Self-Catering Cottage Holidays in North East England
Our holiday guide to self catering in the North East of England
The North East of England is possibly one of the most welcoming places in the UK. From ancient Roman outposts to the wild, windswept moors that inspired Emily Bronte's classic novel "Wuthering Heights", and vibrant cities with the hippest bars, it caters for everyone.
Read our guide to North East England, or browse through all of our holiday cottages in North East England
Durham is overflowing with charm so seductive you may fall in love with it and decide never to leave. No one would blame you - it's nothing short of sensational. Dominating the city centre is the Durham Cathedral and Castle UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Norman cathedral is one of the finest surviving examples of its type and has an impressive collection of historical artefacts, including three original copies of the Magna Carta.
The Award winning Beamish Museum is a great family activity, especially for those with kids who enjoy being hands-on. With trams to ride and animals to feed, it is a day they won't forget; and the Bowes Museum in the Durham Dales is also worth a visit. Durham University is one of the best in the UK and has a breathtaking botanic garden. As well as lending the city a youthful vibe, the university also ensures you're never short of places for great coffee or a pint!
Head out of the city and you'll discover the Durham Dales, a pristine landscape where the scaling of a hill is rewarded with an incredible view. Hamsterley Forest is an exhilarating family day out, with cycling and walking paths, horse riding trails, play areas and 2000 hectares of woodland. The North Pennines is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and you really need to see High Force Waterfall. Durham Heritage Coast has won awards for the quality of its landscape and is popular with anyone who appreciates nature.
Northumberland is raw, rugged and utterly ravishing. There is fascinating history wherever you look, from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, to the imposing stretch of Hadrian's Wall. Northumberland has the most castles of any English county, including Bamburgh Castle, which is reputed to be one of the most haunted in Britain. Alnwick has been the seat of the Percy family for more than 700 years and recognisable to Harry Potter fans as Hogwarts in the films.
Northumberlanders are lucky enough to have more than 40 miles of coast running from Amble to Berwick-upon-Tweed. The region is protected for the flora and fauna as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You can explore it with ease by walking a stretch of the Northumberland Coast Path. If you're feeling especially energetic, put aside a few days to walk the 64-mile North Sea Trail, which runs from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Cresswell. It isn't all about history. Hexham, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Ashington have a huge variety of shops, boutiques and restaurants, while the region's farmers' markets are especially good.
If you can't get enough of the great outdoors you can also surround yourself with space at the Northumberland National Park, or stargaze in Europe's largest area of protected night sky, the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park.
Yorkshire is England's largest county and it packs a massive amount into it. Underground as well as above, the scenery fascinates the millions of visitors who flock there to enjoy the Yorkshire Dales National Park, North Yorkshire Moors, and designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty at both Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales and the Howardian Hills. There are hundreds of miles of walking paths to suit all abilities, as well as some hair-raising mountain bike trails in Dalby Forest, Otley and Wharncliffe Woods. The Yorkshire Dales has more than 400km defined passages in 2,000 caves, so it's unlikely even the keenest caver will run out of things to do!
There are two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Yorkshire. Fountain Abbey and Studley Royal Park is a gorgeous mix of gardens and architecture in varying styles, having been built over 800 years. Saltaire, the other site, was designated by UNESCO in 2001 due to the superb manner in which this Victorian industrial village has been preserved and the influence its design had on other villages around the UK.
Leeds and York are fantastic cities with brilliant shopping opportunities. If you like a bargain, make your way to York Designer Outlet, Lakeside Village in Doncaster and Hornsea Freeport. Those who enjoy nothing more than browsing vintage stores and antique centres should definitely investigate Sheffield.
Yorkshire has a higher than average number of talented chefs. James Martin, Marco Pierre White and John Benson-Smith were all born in Yorkshire; and Anthony Flynn, Raymond Blanc and Richard Smith all have renowned restaurants in the area. The York Festival of Food and Drink is just one of many foodie events which celebrate the stellar quality of the region's produce.
You'll come away from North East England with not only tangible souvenirs, but memories of a wonderful experience you'll cherish forever.