8 Reasons to Visit England’s North Country with Kids

Today’s post was sponsored by VisitBritain. All opinions are my own.

I used to be the kind of traveler that always knew where I wanted to go next. But then I started following all these great travel bloggers that introduced me to new destinations to add to my list. And reading travel websites, I also learned about new flights and great rates that made me rethink our travel plans. Like when WOW Air introduced $99 rates from Boston to Iceland. We had been thinking of visiting the Grand Canyon in 2015 but instead, we ended up in Iceland. Just as beautiful, just not nearly as hot.

Another destination that just popped onto my radar because of a new flight route is Newcastle and England’s North Country. In May, United Airlines introduced a five-day a week direct flight from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to Newcastle in Northern England. Now I love London but the next time I visit England, I want to explore the English countryside. This new flight makes travel to Northern England from where I live in the Northeast a lot easier.

 Alnwick Castle -- where scenes from Harry Potter were filmed

Alnwick Castle, image courtesy of Visit Britain

What to do in North England with Kids

As I researched what there is to do in England’s North Country with kids, I was surprised to find so many great attractions, including:

  1. Alnwick Castle – My family is pretty obsessed with all things Harry Potter, so visiting Alnwick Castle, one of the sites used in filming the Harry Potter movies, would be a must do. The idea of taking a broomstick training class on the very site where Harry Potter had his first broomstick flight in the movie makes me want to book a flight today. Downton Abbey fans will also love strolling through the rooms where the 2014 Christmas special was filmed and taking in the special exhibit.
  2. Alnwick Garden – just a short stroll away from the castle is Alnwick Garden, which is famous for having the world’s largest tree house restaurant. As a kid that grew up dreaming about Swiss Family Robinson, a gourmet meal in a tree house seems like something from a children’s book.
  3. Seven Stories – speaking of children’s books, Seven Stories is the National Centre for Children’s Books, with original artwork and manuscripts, as well as the biggest and best independent bookshop in England. It sounds like heaven to my book-loving family.
  4. Life Science Center – this award-winning Science Center in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne explores the story of human life with attractions like the only 4D motion ride in the Northeast and North England’s biggest planetarium and live theatre shows.
  5. Hadrian’s Wall – If you want to teach your kids about the reach of the Roman empire, take them to see Hadrian’s Wall Country. Just a 45-minute train ride or one-hour drive from Newcastle, this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases the world’s best-preserved Roman wall, reconstructed buildings, and museums along its 73-mile stretch. You can then spend time exploring all the things to do in Carlisle.

Housesteads (c) English Heritage
Hadrian’s Wall, images © English Heritage, courtesy of Visit Britain

Durham City – For a little more history, just south of Newcastle is another World Heritage Site — the cathedral and castle in Durham City. The 1,000-year-old Cathedral is purported to be the greatest Norman building in England, and maybe all of Europe. The Castle, which is now part of Durham University, has been occupied since the 11th century.

Durham Cathedral -- what to do in England with Kids
Durham Cathedral, image courtesy of Visit Britain

Castle Bamburgh – I’d like to see the countryside around Hadrian’s Wall but I would also love to visit the gorgeous coastline and beaches, especially Bamburgh Beach. Voted one of Britain’s top 10 beaches, the sand here turns a pinky hue at sunset. It is also home to one of Britain’s best castles, which was once home to the Kings of Northumbria and has been sitting on its rocky outcrop since the 5th century AD.

Newscastle-Gateshead – I was surprised to learn that many music legends hail from Newcastle including Sting, Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), and Lee Hall (writer of Billy Elliott.) That music tradition continues with a popular nightlife scene, but Newscastle-Gateshead also has world-class galleries and museums and architectural attractions like bridges over the River Tyne and the Angel of the North, a 200-ton sculpture that stands 20 meters high, where tourists like to pose on its giant feet.

For more ideas about what to do with kids, visit EnglandsNorth.com for suggested itineraries, biking tour ideas, and more.


Visiting England's North Country with Kids -- what to see and do in the English Countryside
Image courtesy of Visit Britain

This post was sponsored by Visit Britain. All images are courtesy of Visit Britain. The feature photo is  © VisitBritain/Joe Cornish. All opinions are our own. We thank them for their support. 

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Publish Date: August 4, 2015

15 thoughts on “8 Reasons to Visit England’s North Country with Kids”

  1. I love to leave in northern part of England, to really see for myself the beautiful landscape environment

  2. Esther of Local Adventurer

    what?? 99 from boston to iceland?? I am so there!! I wish we could get those kind of airfare prices in san diego. 😛 now i’m going to have to see if they have any deals from here!

  3. Wow, gorgeous locations. I am sure this trip really captured the imaginations of your little ones!

  4. I don’t think there is anything better than exploring a castle, I explored many as a child and had so much fun!

  5. I love England but have not been to this part of the country. It looks so beautiful. That new flight route is exciting! I am considering going to England with my family next summer and will look into North England more. Thanks!

  6. Nice blog..Quite informative. I have done England countryside but New Castle.is on my list. Will bookmark for future..thanks

  7. Lisa Goodmurphy

    We are hoping to visit the North of England the next time we are in the UK as well. My kids have wanted to visit Alnwick Castle for the Harry Potter activities since the first time we heard of it!!

  8. The north of England is stunning and I hope you have a chance to visit. Love your post! We enjoyed traveling over the border into the south of Scotland and even the area around York as well. I hope you find a plane ticket soon!

  9. I bet my boys would love it… maybe when the little guys gets a bit older… Thanks for sharing.

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