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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Premier Lake District & Hadrian's Wall Road Trip

Take to several of the UK’s most scenic driving routes and enjoy private, authentic experiences alongside quite splendid accommodation.

Begin your road trip in the finest of England’s landscapes, plunging into the lakes of the country’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site; enjoy a private tour of the Lakes, and experience the drama of Hadrian’s Wall, each brought to life by a local expert, rounding off with a mouth-watering taste of genteel Harrogate’s finest food.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Makes for a perfect early Summer or Autumn break

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Extend your trip with a couple of nights in York?

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Day One – The Lake District

From wherever you’d like your route to begin, we’ll make sure your holiday gets off to a worthwhile start along a route carefully plotted just for you, whether you’d prefer meandering or more direct. Just a couple of hours north of Manchester, your first destination is the village of Bowness-On-Windermere, mere moments from the most famous of all the lakes.

Your Accommodation in Bowness-On-Windermere

14 acres of beautifully manicure woodland gardens set high above the lake is the setting for this endlessly appealing, independently owned hotel. Contemporary in feel, with every modern feature you’d expect, alongside a quite superb collection of art and artefacts, this is a wonderful place in which to spend your first few days. Here, you’ll find fine dining of the best local ingredients prepared with an Italian twist, and sumptuous lake-view accommodation all wrapped up with outstanding, friendly service.

Day Two – A Private Guided Tour of the Lakes

Take our advice and enjoy breakfast in the privacy of your room, the dazzling views seemingly adding tang to the marmalade, before setting off on a private guided day out with a local expert. Just 15 minutes from your hotel you’ll find the archetypal Lake District town of Ambleside, close to the home of William Wordsworth, while a little further you’ll experience two of the UK’s greatest mountain passes, Hardknott and Wrynose, these twin Tarmac tickers twisting and plummeting through heart-stopping scenery. Before setting off, your guide will take time to discuss any particular interests you may have, to make sure you get the most of every minute of your tour.

Day Three – A day on Ullswater

Take a day away from Windermere to discover Ullswater, regarded by many as the prettiest of the lakes. Here, Glenridding jetty is the launch-point for one of our favourite excursions. Take to the water in a classic steamer, the evocative vessel chuffing its way around Ullswater, allowing guests to take in the surrounding landscape from this unique perspective. Hop on and off at any of five stops along the way, perhaps at the classic Lake District village of Pooley Bridge or the intense Aira Force waterfall, from which the more intrepid might prefer the hour-long country ramble back to your car. Don your boots, pack a lunch and make a day of it. 

Day Four – to Northumberland

Wave goodbye to Windermere this morning and take a two-hour road trip through classic scenery to your next base in the heart of Northumberland.

Your Castle Accommodation in Historic Hexham

We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy laying down our heads for the night in some historic castles all over the UK and Ireland; few can match this one for sheer drama and authenticity. This 14th-century tower house with a sometimes alarming history, has been in the hands of the same private owner for 35 years, lovingly restored and skilfully extended during his tenure. Bedrooms incorporate atmospheric original masonry and timbers, beautifully blended with every modern feature, while the quite staggering drawing room and restaurant will help you feel  transported back through the centuries during your two-night stay.

 Day Five – Under the Bricks of Hadrian’s Wall

A wonderful day out today in the company of a lifelong native of the area, and whom we consider one of England’s best tour guides. Meeting just a short drive from your hotel, you’ll be taken on a private guided walk of some of the most arresting features of Hadrian’s Wall, relic of Roman Britain. The stories of innovative engineering and the thousands of people who made it all happen never fail to leave their mark. Along the way, you’ll feast on a picnic, or lunch at a local inn if the weather is less clement.

Day Six – Southwards in to Yorkshire

Driving the direct route today, it’s only 100 miles to your final stop, though we’d think it a pity not to take the opportunity to detour slightly through the North Pennines and Yorkshire Dales on your way to the jewel-like spa town of Harrogate. Again, we’ll make sure you have every scenic route at your disposal, complete with our favourite places to stop along the way

Your Accommodation in Harrogate

It’s fair to say you won’t find accommodation like this anywhere else in the UK. A former chapel around 10 minutes’ stroll from the centre of town, this family owned property takes the breath away the moment you step across the threshold. Furnished and decorated from your friendly local hosts’ lifelong-assembled collection of antiques and art, the attention to detail is simply staggering and leaves an impression visitors find impossible to forget. A wonderful place to stay

Day Seven – Flavours of Harrogate

The extensive continental breakfast on offer is one of the best, featuring an array of choices, but we’d take caution today, as lunch is quite an event. Saunter into town and meet your local guide for a private tour around some of Harrogate’s best foodie spots, where local produce meets artisan creators and chefs add their own signature to the classics. Your friendly guide provides commentary on the history of Harrogate along the way. After lunch, perhaps walk it off at one of the town’s glorious public gardens, or browse for a trinket or two at one of dozens of long-established antique shops and galleries

Day Eight– Onward Journey Home

Enjoy a final holiday breakfast this morning before commencing your homeward leg. We’ll point out our favourite driving routes to take you back to the motorway system, making the most of your last day on the road.

If you have more time to linger, do let us know, as we can tailor your North England road trip to include the city of York or perhaps add a coastal stop at the classic resort of Whitby, famed not only for the freshest catch of the day but also for the legend of Dracula.


Your North England road trip begins in the heart of the Lake District, Bowness-On-Windermere. You then head north to Cumbria and onwards to Northumberland for a two-night castle stay. Complete your self-drive English tour with a stop in well-heeled Harrogate.


£1645 person for April & October, £1725 per person for May & June £1885 per person July to September.

Prices are per person, based on two adults sharing a double or twin en-suite room for seven nights on a bed and breakfast basis. You will stay in our hand-picked selection of four and five star hotels and guest houses, including two nights in a castle.

The price includes a private guided tour of the Lake District, an Ullswater Round the Lake pass, a private guided tour of Hadrian’s Wall with lunch provided, and a private food tour of Harrogate.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions and recommended routes from your specified starting point, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.

The Centre of Britain Makes Its Mark

The Centre of Britain Makes Its Mark

Earlier in the year, on an exceptionally sunny July day, I left the city of Glasgow behind and ventured south across the border to the small English t...


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So many fascinating places to explore on a North England Road Trip.

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