If you are thinking about exploring the North of England this year, you’ve chosen well. Rugged countryside, historic cities and family activities are plentiful and easily accessible. All you need to do is decide where to visit first.
1. Historic York
Imagine the clash of swords and war cries of warriors as the Vikings claimed and settled in historic York. Now hailed as Britain’s most popular city, York has a fantastic mix of family entertainment, spectacular sights and modern city night life. Experience Viking life at the Yorvik Museum, discover the magnificent York Minster, or wander the Shambles for shopping, restaurants and art galleries.
2. Creativity in the moors
Head further into Yorkshire and discover the incredible views across the North York Moors. Literary fans will have no difficulties in imagining Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights, in the wide swathes of heather-clad moorlands; artists will be inspired by the hills, forests and dales that create a diverse landscape. Discover stories of giants at the Hole of Horcum, or explore a piece of movie magic at Goathland Station, a filming location for Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films. Cyclist, hiker, birdwatcher or archaeologist, this National Park in the North of England offers you all you need for a weekend break; peace, tranquility and adventure all in one.
3. Big, bold Blackpool
One of the most famous weekend breaks in the North of England, Blackpool has seaside, night life, restaurants and the best of British fish and chips. It’s synonymous with a traditional seaside holiday, set around a beautiful bay. From the Tower Eye, all the way down to the Dungeon, ballroom dancing and sea life, promenades and waterparks, there are plenty of attractions for families and couples.
4. Lakes and landscapes
The Lake District has long been recognised as one of the must-visit places in the North of England for, well, its lakes. Twelve of the largest lakes in the country, miles of walking and cycling, mountains to climb and scenery – it’s a weekend promising fresh air and healthy pursuits.
But there is more to it than landscapes; how about delicious food at the Old Stamp House – a lovely restaurant with a literary past; it is where Wordsworth worked as Postmaster and Distributor of Stamps. Or discover your adventurous side in Honister Mine – the last working slate mine in England, where you can scale the mine from the outside and from the inside.
5. Castles and cathedrals in Durham
Durham may seem a long way up in the north east of England, but it’s only three hours from London by train – and under two from Edinburgh, making it far more central than you would think. Durham Cathedral, a World Heritage Site, boasts some incredible features including The Rose Window and the Tomb of the Venerable Bede, the greatest scholar of Anglo-Saxon times.
Durham also hosts some prominent castles and historic buildings including Auckland Castle, Crook Hall and, Barnard Castle, each offering insight into different periods for the avid historian. If that’s not enough to bring the past to life, then visit award-winning Beamish, a living museum and a wonderful way to inspire children.
6. Picturesque villages in the Ribble Valley
An area of outstanding beauty, the Ribble Valley in Lancashire is a walkers’ paradise, spotted with quaint villages, cobbled streets, farmer’s markets and charming churches. Try Chipping for country pubs and organic cheeses, or Grindleton for views over the valley itself. Step into the shoes of Tolkien on the Tolkien Trail Walk at Hurst Green, said to be one of the places that inspired the landscapes in The Lord of the Rings. If you want unique shopping, one-of-a-kind gifts and fresh food, Clitheroe is for you.
One thing is certain, as you head into the North of England for your weekend getaway, you’ll soon find one visit is just not enough. Book into one of our cosy cabins at Cropton or Keldy on the edge of the North York Moors and you’ll have a central base, so you can explore in every direction.