London, Brighton, Oxford, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham are some of the most visited cities in the United Kingdom. I bet this doesn’t come as a surprise.
Many people, when thinking about visiting England are usually considering the south side of the country first.
Even if they consider ‘adventuring’ to the north, most of them don’t make it past Manchester and the ones that do, are planning on visiting Scotland.
If you ask me, I would say that they no idea what they are missing out on. A lot of travelers are looking for the ‘British experience’ but they don’t realize that some of the ‘popular places’ in the UK can only provide that to a certain extent. Not to mention the fact that big cities can get really crowded, especially if you do not time your visit well.
The good part is that there are a lot of ‘hidden gems’ on the north side of England that will offer you exactly what you are looking for: the authentic ‘British experience’ but without the swarm of tourists.
I strongly believe that people should know more about and visit the north side of England. This is what got me to write this guide on places to visit in Northern England, in the first place.
Let me start off by saying this: the scenery is beautiful, the coast is amazing, the food is great, the cities are charming, the people are lovely and there are so many activities going on, on a daily basis.
I have put together a list that features some amazing and beautiful places to visit in Northern England. I am planning on updating my list as I get to visit more and more places in the north.
Places to Visit in Northern England:
I stumbled upon the beautiful village of Warkworth while doing the Northumberland Coastal Route. I was immediately charmed by its beauty, architecture, and history. You must know that Warkworth has a well-preserved medieval castle, which is totally worth a visit.
Here are some tips on what to do in Warkworth:
- First, you have to visit the Warkworth castle. It is one of the most beautiful medieval castles that I have seen so far and it will give you a good idea on how castles used to look and make people feel back then.
- If you are into golfing, take your clubs with you – you will enjoy the Warkworth golf course!
- Take a walk down the Warkworth beach.
- Visit the Church of St Lawrence, a Norman building which is unique in Northumberland and dates from the 12th century.
- Take a photo of the Warkworth bridge.
#8 Whitby & Scarborough
Scarborough and Whitby are pretty close to one another, so if you plan on visiting one, seeing the other is a must. Plus, driving from Scarborough to Whitby through the North York Moors National Park is a relaxing experience.
Scarborough is the largest holiday destination on the Yorkshire coast and Whitby will offer you amazing views of the sea, the marina and of Whitby Abbey.
Here is what to do when visiting Scarborough and Whitby:
- Explore the medieval Scarborough Castle.
- Take a photo of the Grand Hotel, one of the landmarks of Scarborough.
- Go to South Bay and enjoy a great coffee and the esplanade views.
- Take a walk down the Whitby pier and relieve stress.
- Taste the Whitby Scampi.
- Take an Instagram-worthy photo of the Whitby Abbey and the marina.
#7 Northumberland National Park
Northumberland National Park is one of the least populated and least visited of the national parks in the country. It is right on the border between England and Scotland and it has the Dark Sky Park status.
Here is what you can explore when visiting the park:
- Take the Hadrian’s Wall Path and stop at the Sycamore Gap.
- Explore ancient spots in the Breamish Valley.
- Enjoy the remoteness and tranquility of College Valley.
- Wildlife – listen to the curlew and see the red squirrels.
- Stargaze – look for stargazing events in the park throughout the year.
#6 Holy Island Lindisfarne
Lindisfarne is one of the North’s best kept secrets and it is definitely one of the must beautiful places to visit in northern England. Just driving on the causeway is an amazing experience itself but make sure you check the causeway safe crossing times, before planning your trip.
Here are some must-sees when visiting the Holy Island:
- Take a photo of the iconic Lindisfarne Bridge.
- Take some time to look at the Pilgrim’s way and enjoy the watery view.
- Explore the small village of Lindisfarne.
- Hike to Lindisfarne Castle.
- Visit the Lindisfarne Priory.
#5 Alnwick & Alnmouth
Alnwick is a small and beautiful market town in Northumberland. It is better known for its castle – Alnwick Castle, which is Hogwarts in Harry Potter.
Alnmouth is a lovely residential area, with an amazing beach & golf course. If you go there by car, the parking is just 1.50£/day!
When visiting Alnwick, don’t visit just the castle. Here are some other things you can do:
- Visit the Alnwick Garden & Castle.
- Explore the Alnwick marketplace and town centre.
- Learn more about Northumberland at the Bailiffgate Museum.
- Take a long walk on the beautiful Alnmouth beach.
Durham is a historic city in the North East of England and it is well known for its 11th-century castle and its Norman Cathedral, both UNESCO Heritage Sites. The city has a lot of history and you can feel that just by talking a walk in the city centre.
Here is what you can do in Durham:
- Visit the Durham Cathedral and Castle.
- Explore the city centre and stop by the small shops and cafes.
- Go to the marketplace and explore the local products.
- Visit the Durham University Botanic Garden & the Oriental Museum.
#3 Lake District
The Lake District, also called Lakeland is a beautiful mountainous region in the North West of England. It is also home to the highest mountain in England – Scafell Pike. The area is famous for its amazing views but also for its great variety of wildlife.
Here are some ideas on what to do in Lakeland:
- Admire the majestic beauty of Ullswater Lake when taking the A592 from Penrith.
- Enjoy the scenic views at Derwentwater.
- Take an easy hike to the Aira Force Cascade.
- Want something different? Visit the Honister Slate Mine.
York is a city that has a high relevance for British history, starting with the year 100AD when it was also called Eboracum. York has a rich culture, which you will be able to experience when visiting it.
Here is what you can do in York:
- Visit York’s historic center.
- Witness York’s Iconic cathedral.
- Take a walk along the river in the Museum Gardens.
- Go on a chocolate trip!
Read my detailed post on what to do in York, on a day trip!
#1 Newcastle & Gateshead
When making plans for visiting Northern England, make sure you include Newcastle and Gateshead in your plans.
Both cities are full of history and there are so many things to do, see and experience.
Here are just a few of the things that you can do and see in Newcastle & Gateshead:
- Take a walk in Newcastle’s city centre and listen to a street performer under Grey’s Monument.
- Visit the Saint Nicholas Cathedral and learn more about Newcastle’s history.
- Go to the Baltic Museum. Explore the exhibitions and go to the 5th floor for a scenic view of the Tyne, the Sage, and the Millenium Bridge.
- If you feel like reconnecting with the sea, go to Tynemouth – it’s a spectacular beach, just 10 minutes away from Newcastle.
- Go shopping at the Gateshead Metrocentre, one of Europe’s largest shopping malls.
I hope that my guide on places to visit in Northen England has shown you the beauty of the north and that you have already pinned some places that you are looking forward to seeing.
Which of the places in northern England from this list have you visited or do you plan on visiting?
Do you have any other favorite places that you would like to recommend?