Do you enjoy the thrill of stumbling across a place of hidden beauty that nobody really knows about? A place often kept secret, other than to those close by?
We want you to uncover these hidden gems, so we’ve pulled together some of the best the east coast has to offer – but let’s just keep it between ourselves.
Little Venice, London
Nearest LNER station: London Kings Cross
When the sun shines on Little Venice, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were still in the heart of the city! Colourful boats and lush greenery provide the backdrop for what is still very much a happy hideaway for Londoners.
The area centres on the coming together of three canals that form a triangular basin. It’s absolutely jam packed with things to do and see, and you can easily fill a day and have the need to return again.
From cafés and restaurants, to pubs and theatres, you’re literally spoilt for choice. Explore atmospheric Regent’s Canal, which begins at Little Venice and ends in the Docklands, passing the attractions such as ZSL London Zoo and Camden Town.
If you’d rather travel by water, you can jump on a narrow boat that will take you from Little Venice to Camden Lock Market in around 45 minutes.
On a budget? That’s no problem; Little Venice provides free entertainment in the warmer months, just head to nearby Sheldon Square’s amphitheatre, which puts on a series of events.
Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven
Nearest LNER station: Stonehaven
A former home to one of the most powerful families in Scotland, this breathtaking castle ruin is perched on the edge of the North Sea.
Located in Stonehaven in northeast Scotland, Dunnottar Castle is best known as the place where the Scottish Crown Jewels were hidden from Oliver Cromwell's invading army in the 17th century. In more recent times, it’s provided the setting for Hollywood movies thanks to its haunting and eerie appeal.
You’d imagine the castle has some stories to tell, and you’d be right. It’s played a major part in Scotland’s history, with William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II all gracing the Castle with their presence.
Visit Dunnottar Castle for your own unforgettable experience of an impregnable fortress that holds many secrets of Scotland’s colourful past.
Brimham Rocks, Harrogate
Nearest LNER station: Harrogate
Brimham Rocks is an amazing collection of giant rock formations, sculpted by an immense river 100 million years before the first dinosaurs walked the earth.
Located on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, the rocks and surrounding heather moorland are both Sites of Special Scientific Interest and attract a broad range of visitors, climbers and families who love the freedom to explore this unique place.
The positioning of the rocks amongst the heather is so beautiful you’d imagine someone placed them there on purpose. The majority of the weird and wonderfully shaped formations are only a short walk from the car park and many have been given their own name, including the Dancing Bear, the Gorilla, the Eagle and the Turtle, whilst the more nimble of visitors can crawl through the Smartie Tube and balance on the Rocking Stones.
You’ll be pleased to hear there are refreshments available, as well as plenty of places to enjoy a picnic with benches and tables. There are even bike racks for those looking to arrive on two wheels. If you’re interested in climbing the rocks, why not book onto the frequent Outdoor Days, run throughout the year by Harrogate Climbing Centre.
Nearest LNER station: Berwick-upon-Tweed
There are beaches and then there’s Bamburgh Beach. Such is the vastness and beauty of Bamburgh, that it’s simply regarded as one of the most iconic beaches in the whole of the UK. Sat in between the jaw dropping Bamburgh Castle and world-famous Farne Islands, this wide expanse of pristine, sandy beach, backed by sand dunes, has something for everyone.
The beach attracts families, dog walkers and horse riders looking to explore the open expanse of sands and endless rock pools located around England’s most northerly land-based lighthouse. It’s also regarded as one of the North East’s top surf spots with lessons and equipment hire available.
What really makes Bamburgh beach stand out is the breathtaking castle dominating the skyline behind the beach. Towering 150 feet above the coast, the castle has stood guard for over 1,400 years so there’s plenty of history to discover, not to mention breathtaking views of the spectacular coastline.
Nearest LNER station: Lincoln
As one of the largest Norman castles in the UK, and a major feature on the beautiful Lincoln skyline, it’s hardly hidden, but Lincoln Castle is certainly a gem.
Built by William the Conqueror in the late 11th century, the castle has a long, colourful and at points gruesome history – all for you to explore.
The castle is open 7 days a week all year round, and attracts visitors from across the world. Once inside, you can explore the old prison and get a taste of what life was like for Georgian and then Victorian inmates.
The castle is also home to one of just four copies of the Magna Carta. Dating all the way back to 1215, it’s enclosed in its very own purpose built vault alongside the 1217 Charter of the Forest – the only place in the world where you can find original copies of both documents!
Whether you walk the medieval wall, or take in one of the fascinating exhibitions, an invasion on the castle is a rewarding trip for all.