Northern England comprises the English administrative regions of North West England, Yorkshire and the Humber and North East England. The area is bordered to the south by the river Trent and to the north by the border with Scotland. About 14.5 million people live here on an area of 37,331 km². The region includes some major cities (including Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sheffield), but also five national parks (Lake District, North York Moors, Northumberland, Peak District and Yorkshire Dales). The industrial revolution began in northern England and until the middle of the 20th century the region was the industrial heart of Great Britain. Since deindustrialisation, northern England has been economically disadvantaged compared to southern England. The North of England has also retained a certain cultural independence, e.g. in music, regional cuisine or North English dialect.
Medieval picture-book castle
This castle belonging to the Earls of Northumberland was built in 1092 and is the second-largest aristocratic estate in England after Windsor Castle. It was originally built to help defend England from the Scots. Fans of Robin Hood films or Harry Potter movies will recognize various parts of it. Numerous events such as medieval festivals are held in the castle and in the surrounding park. There is also a shop and a café restaurant.
Border city with a fortress
This city on the Scottish border had its beginnings as a border fortress on Hadrian's Wall. Carlisle Castle was designed by a German military planner and built in 1541, at a time when the kingdoms of England and Scotland were still enemies. Maria Stuart was later held prisoner here. The Tullie Museum is an award-winning museum of local history and tells the eventful history of the border region starting with the construction of Hadrian's Wall.
English Heritage Overseas Visitor Pass (Carlisle Castle)
England's first Baroque palace
At the time of its completion around the beginning of the 18th century, no building in the kingdom could compare with this stately home 40 kilometers north of York. The architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, who was completely inexperienced at the time, had created the first truly Baroque building in England, having decorated it lavishly with ornaments and statues. The palace was a great success and was imitated throughout the country. Visitors are also attracted to its large gardens, where festivals are often held.
The wedding forge
Parliament passed a law in 1753 requiring minors to obtain parental consent before marrying. However, this law only applied in England. In Scotland, boys could still marry at 14 and girls at 12 without any parental consent. As a result, countless young couples living in England ran away to Scotland. In Gretna Green, the first Scottish town they would come to after crossing the border, the local blacksmith was authorized to perform wedding ceremonies, and the weddings were actually held in his shop. It often came to dramatic scenes when parents who had caught up with their children tried to hinder the ceremonies at the last minute.
Today, the blacksmith's forge is a museum, but weddings are still held here – over 5,000 a year.
Historical buildings full of character
Lancaster was once an important port city, especially in trade with East India. Cotton, rum and tobacco were reloaded here. It was also the seat of the important Counts of Lancaster. Today it has lost its meaning. The port is in Liverpool and the capital of the county today is Preston. But a few buildings full of character have been preserved, above all Lancaster Castle, whose predecessor already devied the Normans. Together with St. Marys, a church from the 14th century, it forms a stylish ensemble.
Soccer, the Beatles and a historic harbor
This port city and industrial center in the northwestern part of England has just under 500,000 inhabitants. In 2004, the historic section of town was declared a World Heritage Site. Popular attractions here are the Albert Dock and the Pier Head. The city is also known for its soccer clubs, Everton FC and Liverpool FC, as well as for its throbbing music scene, which gave rise to the Beatles during the 1960s. Liverpool was the European Capital of Culture in 2008.
Mother City of Industrialization
Manchester played a key role during the Industrial Revolution. The numerous streams that sprang in the Pennines north and east of the city were ideal for the construction of water-powered cotton spinning mills. The city also benefited from its proximity to Liverpool harbour. After the invention of the steam engine, the businesses and the city grew rapidly. Friedrich Engels lived in the city for over 20 years, which inspired his most famous book “The Situation of the Working Class in England” and his criticism of Manchester capitalism. Today, the city is known for its football clubs and trendy Pop and Rave meetings.
Cultural capital of Northumberland
Newcastle, the cultural center of northeast England, lies in the heart of Northumberland. The settlement was established by the Romans at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall. The location was of such strategic importance that William the Conqueror later had a fortress called “New Castle” built on the site. During the age of industrialization Newcastle became an important coal mining center, as evidenced by the phrase “to carry coal to Newcastle” (to do something redundant). Important sites include the bridges over the River Tyne, including the Tyne Bridge built in 1928 and Robert Stephenson's High Level Bridge (1849), the world's first railway bridge. The recently redeveloped Quayside area is home to many historical buildings as well as markets, shops and restaurants.
A spiritual haven on the River Ouse
According to legend, a monk named Benedict of Auxerre was shown by a swan where he should build Selby Abbey. Although it is not a cathedral, this church on the River Ouse is one of the the largest and most impressive sacred buildings in England. It is also one of the few medieval abbeys still in existence. One of its particularly intriguing feature is the 14th-century Washington Window, which depicts the coat of arms of George Washington's ancestors. The emblem, with its three red stars suspended over two red stripes on a white background, supposedly served as a model for the Flag of the United States.