Must go in Northern England
York & Whitby
York is an amazing historic walled city, with some of the greatest architecture in the UK. It was founded by the Romans, conquered by the Vikings and reclaimed by a King of England. It’s where you’ll find the Minster, the largest Gothic Cathedral in the UK, and one of the largest of it’s kind in Europe.
York also has dungeons, amazing pubs, and loads of excellent shops for souvenirs!A short train/bus/drive away from York is Whitby, home to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Here you can get some of the best fish & chips in the UK, a stick of rock, climb the 199 steps up to the Abbey, and basically have a good old English day by the sea-side! Don’t forget to try a 99 flake!
Now known as one of the cultural hubs of the UK, Manchester has fantastic high street shops, art galleries, great restaurants, theatres, and is much cheaper than other tourist cities in the UK.
I live in Yorkshire, boasting some of the most fabulous scenery in the UK, however, I am in love with Northumberland, it’s so, so beautiful. Filled with castles and rocky beaches, small towns with trinket shops and smoke houses, it’s quintessentially British and a must-see for those looking for rural England.
Must do in Northern England
Go to the Pub
English pubs have such a different atmosphere to bars in other countries. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but most definitely worth the experience. When you’re there make sure you have a pint of hand pulled real ale (that’s craft beer, Americans!), try something local!
Have a cup of tea
It goes without saying that the best cups of tea come from England. Just head to any of our super markets and you’ll see the vast array of regular old tea that we have available. If you get chance find a tea room and have some proper tea, with a drop of milk and a bit of sugar. So very English!
Must Eat in England
Fish & Chips
The only other country I’ve visited that does fish and chips on the scale of the UK is Australia. Cod or haddock battered and fried, served with home-cut chips, sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Mushy peas and buttered bread are optional!
I couldn’t not include the Sunday roast, even if it is some what unadventurous in the cuisine department. Roast meat (usually beef) served with an array of steamed vegetables (broccoli, peas, carrots etc), potatoes, condiments, gravy & Yorkshire puddings. Most restaurants, pubs and eateries will serve this on a Sunday! We even have chains of restaurants dedicated to serving roast meals throughout the week.
It’s pretty common knowledge that we have amazing Indian cuisine in England. Curry houses are a popular choice for eating out in here, with most towns being home to at least one. For the best curry in England head to either Bradford or Manchester’s Rusholme.
Cultural tips for travel in England
I know, it’s such a cliché, but it’s so true! Something in the English psyche forces us to form orderly queues at any opportune moment, and those who don’t conform to this queueing system get a silent death stare and a barely audible tut (another great trait of us Brits, we rarely let our anger show, we let is fester and complain about it later.)
Sarcasm & Humour
Sarcasm, dark humour and innuendo play a great role in English humour, if you’re unfamiliar with shows such as Fawlty Towers, The Mighty Boosh, The League of Gentlemen, try and catch some before making a trip out here!
Cheap travel tips for Northern England
While our public transport isn’t as great as other European destinations, we do have a network of buses and trains that can take you from A-B quite easily. England isn’t huge, and it’s pretty rare that people take internal flights, favouring trains instead. Booking train travel in advance is very important, this is where you’ll save loads of money!
Driving in the UK can be pretty daunting (with strange rules & roundabouts), and fuel costs are high. However, if you can rent a car and are willing to tackle to roads, you’ll undoubtedly have more freedom to explore than by relying on public transport alone.
Airbnb is usually cheaper and more authentic than a hotel. For example, an entire house in my hometown of Huddersfield rents for $58 a night and a private bedroom with an ensuite in York is $57. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s $40 towards your first booking!
I'm from Bedford which is about an hour outside of the capital city that isn't being mentioned lol. Whitby is awesome if you like stories like Dracula – I think Whitby is mentioned in the opening chapters.
If you're going to Manchester and can it's worth the drive out to High Peak – it's about half an hour outside the city as you head towards Sheffield for the motorway – the views are AMAZING!!
When I was younger when my friends were going on holiday abroad I spent alot of time going on holiday in a caravan with my parents – here there and everywhere in England and Wales. I only got as far as Scotland once lol.
being from the UK (and living in yorkshire, incidently), i kind of thought it would be difficult to do a travel guide of the WHOLE country, but this has probably got the most important bits down. it is a shame to miss out of the whole of the south, but you could probably just switch the cities for brighton and bath, and whitby for cornwall, through in the eden project and that'll do!
There was so much more I could've said about our little island, can't wait to read what other Brits have to say!
Thank you so much for the link! LLGxx
LLG on yes and yes! My two happy worlds collide! eep! 😉
I am so disappointed you focussed on the north of England and didn't include Liverpool! Home of The Beatles! I'm from Liverpool and Americans LOVE coming to The Beatles museum and taking a tour of their childhood homes and getting the ferry across the Mersey. It's a must do! Plus Liverpool has some of the best real ale pubs in the country, with the Cains brewery (http://www.cainsbeers.com) right in the city centre. It is also home to The Tate Liverpool and was recently the European capital of culture.
I'm sorry, Helen! I tried to pick somewhere from each area (North West, North East, Yorkshire) so inevitably some superb places had to be left out! I love Liverpool, though, it's a lovely city!
My husband's family is from Yorkshire and he has taken me to visit them a few times – the highlights for me were definitely York and the train from Settle to Carlisle. Manchester was not worth the bus ride for me, but I like seeing sights more than shopping. And I have never had as much delicious Indian food before in my life.
I think the mini guide really sums up the best experiences to have here, especially the pubs! And you can't beat a good carvery! As a Brummie I feel obliged to mention the Midlands in the list of places to go, a few points of interest include…
– Bridgnorth (oh how I adore you) is a beautiful historic town surrounded by countryside. I go camping there nearly every year because I just love it there. The traditional shops are a treat, the flower displays are famous and you can ride the Severn Valley steam-powered railway for a taste of the olden days! Bewdley is also a really nice town to visit for a similar experience.
– The Grand Union canal and Gas Street Basin in Birmingham is similarly worth checking out. It has some lovely pubs and cafes along it and is a welcome break from the busy town centre. The Sea Life Centre, Symphony Hall, REP theatre and National Indoor Arena are nearby as well as Broad Street which has a range of restaurants and bars, so there's something for everyone.
– If you love shopping and want a more modern experience then check out the Bullring for high street wear as well as Corporation Street and New Street in Birmingham. The Mailbox is great for designer gear and the restaurants in there are pretty good too (it's also connected to the canals)
I know I've rambled on and only about a few places (I'll be too biased if I continue :p ) but I think many people would agree that these are some of the better places to visit in the Midlands area.
Thanks for your post, I'm actually thinking about planning a visit to York now as it sounds really nice!
Ooh great post, I love the north but I never get up there as much as I would like!
I'm from the far, far, deep, dark south in Cornwall. An essential place to visit I think (naturally) and a big tourist destination. Probably too much I could say on the matter but worth the effort (it's almost 5 hours on the train from London) it's a land of magic.
I've always wanted to visit England particularly the countryside. Thanks for sharing. I just found out how to survive the 49 hr flight from NZ to Europe so next step is saving!
Oh oh oh, now the pull to go back to the UK is even stronger!
I spent 6 months at university in Bath and got to know the South very well; the furtherest north I got was Oxford.
So much more to explore….
While I loved the guide itself and feel inspired to hop the first flight to England, I have to say I am offended by the article that was linked to regarding cultural differences in dating in the UK vs US.
Liberty London Girl is completely off course. While I'm sorry she was unfortunate enough to witness that behavior from the small group of people she observed, I'm disappointed to see that she acknowledges that her views on UK dating are colored by her own group of friends*, yet doesn't seem to realize that her small sampling of New Yorkers is not indicative of the rest of the population.
*(Relevant quote: "When did all get so bloody complicated? Now I get why there are so many dating manuals originating out of New York. The English model (well, the one I & my friends follow) is starting to seem so much more simple."
I'm so glad you gave Whitby a mention! It's my favourite place in the uk. I'm from Sheffield and went to uni in Huddersfield. We have plenty to see and do in Sheffield to – the winter gardens, botanical gardens, peace gardens, lots of museums, several theatres, and some of the best scenery I know of in the uk. We have more trees per head than any other city in Europe.
If anyone is interested, I wrote about Sheffield on my blog a while ago, it's worth a visit if you're ever in Yorkshire.
I love these mini travel guides so much! I have my fingers crossed for one for France by the time I head over there. 🙂
This is a nice overview of the North of England. But I have to take issue with the best curries being found in the North! The West Midlands is famous for curry, we have the Balti Mile after all!
Having said that, Manchester is by far my favourite city in England. So much more alive and vibrant than London or Birmingham. I've always said it's a young person's city.
I love that the first UK (England) travel guide on here focuses on God's own county of Yorkshire.
As an adopted Bradfordian I love, love, love Yorkshire.
I would also add a visit to Saltaire- a UNESCO world heritage site and home to an enormous collection of David Hockney's work.
I would still claim Bradford/Rusholme curry superiority over the midlands but I have to admit that I've probably only eaten at studenty places in Brum so thats still open for debate.
Also I'd highlight megabus for super cheap travel around the UK, how else can you travel from Aberdeen to London for £1.50!!