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The North of England: Backpacking in The UK on a Budget

England has much more to offer than just London. See where you can get to here!

By: Veronica Pembleton + Save to a List

England is a gloriously green place but unfortunately when someone thinks travel to England, they think that London is the only place there. As wonderful as London is, it is pricey and if you’re heading there with the idea of a budget-friendly trip, this isn’t the destination for you. All is not lost however as England has so much more to offer. In the UK, there are plenty of amazing sights to be seen in this historical and beautiful country, many of which are much better for the traveller on a budget. 

In relation to other countries, the North of England is only 2 hours away from the capital so it’s not far to go at all. The north is the home to breath-taking landscapes, which are impressive to even the most frequent of travellers. By train or by car, it’s easy to get around the country to see what sites it has to offer. So where do you start…

The Lake District

For all of you creative types, whether you’re a writer, painter or anything of the sort, the vistas of the Lake District have been a place of inspiration for the accredited professionals for decades. Poet William Wordsworth, children’s writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter, and author Arthur Ransome are among some of the few who sought inspiration in the rolling hills of this picturesque landscape.

For those of you who don’t have much money to play with, Lake Windermere and it’s surrounding area may make staying under budget tough. With that being said it is a glorious place with stunning walks and views to take in so even if you can’t afford to take a boat out on the lake, the views don’t come at a price so be sure to still go.

Hill Top – the home to Beatrix Potter and the setting to her unbeatable book collections can be visited for £10. If you compare this to a visit to the Tower of London in the capital – which comes at a £25 price – you can immediately see the difference in money you can save. Once more the Hill’s Top’s garden and accompanying shop are free to go into. So even if you don’t want to spend what little you may have, you can see enjoy part of the Beatrix Potter world.

Staying amongst these never ending hills can be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make t. From staying in the local YHA in Ambleside to staying in the 5 star resort overlooking the lake, both make great value for money in their own way so if you’re looking for something different than just cities sites, the Lake District is for you.


For the travelers our their seeking something more historical in their adventures, Yorkshire is the place for you. Cover in history and cobbles, there are still remnants of the medieval era with a medieval street situated in the heart of York. The Shambles is a street full of sweets, coffee and much more. In fact, it is one of the most visited streets in Europe. Perfect for a dose of English medieval history on a budget, as you only need to walk down the street to feel transported back in time!

In addition, you might want to take a look at York Minster, the castle city walls, Rievaulx Abbey or the various museums that the county has to offer. If you do want a speak insight into old England, then places such as York Castle Museum and the Royal Armory Museum in Leeds are excellent places to see. They do come with entry fees but nothing that will put you into the red!

The Northern Powerhouse - Manchester

If you are wanting a city break but can’t fund the heights of the capital, then Manchester is your next best thing. With cheap and affordable places to stay in and around the city, it a great location for those who want the sights and the nightlife all in the same place. From the Fletcher Moss and Botanicals (a beautiful garden) to Affleck’s Palace (an eclectic indoor market full to bursting with unique trinkets), you are bound to find something that suits you. There’s even a handy walking tours app for anyone that wants to see the city in its fullest - from the biggest attractions to hidden gems, you can walk your way to a new discovery every day.

If museums isn’t really your thing, then Manchester’s nightlife won’t disappoint. A worldly hub for music with globally renowned bands such as Oasis heralding from these parts, you’re never far from a music venue or vinyl shop. If it’s beer you’re after, there are a multitude of bars around the city that offer unique brews or refreshing craft ales.

There you have it! The north has so much more to offer, that many people have no clue about! Not to mention it comes at half the price! Following my recent backpacking trip I thought I would spend a hell of lot more money than I did but it really was just the flights that got me. With the amount of work based placements you can under go, I achieved this trip on a low budget by briefly assisting an immigration advice company, helping travellers alike find placements or complete life in the UK tests to help with their applications. I’ve travelled to both the south and the north, and after doing both, the north definitely has much more to offer and at a much lower rate. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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