Best places to visit and things to do in Northern England

I live in North-East England, and being someone who likes to get out and about I know Northern England quite well and it offers lots of superb places to visit that should be on every UK traveller's list.

I have family now living all over the world, and when my relatives visit, who haven't been to the UK before, and want to visit some of Northern Englands best places and reconnect with their historical family roots, they ask me for any tips - and so I have created this blog post to show them the best places to visit in Northern England.



Newcastle is my favourite northern England city. I'm from the North-east (so a little biased), but the city offers so much in a relatively small space compared to other UK cities, and is therefore perfect for a short city break or even a day out. Because of it's compactness - you can walk to most places. The unique quayside and views along the River Tyne are stunning, the city also has superb art & music venues, as well as great shopping areas, bars & restaurants, and nightlife.

newcastle quayside gateshead best photo sunset sage millenium bridge tynebridge
The evening sun over the Newcastle & Gateshead quayside from Baltic arts centre. This area recently got voted one of the best streets in the UK.

The Sage - one of the finest music venues in the Uk - find out more here

Beamish Museum

Beamish is a world famous museum telling the story of the people of North East England during the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian periods. Find out more here


Durham is another of the Norths most historic cities. It is well know for it's beautiful cathedral, one of Europes great buildings and designated a UNESCO world heritage site. The cobbled streets are a joy to walk round and it is also home to a world-class university.

Hadrians Wall

Built in AD122 - the wall is one of Northern Englands most iconic landscapes. It used to stretch from coast to coast, and large parts of it are still intact. The best section of it to visit (and walk in around 2-3 hours) is from Steel Rigg to Housesteads. You can find out more about walking this section, with the best views, including photos here

It's also worth visiting Vindolanda while you are here

Housestead's Roman Fort - one of the best bits on the Hadrian's wall walk, Best Hadrians Wall View, Sycamore Gap, Robin Hood prince of thieves, best view, Best Hadrian's Wall Walk, Roman wall, where is it
Heading towards Housesteads Roman Fort -  if you are looking for one of the best bits on the Hadrians wall walk, then this view is it!

Bamburgh & Bamburgh castle

Nothing defines Northumberland quite like Bamburgh castle - and this is my favourite beach scene in the UK. As well as visiting Bamburgh castle, whilst in the area, the village of Bamburgh is worth a visit. As to is Alnwick Castle & Alnwick gardens.

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, England, best photos
Bamburgh Castle Beach, on the Northumberland coast, England. This is couple of hours drive from my home and is my favourite English beach.

Bamburgh village - with the Castle in the background.

Alnwick, inc. Alnwick Castle, Alnwick Gardens

Alnwick high street recently got voted one of the best high streets in Britain, and most people who visit here also visit Alnwick Castle, Alnwick Gardens.

Alnwick Gardens treehouse - the largest tree house win Europe.

Seaham Hall Spa

I've been to a few Spa's in the area, and Seaham Hall is still my favourite. If you want to unwind then this is the perfect place. We often do the Twilight Spa - where we have an evening meal in the Oriental themed restaurant and then unwind for a few hours in the Spa, This costs a reasonable £40 per person. More info here



Nowhere in northern England says 'medieval' quite like York, a city of extraordinary cultural and historical wealth that has lost little of its pre-industrial lustre. A must-see English city. More info here


Leeds is one of Englands great cities. From its independent retailers and thriving markets, to its fine fresh food, family attractions, ballet, opera, art and concerts by some of the world's top performers. A fantastic range of quality hotels for you to choose from to match your style and budget. Leeds is a city full of experiences, easy to explore and there to be discovered. Find out more


Whitby is one of the North East coast’s best-loved seaside towns. Whitby wallows in history, including fishing, the jet industry, Captain Cook (who was born nearby, and whose famous ship the Endeavour was Whitby-built) and whaling. And its literary connections – Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula features the town. More info here


Near to Whitby - Staithes is another classic northern English coastal village. Whilst a lot smaller than whitby, it is worth stopping for a drink in one of the old pubs by the sea.

Staithes circular walk on the Cleveland Way, North Yorkshire coast walks, best view
This pic of Staithes is one of my best views in Northern England. Staithes itself is a unique old fishing village on the North-Yorkshire coast which retains a lot of it's character from bygone years and is one of my favourite coastal locations.

North York Moors Railway

This is another classic thing to do. The North York Moors railway is in the Whitby area and you can ride a steam train. Find out more here

Roseberry Topping & North York Moors

I've put this walk in as it's the first place that I done a 'proper walk', when I was young, and I still go back often. The Blubells in spring are a magical sight, as to is the Heather in the Autumn

Roseberry Topping - Bluebells in Newton Wood
Roseberry Topping - Bluebells in Newton Wood

A lone tree on Egton High Moor surrounded by a carpet of flowering heather near Egton Bridge on the North York Moors
An amazing unique sight - A lone tree on Egton High Moor on the North York moors, surrounded by a carpet of flowering heather as the sun sets, near Egton Bridge on the North York Moors.

Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales, is home to distinctive outstanding scenery, a rich cultural heritage and a breathtakingly peaceful atmosphere. I love driving through the Dales from Richmond through to Hawes and then beyond to the Lake District. There are lots of sights in this area alone. My favourite walk/sight is Aysgarth Falls - see walks here


Harrogate is an old historic and pretty Spa town in North Yorkshire. It's consistently voted one of the best places to live in the UK. Most tourists pay a visit to Betty's Tea Rooms - the perfect place to have a cup of English tea. Find out more

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks is an amazing collection of weird and wonderful natural rock formations in North Yorkshire.


The Lake District

The lake district is my favourite area in the whole of the UK, and has some world-renowned scenery and villages, perfect for those who love natural scenery and quaint villages. A good place to start is Ullswater lake, where you can take a boat ride on an old steamer around the lake. I also love Keswick town (I usually stay here when visiting). The drive from Keswick to Ambleside is my favourite drive in the UK, and it's worth stopping off at Grasmere along the way. Bowness-on-windermere is perhaps the most popular area of the lake District for it's shopping, boutique hotels and variety of restaurants and pubs.

lake district, lakes, best view, haystacks, wainwright, butteremere
Possibly the best sunset I have ever witnessed - from Haystacks near Buttermere in the Lake District - looking towards Crummock Water & Ennerdale. Haystacks was Alfred Wainwrights favourite Mountain and with this view you can see why.


With its unique attractions, exciting events, world class sport offerings, unrivalled musical heritage and famously warm welcomes, Liverpool is one of the Uk's best cities to visit. Find out more:


This once industrial metropolis has transformed itself into England’s edgy northern capital – it’s the home of some of Britain’s biggest music legends, iconic landmarks, a thriving arts and culture scene and world-famous sports... Find out more:

So there you go, a rather brief blog post on the highlights of Northern England. There is so much to see and do at a lot of these places that a blog post could be done on each place and many days could be spent in each area. But this post was intended as a short introduction of the best places to visit in Northern England.

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