You don’t need to break the bank to explore new pastures this year. In fact, you may be surprised at just how much is waiting to be discovered right outside your front door. From seaside sojourns to stunning medieval architecture and everything else in between, here are five ideas for day trips from Newcastle.
Distance from Newcastle by train: 2 hours 40 minutes
A popular choice for domestic tourists, Whitby is well known for being the hometown of explorer James Cook, its beaches and of course, fish and chips! While many activities in this coastal town revolve around the beach, there’s plenty to do inland too. Save some energy for the walk up the 199 steps to Whitby Abbey where, along with the lighthouse, the best views of the town can be found.
By contrast, there’s also a darker history to be explored; did you know that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was inspired by Whitby and parts of the book were set in the town? Discover more with Dr Crank’s ghost walks and The Dracula Experience, where actors bring the darker tales of Whitby’s past to life!
Distance from Newcastle by train: 1 hour 25 minutes
What is there to say about Edinburgh that hasn’t already been said? If you want sightseeing then look no further than the Old Town’s iconic castle and Royal Mile. If you’re looking to or shop ’til you drop then check out the commercial centre of the New Town.
On the other hand, those looking to escape the tourist trail should wander up to the Water of Leith walkway. This picturesque 12-mile trail is popular with cyclists, walkers and wildlife alike.
Although Edinburgh isn’t necessarily known as a beach destination, those wanting to feel the sand between their toes can do so in Portobello. This 2-mile long beach is just a few miles outside of the city centre, and is complete with ice cream parlours and an amusement arcade for frittering away that loose change!
Distance from Newcastle by train: 45 minutes
Berwick-upon-Tweed is the northernmost town in England. So northern in fact that it’s been at the centre of battles between England and Scotland in the past. With its compact town centre, it’s a convenient and easy place to wander around without having to worry about transport. You can simply just follow the historic castle walls and you can’t go too far wrong!
There are a number of walking tours in and around the town as well as some longer coastal walks starting in Berwick-upon-Tweed, all of which are perfect for discovering hidden gems in the area. Art enthusiasts will be delighted to discover the L.S. Lowry walking trail, which pays homage to the ‘matchstick men’ painter who frequented the town and based a number of his works on the area.
Distance from Newcastle by train: 50 minutes
This historic market town may not be the first place that springs to mind for a tourist but there’s no lack of things to see and do on the cobbled streets of Alnwick. Fans can throw themselves into the world of Harry Potter, Blackadder and Downton Abbey. All of which have been filmed at Alnwick Castle.
Bookworms will be in heaven at Barter Books, one of the U.K’s largest second-hand book shops. While nature lovers should look no further than the Alnwick Garden. With acres of greenery, blooming flowers and even a ‘Poison Garden’ containing 100 varieties of deadly plants, it’s a lovely place for a day out.
Distance from Newcastle by train: 10 minutes
With its UNESCO certified castle and cathedral, Durham is a treasure chest of history just waiting to be explored. The stunning Norman architecture is naturally a must-see, and the reasonably priced tours given by local students are a great way to explore the area.
Once you’re finished with this be sure to explore the ‘vennels’ near the castle, as aimlessly exploring these winding walkways is a great way to stumble upon hidden gems. If you’re lucky you might end up at the famous Vennels Cafe, a popular eatery tucked away in one such alleyway.
Top tip: Keep an eye out for the cathedral when you’re taking the train into Durham as the view is one for the memory bank!
As we said, you don’t have to spend big to get your kicks this summer. Why not consider a staycation and discover what delights the northeast has to offer?