northeastern England

Any recommendations for stops between York and Edinburgh?

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12886 posts

not a lot to hang our hat on here, la. Car? Train? Kids? Adults? Elderly? First trip or return? What do you like to see? What do you like to do? What time of year? How long have you got?

Without some of that you may as well go to the tourist information websites for each county. I could list what I like but how do I know what you do?

Posted by Lee
1017 posts

Yorkshire Dales, Barnard Castle, Housesteads Fort on Hadrian's Wall, Melrose Abbey ruin. It's been a long time since we did the drive. Those are the highlights that I recall.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
1562 posts

Fountains Abbey is spectacular and not to be missed! About 15 minutes off the main road.

Posted by lasmith7779
40 posts

Thanks for the suggestions. We're doing Antonine's Wall near Falkirk and wondered if we wanted to spend time at Hadrian's wall.
And, yes, Nigel, that info would help. Arrival in Edinburgh May 7, 2014. 2 couples in their 50's. Definitely a car, though we'd love to do a portion of the trip by train. But that leads to luggage issues and researching if there would be additional charges for dropping off the car. I lived in England while growing up but never made it to Northern England (pre-motorways). My husband has been to London but the other couple have never been out of the States.
We have about 5 days. My tentative plan is leave Edinburgh about 4pm and spend 2 nights in Lake District, 2 nights in Conwy and 1 night in York. Then drive back to Edinburgh. We like everything though I'm pretty shallow-don't want to spend ages at each site learning all the minutiae. Just a nice general overview.
Would like to do the Ironbridge gorge but don't think we have time.
Thanks again for the help. Once again I find myself in charge of the itinerary and items a huge responsibility.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
1432 posts

Looks like you're planning to drive from York to Edinburgh in one day, about 200 miles and 4+ hours on the motorways. We loved Durham and its Norman cathedral looming over the river like a fortress. Others might recommend Castle Howard or Fountains Abbey or even Whitby, somewhat out of your way. Alnwick Castle is north of Durham near the coast, a Harry Potter site (but your crowd may be a little mature for that, right?) with famous gardens.

Hadrian's Wall is a wonderful sight, Housesteads and Vindolanda being reasonably close to your route. I don't know what kind of shape the Antonine Wall is in, presumably less intact because it was used such a short time. But you're the best judge of which wall (if any) to visit in the time you have.

BTW, just one night in York gives you little time to appreciate that great city. Maybe you should spend the morning there and then head on up to Edinburgh without sightseeing stops. Have fun!

Posted by lasmith7779
40 posts

Thanks, I think what we may do is stay one afternoon and one night in York and then drive north for a couple of hours to spend the night. That will give us a head start and more time for the drive back to Edinburgh.
We also have the option of returning the way we came, a little faster route, but my husband has family ties (doesn't everyone if you go back 32 generations?) to Alnwick Castle so we'd like to fit it in if possible.
Thanks also to Lee and Anita. I checked out the sights you recommended and it made me homesick for green. After over 3 years of drought in Central Texas, I just want to see rain and green again. I don't think I'm going to be disappointed.

Posted by Ann
Texas, California
49 posts

Ah. lasmith, I too am in central Texas. And not a native. The green of ANYWHERE simply floods my senses. I was in Oregon recently, on the wet side, driving from I-5 to the coast. Thought I'd died and gone to green heaven!

Posted by lasmith7779
40 posts

You got it. I used to live on Lake Travis but with the Lake down 40 feet I don't any longer. But have my property taxes gone down? No way! And you know how high they are in this part of the world.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3287 posts

I have done the drive from York to Edinburg and Whitby was one of the highlights of the drive...might be a bit out of the way but it was worth it. Spent one evening at a hotel overlooking the water and had some fabulous fish & chips there.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
1114 posts

We have done the drive too, and I will just have to second how much we loved Whitby and Robins Hood Bay!

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
8841 posts

Sounds like you have some good suggestions to work with. Planning ahead is very helpful, but the car will also give you the freedom to change your mind en-route. Have a good trip!

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
972 posts

One more to add to the options: Holy Island (Lindisfarne).

Posted by john
Barnard Castle, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
56 posts

I live and have grown up in the north there is so much to do! Ok, to give you a taster go to you tube and look up the following. Passionate people passionate places it gives you a feel for the area there's a couple of short videos...ok, wow where to start there's so so much I'm excited for you...first if you need up to date advice just mail me! I'll help you all I can.

Ok, the route up by car is fantastic. Next you need a good sat nav or road map best to get both. The best map of the UK is the Phillips navigator available on amazon. Ok, with me so far? Ok, the road up is the A1...whatever you do DO NOT get to the area of Newcastle/ Gateshead between 8 -9am and anytime from 4 -6 pm this is rush hour, you will make progress but it is slow mind numbing..however you will as you drive down a place called Bowes incline see the largest piece of public art in the world and one seen by more people than any other in the's called the angel of the north won't miss it! It's right next to the road...

Not far from the road is Beamish Museum if you google it see what you think, it's an open air museum with a village steam trains old buses an old school old fish and chip shop ..amazing place full of people in period costume etc... It's off the turn off at Chester le street...

Ok, into old castles? Why not stop for coffee or afternoon tea or stop overnight? Look up lumbley can go there and go to the library and just have a coffee in a real 11century castle that looks the part this is the real deal! It's again just off the motorway at Chester le street..

Want to do some shopping or eat? You will see signs near Newcastle Gateshead for the metro centre this was European biggest indoor shopping mall. It is literally ten yards from the motorway..look up metro centre Gateshead

If you have time Newcastle is worth a look around, try the Baltic flour mill (art gallery) it's free and the view from the viewing gallery at the top is surely one of the greatest views in Europe.

On your way up you will pass scotch corner this is the junction between the A66 and A1. Now this may seem a strange thing to say ...and you may need a map to understand...but it is a strange quirk ...ok, I live near scotch corner (situated in North Yorkshire and has nothing to do with Scotland) Right, what I'm about to say is true I know because I live here and do the journey often....instead of going straight up the A1 ....consider going A66, M6, M 74 then across to Edinburgh, it's motorway all the way and fantastic scenery...where as the A1 north of Newcastle is a single very busy and very dangerous's a personal choice but for me the beautiful scenery of the north pennies the Lake District the borders and Scotland as you cruise an almost empty motorway or stop and go on a single road packed full of route is longer in miles but in reality not much longer in time sometimes even quicker if there's an accident on th A1 as it's a single road it blocks easy...

Any questions just message me..