The North of England

'North of England' in white text over image of large hills and green valley on cloudy, overcast day

Northern England has a rich industrial past that’s well worth learning about during your UK ‘staycation’. Not only that, but there’s plenty of natural beauty and culture to explore as well. Here are our top 5 ‘staycation’ ideas.

 

Carlisle (Cumbria)

Hadrian’s Wall is the must-see attraction in this county. At 73 miles long, it’s the longest stone wall in Europe and, while much of it lies in ruin, Birdoswold Fort stands relatively intact. This is the best place to ‘hop on’ to the wall and follow its path through the rugged UK countryside.

 

close up of man taking photo of sunset on mobile phone with clear image of phone screen and blurred background
Nearby Talkin Tarn Country Park is so beautiful, you won’t be able to resist taking loads of pictures. (Photo by Jody Hodnett on Unsplash

 

Carlisle Castle has also seen its fair share of history over the years. From the imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots to the Jacobite revolution, there are plenty of stories to discover. With a Cathedral, plenty of other free attractions and a range of independent shops to browse, it’s easy to pack your Carlisle ‘staycation’ with fun. There’s even a vintage motorbike museum for petrol heads to visit later in the year!

 

railway viaduct in Carlisle, UK, stretching over river
There’s a rich steam engine history in Carlisle, and plenty of imposing viaducts and bridges to see. (Photo by Ian Cylkowski on Unsplash) 

 

What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Carlisle?

There’s plenty of open wilderness to explore. Choose between Northumberland, Galloway and the Lake District National Parks, with each offering different scenery and experiences.

The nearby Walby Farm Park is a great attraction for the kids. It allows them to connect with nature and farm life in a fun, exciting way.

 

wedding arch at Gretna Green, Scotland with sign post nearby
For centuries, English couples would elope to Gretna Green to marry over the blacksmith’s anvil. The Courtship Maze is highly romantic – or race your family to the middle!

 

The Settle-Carlisle steam railway runs for 70 miles down into North Yorkshire. Take a day trip along the railway to see the beautiful views and marvel at the impressive architecture. You should also stop for lunch in a charming village along the way.

 

Don’t forget to book your Roadmap out of Lockdown to arrive safely

 

Durham (County Durham)

The city of Durham is full of history and what better way to learn about it than with a guided tour? Take in the Castle, the Cathedral and much more besides! Afterwards, stroll along the riverside or visit the Botanic Gardens to enjoy a picnic.

 

Durham Cathedral, Durham, UK
Durham Cathedral is hard to miss… (Photo by Scott Hewitt on Unsplash

 

Hall Hill Farm is the perfect excursion for the whole family. Located 11 miles outside of the city, activities include a tearoom, tractor rides, animal cuddling, crazy golf and more. There are also puppet shows and other events at weekends and during school holidays.

 

What else can you do during your ‘staycation’ in Durham?

Seaham Beach and Durham Heritage Coast are simply unmissable. Walk along an area of great historical, geographical and natural importance with stunning views of the North Sea. If you’re lucky, you might also see some rare, protected species’ nesting for the summer.

 

Blast Beach, Seaham, UK
Blast Beach in Seaham is just one of the many beauty spots along the Durham Heritage Coast. (Photo by Matt Chambers on Unsplash)

 

What’s more, Hartlepool, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Sunderland, Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesbrough and Darlington are all less than 35 minutes away. Each hold powerful stories about Northern England’s rich industrial past.

 

Hull (Yorkshire & The Humber)

As the UK’s city of culture between 2017 and 2020, there are plenty of attractions to see on your ‘staycation’ in Hull. East Park, Hull Old Town, Minster and Marina offer a vibrant blend of old and new to explore. Walk along cobbled streets and past historic buildings before remerging by the River Humber for a meal at a waterside restaurant.

 

man in red, grey and black jacket standing on Humber Bridge in Hull, UK at sunset
The Humber Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world and well worth seeing on your Hull ‘staycation’. (Photo by 43 Clicks North on Unsplash

 

Follow parts of the 147 mile long Viking Way to see the very best natural beauty Hull has to offer. Finally, The Deep aquarium, Streetlife Museum and Wilberforce House are all worth visiting when they reopen later this year.

 

What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Hull?

There’s so much to do in Hull that you shouldn’t need to explore too far, but the industrial town of Scunthorpe (complete with Messingham Zoo) is worth a visit. Likewise, Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds and the city of Doncaster are slightly further away, but excellent day-trips in their own right.

 

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, UK
Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds is a relatively intact window into a 12th Century monk’s life. (Photo by Paul Marshall (AKA Rally Tog) on Unsplash)

 

Hull is also close to one of our other North of England ‘staycation’ ideas – Scarborough! If you don’t fancy spending your entire break by the seaside, why not pack your trunks for a day-trip instead?

 

Kendal (Lake District)

If you visit Kendal, you have to try their Mint Cake! The recipe hasn’t changed in over 100 years and it’s the perfect energy boost to explore the nearby Lake District.

Even with an iconic National Park a short drive away, Kendal has more to offer if hiking isn’t your thing. Levens Hall, Kendal Castle and the various art centres that call this town home are some of the rich cultural attractions on show. If you’re looking for something a little different, take a walk with an Alpaca at Wreay Syke Alpaca Centre.

 

River Kent in Kendal, Cumbria, UK at night with orange and purple sunset sinking behind stone buildings on the river bank
Lose yourself along the banks of the River Kent when you visit Kendal this year! (Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash)

 

What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Kendal?

Explore the Lake District. It’s one of the most beautiful National Parks in the UK, and offers plenty of excitement and adventure. From Lake Windermere to Scarfell Pike (one of the Three Peaks) and the fell trails connecting them all, there are plenty of possibilities in the Lake District. What’s more, the Yorkshire Dales are a short drive to the East and offer a more rustic taste of the outdoors.

 

Lake Windemere, Lake District National Park, UK
The Lake District is one of the most beautiful places in the UK – who could miss a view like this on their ‘staycation’? (Photo by Ash Seddon on Unsplash

 

Scarborough (Yorkshire)

Find some escapism in this family favourite resort town. Sunbathe on South Bay beach or wander through Peasholm Park, a Japanese-inspired garden. In fact, there are plenty of diverse walks, cycle trails, Treasure Trails and nature reserves to explore in and around Scarborough.

 

Scarborough beach front at night, UK
It’s easy to see why so many people choose Scarborough for their UK ‘staycations’… (Photo by Neil Fedorowycz on Unsplash

 

If you want a ‘staycation’ with arts appeal, Scarborough is definitely the place for you. There is a bustling theatre scene and plenty of picture perfect landscapes to paint. It even inspired the Bronte sisters! Unwind and relax in the quintessential British resort town.

 

What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Scarborough?

Head half an hour up the coast and sample some of the UK’s best fish and chips in Whitby. Make sure you visit Whitby Abbey, which inspired Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’.

 

Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire, UK
What Gothic horror will Whitby Abbey inspire for you? (Photo by David Hawkes on Unsplash

 

York is also just over an hour away. A lot of attractions might still be closed in this historic city, but the blend of old and new is still unmissable. Where else can you cross from a cobbled street to a modern pavements and then end up outside an imposing 7th Century Minster?

 

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Drew Hickman

Drew Hickman

Drew works for BookMyGarage writing blogs, website content and almost everything else in between. He works closely with ex-mechanics and subject matter experts. When he’s not helping you save money on running your car or making your driving life easier, he can be found either with his head in a book or with a golf club in his hands (usually looking for his ball in the woods)