Last Updated on November 12, 2022 by Suzy
England doesn’t get much further north than Carlisle in the west and Newcastle in the east. Aside from being along the England/Scotland border, there are quite a few great things to do along this route. Why not consider a Hadrian’s Wall walk which you can find out even more about here?
Here’s my list of 8 great things to do in the north of England.
#1 – Walk Hadrian’s wall walk
The route follows the line of Hadrian’s Wall and was opened in 2002. Not all of the wall remains however the central part is well preserved. The wall was built around AD122 by the Roman Emporer Hadrianus as a defensive barrier. So it’s no surprise that not all of the wall and its watch towers remain today.
It was 73 miles long which is certainly not walkable in a day. However, it’s a perfect route for a walking holiday and certainly doable over a week or more with some sections being more picturesque than others. There are many interesting parts to visit along the way such as bath houses, turrets and shrines plus galleries and museums.
#2 – Beamish museum
Beamish is a fascinating open-air museum, near the town of Stanley in County Durham. It’s somewhere I’ve mentioned in a post before as once you have paid to visit you can return again as much as you like for free for a whole year during the daytime – 25 major attractions in the UK with unlimited free returns. Nighttime events cost extra.
The museum tells the story of life in North East England during the 1820s, 1900s & 1940s. You can take a tram around the site and there’s plenty to see. There’s a 1940s farm, 1900s pit village, 1820s Pockerley and much more. It’s a perfect day out for young and old and everyone in between.
#3 – Newcastle Castle
This castle is a medieval fortification in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was built on the site of the fortress which gave the City of Newcastle its name. I have never thought about Newcastle in this way before. I never even realised there was a castle.
What remains today is not the biggest castle in the UK but it is steeped in history. There are ancient passageways and walkways waiting to be explored. Including chambers where people were imprisoned. The castle embraces its varied and turbulent history and guides you through its history. There’s even dress-up for the kids.
#4 – Centre for life
The Centre for Life is also known as the Life Science Centre. It is a great place in Newcastle upon Tyne to get hands-on with science. This is the kind of place that I needed to visit when I was younger rather than sitting bored in a desk-filled room with the odd Bunsen burner.
They have different exhibitions throughout the year plus there are daytime activities including ones aimed at children. You can enjoy live theatre shows, there’s also a planetarium and a 4D motion ride. Everything is included in your entrance ticket.
For a review of the Centre for Life, why not check out this review by Newcastle Family life?
#5 – Roman army museum
This museum in Northumberland boasts that it’s the best day out on Hadrian’s Wall. It looks like a great place to take some time out from your walk along the wall. The museum is at the site of a Carvoran Roman Fort.
You can step into the life of a Roman soldier and experience their life on the front line through reconstructions, objects excavated along the wall and also through an Eagle’s eye 3D film. There’s plenty to see within a lovely backdrop. You can also explore the fort while you are there.
#6 – Chester Roman Fort and Museum
This preserved Roman fort and museum is run by English heritage. It is in Chollerford, Hexham and it is the most complete Roman cavalry fort in the UK. There are some really well-preserved baths and a steam room plus officers’ quarters. The museum proudly displays many Roman artefacts that were found along Hadrian’s wall. Perfect for a Roman history lesson for anyone.
It is named Chester Roman Fort because it housed 500 cavalry troops here for about 300 years. That’s a lot of time and a lot of history. They have a fun new family-friendly trail where you can run the fort, choose a character and then use the trail to guide you on your way in your new job.
I’ve found a great review on Ancas Lifestyle. There are a few other posts about Hadrian’s wall on the website. Another Roman fort worth a visit is Birdoswald Roman Fort.
#7 – Carlisle Castle
Carlisle Castle in Carlisle, Cumbria, is also run by English Heritage. It is not far from the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall and has been a castle for over 900 years. It used to be the principal fortress of England’s north-western border with Scotland and has been at the centre of many wars.
You are able to explore the medieval castle rooms. There is a museum about the castle’s past and you are able to walk some of the castle walls. Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life can also be found here.
#8 – Carlisle Cathedral
Also in Carlisle, Cumbria, you will find a stunning Cathedral. It has been between the border of England and Scotland for over 900 years now and also has a turbulent past. It is not one of the biggest Cathedrals but it is certainly attractive and worth a visit, especially if you are in Carlisle visiting the castle.
They have an I-Spy activity sheet for children which you can receive a sticker for once completed. Best of all the Cathedral is free to visit, however, they do rely on donations.
Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The article was written by myself.