Day trips and visits
Looking for somewhere to go and things to do? Here’s a few suggestions of where you can travel to on public transport and use your student pass, family pass or concessionary travel pass for a cheap day out. Please check the timetables before planning your trip as they change frequently.
Family Explorers send out a newsletter with discounts and ideas for outings.
Go Smarter Go Active has North East walking and cycling maps and travel itineraries.
Planning Your Trip
Check out our Public Transport article for more details on how to plan your journey. Travel information is also available by telephone. Call or visit the Traveline website for information about routes and times of buses, coaches, trains, metro and ferries in the North East and Cumbria.
Places to Visit
Alnwick has a number of great attractions, including Alnwick Castle, the home of the Duke of Northumberland and featured in the Harry Potter series on TV and film. (There is an admission charge) and Alnwick Garden. It is an interesting town to walk around and you should visit Barter Books in the old station with a huge collection of 2nd hand books and if you return a book you get half price credit against another purchase. There is a direct bus from the Haymarket which takes 1 hour 23 minutes. If you prefer a more scenic route you can travel via Amble and Warkworth Castle and then you could take a walk along the River Coquet to the Hermitage or visit Alnmouth for pleasant seaside walks.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust is responsible for Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre and Northumberlandia.
Allendale Town in South Northumberland is a large village famed for its Tar Barrels ceremony on New Year’s Eve. It’s a pleasant place at all times. Take any bus to Hexham then it’s a short 25 minutes bus journey to the town. Most buses travel on for further 20 minutes to Allenheads near the top of the picturesque Allen Valley. You could spend an hour or two in Allendale Town then go up to Allenheads and then back to Hexham.
Berwick is England’s most northerly town, an attractive Georgian Market Town and is one of only three in England where you can walk right round the walls – free! There is an impressive Town Hall of 1754 and Barracks dating from 1719 (English Heritage). With impressive bridges over the Tweed. The tourist office will suggest an introductory walk around the town. There is a direct bus (X15) from the Haymarket Bus Station it takes 2 hours 25 minutes. Other buses are available which travel via the very attractive coastal route through Seahouses (for boats to the Farne Islands) and Bamburgh for its Castle (there is an admission fee) and the Grace Darling Museum, which is free!
The Tyne & Wear Concessionary Travel Pass is not officially valid in Scotland. English passes are accepted nationally. Please see Northumberland County Council’s website for more guidance on travelling into Scotland using your concessionary pass. Note you cannot break your journey in Scotland – it must start or finish in England so visits to Duns, Kelso, Melrose and Galashiels would have to be on separate trips.
Hexham with its Abbey and surrounding parkland, has a market on Tuesday and Saturday. There are four direct bus routes from Newcastle. The quickest taking just 51 minutes.
Rothbury is a pleasant small town in mid-Northumberland with a direct bus from Haymarket bus station (X14/14 Thropton). It’s well worth a wander and perhaps a visit to a cafe.
Wooler is a small pleasant town easily reached from Alnwick.
Bishop Auckland has a market on Thursday and Saturday. Another excellent place to visit is the Auckland Castle or the Bishop’s Palace (Concessionary entry fee available) . The parkland around the castle is free to access and perfect for walks and picnics! In the Market Place the Town Hall houses the library and information office. From Bishop Auckland you can travel to Barnard Castle in 50 minutes. This bus passes Raby Castle (there’s an entry fee) the home of Lord Barnard. In Barnard Castle are the Castle (there’s an entry fee) and Bowes Museum (there’s an entry fee).
Stanhope in Weardale, is another attractive small town which can be reached by a very pleasant bus ride – but not on Saturday or Sunday. Stanhope Market Place (Market day Monday) is flanked by 3 interesting buildings; the Castle (really a mansion built in 1798), the Rectory rebuilt in 1821 and St Thomas Church of Norman origin but much altered. In front of the Church is a fossilised tree stump some 320 million years old! Do not miss the Durham Dales Centre a little to the West of the Church and set in the Castle gardens – it’s free.
Carlisle is a pleasant small City with a red sandstone Cathedral dating from 1362. Carlisle Castle (English Heritage) built in the 12th Century+ is worth a visit as are two museums, some nice parks and good shopping including ‘The Lanes’ Shopping Centre. The bus journey takes about 2 hours 11 minutes from Newcastle. From Carlisle you can then travel on to Penrith and some beautiful areas around the Lake District. it is possible to do a round trip in one day using your Concessionary Travel Pass, or you may wish to stay overnight to break up the journey.
Keswick is worth several visits with a variety of things to do there. A boat trip around Derwentwater takes 50 minutes with boats leaving every half hour (charge applies) or a tour of the very interesting Pencil Factory Museum. There are three spectacular bus routes from Keswick. You can travel up Borrowdale to Seatoller and back in just under 1 hour. Or you can travel to Buttermere climbing Honister and Whinlatter passes.
Kendal, the principal town at the south end of the Lake District is about as far as you can can get with your Concessionary Bus Pass. It has many places of interest, starting with the information centre in the Town Hall. When walking around the town, note the many wall plaques describing the buildings. From Kendal, you can ride through the centre of the Lake District via Windermere and Ambleside arriving in Keswick. On the ride from Kendal to Keswick you could see 6 lakes; Windermere, Rydal Water, Grasmere, Thirlmere, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite. Then home via Carlisle.
Stockton holds its famous Street Market on Wednesday and Saturday. A visit to Preston Park is worthwhile for its museum with a parade of vintage shops. It takes about an hour to travel to Stockon from Newcastle.
Hartlepool is home to the Hartlepool Historic Quays a dramatic reconstruction of naval life in Nelson’s time. There is an entry charge for this but it’s worth a visit. The town museum is nearby and it’s free! There is no direct bus from Newcastle but you can change at Peterlee. It takes about 1 hour 20 minutes to travel to Hartlepool from Newcastle.
Middlesbrough has a good shopping centre and is the home of the Transporter Bridge – the only one in England! Other attractions include the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Captain Cook Birthplace Museum and The Dorman Museum. Express double deck buses run from Newcastle and take 1 hour 20 minutes. Middlesbrough is also the starting point for various places of interest such as Redcar, Saltburn (historic Cliff lift), Guisborough and Stokesley.
Whitby is a picturesque harbour town with it’s Abbey on the East Cliff (there’s an entry fee – English Heritage) is a ‘must’ (even if you don’t walk down the 199 steps from the Abbey!). There are 2 buses from Middlesbrough to Whitby. One is more direct taking just over an hour, the other is a more scenic coastal route which takes almost 2 hours.
Scarborough has lovely beaches, a harbour, parks and gardens. It is rather a long way, taking about 4 hours each way, so perhaps it is best on a Saturday with an early start. Travel from Newcastle to Middlesbrough and then on to Scarborough. Malton and even York can be reached via Whitby on a Saturday. Another seaside resort is Filey.
National Express make journeys to major cities and events.
Last updated: May 31, 2022