Five short summer breaks in northern England and Scotland

Kettle Mag, Lorna Holland, Travel, Scotland, Highlands and Islands, Islay, Jura
Written by themaxdog

Holidaying doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re looking for a getaway this summer, there’s no need to look abroad when there are some great holiday destinations right here in the UK.

So in partnership with our article on the best short summer breaks in mid-southern England and Wales, here’s my pick of the best summer breaks in northern England and Scotland.

The Lake District

The Lake District National Park, in northwest England, is primarily known for its series of glacial lakes, fell walking, and Kendal mint cake. But did you know it’s also home to Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain? Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of opportunities in the Lake District for fell-walking and taking in the stunning views, but there are also thriving towns to visit, like Keswick and Bowness-on-Windermere. For the lakes themselves, Derwentwater and Windermere are the most popular, and boat tours are available for both. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, why not go horse riding or try a Segway tour?


There’s so much to do in Yorkshire that I almost don’t know where to start! The county town, York, is a great place to spend a few days relaxing among the shops and soaking in the city’s rich history. There’s a wide range of attractions in York, from the National Railway Museum (free entry!) to the Jorvik Viking Centre. I’d also recommend going on one of York’s famous ghost tours. And don’t miss the stunning 13th-century Gothic minster!

Leave York and you find yourself in Herriot country. Both the Moors and the Dales are beautiful and well worth a visit if you can fit them in! The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is definitely a highlight, as are the coastal towns of Scarborough, Robin Hood’s Bay, and Whitby, with its imposing ruined abbey standing guard over the town below. The small town of Goathland, up on the moors, is also a lovely place to visit. It was used as the filming location for the fictional town of Aidensfield in the long-running ITV show Heartbeat, and is a great place to go for a walk on the moors.


Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, is a vibrant and colourful city. Its wealth of history, architecture and culture have made it into a firm tourist favourite, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still worth a visit. Edinburgh Castle looms over the city. It is home to Scotland’s crown jewels, and is definitely a must-see. Edinburgh is also home to Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano in Holyrood Park with great views from the peak. There are plenty of sightseeing tours, and other highlights include the Royal Yacht Britannia, the National Museum of Scotland, and the Camera Obscura.

The Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world and the highlight of Edinburgh’s calendar. This year, the festival runs from 7-31 August, and is well-worth seeing!

The Scottish Highlands and Islands

When planning this article, I couldn’t choose between the Highlands and Islands so I decided to talk about both of them! The far north of Scotland is often given an unfairly bad reputation (largely due to the weather). The region boasts some of the most stunning landscapes in the country. It’s unspoilt, rugged, wild, and hauntingly beautiful. If you want to stay somewhere a bit less isolated, try Fort William, Glencoe, Oban or Campbeltown. Or be a bit more daring and go camping! The islands are also a must-see. For less adventurous visitors I’d suggest Skye, but there are plenty of others to choose from – just remember to check ferry times before you go! From personal experience, I can recommend Islay (featured in the header image, alongside the peaks of Jura on the far right).


Northumberland is England’s northernmost county. It is famous for its history, but there’s still plenty to do and see. A particular highlight is Holy Island, a small tidal island just off the coast. It’s home to the 16th-century Lindisfarne Castle, and is only accessible by a causeway at low tide (so check the tide timetable if you’re planning to visit!) Alnwick Castle is another must-see. It was originally built after the Norman Conquest, but is now frequently used as a film location – Harry Potter fans will probably recognise it as Hogwarts from the first two films! Other notable attractions in Northumberland include Dunstanburgh Castle and Bamburgh Castle.

Have you been to any of these places? Where’s your favourite place to holiday in the UK? Let us know in the comments below!