Currency: Pound Sterling
Time Zone: GMT
Tipping: 10 to 12% is usual for hotels with 10 to 15% being usual for restaurants. In each case, it is not necessarily added to the bill. If a service charge has already been added, no further tip is required.
England's North East boasts unspoilt scenery, industrial heritage and one of England's most remarkable Roman relics Hadrian's Wall, stretching right across the width of England. Featuring the counties of Northumberland, Durham and Tyne and Wear, there's plenty to do on holidays to North East England by coach, and the beauty of it is that its largely undiscovered.
With over 100 miles of Heritage Coast and rugged landscape on offer, coach holidays are an ideal way of exploring this windswept neck of the woods and will ensure that you see the very best bits. Perhaps it's the World Heritage Castle and Cathedral duo in handsome Durham that make coach breaks here so appealing, or Alnwick Castle, dubbed the Windsor of the North and the second largest inhabited castle in England. The garden here is the real attraction, boasting interesting water sculptures and an intriguing Poision Garden featuring some of the world's deadliest plants.
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is another curiosity; this tidal island two miles off the coast is only accessible at low tide via a narrow causeway (there is a mini bus service from the car park to the castle), but once across you can visit the romantic 16th century castle with its amazing views and ancient Priory ruin. Bamburgh Castle is another popular stop on coach tours to North East England, whose stone walls have kept watch over the coastline for many centuries.
All coach holidays to North East England include return coach travel, B&B or half board accommodation at a 3 or 4* hotel as well as excursions and admissions where stated to key places in the area. Yorkshire is also relatively close and featured on some itineraries.
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in North East England, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
British Citizens are advised by some of our tour operators to have travel insurance before going on a tour or holiday, even if it happens to be in your country of residence. As a British citizen you will be entitled to free emergency health care on the NHS.
If you are visiting England from outside the United Kingdom and fall ill or are involved in an accident and are from any member of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you can obtain free or reduced cost treatment with The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Comprehensive travel insurance is advised for all other nationals planning on visiting England.
If you need to contact the emergency services whilst in England simply dial 999 or 112 to ask for an ambulance.
Most destinations are generally trouble-free, however as with all places that you are not familiar with, keep an eye on your belongings and if necessary lock them away somewhere safe back at your hotel if possible. Keep an eye on everyone in your party and do not go off with people you do not know. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times. Be aware of your surroundings and don't venture off on your own.
Local Laws and Customs
Queuing is a British Institution - jump a queue at your own risk!
Drug offences will carry penalties in the UK, so avoid getting involved with anything whilst in England. Please note the narcotic plant Khat/Qat is legal in the UK, but is not in a majority of other countries so never try to export this when leaving the UK.
If you are visiting from outside of the United Kingdom, it is wise to check customs requirements before you travel. If you are planning to bring alcohol, tobacco or souvenirs into the country, you need to be familiar with the UK's custom laws. For those people coming to the UK from the EU, you are allowed to bring an unlimited amount of most goods for your own use without paying tax or duty.
However, if you are travelling to the UK from outside of the EU, you are given an allowance of how much alcohol, tobacco, perfume, souvenirs and other goods. If you go above this allowance you may have to pay tax or duty. It is worth checking the HM Revenues and Customs website before you travel.
When travelling between the UK, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in most cases an official form of identification such as a Driver's License will be ok. However, some airlines will insist you show a passport so check before you travel.
If you are travelling to England from Australia, Canada or the USA, you must have a valid passport for at least three months beyond the length of your stay. EU nationals need to have either a valid passport or identity card.
Visas for the UK are not required by those travelling from Australia, Canada, USA or EU for stays of up to six months.
Any other nationality looking to visit the UK must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
The North East is vast in terms of what is available to see and do whilst staying here. Some things to think about may include:
A historic city with cobbled streets on a prominent peninsula, Durham is a World Heritage site. Visit Durham Cathedral, one of the finest Norman buildings in Europe, or the 11th century Auckland Castle which houses a collection of 17th century Spanish paintings by Francisco de Zurbaran. For something completely different, check out the Beamish Museum where costumed folk bring to life the Pit Village, Home Farm, Edwardian Town and Pockerley Old Hall.
Alnwick Castle and Gardens
Alnwick Castle has been here for over 1000 years and is one of the largest inhabited castles in Europe - home to the Duke of Northumberland's family, the Percys, for over 700 years. You may recognise the castle from the first two Harry Potter films where you can even try and fly a broomstick or see a magic show. The Gardens are next to the castle and are surrounded by walls over 250 years old. You can walk through many secret gardens and there is also a Tree House set 60ft above the ground amongst a grove of lime trees.
Northumberland National Park
The National Park stretches from the Scottish border to Hadrian's Wall and covers an area of 400 square miles. The Cheviot Hills dominate the north of the park and there are pastures and river valleys along with remains of medieval castles. Why not stop off in the market towns of Haltwhistle, Rothbury, Bellingham and Wooler where you'll find interesting places to explore.
Newcastle and Gateshead
These are connected by seven bridges across the river Tyne. World-class culture, inspiring heritage, great shopping, fantastic architecture and in the heart of Newcastle City Centre there is one of the finest surviving Norman stone castles. The most famous site is the Angel Of The North, designed by sculptor Antony Gormley. The Angel is as tall as four double decker buses and its wingspan is as big as a jumbo jet's!