"It's the summer and, whether the sun is shining or not, the seaside is the place to be."
1. Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Go once and you'll want to go every year. Edinburgh in August is like no other place on Earth, with comedy, street performance, theatre and dance in droves as 21,000 performers and almost 2 million visitors converge for three weeks of fun and frivolity. It's what memorable summers are made of...
Go by train: Edinburgh
2. 'Wallace and Gromit present... A World of Cracking Ideas'
until 30 October
Join everyone's favourite Plasticine friends for an exhibition at Newcastle's Life Science Centre all about Wallace's speciality: amazing inventions. Expect innovative contraptions and plenty of Wensleydale cheese.
Go by train: Newcastle
3. Leeds Festival
If you haven't got them already, you'll have to beg, borrow or steal to get your hands on tickets for Leeds this year. It's one of the hottest tickets around - and First TransPennine Express is the official travel sponsor. So, when it comes to getting there, avoid hours of queuing for parking spaces and jump on the train for hassle-free (and hangover-friendly) travelling this August Bank Holiday weekend. Buy your tickets online now at tpexpress.co.uk
4. Conquer a castle
From Carlisle to Edinburgh and Durham to Lancaster, there are plenty of castles across the north to choose from. Immerse yourself in history for the day - who knows what you might discover.
5. Bungee jump from a big bridge!
If you're feeling brave and have a head for heights, why not take the plunge and try a bungee jump? Middlesbrough's Transporter Bridge is the only one in the UK from which you can leap, and it's sure to get your adrenaline pumping.
Go by train: Middlesbrough
6. Spend a day at the races
Fancy a day at the gee-gees? Take advantage of the Back a Winner campaign, which gets you money off admission prices and bets when you travel by train to selected race days at the following courses: Beverley, Carlisle, Cartmel, Doncaster, Hamilton Park, Hexham, Musselburgh, Newcastle, Pontefract, Redcar, Thirsk and York. It's a top day out for the whole family.
7. Park life!
Why not explore one of the numerous beautiful city parks across the network?
From Glasgow's Kelvingrove to Liverpool's Sefton Park, city centres aren't just about shopping and eating.
8. Kendal Calling
Small but perfectly formed, Kendal Calling is one of the rising stars of the UK festival scene. For 2011, Lowther Deer Park near Penrith will be graced with the likes of Blondie, The Cribs and Nero. And with a capacity of just 8,000, it's well deserving of the 'Best Small Festival' accolade it won at the 2010 UK Festival Awards.
Go by train: Penrith
9. Gaze at gardens in Sheffield
Whether it's the Peace Gardens, the Winter Gardens or the Botanical Gardens, Sheffield has green inspiration aplenty. Take a wander alone, share a picnic with friends or swing by the Botanical Gardens for music in July and outdoor theatre in August.
Go by train: Sheffield
10. Jump on...and fly!
In the mood for a last-minute escape to the sun? With trains direct to Manchester Airport (the station is actually IN the airport) and services now stopping at Liverpool South Parkway - just a short shuttle-bus ride from John Lennon Airport - sun, sea and sangria are but hours away. Leave parking charges and hassles behind and embrace carefree summer travel!
Go by train: Manchester Airport and Liverpool South Parkway
11. The Great Promenade Show in Blackpool
Stretching along two kilometres of Blackpool's famous waterfront, The Great Promenade Show is a series of 10 pieces of sculptural art with a difference. From the world's biggest mirrorball (a tribute to the town's ballroom dancing traditions) to 'Glam Rocks' (giant concrete pebbles that sparkle with multicoloured fibre-optic lights) choose your favourite on a bracing sea walk.
Go by train: Blackpool North
12. On the Waterfront
22-24 July & 8-15 September
Celebrating the best of Liverpool's past, present and future, On the Waterfront comprises two events across the summer. The first, in July, celebrates the city's landmark Liver Building, while the second in September replaces the Mersey River Festival which this year takes on a nautical theme. Both will involve plenty of performances, pomp and revelry. Events not to be missed.
Go by train: Liverpool
13. Manchester International Festival
30 June-17 July
With a quirky mix of world-renowned names, Manchester International Festival is an artist-led event that takes place every two years, spanning performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. This year's offering has everything from a new play by Victoria Wood to performances from Bjork and Snoop Dog and an exciting new opera composed by Blur's Damon Albarn. Visit tpexpress.co.uk/explorer for more details.
Go by train: Manchester
14. Head to the beach, whatever the weather
It's the summer and, whether the sun is shining or not, the seaside is the place to be. Blackpool or Cleethorpes, Scarborough or Hull (okay, not technically the seaside but who's counting?) there's loads to enjoy on the coast - from aquariums and museums to fish and chips, donkey rides and ice creams...
15. Have a posh picnic in York
Pop to one of the city's fab delis (Henshelwood's, The Hairy Fig and The Yorkshire Pantry all come highly recommended) and select a picnic of treats to eat in the gorgeous Museum Gardens, with the stunning ruins of St Mary's Abbey as a backdrop.