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Things to do in North East England

Our most recommended things to do in North East England

Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian's Wall Small Group Day Tour

1. Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian's Wall Small Group Day Tour

Visit intriguing Rosslyn Chapel, explore the town of Melrose, journey to the Scottish Borders, and see Hadrian’s Wall on this full-day tour from Edinburgh. Rosslyn Chapel has always been mysterious, and has achieved worldwide fame since the publication of The Da Vinci Code. This beautiful and highly ornate 15th-century chapel has long been the subject of speculation about its origins and the meanings of its famous stone carvings. Visit the charming town of Melrose for lunch, then cross the ancient Scotland/England border at Carter Bar. Follow in the footsteps of feuding clans and families, known as Border Reivers, who fought a series of violent raids here until the end of the 16th century. Then visit one of the world's most important Roman monuments: Hadrian’s Wall. Travel to Housesteads Fort (National Trust) in Northumberland National Park, the best preserved Roman fort along Hadrian’s Wall. Enjoy a free nature walk along one of the most dramatic and photographed stretches of the wall. Upon returning to Edinburgh, stop in the Border market town of Jedburgh to stretch your legs and take photos of the famous abbey.

Hadrian's Wall & Roman Britain 1-Day Tour from Edinburgh

2. Hadrian's Wall & Roman Britain 1-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Travel south from Edinburgh on the old Roman Dere Street that linked the supply ports in the south of England with the ancient city of York. Then go north past Hadrian’s Wall to the Roman settlements in Central Scotland. Your first stop on this tour will be in the border town of Jedburgh, a historic burgh that lies only 12 miles north of the Scotland-England border. Here you have time to take a short walk through the narrow streets that lead to the remains of the Augustinian Abbey, which has been a great symbol of power during its 900 year history. Continuing south you make a brief stop at scenic Carter Bar on the edge of the Cheviot Hills. This crossing point between Scotland and England runs close to the ancient Roman road and has formed the border between the 2 countries for the past 700 years. The tour continues through the magnificent forests of Northumberland National Park before turning west towards the remains of Hadrian’s Wall. Follow the road taking you along the south side of the wall, stopping at Steel Rigg where you come face-to-face with large sections of the wall’s remains. Take time to walk along the wall and experience the isolation that Roman foot soldiers would have experienced as they guarded their empire from the barbarians to the north. You continue your journey west along the wall towards the village of Lanercost, the western gateway to Hadrian’s Wall. After pausing for lunch you travel a short distance to Birdoswald, one of the best preserved of the 16 Roman forts along the length of Hadrian’s Wall. Enjoy time to explore this fascinating site and further sections of the wall before you turn north for the return journey. Traveling through the Galloway hills, stop in the Victorian spa town of Moffat before continuing through the Southern Uplands and Scottish Borders, and returning to Edinburgh.

From Edinburgh: Holy Island, Alnwick Castle & Northumbria

3. From Edinburgh: Holy Island, Alnwick Castle & Northumbria

Join a day trip from Edinburgh to the medieval kingdom of Northumbria in North-East England. Visit Lindisfarne, once the most important center of religious learning in the British Isles. Explore the market town of Alnwick and its castle where scenes from Harry Potter and Downton Abbey were filmed. Meet your guide, hop on a bus, and make your way to your first stop, Holy Island, connected to the mainland by a causeway that leads into the quaint island village of Lindisfarne. Soak in stunning views of Lindisfarne Castle dating back to 1550. Spend time wandering through the ruins of its Priory where the Lindisfarne Gospels were produced. Sample some of the world-famous Lindisfarne ‘mead’ brewed by monks on the island, and enjoy the tranquility for which the island is renowned. Continue south passing Bamburgh, the ancient capital of Northumbria, then on to the bustling market town of Alnwick, whose greatest building is the medieval Alnwick Castle. Enjoy time in the town center or visit the castle complex which was home to the Percy Family for over 700 years. If you decide to visit the castle, step into the unexpected in the Alnwick Garden with its Grand Cascade fountain and Poison Gardens. The castle grounds were also used in the TV series Downton Abbey and the Harry Potter films. In the mid-afternoon, begin the drive north to cross the River Tweed and back into Scotland at the historic border town of Coldstream. If time permits, stop at Flodden Field, the scene of the infamous battle of 1513, which ended in victory for the English and the death of James IV, King of Scots.

From Edinburgh: Day Trip to Bamburgh and Alnwick Castle

4. From Edinburgh: Day Trip to Bamburgh and Alnwick Castle

Brace yourselves, we’re heading south into enemy territory! Passing gentle rolling hills and dramatic coastline, we’ll cross the border with England to explore Bamburgh - the laid-back seaside village in the heart of Northumberland. Don’t get deceived by its sleepy looks – the village and the mighty Bamburgh Castle was the seat of the early Kings of Northumbria in the 5th century. Run down to the beautiful beach to get some fresh air, imagine Viking longboats approaching the coast for a raid and try to keep up with the area’s turbulent history recounted by your Guide. In the afternoon, have your broomsticks at the ready as we’re off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England, home to the Duke of Northumberland’s family for over 700 years. A long, rich history and magnificent medieval architecture makes it a film lovers’ dream as seen in Downton Abbey. After a magical afternoon in Alnwick, we’ll make our way back over the border and into Scotland where we will regale you with tales of the turbulent past before arriving into Edinburgh in the early evening.

Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

5. Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

On this 9.5-hour excursion from Edinburgh you’ll visit the picturesque town of Coldsream and the inspiring Bamburgh Castle. But it’s Alnwick Castle that’s the main destination of the day. It’s been a key filming location for Harry Potter and Downton Abbey and is a historic location in its own right. You will leave Edinburgh in the morning and head east to the Scottish Borders. Enjoy the views of gently rolling hills and dramatic coastlines along the way.  The first stop is the beautiful coastal town of Bamburgh. Take a stroll to the stunning beach and view the picturesque 5th-century Bamburgh Castle sitting on a natural throne of volcanic dolerite. In the afternoon you’ll visit Alnwick Castle. Admire the large stately rooms and the stunning architecture or learn a little about all the popular films and TV shows filmed at the site, including Harry Potter. After spending time in Alnwick, you will return over the border and into Scotland.  The final stop is Coldstream's border town, which lies on the north side of the River Tweed. Hear about the turbulent past of this charming town before your journey ends in Edinburgh in the early evening.

Northumberland: Full-Day Tour of Vera Filming Locations

6. Northumberland: Full-Day Tour of Vera Filming Locations

Follow in the footsteps of Ann Cleeves’ no-nonsense Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope on this full-day guided tour of “Vera” film locations in Northumberland by coach. Get an insider perspective of ITV’s best-loved detective drama. Starting and ending in the center of Newcastle, visit coastal locations in Northumberland including Amble, Warkworth, Alnmouth, Bamburgh, and Lindisfarne Island (or Holy Island), the fictional home of Vera. See more than 15 actual locations from episodes all the way through ten years of "Vera." Enjoy time to get on and off the coach and see some locations up close with plenty of opportunities to take photos.

Hadrian's Wall: 2-Hour Guided Tour

7. Hadrian's Wall: 2-Hour Guided Tour

Feel Roman history come to life as you discover just what Britain was like under the Caesars on this 2-hour tour of Hadrian's Wall. Explore this breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site with a local guide dressed in an authentic costume of the era, and discover hidden archaeological gems. Hear your guide weave a narrative from both sides of the wall — the tales of the natives and the stories told by the occupying forces — and walk along the iconic central section of Hadrian's Wall. See a milecastle (a rectangular fortification) and one of the best sections of the Vallum defensive ditch. Throughout your tour, admire the magnificent backdrop of the Northumberland National Park, and enjoy some of the best views across the rugged moorland vistas.

Hadrian's Wall: 4-Hour Guided Tour

8. Hadrian's Wall: 4-Hour Guided Tour

Walk along the iconic central section of Hadrian’s Wall, followed by a visit to one of the best-preserved Roman Forts in Britain. Discover the unique stories of the Roman museums and archaeological sites in Northumberland on this 4-hour walking tour. As your guide explains the history of each site, they will also weave in the importance of the surrounding landscape to reveal what makes each place so special. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the stunning views across Northumberland National Park and Hadrian’s Wall.

Alnwick: Self-Guided Walking Tour with Audio Guide

9. Alnwick: Self-Guided Walking Tour with Audio Guide

Explore the beauty of Alnwick, a quaint Northumbrian town on a self-guided audio walking tour. Put on your headphones and stroll through the streets of the Alnwick at your own pace. Download the MP3 audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area and start your adventure with your audio device as your guide. The culturally rich audio tour will take you on a journey through a place rich in history. Walk through the old cobbled stone paths of the town and see the marketplace, community gathering place, and the fine stone buildings. Learn about the past of Alnwick and discover how it evolved into the vibrant and beautiful market town of today. Visit the most popular attractions of the town like the old Market Cross, the Alnwick Garden, a famous castle, a quaint market, historical buildings, and a beautiful cozy bookstore. Enjoy a hassle-free audio tour of one of England’s iconic market towns.

Newcastle: Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt Game

10. Newcastle: Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt Game

Explore the beauty of the city of Newcastle on a self-guided tour. See the famous landmarks and hidden gems of the city through a mobile-based adventure game. You will receive messages on your phone from Captain Bess, a snarky pirate who is testing out recruits to join her ship. Follow the treasure maps to get to the right place and try to decipher the clue. During the tour, you will get hints if you get stuck in the game. Start the game at the Grey's Monument and walk along the grandest streets to discover the ancient friary. Stroll through the alleys of the city and see the stunning Victorian engineering. Learn some interesting facts and stories about the things you will spot and get a better understanding of the history of Newcastle. Get ready to visit Newcastle in a new way through this fun and interactive treasure hunt game.

Top sights in North East England

Frequently asked questions about North East England

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Other Sightseeing Options in North East England

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What people are saying about North East England

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,172 reviews

Amazing tour led by Fran. Had some interesting stories which truly brought out the true colours of the historical events in Newcastle and also had great bants to keep the tour lively. Would definitely recommend it for fellow history enthusiasts who want to learn the real stories from the past of Newcastle! Great going Fran and hope to see you again soon!

Excellent day trip. Nice small group and incredible and engaging guide. Plenty of stops for tours and pictures Had the perfect amount of time at all the sites was never rushed but also not sitting around waiting to leave. Cannot recommend this tour enough!

Both guides were amazing, one of the best tours I’ve ever been on and I’ve been on many. So factual and even threw in a few ghost stories and great guides of city. There is no downside to this tour, I would happily do the same tour again

Smaller group on the day. Well organized, good pace, insights, and the main attractions were great. Highly recommend this company.

Fantastic tour! Lots of interesting facts and the sites were SPECTACULAR. 10/10