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Arrive in England and travel to Newcastle Upon Tyne. Overnight at a hotel in the area.
The day is spent exploring Newcastle upon Tyne. Formerly a Roman outpost and garrison post for English campaigns against the Scots, Newcastle flourished in the 19th Century as an engineering and steel production centre and later as the world’s foremost shipyard. Today, the visible trappings of its past, reflected in the magnificent Tyne Bridges, coexist happily alongside the 20th Century attractions.
Return to your hotel in the Newcastle area.
Spend the first part of today in the region of Northumbria. The dramatic silhouettes of Northumbria’s fortress castles are monuments of the region’s war torn past. At Alnwick, there is little to be seen of the warrior town that held fast against the Scots invaders for centuries and was twice razed for its pains. Wander around the cobbled streets and explore the castle whose battle-scarred exterior belies its sumptuous interior. The castle was converted into a magnificent Italian Renaissance palace in the 19th Century and houses some exquisite treasures including one of the country’s most important collections of early Meissen china. More recently, the castle has become instantly recognisable as Hogwarts Academy in the Harry Potter movies. Bamburgh Castle is stunning; turret piled upon turret on a crag around which seagulls wheel and scream. There are lovely views here of Holy Island, where St Aiden arrived from Iona in 635 to establish the country’s first seat. This afternoon travel to the town of Hexham. This small market town with its ancient abbey is an excellent base for exploring Hadrian’s Wall, built by the Emperor Hadrian to guard the northern boundary of Roman Britain. Though 1500 years have passed since the Romans left Britain, there are vivid reminders of their occupation at almost every turn, including the fascinating fort and museum at Chesters with its well-preserved baths and Vindolanda Museum in Chesterholm. It is between Steel Rigg, near Cawfields, and the well-preserved fort at Housesteads that the wall is at its most beautiful, clinging to a craggy edge above the austere Northumberland moorland. A footpath runs along the top of the ridge, incorporating a short stretch of the Pennine Way, one of the most popular long-distance footpaths in Britain. Return to your hotel in the Newcastle area.
Today you will explore the Lake District. The outstanding natural beauty of this north western corner of England has attracted poets, painters and writers alike, including Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats and children’s author Beatrix Potter. Visitors will find constant references to Wordsworth whose property captures his love of nature. Even during his lifetime, admirers swarmed to his 16th Century farmhouse home, Rydal Mount, in the hope of catching a glimpse of the poet. It was at Dove Cottage in Grasmere that he wrote his greatest poems and you can still see the Newspaper Room, wallpapered in newsprint to keep out the cold. There are traces of earlier history too, during the Middle Ages, monks settled in St Bees and at Furness, whose abbey ruins remain among the finest in the north. The 16th Century saw the making of the world’s first pencils at Keswick, when graphite was discovered in nearby Borrowdale – an excellent museum tells the story. Elsewhere, Victorian technology can be admired at Windermere’s Steamboat Museum, while modern nuclear power is explained at the exhibition centre at Sellafield. Overnight in the Lake District.
Spend the morning in Teesdale. The lead-mining industry brought great wealth to this area in the 18th Century. Today, its relics are strewn over the lonely moorlands of the upper Teesdale. In the afternoon visit Barnard Castle. This lovely market town is home to the Bowes Museum. Built in the style of a French chateau, the museum houses an outstanding collection of European art including works by Tiepolo, Goya and Canaletto. Towards the Staindrop the towers of 14th Century Raby Castle come dramatically into view. Set in a 270-acre deer park, the castle houses an impressive collection of antiques and furniture. Overnight in the Durham area.
In Durham the Norman cathedral and castle seem to rise out of the very rock of the steep, wooded promontory around which the river Wear curves. The city was built on its rocky peninsula in 995 when it was chosen as the last resting place for the remains of St Cuthbert, whose tomb can be seen in the cathedral. The relics of the Venerable Bede were brought to the site 27 years later, adding to its attraction for pilgrims. On the cathedral door is a replica of the old sanctuary knocker used by medieval fugitives seeking church protection. Today the Norman castle, the only one in northern England to escape capture by the Scots, forms part of the prestigious Durham University, one of the oldest universities in Britain. Return to your accommodation in the Durham area.
Sadly, it’s time to leave the UK, check out of your hotel and make your way to the airport to join your flight home.
The Thistle Newcastle City Centre, The County
A Grade II Listed Victorian hotel in Newcastle City Centre
Newcastle is now firmly established as one of Britain’s favourite cultural, shopping and short break destinations. And as one of the few hotels in Newcastle directly opposite the main train and Metro stations, this Victorian hotel is the perfect base from which to explore.
If you’ve any energy left after shopping at Eldon Square or the Metro Centre; one of the UK’s largest shopping centre’s in the UK; browsing contemporary art at the Baltic or letting your hair down on Grey Street, the Gate or the ‘diamond strip’, as a guest of Thistle Newcastle, The County you have complimentary access to a nearby fitness centre. Or if you prefer to watch others working out, you’ll find we’re within walking distance of St James’ Park, the home of Newcastle United FC – known to fans and the locals, simply as ‘The Toon’. Music and culture fans will be pleased to note that the O2 Academy is to the rear of the County, the Metro Radio Arena and the Theatre Royal are within a 10 minute walk and the Sage Gateshead is a 15 minute walk.
Thistle Newcastle, The County has 114 bedrooms, including executive rooms and a junior suite. There are 10 meeting and event rooms with the largest seating 220 people theatre style.
Follow in the footsteps of figures like Sir Walter Scott and William Wordsworth. Spend the night at the historic Macdonald Swan Hotel in Grasmere. You’ll enjoy comfortable rooms with plenty of character. After a long day out walking the fells, take off your boots in the drying room and enjoy some well-earned rest in your large comfortable bed. Upgrade to an Executive Room, some with views over the garden, or treat yourself to a Feature or Four Poster room with canopied bed. Interconnecting rooms are available, as are family rooms which can accommodate two adults and two children under 12. We also have an accessible bedroom on the ground floor. All rooms are located on the first and second floor of the hotel.
• Generous, comfortable beds
• En-suite bathrooms
• Satellite TV
• Large desk
• Iron and ironing board
• Tea and coffee making facilities
• Dogs welcome (supplement charge)
Situated on the banks of the River Wear, the Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County offers sensational views of England’s famous Durham Castle and Cathedral. Our upscale hotel, part of which dates back to the 17th century, offers modern amenities while preserving historic charm and exquisite features such as antiques and original prints. Known for event facilities and catering services, we offer unique meeting space for conferences or intimate gatherings and certified event planners to make your event memorable. Our elegantly furnished guest rooms feature a dedicated workspace, hair dryer, adjustable climate control, and high-speed Internet service. After a long day, swim in our indoor pool, work out in our fitness centre, have cocktails and tapas in the 1815 Bar or Champagne on the Pommery Champagne Terrace. When you’re ready to dine, discover No 59 Old Elvet, serving specially created signature dishes. At the Durham Marriott, one of the most desirable hotels in north east of England, you won’t be disappointed.
Many rooms with a view of the Castle, Cathedral or overlooking the River Wear
150 well-appointed guest rooms featuring luxury bedding such as designer duvets and plush pillows
All rooms feature high-speed internet with a spacious work desk, plus a phone with voicemail
Upgrade to a Deluxe room to include air conditioning and complimentary internet access
Upgrade to a Supreme room to include the above, including an additional lounge area
Room service available 24 hours a day
This hotel has a smoke-free policy
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