Northern England boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, including a walking trail that extends 420km along what is known as ‘The Backbone of England’ right up to the Scottish border. Great for a weekend holiday, although you could easily spend several days in the area, here are some of our tips to get the most out of your visit.
Save on Accommodations by using Priceline Coupon Codes
The most expensive part of a trip within reach by train or car is always going to be the accommodations. Whether it’s a chain hotel or a quaint bed and breakfast, they can be pricey especially during busier times of the year. However, you can save yourself a few Pounds by using Priceline for last-minute hotel deals. Their whole business model is built around filling vacancies at hotels a few days or weeks ahead of time so there are some really great deals to be found. No matter where you are planning to stay, it’s worth a look to see if you can save some money that can be better spent on food or a pint!
Walking the Backbone of England – the Pennine Way
If you consider yourself a serious walker, walking the Pennine Way is probably on your list of things to do. This 420 km long trail running along what is often known as the backbone of England passes through some of the UK’s most spectacular scenery, including three national parks. However, the trail is also within easy reach of several of the largest cities in England, including Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.
The Pennine Way runs from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm near the Scottish border. It was opened in 1965 and was the idea of a journalist, Tom Stephenson, who was impressed with the long distance paths in America. Since then it has become the most popular long distance footpath in the UK, attracting an estimated 250,000 walkers each year. Although the record for completing the Pennine Way is just under three days, most people take a more leisurely two to three weeks. The well-known walker Alfred Wainwright promised to buy a drink for everyone who finished the famous walk; apparently, this gesture cost him close to 15,000 pounds until his death in 1991.
Most walkers tackle the Pennine Way from south to north, partly because the winds are more favorable that way, and partly because the dozens of guide books are written in that direction. Spring or autumn are understandably the most popular times to attempt the walk, although the countryside has a certain appeal during the bleak winter months, and many of the crowds are gone too. Although some sections are paved, muddy conditions can be a problem after heavy rain, and walkers must also tackle almost 250 stiles and almost 300 gates.
However, one reason the Pennine Way is so popular with walkers of all ages and abilities is its relative ease. The highest point on the trail is just over 890 metres above sea level, and the trail is well marked with over 450 markers. There are also over 500 access points that intersect with other footpaths, main roads and back roads. The Pennine Way passes within easy reach of some of northern England’s most picturesque and delightful small towns, including Hawes, Hebden Bridge and Alston, offering plenty of choice for accommodation, food and of course a decent pub or two.
One of the best places to take a break and have a drink is at the famous Tan Hill Inn. The 17th-century tavern is located about half way along the Pennine Way, at an altitude of about 528 metres. It once served a row of miners’ cottages, until they were demolished at the beginning of the 19th century, because of the nearby mines closing. The pub has several rooms, offers live music and attracts walkers and cyclists from all over the world.
The Pennine Way takes in the best of England’s scenery, as it passes through three national parks: the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and Northumberland. One of the most spectacular highlights along the route is the 70-metre high curving limestone rock wall at Malham Cove. Ice and water have eroded the rock over millions of years, and the area is home to a huge underground system of caves. High Force in County Durham is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the UK, with a drop of over 20 meters into the pool below the cliffs. Walking the trail also offers the opportunity to see plenty of wildlife, including wild fell ponies and goats.
Walking the length of the Pennine Way is on the ‘bucket list’ of many people, and with good reason. The famous trail takes in the most beautiful and stunning scenery in England, and if you have a good pair of boots and a couple of weeks to spare, you too can check it off your list.