Spring is one of the best times of year to take a driving holiday in Northern England, with the first ‘real’ bank holidays of the year (most of us have other plans on New Year’s Day and Easter Weekend), the start of a new annual leave allowance for many people, and hopefully the onset of some better and brighter weather too.
If you’re planning to hit the road for the Spring bank holiday on May 28th, or even to take your first few days of annual leave in the current business year, there are some all-time great routes to drive in Northern England.
Here are five of the best to help you start planning your springtime getaway in the weeks to come…
You’ll find Alnwick on the River Aln a 35-mile drive north from Newcastle, and you’ve probably heard its name in reference to Alnwick Castle, easily its most famous landmark.
The A1 will get you there from Newcastle in less than 45 minutes if you just want a direct drive so you can do some sightseeing, but we’re all about the scenic routes, so consider heading east and taking the coastal road instead.
You can drive north on the A19 from South Shields and Whitley Bay, followed by the A189 and A1068 for stunning views out over the Northumberland coastline, ending at the Northumberland Coast Area of Natural Beauty at the northern tip of your drive as you come into Alnwick.
Trace the snaking line of the A19 south and you’ll get to York. It’s a fabulous driving destination with A-roads inbound from all directions, so no matter where you start from, a road trip to York is almost certainly a good idea.
Again there are plenty of route options, including taking the A1(M) to get close before transferring to the more scenic local roads for the remainder of your drive – just set the satnav to avoid motorways if you haven’t planned a specific route beforehand.
For those in the west of England, Blackpool is easily reached via the M6. It’s motorway driving, but it puts you in one of the north of England’s most popular tourist hotspots, and the drive doesn’t have to stop there.
You’re then just a short hop from the Lake District and destinations like Kendal, or across to the Yorkshire Dales, all of which is among the most stunning scenery and natural splendour anywhere in the UK, let alone the north of England.
4. Peak District
The most southerly of our destinations, the Peak District is around 150 miles and a three-hour drive from London, making it accessible even if you live in the south of England.
There’s plenty to explore in the area, with winding, wooded roads that snake through the hills, and of course the UK’s highest-altitude motorway, the M62, which makes the Peak District a popular drive for motorists from Manchester and Liverpool in the west, to Sheffield and Leeds east of the Pennines.
Scarborough is just one of the great English seaside resorts found on the eastern coastline, on a stretch that also takes in Hornsea, Flamborough, Bridlington and Whitby.
The A64 is the easy route across from York or Leeds, but you might want to plan a road trip down the coast itself, covering the 70-mile drive down from Whitby to Withernsea and the Humber Estuary.