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Trip to Yorkshire and Northumberland- input appreciated!

Trip to Yorkshire and Northumberland- input appreciated!

Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 08:18 AM
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Trip to Yorkshire and Northumberland- input appreciated!

I'm planning my first trip to the North for about 15-17 days at the end of June/early July. I intended to focus on Yorkshire and Northumberland, flying into Manchester and then using a combination of rail and rental car to move east and north.

Is it reasonable to combine these two counties into one trip or are they significantly better served divided into two separate trips? Is my very preliminary itinerary too packed or rushed? I prefer a slower pace, not for lack of stamina, but to be able to really absorb what I'm seeing and also allow time for spontaneous stops if something catches my eye.

Some background details....
-My travel partner and I are from the States, specifically NYC. We are in London a few times a year and a few years ago planned a very successful trip driving from London across to Bath and down around the southern coast.
-We are looking to accomplish some of this via train and have looked into the options and limitations. I'm responsible for all driving and don't want to spend the entire trip at the wheel.
-I'm saving the Lakes and Lancaster for a separate trip.
-We enjoy museums large and small, cultural and literary sites, historic estates, natural beauty, charming towns and villages, fine dining and simple local restaurants.

Thanks for reading!

Preliminary Itinerary
-Fly into Manchester and stay- 2-3 nights?
-Explore Manchester and surrounding
-Possible trip into Liverpool by train for half day while in Manchester
-Train from Manchester. Stay in the Leeds area for 2-3 nights then move on to York for 3 nights OR Travel to York and use that as one base for 6 nights for the below.
-Explore Leeds and surrounding
-Possible trip into Halifax by train
-Harrowgate/Knaresborough for day trip using Northern Harrowgate line
(Probably save Haworth for another trip)
-Bolton Abbey, Harewood House- using a rental car for the day
-York for stay- 3 Nights? (or 6 nights as noted above?)
-Explore York for 2 days then rent car for remainder
-Malton/Castle Howard/Rievaulx Terrace etc.
-Drive to Whitby/Staithes/Sandsend area and stay in the area- 2 Nights?
-Possible train trip on North Yorkshire Moors rail
-Drive to Newcastle and stay- 3Nights?
-Drive to Lindisfarne and stay- 1 or 2 Nights?
-Back to Manchester - route TBD
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 08:27 AM
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A few points. Yorkshire is actually 4 counties N,S,E &W with some very different features in each. They are split away from Manchester airport by the Penines which are large hills but transport barriers.

"York and use that as one base for 6 nights for the below.
-Explore Leeds and surrounding
-Possible trip into Halifax by train
-Harrowgate/Knaresborough for day trip using Northern Harrowgate line
(Probably save Haworth for another trip)
-Bolton Abbey, Harewood House- using a rental car for the day
-York for stay- 3 Nights? (or 6 nights as noted above?)
-Explore York for 2 days then rent car for remainder
-Malton/Castle Howard/Rievaulx Terrace etc.
-Drive to Whitby/Staithes/Sandsend area and stay in the area- 2 Nights?
-Possible train trip on North Yorkshire Moors"

You'll find getting to Leeds or Halifax from the airport is dead easy, you can then head to York or Harrogate
I'd plan to hire a car from York to do most of your road touring though you could take a bus from Ilkley station, north of Leeds to get to Bolton Abbey (I live nearby). North Yorkshire is really a car area, but you don't want a car in York and if you have to have one, make sure the Hotel can get you somewhere to park or use the "Park and Ride" facilities outside York.
Train trip on North York Moors is a great trip, sometimes they do evening ones, which in the summer finish in lovely evening light.

play around with rome2rio
or https://www.traveline.info/ to get a good idea of what combos you can do.
https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ for planning and booking train routes.
seat61.com to understand the ideas

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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 08:39 AM
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thanks, bilboburgler! appreciate all your input.

i should have never referred to Yorkshire as one county when i know its not, my mistake. it's part of why i do tend to go slower because i enjoy getting a true feel for differences from one county to the next.

question. do you know if the Northern Harrowgate train line is a reliable method? it was recommended by another source and it seems on the website i could get from Leeds to York and some of the other spots on my list.

Last edited by deirdrecurran1538; Mar 2nd, 2024 at 08:41 AM.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 09:06 AM
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Harrogate train line is pretty good, not a main line but more an urban train in the countryside. Once you have booked (probably not needed but just generally easier) you can monitor any issues with https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/se.../travel-alerts which tells you what is what. The train through from Manchester to Leeds or York is normally packed with people so get a reservation if possible. If you have a lot of gear (really no need, we have washing machines in the UK) then you might want to do that bit of the journey in first class to avoid the scrum. Once off that part of the line it gets much easier.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 09:39 AM
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Welcome to Fodors.

Just my initial response-- a lot to digest in your plan. I LOVE North Yorkshire and Northumberland and the bits in between. You are alloting a very nice amount of time in the region (you should see what some try to cram in to 3 or 4 days) -- But you are giving very short shrift to the northern parts.

Not that this is what you should end up doing but if I had 2+ weeks for the area I would want to include a couple of days in Manchester, 2 full days / 3 nights IN York (car-less). A couple of days for the Castle Howard/Whitby/North Yorkshire Moors including a ride on the railway). A minimum of 3 full days in the Dales (there is a LOT to see, the area is large, and the driving is sloooooow so more time would be good. That is comes to about 11 nights. Leaving about 5 or 6 nights for the north. I would not stay in Newcastle (nothing wrong with the city but there is sooo much to see elsewhere)

I'd want to fit in Durham (likely just a day visit en route -- or you could stop for the night), possibly Beamish (it is enormous and takes a lot of time), Hadrian's Wall, Alnwick (the town and the Castle and the Gardens are each individually worth visiting), Holy Island/Lindesfarne, and Bamburgh. This is all totally doable in the time you have starting from say the Dales - something like 1 or 2 nights somewhere near Hexham. Using Masham just for an example -- Masham > Durham > Beamish > Hexham is about 90 miles total and you'd get into Hexham in the evening if you included Beamish and in the mid to late afternoon if only Durham). Then I'd spend the 3 or 4 nights remaining In Bamburgh. Bamburgh Castle is a must and the village is a perfect base for the coast/Lindesfarne/Alnwick and the whole area.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 09:52 AM
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If you are planning a Lakes/Lancashire trip another time why not get the train to Leeds or somewhere on arrival and save Manchester and Liverpool for the west of the Pennines trip? There is so much to see and do in the counties you want to see.

You really do not want a car in York. My brother lives in a village just outside and wouldn't dream of driving in to the city. When we were there last autumn we used the buses to get about apart from a trip out to Fountains Abbey. My brother and his wife being British pensioners travel for free on the buses, we being non resident British pensioners paid the flat rate 2 pounds per person per trip. Not sure if that deal is still going though.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2
If you are planning a Lakes/Lancashire trip another time why not get the train to Leeds or somewhere on arrival and save Manchester and Liverpool for the west of the Pennines trip? There is so much to see and do in the counties you want to see. . . .
Oh -- that's a great idea. Manchester and Liverpool are a great fit with the Lake District. You can take the train from MAN to York (or Leeds if you really want to visit the city). That would give you a few extra days to add in other places.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 10:02 AM
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Leeds, home of the Armouries, Victorian architecture, Music hall, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, great shopping.
https://www.visitleeds.co.uk/
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 10:11 AM
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thanks, bilboburgler! very good to hear. i think that train will serve us really well but i'm open to renting a car just for one day during that part of the trip to get to some less accessible spots. my ideal is to not be saddled with the longer term rental until leaving York for Castle Howard and moving on to the coast. i'm going to look into first class. we don't travel with alot but i imagine it's a bit more relaxing.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj

You are alloting a very nice amount of time in the region (you should see what some try to cram in to 3 or 4 days) -- But you are giving very short shrift to the northern parts.

A minimum of 3 full days in the Dales (there is a LOT to see, the area is large, and the driving is sloooooow so more time would be good. That is comes to about 11 nights. Leaving about 5 or 6 nights for the north. I would not stay in Newcastle (nothing wrong with the city but there is sooo much to see elsewhere)

I'd want to fit in Durham (likely just a day visit en route -- or you could stop for the night), possibly Beamish (it is enormous and takes a lot of time), Hadrian's Wall, Alnwick (the town and the Castle and the Gardens are each individually worth visiting), Holy Island/Lindesfarne, and Bamburgh. This is all totally doable in the time you have starting from say the Dales - something like 1 or 2 nights somewhere near Hexham. Using Masham just for an example -- Masham > Durham > Beamish > Hexham is about 90 miles total and you'd get into Hexham in the evening if you included Beamish and in the mid to late afternoon if only Durham). Then I'd spend the 3 or 4 nights remaining In Bamburgh. Bamburgh Castle is a must and the village is a perfect base for the coast/Lindesfarne/Alnwick and the whole area.
thanks janisj!! really helpful guidance. im still in the very preliminary stages when it is all very malleable. i was on the fence about Liverpool and Halifax so i'm leaning towards getting myself farther east and north first instead.

we will definitely be going to Lindisfarne so i'll retool everything to give myself more time up there.

are there any towns or villages more in the middle of the Dales worth visiting?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2
If you are planning a Lakes/Lancashire trip another time why not get the train to Leeds or somewhere on arrival and save Manchester and Liverpool for the west of the Pennines trip? There is so much to see and do in the counties you want to see.

You really do not want a car in York. My brother lives in a village just outside and wouldn't dream of driving in to the city.
love this idea of saving those! i had wanted to pose the question in my inital post of whether any of these areas were better paired with my future trip to the Lakes but i had so many questions already. 😆

we definitely won't have the car for exploring the city of York itself. since we are using somewhere near York as a base for other spots i figured we would see what we can via train, spend 2 or so days exploring the city itself on foot, then rent the car as we move onto all the points below it on the itinerary. i drove almost the entire time on my trip from London west and around the southern coast and it was wonderful but a bit exhausting!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 10:39 AM
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If you go to Alnwick, here was our day there in 2022. (lots of photos)
https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/cha...ed-in-alnwick/

Also, if you decide to go to York, check out Chapters four to six of the trip report.
https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/england-scotland-2022/

Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island (below) were intriguing, too.
https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/cha...e-holy-island/


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Old Mar 6th, 2024, 05:24 PM
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Don't bother with Leeds

The Leeds area for 2-3 nights?As an American who has lived in Yorkshire for 20 years, I don't think you want to waste time in Leeds! It is an incredibly ugly city (I'm from Chicago and have lived in Denver and love NY, but I loathe Leeds) and you would be far better enjoying more time in the Dales, Harrogate, York, Northumberland as suggested by others. In my opinion, you'll regret staying in Leeds.
.
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 06:56 AM
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I think I understand where vicki is coming from. I find none of the M62 cities attractive if viewed from a car. Halifax, Hudersfield, Wakefield, Bradford, Leeds, Hull are just badly designed for a car and for Leeds especially so given the sheer size. All these cities are great (well except Wakefield and a lot of Bradford) when viewed from on foot and using the passageways that make up local foot traffic in the area. As a local I tend to use trains to get about. I use a car to go to the countryside.

I live on the outskirts of Leeds and so don't see what one would do in Leeds in evening, apart from the many theatres, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. So if you end up staying there for 2 or 3 nights, then have a plan. Get out and about (but by foot).
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 07:05 AM
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Thanks for that. Yes, unless you want to go to a theater or clubbing, it's a very boring, unattractive city. Good restaurants, but I'd argue that coming from NYC, they won't be impressed. 😊 York and Harrogate have great restaurants, too
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by vickilister6695
Thanks for that. Yes, unless you want to go to a theater or clubbing, it's a very boring, unattractive city. Good restaurants, but I'd argue that coming from NYC, they won't be impressed. 😊 York and Harrogate have great restaurants, too
But do they have the Town Hall with its amazing central space or the Armouries, the large victorian market and the Corn Exchange with a structure similar to a Zepplin?
I suspect comparing many cities with the two world cities of New York and London with anywhere is a bit of a tough comparison.

Still I have no time for Harrogate, I've lived there, worked there for 40 years and it does nothing for me. York is impressive but I wouldn't want to visit a theatre there much.

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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 08:37 AM
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Ha, good point. I live in Wetherby, and Harrogate at least has better restaurants than we do!! (That's not hard). But you're right, other than shopping, it's very expensive as a base, but I don't know the Dales or public transport well enough to recommend a good base for the Dales.
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 08:49 AM
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The Dales are hard. I like Masham as a base. Pateley Bridge and along that stream can be lovely in the summer, but both sort of need a car.

But then ,,,,, https://www.dalesbus.org/ you can use this, get on and watch the world go by. Youtubes are also available
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 10:10 AM
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Hi everyone! This is all very very helpful. I appreciate it so much. I have some additional information now that I'm further along.

I didn't intend to stay in Leeds itself but was hoping for a nicer town nearby from which I could take a train into Leeds or other nearby places.

However, it's looking like we are going to forgo Leeds (especially if as unsightly as you say) and stay somewhere in or near York instead for this portion. We do still want to see Harrogate (had a friend who lived there) and Knaresborough and will try to do this by using the northern Harrogate line. We also want to see Haworth but are ok if we have to leave that to combine with our future trip to the Lakes since we don't want to be saddled with a car until after we leave York. Also read about Bronte bus as an option.

We are now looking at staying in a property in Whitby that is only available at the end of our trip so we are retooling the order of things. We would rent the car after being done in and around York and drive north stopping in some Dales and Pennines towns and using somewhere as a base, perhaps Corbridge or Hexam. We would then move up near the border and use somewhere as a base for Lindisfarne like Berwick or Bambridge or Alnwick. Then we will drive down the coast the second half of the trip making stops along the way before our final base in Whitby. We will take a trip on the North Yorkshire moors railroad one day. On the way to return the car back in York we will hit Rievaulx and Castle Howard.

We have researched the historic estates on our route and have many great options.

Are there any towns, not yet mentioned, in the western half of the Dales or Pennines that you think we should see or base in? We love charming towns and villages, natural beauty, attractive, historic buildings. We love small independent shops (i see Corbridge mentioned for this) but we don't need every town we hit to have shops. If there's pretty scenery or a great local pub we're just as happy with that. I've seen several people (not here) say Grassington is a "tourist trap" because of the filming location and I find that harsh but maybe it's true. I'm not an All Creatures viewer but I don't mind if a town is crowded with visitors if it's genuine and attractive, which it looks to be from an outside perspective. I see Masham and Ripon mentioned often and sometimes Richmond and Thirsk.


Last edited by deirdrecurran1538; Mar 7th, 2024 at 11:08 AM.
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