Hartlepool & Hartlepool Maritime Experience
Today, we make for maritime Hartlepool - once an old fishing town and now home to award-winning attractions in the historic marina. The centrepiece is the award-winning Historic Quay – a faithful reproduction of an 18th century seaport portraying the exciting experience of what life was like at the time of Nelson and Trafalgar. Hartlepool Maritime Experience is a superb re-creation of an 18th century seaport, telling the story of life at sea at the time of Nelson, Napoleon and the Battle of Trafalgar which dares you to experience life aboard a real British Naval frigate two centuries ago.
North Yorkshire Moors Railway to Whitby
We travel to Pickering, where we join the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for a steam train journey through rugged moorland to Whitby, passing through Goathland – ‘Aidensfield’ in TV’s ‘Heartbeat’ – on the way. Whitby is a maritime town, fishing port and seafarer’s haven, bursting with character and unique. Wander the alleyways and narrow streets and perhaps climb the steps up to Whitby Abbey. After free time in Whitby, we meet the coach and return to the hotel.
Barnard Castle & Durham
Barnard Castle (featured in The Guardian’s ’10 of the UK’s best small towns’) is a haven for discerning shoppers and treasure seekers, the town’s many antique shops provide a charming shopping experience. Many of the town’s shops are thriving independent retailers. On offer on the high street are many distinctive products, some made locally (please note that Barnard Castle is the name of the town and also of the Castle. We are not going to the castle itself because we want to have more time free for Durham. If you want to go to the castle, you can do this under your own steam (you can walk to it from town and it costs around £6. They say to allow about 45 mins to look around)).
We leave Barnard Castle at around midday and travel through the Durham Dales for our visit to the ancient and handsome university city of Durham. Bill Bryson called it ‘a perfect little city’ and Conde Nast readers voted it ‘Best city in the UK’. After a recent familiarisation by some of the Leisuretime team, we entirely agree – Durham is a very special place, and just had to be included in this year's programme. The first sight of the city alone is breath-taking. Inside the city we find an abundance of impressive historical buildings and sight include the 11th-century castle, the university’s Botanic Garden and the highlight of the city’s skyline, the magnificent Norman cathedral.
The grand Norman-era Durham Cathedral (which plays a role in Harry Potter), and nearby fairy-tale, turreted castle have the words 'World Heritage Site' written all over them. This majestic north east city is a historical treasure trove; castles nestle in riversides, parks thrive with deer, and living museums radiate with industrial heritage, but that’s just a taste of the best places to visit in Durham. Go and see for yourself!