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18 Places to Visit in Northern England

Believe it or not, there are plenty of places to visit in Northern England. It’s an often neglected part of the country when it comes to planning to visit England, but there are lots of amazing to check out.

I’m from this part of the world and I’m well placed to let you all the best cities in Northern England and some lesser-known places you can check out too.

My hometown Chester is one of these places, while cities such as Manchester and Liverpool can’t be missed while you’re in North England.

A trip to the Lake District is one of the best places to visit in the north of England and should be near the top of your list, as should a visit to Yorkshire Dales National Park.

London and destinations in that part of the country might get more attention, but if you venture up North, you’ll be rewarded with many places with outstanding natural beauty!

Here are a few of them for you to mull over!

Places to Visit in Northern England

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of places to visit in Northern England, there are plenty of great places listed below.

As someone from the region, I’ve visited many of the places myself and can testify to how good they are.

The north of England is a beautiful place that I’m proud to be from and this is reflected in the variety of the places you can visit.

I hope you enjoy these places as much as I do!


View of York

York is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in northern England. It’s a historic city in North Yorkshire and one of the oldest in the country.

One place you have to check out while you’re in the city is York Minster, which is a cathedral that was founded in the 13th century.

It’s a beautiful building and you can climb up to the roof of York Minster for a fantastic view of the city below.

The Castle Museum and Clifford’s Tower are worth checking out nearby too. While a walk down the famous Shambles, a medieval street is a must while you’re in the city to check out the beautiful historic architecture.

The tight and twisty streets and numerous cosy cafes make York one of the best places to visit in England in winter if you’re looking for somewhere to go during the colder months of the year.

York is a fantastic place to go for a weekend getaway in the UK, and you won’t be disappointed by what you find if you do!


Street in Lancaster
Immanuel Giel, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

I spent three years at university in Lancaster, and although it’s a small city in north England, it’s still worth visiting. It’s a beautiful city and one with some great sights.

Chief among them is Lancaster Castle, which was originally thought to have been an old Roman fort, was used as a prison until as recently as 2011 and is now open to the public.

Another spot you should check out in Lancaster is Williamson Park. It’s a fantastic green space that is a brilliant place to visit during the summer. You’ll get an excellent view of the city as it sits above Lancaster.

The city also has a fascinating museum which is worth checking out. One highlight is the Lancaster Roman Tombstone, which depicts a Roman soldier on horseback standing over a vanquished foe.

It’s dated from 100 A.D. and was only discovered in 2005!


Eastgate Clock in Chester

Chester is where I grew up, and although I’m biased, it’s a beautiful city.

It can get overshadowed by Liverpool and Manchester, and even Snowdon down the road in north Wales, but you won’t be disappointed if you visit, as it’s one of the best places to visit in Cheshire.

The city was a Roman fortress and was considered the capital due to its strategic position. As a result, Chester is littered with reminders of the Roman Empire.

The city walls are a vivid reminder of this. Chester is a walled city as they encircle its centre. While the Roman Amphitheatre is the biggest in the country, despite only half of it being excavated.

You’ll find many things to do in Chester as well as all the Roman stuff, such as visiting England’s second most photographed clock, the Eastgate Clock.

Checking out the oldest continually used racecourse in the United Kingdom and the numerous shops that line the city centre.

A long weekend in Chester is a brilliant idea if you want a place to visit in Northern England. If you want to visit somewhere with history oozing out of every corner, it’s the place to go!


View of Liverpool

Liverpool is without a doubt one of the best cities in Northern England and England as a whole. There are so many things to do in Liverpool, you won’t be bored during your visit.

If you’re a sports fan like me, then one of your first points of call will be the home of Liverpool F.C., Anfield.

A stadium tour is highly recommended, but if you visit while Liverpool is playing and manage to score a ticket, that’s even better!

Liverpool is famous for its beautiful historic buildings and perhaps known more so than the ‘Three Graces’ by the waterfront.

You’ll also find the Museum of Liverpool there too, which is just one of many great museums in the city such as the World Museum and the International Slavery Museum.

There’s also the Beatles Story, where you can learn about the history of the most famous band of all time.

You’ll find lots of entertainment in the city with the Liverpool One shopping area worth checking out, as is the Baltic Market, which has a wide range of bars and food stalls you can visit!


Canal in Manchester

Manchester is the biggest city in the north west of England and somewhere you can’t leave the north without visiting. If you’re backpacking in the UK, it’s somewhere that should be high up on your list.

Again, football is a big pull in Manchester as it is in Liverpool. You can check out the homes of either Manchester United or City.

As a Liverpool fan, I wouldn’t bother with either, but if for some reason, you feel compelled to check out the stadiums, go for it!

Carrying on the football theme, one of the top landmarks in Manchester is the National Football Museum. If you’re a fan of the beautiful game, it’s well worth visiting, with lots of exhibitions and interactive activities to try out.

Manchester’s nightlife is lively and it’s a great place to go for a drink or two around the Printworks, Northern Quarter and Canal area.

You’ll find plenty of great bars and restaurants and maybe some live music too!

Lake District

Green hills in the Lake District

The Lake District is a beautiful part of the world. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say this is the best place to visit in Northern England if you want to get out into the great outdoors.

As the name suggests, there are plenty of lakes in the region, with Lake Windermere being the largest. You can rent a boat on the lake, which is a great way to get an idea of the beauty of the area.

The Lake District is England’s largest national park and there are multiple hiking trails. You can follow in the footsteps of the famous writer Wordsworth, by walking on the same trails along the rolling hills as he did.

If you fancy a tougher challenge, you can hike Scafell Pike, the highest point in England. It will take you about half a day but is a great way to see a wide portion of the Lake District.

If that sounds like too much effort, you can relax by one of the lakes, or visit towns like Kendal and admire the extraordinary scenery of the rural villages in the area!

Peak District

ladybower reservoir in peak district

The Peak District is one of the most underrated places to visit in Northern England. During school, we did a three-day camping trip in the district, which involved across the hills and plains.

It was a lot of fun and opened my eyes to how beautiful the area is. Amazingly, I’d never visited before despite living a little over an hour away!

If you want to do some hiking while you’re in the north of England, there aren’t many better places than the Peak District. You’ll find multiple trails in the area, with over  1,800 miles (2,900 km) in total!

You can also visit beautiful towns such as Buxton, which was originally developed as a spa town during the Roman occupation.

Today, it’s one of the most beautiful towns in Northern England and as good a reason as any to visit the Peak District! 


Leeds city centre

Leeds is one of the biggest cities in the north of England, and well worth visiting during your trip there.

You’ll find plenty to do, such as explore the Corn Exchange in the centre of the city and see all the shops and cafes there.

As with most places in north England, Leeds has some impressive churches. One of which is Kirkstall Abbey.

The Abbey was founded in 1172, and similar to Whitby Abbey, it was a victim of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, ending up in ruins.

Leeds City Museum is worth visiting if you want to learn about the city and region of Yorkshire as a whole. While the Leeds Art Gallery has plenty of interesting exhibits to check out too! 

If you want to get some fresh air, you can visit Roundhay Park, which is one of the largest city parks in northern Europe.

It’s an ideal place to go on a hot summer’s day!


Whitby Abbey

Whitby is one of the lesser-known places to visit in Northern England, but it’s well worth checking out if you can. This quaint small town on the northeast coast is full of interesting sights and some of the best things to do in Yorkshire!

Perhaps the most notable are the remains of Whitby Abbey. The Abbey overlooks the North Sea and was originally built in the 7th century.

Since the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII between 1536 and 1545, when its possessions were confiscated, the Abbey has been unused.

Walking along the Cleveland Way Coast Path is a must when you’re in Whitby. While you won’t walk the whole 109 miles, you can walk the 6.5 miles to nearby Robin Hood’s Bay.

This is a small town that is famous for its smuggling past. It’s also a scenic location with stunning cliff heads, particularly from West Cliff Beach, and views out into the North Sea!

Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most famous ancient monuments in the UK. Along with Stonehenge, it’s a place that people from all across the globe are familiar with.

Construction of the wall began in 122 A.D. under the rule of Emperor Hadrian. It’s commonly held that the wall was built to keep the ‘Barbarians’ from out of northern England.

Although, there is no definitive evidence that this was the case.

Today, the wall is still standing, but has no effect on keeping Barbarians, Scots, or any folk from moving freely! 73 miles (117.5 kilometres) of the wall are still intact and you can follow the wall on an adjoining path.

Walking the length of the wall is an arduous task, but walking part of it and seeing it is well worth doing if you’re in north England. 


Tyne Bridge

Newcastle is one of the liveliest cities in England, and somewhere you have to visit while you’re in the north of England!

The biggest city in the North East has plenty of things to do. One of them is walking down Grey Street, which has been voted Britain’s best street twice by listeners of BBC Radio 4!

Newcastle is famous for its bridges and the Tyne Bridge is a symbol of this vibrant city. It was finished in 1928 and was the basis of the model for the much larger Sydney Harbour Bridge.

If you visit during the summer, you can head to Tynemouth Beach, which isn’t far from the city centre.

It’s a great sandy beach to relax on a sunny day, or go surfing!


Durham Cathedral

Durham isn’t too far from Newcastle and is worth visiting if you’re in the north east. It’s not as big as Newcastle, but it’s still an interesting city. 

Durham Cathedral is one of the main attractions in the city, and by the standards of cathedrals in the UK, it’s an impressive building.

Another of the city’s notable landmarks is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Durham Castle, which was used as a filming location for the Harry Potter films.

Durham castle is now occupied by the city’s University, but you can go on a guided tour to learn about the castle’s fascinating past!

One of the best places to go near Durham is to see the High Force waterfall, which is one of the few waterfalls in the country.

At 70 feet (21 m), the waterfall is an impressive height and it’s certainly an incredible sight in person!

Hebden Bridge

Hebden Bridge

You’ve probably never heard of Hebden Bridge, but it’s somewhere that should be on your list of places to visit in Northern England. It’s a beautiful little market town in Yorkshire.

A word of warning, Hebden Bridge is located in one of the most volatile parts of the country.

The weather can be temperamental at the best of times in the north, but as Hebden Bridge is close to the Pennines it suffers more than most.

However, it’s that proximity to the Pennines that makes it such a brilliant place to visit. You’ll have lots of trails, with over 15 miles of walking you can do around the Hardcastle Crags.

In the town itself, the Heptonstall Museum is worth checking out if you don’t fancy the walk or the weather is terrible!



One of the more unusual places to visit in the North of England is Lindisfarne. That’s because Lindisfarne is an island that gets cut off from the mainland every day as the tide rolls in and out.

If you’re planning on visiting the holy island, you have to pay attention to the weather and tidal forecast. Only visit the island when it’s safe to do so. If you get caught when the tide comes in, you could be in a lot of trouble.

Lindisfarne Holy Island has a long history and was an important centre of Celtic Christianity, with a monastery founded in 634, before the Vikings in 793, which marked the beginning of the Viking Age.

Today, the Vikings are long gone, but there are still plenty of sights to explore such as Lindisfarne Castle and the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

green rolling hills in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of the nicest places in Northern England.

The national park in North Yorkshire encompasses a large area of over a thousand square kilometres and is an area of outstanding natural beauty that’s home to numerous moors, hills and stunning valleys and Bolton Abbey Estate.

The Bolton Abbey Estate includes the ruins of a monastery from the 12th century. It’s an incredible sight and one of the many fantastic attractions in the Yorkshire Dales.

If you love being outdoors, there are multiple places to visit such as Gordale Scar and the North York Moors to explore.

You can also do the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge while you’re there. If you love the outdoors, this is for you. You’ll need to climb Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside along a 24-mile trek.

It’s a great way to spend a couple of days in one of northern England’s best national parks!


beach in Blackpool on a sunny day, with Blackpool Tower in the background

Blackpool is the archetypal English seaside vacation destination in northern England.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is one of the main attractions in the city and is a great place to visit if you have kids. It’s a big amusement park and is home to the biggest rollercoaster in the UK.

You also have Blackpool Tower, which is modelled after the Eiffel Tower but not as big. It’s worth going up to the top for a great view of the surrounding area.

If you visit during the autumn months you can also see the Blackpoll Illuminations, which run along the promenade.

West Yorkshire

the river calder in west yorkshire

West Yorkshire is one of the most underrated places to visit in northern England.

There’s a lot to see in the region and it’s home to some of the most interesting places in the north of England.

One is the historic market town of Haworth, which was home to the famous Bronte sisters. It’s here that Anne, Emily and Charlotte lived and wrote some of their classic books, such as Victorian England’s heroine, Jane Eyre.

You’ll also find the National Coal Mining Museum in this part of north England in Wakefield. This is an interesting place to visit to learn more about the industry that sustained the region and the industrial revolution.


a fountain in the centre of sheffield

Sheffield is another city in Northern England you should check out if you’re in the region.

It’s located in South Yorkshire and is known as the Steel City for its historic role in the steel industry during the Industrial Revolution and into the 20th century.

You’ll find plenty of things to do in Sheffield such as the Kelham Island Museum, which goes into detail about the city’s past and links to the steel trade.

There’s also the Millennium Gallery, which is one of the best art galleries in north England and is home to pieces illustrating the city’s past and contemporary art too.

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