Exploring England: The North West

Each weekend, I try to go somewhere new. I love to see and experience new things and travel is what enables me to do that.

There are so many places to explore and sometimes, we don’t realize it, but they are right in our own backyard.

On weekends it’s either a day trip or a weekend trip for me, depending on the time that I have on my hands. This weekend I have decided to go down to Blackpool (I just like to pick random destinations, that I have never been to). Blackpool was just a destination for me, as what I was most excited about was stopping for all these amazing places along the way, that I have included in my trip.

discover england north east

My day trip to the North West of England looked something like this:

  • Newcastle  – Durham – Raby Castle – Barnard Castle (Bowes Museum) – Killington Lake – Arnside – Sandside – Silverdale – Lancaster – Blackpool.
  • Return: Blackpool – Pass Preston – up to Ingleton- Yorkshire Dales – Bolton Castle – Richmond – Durham – Newcastle.


I have left Newcastle early, at about 5.30-6.00AM as I love to catch sunsets while on the road, to avoid the morning traffic, to enjoy my coffee and to breathe in the fresh morning air.

I was lucky that there was little to no traffic on the Tyne Bridge and I have got the chance to see this amazing sunrise again.



#1. Raby Castle

raby castle uk

My first stop was Raby Castle. It was not open for visits but I got to see the castle grounds. We took a walk around the castle – everything was so peaceful at that time of the day. It felt great, it was simply magical when all of a sudden I see hundreds of eyes looking at me.

What I did not know and was impressed to see was the fact that they had herds of deer roaming free on the castle grounds. They looked so beautiful and majestic. It was a real surprise and pleasure seeing them. I did not even had the chance to take a photo as I was totally mesmerized, but I have promised myself that I will take a photo the next time I visit.

#2. Barnard Castle (Bowes Museum)

barnard castle

bowes museum

The second stop was in Barnard Castle, at the Bowes Museum. They have a really interesting shoe exhibition there, that is on until the 9th of October called ‘Shoes: Pleasure & Pain’, organized by the V&A Museum.

We got there too early to get in the museum and see the exhibition, but I was really happy to see the majestic Bowes Museum, to enjoy the gardens with no one else around and to listen to the birds chirping. I am definitely planning on going back, to see the exhibition and to explore Barnard Castle.

#3. Killington Lake

killington lake

This lake’s beauty is overlooked by most people when traveling through this area. In a way I can understand why – the landscape is so breathtaking and scenic and sometimes you forget to stop along the way, you just enjoy the journey and drive. But here is a tip: if you want to stop for a coffee/tea with a view – you should stop at Killington.

After enjoying a creamy cappuccino and admiring the views of Killington lake, I was back on the road.

dales driving

#4. Arnside – Sandside – Silverdale

arnside sandside

Getting to and from Sandside to Arnside and Silverdale was amazing. The views are great, the buildings are full of history, the waterfront is spectacular but the roads are literally a green maze and some of them will not fit two cars. It was a great experience, full of adrenaline and great fun.

arnside sandside

#5. Lancaster

I always wanted to visit Lancaster, as there are so many stories out there about the city and the castle. The Lancaster Castle is a well preserved, gorgeous castle, which until 2011 still had a prison functioning in one of its buildings(!!) and it still functions as a court.

The city is really beautiful as well and I totally recommend taking a walk down the River Lune – it’s so relaxing.

lancaster castle

lancaster castle

lovely house lancaster

#6. Blackpool

drive blackpool

Blackpool was packed when we got there and the vibe was so different than everything that we have experienced on this road trip, that we decided that we will leave Blackpool for another day and another weekend.

I knew that Blackpool was the ‘party capital’ but I was hoping for a nice stroll on the beach, a walk to the pier, but the streets were flooding with people, some drunk, some sober, some looking for a good time and some just out with their families. I knew Blackpool is usually packed but you have to see it to believe it.

This being said and knowing that Blackpool was just a destination for us to see other beautiful paces along the way, we have made our way into the Yorkshire dales.

As soon as we left Blackpool behind I knew that it was the right thing to do.

Now, I love crowded places, I love parties. But on that day I felt more like a tree-hugger and explorer rather than a person tnat enjoys fish and chips on a crowded beach. I always pay attention to my mood and my instincts, so this time was no different.

#7. The Yorkshire Dales

I have heard many stories about the Dales but this was my fist time exploring the area and now it’s my turn to tell the stories. The Dales are truly beautiful and if you are in the area, it would be such a shame not to visit. If you are into hikes, the Yorkshire Dales are the perfect place to go to – scenic views, different levels of difficulty when it comes to hikes and lovely villages along the way.

yorkshire dales yorkshire dales

#8. Castle Bolton

Castle Bolton was, to be honest an unplanned stop, as we had no idea how much time we were going to spend in Blackpool or driving through the Dales so we planned nothing further. Once we got there, it was still daylight, the sun was shining and even if we were on the road for hours the stop was totally worth it.

Castle Bolton is really beautiful and the views are fantastic! Again, I was, this time too late for get in and visit the castle, but I will definitely go back this summer, as there are so many things to explore in the area.

castle bolton castle bolton

 It’s day trips like this one in the North West of England that always make me realize how much you can see/do/achieve in a day, if you just put your mind to it.

Have you been to any of these places? If not, which would you like to explore?



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