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Road Trip: Further Afield

December 10, 2020

by Eleanor Dinnes

The Black Swan is perfectly situated for exploring the North of England & South Scotland. There are some amazing locations within day trip distance. So, if you’ve seen the Lake District, plodded the Yorkshire Dales and STILL looking for things to do then check out our below suggestions.

  1. Gretna Green – historic Scottish border – wedding venue
  2. Bamburgh, Alnwick, Seahouses – seaside towns with castles and beautiful views
  3. Newcastle upon Tyne
  4. Whitby – a seaside town
  5. York  – Jorvik museum
  6. Harrogate – Bettys tea room
  7. Cragside – Historic house
  8. Lancaster – Historic city
  9. Lindisfarne – Historic island
  10. Raby Castle – Castle  near Bishop Auckland

Gretna Green

1 hour drive from The Black Swan

This is the border village with Scotland where people used to flee to get married throughout history. Take a trip to their visitors centre and get a lucky horse shoe from the famous blacksmiths and drive a little further north to cross the Scottish border. Don’t forget to buy some haggis also, its surprisingly good.

Bamburgh castle and beach, Alnwick and Seahouses (Northumberland)

2 – 3 hours drive

These beautiful northern beach towns are absolutely stunning and steeped in history. Spend a day on the beach at Bamburgh Castle, explore the poison gardens at Alnwick Castle (featured in the Harry Potter movies), wonder around the lovely town of Alnwick itself for some shopping and lunch and venture to Seahouses to feel that North Sea breeze.

Bamburgh castle –
Alnwick castle –
Seahouses –
Northumbria County Website –

Newcastle Upon Tyne

80 mins Drive

Newcastle is a bustling northern city with plenty to see and do. If you fancy a shopping spree, head to Eldon Garden in the city centre or Intu Metro centre. The city centre itself has all the big shops you would expect from any big city. Jesmond is a lovely area of the city to explore also as well as the quayside. Newcastle’s nightlife is well known – get the fake tan out.

Newcastle –
Discovery museum –
Life centre –
Hancock museum –
Sage Theatre Gateshead –

Whitby, Staithes & Robin Hood’s bay

90 minute drive

Whitby, Staithes and Robin Hood’s bay are gorgeous seaside villages on the Yorkshire coast. Whitby is the biggest of the three and home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. On one side of the bay you have a historic abbey, quaint shops and traditional fish and chips. On the other you have 1950s seaside fun with beaches, donkey rides, arcades and The Dracula Experience.  It’s great fun for the whole family.

If you want something a little quieter, Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes are smaller villages (on very steep hills and inaccessible by car) with traditional fishing village aesthetics. They both have little shops, rocky beaches with adorable seaside cafes.

Fun days out for the whole family! If you have any kind of mobility issue I would recommend Whitby as it’s bigger and has easier access. You can also drive up to the abbey if necessary rather than climbing the steps.

Whitby –
Staithes –
Robin Hood’s bay –


1 – 2 hours drive

The ancient town of York is one of the oldest cities in the UK. The home of Viking settlers, it plays host to fabulous castles, York Minster, old cobbled shopping streets (The Shambles) and Jorvik Viking Museum. York also has beautiful upmarket shopping and some of the poshest restaurants in the north. Have a look and see if Jorvik Viking festival is on or the Christmas markets before you visit as both are a real treat. You may need to book Jorvik museum in advance as it has a sit on guided ride but it is well worth a visit.

York –
Jorvik museum –


70 minute drive from the hotel

The town of Harrogate is another jewel of Yorkshire. With lovely shops and cafes it is another lovely place to visit. Betty’s of Harrogate has a café here as well as in York and is a must for a traditional English afternoon tea..

Harrogate –
Betty’s of Harroagte –


2 hours drive

Cragside is a beautiful stately home, National Trust property and gardens in Northumberland. The home of Victorian engineer Lord Armstrong and his wife, Lady Margaret, it is full to the brim with inventions and ground-breaking architecture. His home truly is remarkable and was cutting edge when it was built, as the first home with electric. The gardens are equally gorgeous and well worth a walk around. Take a guided tour for the full experience as there is lots of things you would miss if you didn’t know what you were looking at.

Cragside –


2 hour drive

The small city of Lancaster is only a short drive from the hotel. Lancaster boasts a wonderful castle, beautiful park and some wonderful architecture. It’s maybe not a full day out but definitely worth a stop for lunch and a moosey round.

Lancaster –

Raby Castle – County Durham

45 minute drive

Raby Castle is a beautiful castle, walled garden, café and shop which is a wonderful day out for the whole family. There is a woodland adventure play park for children, castle tours are taken throughout the day and the walled garden is just beautiful. A lovely day out.

Raby Castle –

Lindisfarne & Holy Isle

2.30 hour drive

Lindisfarne is a jewel of the north! Holy Isle is a small island with a big history around a mile off the Northumberland coast, It is reachable by a causeway which is only accessible a few times a day so make sure you get there in time before the sea cuts the island off… and make sure you don’t get stuck on the island when the tide comes in. The island was invaded by Viking raiders over hundreds of years. They raided the Christian monasteries on the island taking treasure and slaves back to Scandinavia. Nowadays, you can visit the many historic sights and ruins on the island with museums that explain its complex history. The village itself is also lovely with cafes and Celtic craft shops to enjoy. The island is also home to Lindisfarne mead (traditional honey wine) – go and try it, its delicious.

Lindisfarne –
Lindisfarne causeway crossing times –

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