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Last updated : Nov 2009
North England
North England - TravelPuppy.com
In the southern and eastern areas lie sprawling industrial heartlands, but these are surrounded by some of England’s most sparsely populated, and most beautiful countryside. The Lake District (see the Top Seven Destinations section) is the most famous of the English National Parks – but there are three more in the region as well: Northumberland, the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales.

The coastline is spectacular, particularly in north Yorkshire and northern Northumberland, while the North Pennines is as wild as the countryside can get. All this contrasts with the great industrial power-houses of south and west Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Tyne & Wear and east Lancashire.

For more information covering Cheshire, County Durham, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Northumberland, Teesside, Tyne & Wear and Yorkshire contact the following:

Cumbria Tourist Board (telephone: (01539) 444 444; fax: (01539) 444 041; email: reception@gocumbria.org).

North West Tourist Board (telephone: (01942) 821 222; fax: (01942) 820 002).

Northumbria Tourist Board (telephone: (0191) 375 3010; fax: (0191) 386 0899).


Chester, the county town, is famous for its black and white timber-framed buildings. The city dates back from Roman times, as do parts of its Medieval city walls. Remains of a 7000 seat Roman amphitheatre are located outside the centre, whose attraction is The Rows, large double-deck buildings housing shops.

In the surrounding county, towns include Northwich, where the Salt Museum covers the story of Cheshire salt mining, and Nantwich, where visitors can explore the Hack Green ‘Secret’ Nuclear Bunker. Nearby, Stapely Water Gardens is one of the world’s biggest attraction of its type.


Lancaster is the main centre in this county and the major port remain along the historic St George’s Quay, whose palladian-style Customs House is home to the Lancaster Maritime Museum. The city centre architecture reflects the wealth of two centuries ago.

West of Lancaster are the seaside resort attractions at Morecambe, while in the surrounding countryside, the Lune Valley has inspired artists and poets through the ages, including Turner and Wordsworth.

Blackpool, down the Lancashire coast, is one of England’s biggest seaside resorts, famous for its Eiffel-styled Tower, its trams and the Blackpool Pleasure Beach amusement park.

Greater Manchester

In Manchester there are major attractions, including the Granada Studios Tour, home of ‘Coronation Street’. There is a branch of the Imperial War Museum beside the Manchester Ship Canal in the Trafford area of the city. Manchester United Football Club is famous around the world, and tours of its Old Trafford stadium are available.

Outside Manchester, Wigan has one of the north’s most popular attractions in Wigan Pier – a recreation of Victorian life based around a large canal basin, with a number of individual museums and other attractions.


In West Yorkshire is the large Leeds/Bradford conurbation. Bradford is famous for its Asian community, and the food is an attraction in itself, while The National Museum of Film, Photography and Television is the city’s prime draw with one of the first IMAX movie screens.

At Leeds, the Royal Armouries exhibition, Tetley Brewery Visitor Centre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Thackeray Medical Museum are all reasons to spend time here.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is popular all year. Its landscape is that of the books and TV series featuring vet James Herriot. Walking is a popular pastime in this region.

Castles abound in the region, including the fortresses of Middleham and Richmond; the latter associated with Richard III. Bolton Castle in Wensleydale imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots, while Pontefract Castle in West Yorkshire was the place of Richard II’s murder in 1400.

Maritime East Yorkshire has links with Britain’s seafaring traditions. Hull is a major port, recently transformed by waterfront developments, while Humber Bridge is an attraction in its own right.

Family resorts on the coast include Bridlington and Scarborough, which have a number of attractions, such as Bridlington’s Leisure World Complex.


In the 1960s, The Beatles put Liverpool firmly on the map, and their fame still brings visitors from all over. Attractions include the Mersey Ferry, which operates between Birkenhead and Liverpool, and the Albert Dock complex, housing The Beatles Story, the Maritime Museum, the Museum of Liverpool Life and the Tate Gallery.


An industrial centre on Middlesbrough, whose most famous son was James Cook Coastal towns include Redcar, Saltburn and Hartlepool, with its maritime museum, historic ships and marina.


The Lake District (see also the Top Seven Destinations section) makes up the central area of Cumbria. The rest of the county consists of three sections: the north and east (former Westmorland), which rises with the high North Pennine Hills towards Northumberland and County Durham, the Irish Sea coastline and the peninsulas in the south.

South of Carlisle lies the town of Penrith, to whose east the country rises across Alston Moor to Alston in the North Pennines, a former lead-mining centre. Set in the heart of an area of natural beauty,

In south Cumbria, the shipbuilding town of Barrow-in-Furness has the Docks Museum, nearby Ulverston is famous for the birthplace of comic Stan Laurel, and offers the Laurel and Hardy museum.

County Durham

Durham, from where Prince Bishops once ruled the North, surrounds Durham City with its Castle, now part of the university, and magnificent Norman Cathedral. The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The surrounding countryside, once a coalfield, is very beautiful, with market towns like Bishop Auckland and Barnard Castle.

Within the county is part of the North Pennines, and scenic Weardale and Teesdale, with England’s highest waterfall, High Force.

Tyne and Wear

Tyne & Wear spans the mouths of the two rivers in its name. Newcastle-upon-Tyne has city centre shopping, museums, theatres, hotels, restaurants and a legendary nightlife.

Across the river are Gateshead with its Metro Centre indoor shopping and South Shields, home of the author Catherine Cookson, and the Arbeia Roman Fort attraction. Sunderland is at the mouth of the River Wear and nearby is Washington, famous for the original home of US President George Washington’s family.


Northumberland, between the Scottish border and Tyne & Wear, is a large, rural county with attractive villages and market towns. Its famous landmark is Hadrian’s Wall. It was built in the 2nd century AD and marks the Roman Empire’s northernmost border.

Medieval castles, including Bamburgh, Alnwick and Dunstanburgh characterise the countryside, which was an area of Anglo/Scots conflict. Hexham is a good starting point from which to explore the whole Northumbrian region. Much of the county is a National Park, with moorland stretching from the North Sea to Cheviot Hills on the Scottish border. England’s most northern town, Berwick-upon-Tweed, was a casualty in border battles, and changed hands between Scotland and England at least 13 times.

Close to the Scottish Border is the Kielder Water reservoir. Europe’s biggest man-made lake that offers a wide range of activity pursuits.