Travel Expert Nona from Flight Centre Balwyn recently returned to England’s north to visit family, delving deep into into local history along the way. Here's her take on what to see and do in northern England.
Tell me a bit about your holiday
My first port of call was to visit family in Darlington in the Middlesbrough area of northeast England. My cousin took me to the pub where he had his first drink 63 years ago. We also explored Beamish, which is an open-air museum telling the story of life in England’s north east during the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. (Definitely worth a visit for families.)
We also went to Manchester and did a tour of Old Trafford, the historic home of Manchester United Football Club. From Manchester, we drove further north in a hire car to the picturesque Lakes District. We jumped on the scenic lakeside railway steam train and watched all the lazy mountains and sheep pass us by.
What was the most amazing moment of your holiday?
We visited Bletchley Park, the site where code breakers cracked the elusive Enigma, the machine that the Nazis used to transmit information during WWII. Visiting the site was an amazing experience and I learnt an enormous amount about what these men and women went through, and how they had to keep what they were doing a secret up until only recently!
Did you have any ‘only in Britain’ moments?
When my cousin sat me down in that old pub and put a pint of 'real ale' in front of me... I took a sip and frowned at him because it was warm! He laughed and said: "that's the only way to drink a beer!" I finished and then quickly downed a glass of iced water.
What was your foodie highlight?
Probably the old-fashioned ginger biscuits and scones made 1820s-style in the Beamish bakery. You could tell they were made exactly according to a family recipe dating back generations!
Were there any destinations you wish you had more time in?
I wish I had more time in the Lakes District to really explore.
What are the must-dos of the area?
Forget planes; train your way around the north of England. An efficient, inexpensive rail network connects quaint towns and beautiful countryside. Plus, you must see a game at Old Trafford in Manchester and try to find the oldest pub in each city. Although, I recommend avoiding the lukewarm beer!
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