IN ASSOCIATION WITH GNER

10 great things to do around England

It's impossible not to enjoy England with its amazingly diverse selection of days out and special events. So here are 10 easily accessible places to visit throughout GNER's extensive rail network


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1. HADRIAN'S WALL, NORTHUMBERLAND

Little has changed in the rugged Northumberland landscape since AD122 when Roman soldiers were first garrisoned along Hadrian's Wall. And there are several sites along the wall where Roman archaeological remains vividly illustrate the defensive nature of this World Heritage Site. At Chester's Fort for instance, an hour's bus journey from Newcastle's Central Station, the foundations of several buildings including a temple and steam room are visible. Wear comfy shoes and take a walk back in time along the wall.

Where: Chester's Fort, Northumberland NE46 3EU (01434 681 379; www.hadrians-wall.org)
When: 9.30am-6pm, daily, from 1 April to 30 September
How much: Adults £3.80, children £1.90

2. DINO JAWS AT THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON

Thought dinosaurs were extinct? Think again, because you'll be convinced that they are back roaming the Earth after you've come face to face with the new, frighteningly lifelike giant reptiles roaming this exhibition. Dino Jaws features 10 new animatronic dinosaurs, including: a 9m-long, 96-toothed Baryonyx which you can watch scoop a fish out of some water with its 30cm-long claw; and a vicious pack of Velociraptors that devour the carcass of a baby Protoceratops. The exhibition also includes many fun hands-on exhibits and scientific insights for children to get involved with and learn from. Just don't get too close to the hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex...

Where: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD. (020-7942 5000; www.nhm.ac.uk )
When: Mon to Sat 10am-5.30pm, Sun 11am-5.50pm.
From: 30 June 2006 to 15 April 2007
How much: £8 adults, £5 children and con, £21 families

3. TURKISH BATHS AND HEALTH SPA, HARROGATE, NORTH YORKSHIRE

Harrogate's draw as a spa has been revived by the refurbishment of the Victorian Royal Baths, a splendid Grade-II listed structure in the town centre. Inside it is a colourful Moorish fantasy with Islamic arches and screens, painted ceilings, glazed brickwork and terrazzo floors. For £10, visitors can spend a few hours in the Turkish Baths moving between rooms of varying temperatures to steam and clean. Afterwards, another Harrogate institution, Betty's Tearoom, is just a stroll up the road for an equally refreshing cuppa and a slice of cake.

Where: Parliament Street, Harrogate, North Yorks HG1 2WH (01423 556 746; www.harrogate.gov.uk)
When: Opening times vary throughout the year
How much: From £10

4. LINCOLN CATHEDRAL & THE DA VINCI CODE

Regarded as one of the finest gothic buildings in Europe, Lincoln Cathedral has never been short of visitors. But now this grand medieval building is attracting further followers because it plays a part in the Da Vinci Code movie! The Cathedral replaces Westminster Abbey, which featured in the book, but refused to allow the film to be shot there. As well as admiring the Cathedral's 14th-century stone carvings and watching out for the legendary Lincoln Imp gargoyle, you can tread in the footsteps of Hollywood stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou.

Where: Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln LN2 1PX ( www.lincolncathedral.com)
When: summer: weekdays 7.15am-8pm, Sat/Sun 7.15am-6pm; winter: Mon-Sat 7.15am-6pm, Sun 7.15am-5pm
How much: Adults £4, Children 5­16 £1, under 5s free

5. TYNEDALE BEER FESTIVAL, CORBRIDGE, NEAR NEWCASTLE

Corbridge is an attractive village with a medieval street lay-out that started life as the Roman settlement of Corstopitum, a supply town for troops at Hadrian's Wall. No doubt if Tynedale Beer Festival had been on the calendar in AD122, it would be have been filled with many a merry centurion. At this year's festival, from 15 to 17 June, visitors can enjoy an alphabet of brews from Abbeydale to Youngs, and with several B&Bs and guesthouses available in the village, it won't be too far to bed afterwards.

Where: Tynedale Rugby Club, Tynedale Park, Station Road, Corbridge, Northumberland NE45 5AY (01434 652 220; www.tynedalebeerfestival.org.uk)
When: 15-16 June 6pm-11pm; 17 June 11am-11pm
How much: £7 per session

6. THE YORKSHIRE WHEEL & THE FLYING SCOTSMAN

York is the place to visit right now with two new events ­ and they're both at the National Railway Museum. First of all, take a ride in the futuristic Norwich Union Yorkshire Wheel. Similar to the popular London Eye, York's has 42 enclosed, air-conditioned pods and climbs 54 metres into the air, giving you a spectacular view of the city centre. Next, take a step back in time to see how we used to travel with the Flying Scotsman Story Exhibition. Hop aboard the old steam engines and learn how, in the 1860s, they travelled in what were record times from London to Edinburgh.

Where: National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, YorkYO26 4XJ (01904 621261; www.nrm.org.uk)
When: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm
How much: Flying Scotsman: free. Yorkshire Wheel: Adults £6, Children £4, under 4s free

7. NEWCASTLE RACE COURSE

Where else can you find glamour, sport and nail-biting excitement than at a day at the races? Newcastle's magnificent course comes alive with its three-day Northumberland Plate Festival, featuring the GNER Seaton Delaval Trophy Day on Thursday 29 June. This is the North East's premier race course, set in the splendid 812-acre High Gosforth Park Estate, which has seen horse racing since 1882. So pack a picnic and enjoy a grand day out at the sport of kings.

Where: Newcastle Racecourse, High Gosforth Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 5HP (0191 236 2020; www.newcastleracecourse.co.uk)
When: 29 June to 1 July
How much: Ticket prices vary, call for more information

8. CLIMB BIG BEN CLOCK TOWER, LONDON

Who knows the correct name of the clock tower popularly known as Big Ben? Answer: St Stephen's Tower. Big Ben is the bell that chimes the hour and is likely named after Sir Benjamin Hall, a 19th-century Parliamentary Commissioner of Works. UK residents who apply to their MP for tickets can tour the bell tower. This means climbing 334 narrow spiral steps to the top and down again. But hearing the 13-plus ton bell dong is an unforgettable experience.

Where: Palace of Westminster, Westminster, London SW1 1AA (020-7219 4272; www.parliament.uk)
When: Mon-Fri 10.30am, 11.30am and 2.30pm
How much: Free

9. OUTDOOR PROMS CONCERT, BELTON HOUSE, GRANTHAM

Air the picnic blanket, dust off the fold-up seats, chill the wine and pray for good weather ­ we're going to the Proms. Belton House is a National Trust country house familiar to many as a location in costume dramas. Surrounded by a landscaped deer park it's a wonderful site for an outdoor concert. The English National Orchestra performs at this family-orientated Prom and overhead a Spitfire will fly a daring aerial display, with the evening rounded off by fireworks.

Where: Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 2LS (01909 511 061; www.nationaltrust.org.uk)
When: 8pm, 15 July
How much: Adults £24, children £12, families £60

10. CASTLE HOWARD, MALTON, NORTH YORKSHIRE

This elegant Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor-designed edifice may be familiar to TV viewers as the home of the Marchmain family in Brideshead Revisited. Castle Howard has something to appeal to most people, including an adventure playground, good food at the farm shop and a regular events including a Flower Festival on 23-25 June, Jools Holland in concert on 28 July, and a Proms spectacular on 19 August.

Where: Coneysthorpe, Malton, North Yorkshire YO60 7DA(01653 648444; www.castlehoward.co.uk)
When: House: 1 Mar to 5 Nov daily 11am-4pm; gardens and adventure playground year-round daily 10am-4.30pm
How much: Adults £9.50, children £6.50, families £25

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