Visiting the North East of England - and why not?
Cheap train travel is another of the main reasons behind these impressive statistics as well as private and public sector investment in the tourist industry. With important historical cities including Durham and York providing major attractions there is plenty for all family members to enjoy and a wealth of attractions suited to travellers of all ages.
Those who aren't interested in history might prefer to visit the National Railway Museum at Shildon, just outside Durham. Alternatively travel further up the line to Newcastle and take advantage of the wonderful art galleries, restaurants and even catch a glimpse of the iconic 'Angel of the North' statue by Antony Gormley at a discounted rate by buying train tickets in advance.
For those who enjoy history, romance and castles then Alnwick Castle, just four miles away from Alnmouth rail station on the main London to Edinburgh line will satisfy all the senses. This magnificent castle has been home to the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland, since 1309.
If using Newcastle as a base for further travel, it's easy to buy a train ticket from the station and have an exciting day trip. Harry Potter fans will recognise Alnwick as the castle which was used as location for 'Hogwarts' in the early films.
The magnificent scenery that identifies Northumberland and the journey through to the Scottish Borders seems to be filled with iconic castles. Why not drop in at Bamburgh Castle in between Alnwick and Berwick upon Tweed. Although the current building was only erected in 1894, the foundations date back to 547 AD when Ida the Flamebearer erected the first wooden castle.
Bamburgh lies only 42 miles away from Newcastle and 21 miles from Berwick and the local rail station, Chathill, is a short bus ride away. It's a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance so that when you come to buy train tickets you will have a good idea of the destinations that you wish to visit and the closest stations to them.
For those who continue North to the Scottish borders, the scenery in this part of the world is stunning. Berwick upon Tweed is the most northerly town in Northumberland and visitors will still be able to find evidence of its stormy past as a border town.
While in this area it would be a crime not to make an excursion and visit Hadrian's Wall where you can take a trip back in time and admire this iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site in all its glory.