Brilliant days out in North East England are plentiful, with everything from coastal delights to vibrant cities to quaint towns and villages with some of the best attractions in the country. Here are 10 of the best days out in this part of England…
On the hunt for the best days out in North East England? You’ll be spoiled for choice, with so much to see and do no matter the weather.
The North East of England is made up of the counties of Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and also a small section of North Yorkshire. Newcastle is the largest city in the region, and there are plenty of stunning beaches along the coastline of Northumberland.
No matter what kind of day out you’re looking for, there’s something to discover in the North East. So without further ado, here are 10 of the best days out in North East England…
1. Day out to the city of York
York is a city with small-town charm, and when visiting you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. With lots of modern shops and restaurants among city streets filled with ancient history, it’s an atmosphere that few other places in the country can provide.
The medieval streets of York are filled with things to do, so you could simply wander around without doing much else and still have a marvelous time. If you love Gothic architecture, the iconic York Minster cathedral is a feature of the city’s skyline and a must-see (in fact, it’s a can’t-miss, being one of the best cathedrals in England). Inside is just as fascinating and beautiful, so definitely pop your head in if you’re nearby.
The Shambles is another place that you simply can’t miss in York, with narrow, cobbled streets filled with overhanging medieval houses, some as old as the 14th century, and unique shops that’ll take you back to a bygone era in England’s history.
To really get your heart rate going, a visit to the York Dungeons is extra exciting, with its information and performances tailored to the eerie goings on in the olden days of the city. Even if you’ve visited one of the other English Dungeons, this one is well worth a look inside.
If you’re not done with the history of York yet, the National Railway Museum has an impressive collection of locomotives showing their evolution throughout the years, and the JORVIK Viking Centre is nearby too, where you can view life-size dioramas showing what Viking life was like in the city.
You can also take a walk along the preserved walls of the city for some impressive views to take in the whole area. With so many varied attractions and a bustling city atmosphere, York promises an unforgettable experience that’s one of the best days out in North East England.
If you want to squeeze even more out of your York experience, check out our York Day Trip Itinerary: What to Do, See, Eat & Drink
2. Day out at Alnwick Castle and Gardens
The historic Alnwick Castle and its surrounding gardens are known for their stunning architecture, and you may recognise it from being featured in the Harry Potter movies! Whether you’ve seen the films or not though, it’s certainly a brilliant day out in the North East.
With a blend of history and horticulture, this Northumberland-based castle offers lots to do. The medieval castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England, and has been home to the Percy family for more than 700 years, but visitors are welcome to come on by.
There, you’ll find state rooms to explore, history to uncover, and even get to spot some of the filming locations for the iconic wizarding movies.
The gardens are magnificent enough on their own even without the castle, but make a lovely addition to your day out that offers some fresh air and outdoor time. You’ll find vibrant flowers at the right time of year, a gorgeous cascading waterfall, and the Poison Garden to explore.
This is one of the most enchanting days out in North East England for nature and history enthusiasts, so if that’s you, add it to your list!
3. Day out hiking in the Pennines
The north of England offers some of the best outdoor experiences in the whole of the country, and embarking on a day hike in the Pennines promises an exhilarating, adventurous day out for the whole family.
There are lots of trails to choose from, with something for every level of experience – the amateur walker to the keen hiker. You’ll find a few of them on this list of 12 of the highest mountains in England (and how to climb them).
Depending on your fitness level and interest, you can choose the best route for you. This could be the whole Pennine Way (a trail that stretches for 268 miles from the northern Derbyshire Peak District, all the way to Kirk Yetholm inside the Scottish border), or a shorter circuit that’s manageable in a day.
Remember to take the equipment you need, such as sturdy footwear, weather-appropriate clothing, and a backpack with essentials like water, snacks, a map, and a camera to capture the beauty of the stunning Pennines.
It’s usually best to start your hikes early so you can make the most of the daylight, and get in as much hiking as possible.
With plenty of preparation, your hike in the Pennines will definitely be a memorable one as it offers some of the best views and walks in the entire country. The hiking routes on offer make this one of the best days out in North East England (plus, one of the best FREE days out in North East England!)
4. Day out at Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall is the former defensive fort of the Roman province of Britannia, which was initially built in AD 122 – a very long time ago! The stone wall ran from Wallsend on the River Tyne in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west, and today parts of it still exist for viewing, as well as various forts and museums such as Housesteads Roman Fort.
A day out at Hadrian’s Wall offers a captivating journey through periods of Roman history, as well as being situated in a beautiful part of the country. Go to discover the history or to take in the stunning landscapes; either way this is one of the most exciting days out in North East England.
You may wish to start your day out at the Roman Army Museum to understand more about the wall’s importance back in the day, before moving on to the well-preserved ruins of the Housesteads Roman Fort.
You can walk along this iconic wall while taking in the rugged scenery of Northumberland National Park, which acts as a backdrop for this poignant piece of history. It’s certainly one of the best days out in the North East of England for adults.
Within the museums you will find interactive exhibits that enable you to imagine life as a Roman soldier, and will learn plenty about the historical significance of this wall.
5. Day out on a Northumberland beach
When you think beautiful beaches, you may not automatically think of Northumberland, but in fact, this county has more than a few beautiful coastal areas that are well worth a visit.
A day out on a Northumberland beach promises windswept landscapes and plenty of coastal charm.
You can take a day trip to the pristine stretches of Bamburgh or Embleton Bay, where you can also spot historic castles and explore sand dunes, or find more to explore at the 9 best beaches in Northumberland.
If you love a barefoot beach walk, you can take a lovely stroll along these stretches of beach, letting the waves lap over your feet and exploring rock pools to find some of the local marine life there – a great activity for days out in North East England for couples. You may also enjoy the 4 best Northumberland coastal walks if you want to expand your search!
If you want more, there’s lots of paddleboarding opportunities in Northumberland too, so you can take in the panoramic views from the water and breathe in some sea air on your days out in North East England. Here are the 6 best places for paddle boarding in Northumberland if you’re ready to brave the cold.
6. Day out at Beamish Museum
The Beamish Living Museum of the North is located in County Durham, and depicts and celebrates what life was like in the North East of England in the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. This open-air museum is unlike any other you will have been to, with lifelike buildings, and actors helping to bring the atmosphere.
You’ll step back in time at Beamish in this immersive experience, seeing, hearing and experiencing so much from England’s past. You can begin by exploring the Edwardian town where you’ll find the authentic shops and homes that look like they have remained untouched for years.
You can speak to interpreters dressed in period costume and pulling out all the stops to bring the history of this area to life. With vintage trams and buses to ride along on, the open-air museum has lots to do such as the Colliery, Pit Village and the 1940s Farm.
You can’t go home without grabbing a traditional fish and chips at the Sun Inn, or something sweet and tasty from the local bakery. The nostalgic atmosphere of Beamish is a day out that you won’t soon forget, and was once voted by our readers as one of the 21 most popular England tourist attractions! We think this is one of the best days out in North East England, and certainly one of the more unusual things to do in the North East for adults.
7. Day out in Newcastle
Newcastle is the biggest city in the North East, and its vibrant atmosphere makes it a great day out if you’re in this area of the country. Newcastle’s Quayside features the Millennium Bridge, as well as lots of historic architecture and amazing restaurants.
Quayside is a great area to start your day out in the city, where you can walk over the Millennium Bridge, pay a visit to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, and take in the river views.
If shopping is your thing, you can visit Grainger Town and Grey Street where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and more historic architecture. Whether you want to shop ’til you drop or just sit in a cafe to watch the world go by, this is a good place to head to.
Newcastle Castle is perched above the city, so it’s a great spot to take in the history as well as the stunning views of the city – a good photo spot too if you’re looking for one.
Newcastle is known for its nightlife, so if you fancy a night out on the town then Ouseburn Valley or Bigg Market are the areas to head to to end one of the best days out in North East England with a bang. A night out in Newcastle is one of the best couples days out North East England has to offer, and many people go to this city for entertaining evenings.
8. Day out at Flamingo Land
Flamingo Land in Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire, is a great combination of animal park and theme park, so you can go to see some unique species as well as brave the rollercoasters with the kids.
There is a range rollercoasters on offer at Flamingo Land, and their resident animals include giraffes, monkeys, cheetahs, lions, and of course the most famous of all at the park… flamingos!
There are water attractions, laser tag experiences, animal talks, and lots more on offer at Flamingo Land, so the kids will never be bored for a second with so much to do and learn. Adults, young children and teens will all find something to enjoy in this park with over 375 acres of parkland and 129 creatures calling it home.
If you love theme parks and zoos, this is one of the best days out in North East England for you, hands down!
9. Day out to see the Angel of the North
One of the more unusual things to do in the North East is to see the Angel of the North, a sculpture designed by Antony Gormley, located near Gateshead. You may have seen pictures of this iconic sculpture but it’s really something to behold in real life.
The rusty coloured sculpture stands at 20 metres tall with a wingspan of 54 metres, which is larger than a Boeing 757 aircraft. It creates a pretty striking silhouette against the sky so if you can see it during sunrise or sunset it’s really something.
There are nice walks nearby so you can make a day of it, or why not extend your trip by visiting the nearby town of Gateshead where you will find plenty of shops, restaurants and museums. The Angel of the North was apparently intended to act as a “millennial image that would be a marker and guardian for [the] town” of Gateshead.
Whether you’re off on a solo adventure, a family day trip, or a day out with your significant other, seeing the Angel of the North is something everyone will remember for many years, and is definitely one of the best days out in North East England.
The Angel of the North is one of the most famous landmarks in England, and you can find 9 more here.
10. Day out on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne
If you’re in the North East, a trip to Holy Island is an enjoyable day out that’s only accessible by a causeway during low tide. On the island, you’ll find historic sites, beautiful views and rugged beaches to explore.
Holy Island is a pretty unique place to visit in the north. It has fascinating history where you can learn about the past Monks, Vikings and Celts that roamed the island, and while there you may be able to spot Lindisfarne Castle perched on top of a rocky outcrop with panoramic views of the Northumberland coast.
There’s also Lindisfarne Priory, which is a medieval site with lots to learn about – history buffs will love this spot. Plus you may even be able to spot Bamburgh Castle in the distance.
There’s also Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve to explore, and you can enjoy the serene beaches and coastal walks of the area, all the while keeping an eye out for wildlife.
Remember you will need to plan your visit around the tidal timetable so you don’t get stuck on the island, but so long as you do this, you’re bound to have one of the best days out in North East England!
You can learn the 7 best things to do on Holy Island, Northumberland here.
Are you planning to explore one of the many days out North East England has to offer? There’s so much to see and do in the area, and this list is only a small number of the things you could get up to on a day out in North East England.
If you have any other day out ideas that you think should be on this list, comment them below so we can keep adding to it. There are never-ending activities to explore in this area of the country, so keep checking back for more!
10 of the Best Days Out in North East England
- Day out to the city of York
- Day out at Alnwick Castle and Gardens
- Day out hiking in the Pennines
- Day out at Hadrian’s Wall
- Day out on a Northumberland beach
- Day out at Beamish Museum
- Day out in Newcastle
- Day out at Flamingo Land
- Day out to see the Angel of the North
- Day out on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne