places to visit in northern england

14 Amazing Places to Visit in Northern England

Believe it or not, but there are plenty of places to visit in Northern England. It’s an often neglected part of the country when it comes to planning a trip to 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 spots 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 Northern England. A trip to the Lake District is one of the best things to do in Northern England and should be near the top of your list!

London and destinations in that part of the country might get more attention, but if you venture up North, you’ll be rewarded with some of England’s best destinations!

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

Places to visit in Northern England

York

View of York

Tork is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in England. It’s one of the oldest cities in the country and is teeming with history.

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 the building 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.

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!

Lancaster

Street in Lancaster
Immanuel Giel, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

I spent three years at university in Lancaster, and although it’s a small city, 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!

Chester

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.

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

The city walls are a vivid reminder of this, as they encircle the entire city 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.

Chester is a brilliant 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!

Liverpool

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 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.

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!

Manchester

Canal in Manchester

Manchester is the biggest city in the north of England and somewhere you can’t leave the north without visiting. If you’re backpacking in the UK, it’s somewhere that should 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, the National Football Museum is located in Manchester. 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 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.

Multiple hiking trails exist in the region, and you can follow in the footsteps of the famous writer Wordsworth, by walking on the same trails 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 beauty 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 England and as good a reason as any to visit the Peak District! 

Leeds

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 city centre and see all the shops and cafes there.

As with most places in 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 Europe. It’s an ideal place to go during a hot summer’s day!

Whitby

Whitby Abbey

Whitby is one of the lesser-known places to see in northern England, but it’s well worth checking out if you can. This small town is full of interesting sights.

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 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 the north out. 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 the north of England. 

Newcastle

Tyne Bridge

Newcastle is one of the liveliest cities in England, and somewhere you absolutely 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 the 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 beach to relax on a sunny day, or go surfing!

Durham

Durham Cathedral

Durham isn’t too far from Newcastle and is worth visiting if you’re in the area. 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 Durham Castle. The castle is now occupied by Durham 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 town in West 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 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!

Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne

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

If you’re planning on visiting the 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.

The 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.

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