Beaches, bands and bonkersness, you can enjoy loads of amazing things by train in the north and Scotland when the sun’s shining

Our favourite beach resort

You don’t have to head abroad to catch some rays and take a proper beachy break

Scarborough

The largest holiday resort in Yorkshire is home to a fantastic beach, split by the Castle headland. The South Bay beach offers a traditional seaside day out, with colourful huts, attractions, amusements and entertainment. Its Victorian Spa Complex houses an orchestra during the summer, while pleasure streamers offer trips up and down the coast. The award-winning North Bay is sleepier. The promenade offers ice cream stands and food stalls, while children can explore the rock pools that appear at low tide. Check out the Harbour View Café for some of the best views out to sea up to the castle.

Why not...? 

Experience the Scarborough Armed Forces Day on Saturday 28 June, where you’ll be able to see some amazing examples of legendary aircraft and a host of parades, followed by Britain’s biggest names in classical music with the Last Night of the Proms.

Our favourite new thrill-ride

Do you have what it takes to become a superhero for the day?

Flamingo Land, Malton

The latest addition to the Extreme Ride roster at Flamingo Land, Hero gives riders the sensation of free flight, just like Superman. Travelling face-down and side-by-side, you’ll snake up a corkscrewing track, before launching headlong into heart-stopping turns, drops and inversions. You can grab a National Express bus from York to get there.

Why not...? 

Treat your head for heights further, by having a Giraffe Encounter in the park’s zoo? New for this season, you can actually go inside the giraffe house and feed the animals straight from your hand!

Our favourite history lesson

You’ll never believe learning could be so much fun

Lancaster Castle

The castle’s great. It dates back almost 1,000 years and is of huge national and international importance. The best thing about it though, is that it’s brought alive through loads of thrilling tours and events.

Why not...? 

Time your visit to see the Croix du Nord Re-Enactment (5-6 July)? The year is 1093, the year the castle was built. You’ll see harsh Norman justice in action, watch warriors in training, get to stand in a shield-wall and even handle some weapons. War is coming: what will happen when the Scottish invade? Head along and find out.

Best free days out

You don’t need a big budget to have a great summer day out

Huddersfield Food & Drink Festival

Held between 7 and 10 August, you can sample the region’s finest food and watch cookery demonstrations in St George’s Square.

Manchester Day

On Sunday 22 June, the city centre will be closed to traffic for the day as over 50,000 people pack the streets for Manchester Day, a colourful community parade with a lively carnival atmosphere. The annual event has been running since 2010 and this year’s theme is Going Global, as Manchester celebrates its contribution to music, fashion and the arts.

Brazilica Festival

The World Cup kicks off in Brazil this summer but if you want to experience the country’s carnival atmosphere without paying thousands of pounds on flights and hotels, head to Brazilica, a free festival in Liverpool City Centre. From 11 July, you can expect 9 days of music, dance, exhibitions and film.

Our favourite summer festivals

Pack your sun hat and your wellies! There are loads of world-class festivals bringing the noise this summer...

Best for clubbers - Parklife Weekender Heaton Park

Manchester 7-8 June

Hosted by Manchester club The Warehouse Project, Snoop Dogg and 
Disclosure play.

Best for ’90s classics - Kendal Calling

Kendal, 1-3 August

Happy Mondays, De La Soul, and Suede play the Lake District’s finest festival.

Best for everyone - Leeds Festival

22-24 August

One of the UK’s most famous festivals returns to Leeds. There’s Arctic Monkeys and Queens Of The Stone Age for the rockers, and Disclosure and Duke Dumont for the club kids.

Best for top pop - Radio 1 Big Weekend 2014

Glasgow 24-25 May
Big chart hitters Pharrell and Rita Ora are joined by Paolo Nutini and The 1975.

Best for dads - Beverley Folk Festival, Beverley Racecourse

Near Hull 20-22 June
Folky sets from Billy Bragg, Chas and Dave, plus Martin and Eliza Carthy.

Best for Beatlemania - Beatleweek

Liverpool, 20-26 August

This annual festival celebrates the music of the most famous pop group the world has ever known – with 60+ bands!

Best for cool kids - Tramlines

Sheffield 25-27 July

The Cribs, Katy B and Public Enemy are the big names at this inner city festival. But look out for great lesser-known acts such as Benji B, Gold Panda and Moxie.

Our favourite summer walk

Conquer your first fell, with this easy and simple woodland walk

Orrest Head, Windermere

Just over the road from Windermere station there’s a big sign pointing to the start of the walk. You’re basically going to follow one of a choice of paths through the woods to Orrest Head, the peak of which is 129 metres up. Sounds like a lot, but really it’s a pretty gentle ramble. When you get to the peak, there’s a plaque and numerous benches for a good sit down. An easy, signposted walk back through Wynlass Beck and Elleray Wood awaits. Well done: you conquered a fell! 

Our favourite foodie days

Lace up your bib, it’s time for some posh noshing

Tea and Cake Planet

Newcastle, 28-29 June

This is where the region’s band of tea upstarts join forces with century-old blenders to present a pot-full of tea bars, tea dances and pop-up workshops for the most magnificent summer tea party – plus a huge map of Britain, made out of cake.

North East Chilli Fest

Seaton Sluice, 5-6 July

Magicians, musicians, DJs and street science performances surround a celebration of chillis and a massive array of foods that’ll sear the roof of your mouth. Expect to sample wares from such frightening brands as The Chilli Alchemist and Grim Reaper Foods.

Foodies Festival

Edinburgh, 8-10 August

Expect tens of thousands along to this giant event. You’ll see a bunch of top TV chef demonstrations, wine experts, all manner of exhibitors and it wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the new Chocolate, Cake, Bake and Preserves Theatre.

Best weird days out

Take a walk on the wild side with this trio of eccentric oddities!

Edinburgh Magic Festival

Baffling illusions, bewildering mind-reading tricks, slippery sleights of hand… be amazed and amused at Edinburgh’s week-long magic fest in June/July. Enjoy shows throughout the city, while would-be conjurers and street-magicians can learn the ropes at magic school. magicfest.co.uk

Sharmaka Kinetic Theatre, Glasgow

What’s a Kinetic Theatre, you may ask? It’s hundreds of carved figures, pieces of scrap metal and spellbinding light and music coming together to tell tales of the human spirit. It’s been described as, “hilarious, ghoulish and unmissable.” sharmanka.com

Pontefract Liquorice Festival

In July Pontefract celebrates the town’s links with liquorice. You’ll find ‘allsorts’ of entertainment including a large Yorkshire market, craft stalls, street entertainment, music, street food, and workshops and activities for children. facebook.com/liquoricefestival

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