8. The Best of Northern England: 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh
Spend 5 glorious days exploring the very best of northern England on this exciting multi-day tour. Discover the beautiful East Lothian coastline and the amazing Alnwick Castle, spend some time in the city of York, and explore nature in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Visit the mysterious Castlerigg standing stones, travel to the shores of Ullswater,, said to be England's most beautiful lake, and much more along the way.
Your tour starts with a beautiful drive down the magnificent East Lothian coastline as you travel towards the walled border town of Berwick Upon Tweed. After stopping to admire the fortifications, continue to Alnwick Castle, whose magnificent interior and gardens have appeared in many films and television programs. Leaving Alnwick behind, travel towards the City of York on the Great North Road, and arrive in York in the late afternoon. [Overnight in York.]
This leisurely day gives you the flexibility to spend time exploring the medieval heart of York, a city whose rich history goes back to the time of the Roman’s, Vikings and the Normans before traveling to the North Sea coast of Yorkshire. Your journey begins in the late morning when you head for the magnificent North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Lunch will be in Whitby, a bustling fishing port and the inspiration for the fertile imagination of author Bram Stoker. After lunch and free time in Whitby, travel to the fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay*, a perfectly preserved conservation village of winding lanes and narrow alleys before returning towards York. [Overnight in York.
* The minicoach cannot access the main village because of local restrictions. The coach will drop you at the top of the village and you must walk down (and back up!) a steep hill to reach the old village centre.
Head west in the morning into the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Established in 1954, the Yorkshire Dales National Park has outstanding scenery, a range of wildlife habitats and a rich cultural heritage. Continuing West, your route takes us through the Northern Dales, a beautiful area of natural beauty that is the centre of the Dales cattle trade.
Throughout the day, you will have the opportunity to taste the flavors of Yorkshire when you visit the town of Masham, home to two of Yorkshires best known breweries and the cheese-making centre in historic Hawes. The final leg of the journey takes you high up into the remote hill of the Yorkshire Dales before descending into the lively market town of Keswick, where you will be dropped off at your accommodation and are then free to explore this charming town. [Overnight in Keswick.] [**During July this tour may stay in Windermere instead.]
After breakfast, head a short distance out of town to the mysterious Castlerigg standing stones, thought by many to have been built over 5,000 years ago. Then travel on to the shores of Ullswater, described as England’s most beautiful lake, for a forest walk to see the mighty Aira Force waterfall. Continuing south over the narrow and winding Kirkstone Pass, stop at Lake Windermere for a leisurely cruise on the lake or simply eat lunch while enjoying views of the mountains and lakes. After lunch, travel around the southern tip of Windermere and on towards Coniston Water, arriving at the picturesque conservation village of Hawkeshead. After exploring the village, take the narrow country lanes north towards Grasmere, and enjoy some free time to visit Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage or to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden by the River Rothy. Return to Keswick In the late afternoon. [Overnight in Keswick.]
Leaving the Lakes behind, start your climb towards Hartside Pass, at over 1900 feet above sea level, with the hills and mountains of Scotland and the English Lake District easily visible on a clear day. Follow the route of the old sheep drovers road between England and Scotland, stopping at Hadrians Wall along the way, and crossing the border into Scotland and towards the town of Jedburgh for refreshments by the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey. The final stop of the tour is at the world-famous Scott’s view with stunning views over the River Tweed and the Cheviot hills that form the border between Scotland before continuing North to Edinburgh.