Winter is coming. 8-day Northeast England/Scot Driving trip in January?
October 5, 2015 9:32 AM   Subscribe

We want to travel by car around Northern England and Scotland just after the new year (Jan 8-16) for a vacation/holiday. Where should we go given the Xmas/NY/Hogmanay holidays are just finished and weather might be…changable? One Brit, One American, mid 40s, likes culture, nature, art, off-the-wall stuff.

We’ve both never been to major Scottish cities…..or the northeast of the UK, as adults. Not interested in the northwest of england or south of there.....

We’ll be leaving driving from Liverpool, and have up to 8 days on the road. Obvious Suggestions include Glasgow and Edinburgh, but are also open to places like York, Sheffield, Newcastle. Where could we take advantage of having a car? Where will have cultural sites that are open at this time of year (or do you know of any that will definitely be closed)? Where’s a good hedge against the likely nasty weather? Advice on particularly amazing museums, food stuffs, sites-of-the weird, are much appreciated.

Everything from unmissable national trust sites, to museums, to scenery (with the caveat that the weather will be crappy) to amazing inns or local food/booze holes, to weird little joints like this etc etc. Throw them at us hivemind!
posted by lalochezia to Travel & Transportation around Manchester, England (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Isle of Skye is stunning during the winter. Flodigarry is a little piece of heaven that's off the beaten track. Loch Lomond is also outrageously beautiful.
posted by batbat at 9:55 AM on October 5, 2015

Keep in mind that you will be dealing with a greatly reduced amount of daylight that time of year: about 7 hours, from about 9AM to 4PM.

I did a driving trip last November from Inverness down to Skye, around Skye, and then to Edinburgh. Loch Lomond is fantastic as said above. Also Culloden, Neist Point Lighthouse is fun to explore (it's abandoned, or was when I was there, so you can probably illegally explore the grounds) and has amazing dramatic views. The whole Isle of Skye is pretty amazing, actually.
posted by Automocar at 12:26 PM on October 5, 2015

Such a massive question... I've answered previous questions (of which there are many) about things to see and do in Edinburgh, so I'll let you look for those. But in the niche of weird little joints that are also weatherproof - maybe Gilmerton Cove (which is actually a cave, not a cove). Must admit I've not been in it but it's on my list, and probably less cheesy than Mary King's Close, which was once a fascinating, slightly mysterious hole in the ground like Gilmerton Cove, but is sadly now a fancy dress tourist attraction.
posted by penguin pie at 3:49 PM on October 5, 2015

I love pretty much everything about Glasgow and heartily recommend it. My favorite museum was the People's Palace, but the Art Museum, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's house, and St. Mungo's + the Necropolis were all wonderful.
posted by dame at 6:04 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Random things to do in North East England:

Whitby, a great small fishing town / resort with connections to the plot of Bram Stoker's Dracula, a Benedictine abbey ruin, and great fish and chips, pubs, etc.

Mother Shipton's Cave with a petrifying well and a great story.

The Bowes Museum, a unique museum in the County Durham countryside -- with family and architectural connections to France, and which hosts major fashion exhibitions and shows daily a significant, and working, 18th century automaton, the Silver Swan.

Modern art at MIMA in Middlesbrough. Also visit one of only two (as far as I can tell from quick check) working transporter bridges in the U.K.

See a fragment of Kurt Schwitters' Merzbarn at the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle.

Then farther north, but still in England, take a trip across a tidal causeway to Holy Island (Lindisfarne).
posted by galaksit at 7:47 PM on October 5, 2015

Some ideas for North East England -

Newcastle has the excellent Baltic modern art gallery, and the city's Hancock museum was recently rebuilt, the city has some stunning Georgian architecture, in Grainger town, excellent little cafes and pubs too - avoid the Bigg Market and head to the Ouseburn valley.

If the weather's not too terrible, there's also Hadrian's wall, the middle stretch of which is full of great remains and a few museums at the forts on the wall (Vindolanda is particularly impressive, as is the section of wall at Steel Rigg)

The Northumberland coast is stunning - like in the rest of Northumberland there are castles in various states dotted every few miles, and a load of pretty little villages. I like Warkworth, Bamburgh, Craster, Alnmouth and Low-Newton-by-the-sea. From Craster you can walk up to Dunstanburgh Castle. Craster is also famous for its kippers.

Definitely get out to Lindisfarne if you can!

Elsewhere - Alnwick is home to Britain's biggest second hand bookshop, Barter Books, and Alnwick Castle (where they filmed Harry Potter scenes) and Garden, both of which are excellent. Alnwick Castle is the home of the Duke of Northumberland.
posted by sarahdal at 12:50 AM on October 6, 2015

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