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Travelling Between York and Edinburgh

David Cross (DavidX) from England

Google Map

Often people refer to travelling to the United Kingdom and sound as though they have been miraculously moved from York to Edinburgh, without passing through the space in between. Others ask what is worth seeing in between. So, here is something that may be useful in the future if you are planning a trip between York and Edinburgh.

A note of warning – if you have limited time and you particularly want the best of Scotland's mountain scenery, don't spend too long on any of this. The * marks those places that I would put at the top of the list, but obviously that is just my view.

See my Slow Travel Google Map for more information and links to websites for each place.

County Durham


Here you will find one of the most picturesque settings for a cathedral* anywhere in the United Kingdom and the Norman architecture is amazing. Whereas I wouldn't say it's in the same league, the castle is worth a look.


An outdoor museum. Probably not worth finding it unless you have several hours available but then it is good.



A massive castle, home of the Percy family who were almost as powerful as kings during the wars of the roses. The gardens are newly open to the public and I have yet to see them.


A lovely village where the medieval plan of the place is clear. Very good ruined castle* (particularly good for children; hide and seek etc.)


The castle of the Grey family since Heaven knows when is newly open to the public and the church is well worth a visit but what really takes the biscuit is the wild white cattle*.

Coastal Castles

The area of Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh is a delight for the castles and beaches.

Lindisfarne [Holy Island]

This is only an island for a limited time at high tide but the causeway is not crossable at these times so look out! Historically this is very important as one of the centres of very early Christianity in Britain. You may well feel drawn to cross the highway but if you are not drawn by the history you might be disappointed.

Hadrian's Wall

This is unique; an initially huge fortification spanning northern England from sea to sea for defence of Roman Britannia – many points of interest, visitors' centres, etc. See PatrickLondon's Google Map of Hadrian's Wall.

Scottish Border Abbeys and their Towns (all the abbeys are ruined)

Dryburgh Abbey* is out in the country and not well signed from one direction; use a road map to find it. Very moving with beautiful red stone.

Melrose is quite quaint, more like a big village, and it has some good gardens as well as the largest abbey.

In Jedbugh the abbey ruins are quite extensive and very pleasing and the town has a lovely 16th Century house open to the public (called the Mary Queen of Scots House although she only stayed there.) There is also a castle with a museum of a prison.

Kelso is the largest town in this area and is very pleasant indeed, reminiscent of some French towns and of the so-called "auld alliance" between Scotland and France - usually against us English. The abbey remains, while good to look at, are less extensive than the other three.

St Abbs

The village was a model one and was not allowed a pub, although (or because!) it was built and owned by a major brewer. The headland is very picturesque and is one of the best seabird breeding places in the UK.*

North Berwick

I have not been yet but hope to soon as the National Seabird Centre is high on my wish list. This is a bit of a digression from the route to Edinburgh.


Slow Travel Google Map: United Kingdom, York to Edinburgh - see the Marker List for web resources.

www.touruk.co.uk/northumb/north.htm: Tour UK, Northumberland tourist information

www.beautiful-scotland.co.uk/scotland-borders.htm: Beautiful Scotland, Scottish Borders

Northumberland - God's Own Country: - One of England's hidden secrets- full of rich history, empty beaches, beautiful walking paths, castles, churchs, and quaint villages.

Get more information from the Wikitravel Scotland Travel Guide.

Get more information from the Wikitravel England Travel Guide.

David Cross was born in Plymouth but is now a "happily naturalized" Yorkshireman. He has grand-children in Wales and Scotland. David is a moderator on the World Travel Experience forums - groups.yahoo.com/group/worldtravelexp/. See David's Slow Travel Member page.

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