe's finest glassmakers. The Winter Gardens are home to many species of exotic plants. You can enjoy a day on the cost or relaxing in the country or spend the day shopping and having other adventures, the choice is yours!

Master seafarer Captain James Cook was born in Middlesbrough in 1728. You can learn about his adventures at his birthplace museum in Stewart Park, and visit a full-size replica of HM Bark Endeavour - the ship in which he sailed the South Seas - at nearby Stockton.

At Hartlepool Maritime Experience, an 18th century seaport recreates life at the time of the Battle of Trafalgar. Step aboard HMS Trincomalee, Britain's oldest warship still afloat - you'll wonder how 200 men lived in such a small space! For the darker exploits of maritime life, visit Saltburn Smugglers Heritage Centre.

Darlington Railway Centre and Museum houses Stephenson's iconic Locomotion No.1 and you can try white water rafting at Teesside White Water Course - beginners are welcome and very safe! You can experience fabulous views of the Tees Valley by climbing Rosebury Topping and get a great appreciation of your surroundings. Those wanting a bit of culture can see a show at Darlington's Civic Theatre or visit the National Trust's Ormesby Hall and enjoy live music in the summer.

North England allows you to relax on miles of golden beaches - many of which are in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this makes for perfect picnic sites where the surroundings make for an ideal setting to enjoy a picnic. You could have dinner in a quintessential English country pub.

For the energetic you do not need a car to explore everywhere you can use a cycle and explore at your own leisure taking in the sites and sounds of the area and get fit too by breathing in the fresh country air. Visitors that enjoy walking and cycling are spoilt for choice in this area, there are many routes to enjoy near the coast and further inland in the countryside.

The inspiring country landscape, coastal scenery and regeneration of a number of cities in the region make North England a great place to visit. The region is perhaps unfairly overlooked by some as a tourist destination, a closer look the area reveals a region that is definitely worth taking a second look at. Holidays and short breaks here are becoming more popular each year as more visitors enjoy what is on offer.

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