IN THE CENTRE
Eat: Jack Hunter is in his early 20s and already has his own restaurant – the imaginatively named Hunter’s. Expect modern British cuisine – wild mushrooms on toast, anyone?
Drink: Stop in at Wallis & Co for a cocktail or three. This is a chic addition to the Hartlepool Marina area and also does a great afternoon tea menu. What’s not to love?
See: Take a stroll along Hartlepool Marina and gaze enviously at the yachts moored there. On a sunny day, you could be in Marseille, if only the locals said ‘Bonjour’ a bit more.
Do: Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience is a fab recreation of an 18th century seaport. Hop aboard the HMS Trincomalee, Britain’s oldest warship still afloat, and learn all about life at sea.
10 MILES AWAY
Eat: Bedford Street in Middlesbrough is fast becoming one of the North East’s hottest locations for a bite to eat. One of our favourites there is Barbarossa which serves up great pizzas made with delicious sourdough in an authentic Italian wood-fired style.
Drink: The Dr Phil that you saw on TV when you holidayed in America probably isn’t presiding over a micropub in Linthorpe. Nevertheless, Dr Phil’s Real Ale House is terribly exciting and on trend. Expect plenty of beers you’ve never heard of and plenty of people to discuss them with.
See: The Infinity Bridge crosses the River Tees in Stockton and is still less than 10 years old. It’s definitely worth a look – particularly at night when it’s all lit up.
Do: Middlesbrough-native Chris Rea loved being on the beach so much he wrote a song about it, and there’s a great one not too far from his hometown – Saltburn Beach is picturesque and has plenty of spots for plodging.
20 MILES AWAY
Eat: The Blacksmith’s Arms in Lastingham sits just inside the North York Moors National Park and serves up traditional British fayre – Yorkshire puddings are available as a course all on their own. Yes, you read that right.
Drink: The Buck Inn, Chop Gate takes its beer seriously – expect German ales, guest ales and Bucks Pale Ale, a beverage brewed by Wainstones Brewery in Stokesley especially for the pub.
See: From historic trainlines and moors to forests and coastlines, North York Moors National Park has a view to suit any budding Instagram photographer.
Do: Grab a couple of rods, a couple of pals, a whole lot of patience and take yourself away for a serene day of fishing at Scaling Dam Reservoir.
30 MILES AWAY
Eat: Both Gilroy’s Dining Room and Dickens Bar and Bistro can be found at The Morritt Hotel & Garage Spa near Barnard Castle. Whether you want a smart meal out or an informal bite, you’ll find it here.
Drink: The Old Well Inn, Barnard Castle hosts a regular real ale festival, puts good music on and is generally a pleasant place to be. Their range of casks changes weekly, but you can expect inclusions from breweries such as Consett Ales, Timothy Taylor and Pennine Brewery.
See: At slightly less than 30 miles away, the Terris Novalis sculptures can be found on the Coast to Coast cycle route near Consett. They are based on surveying instruments and are pretty huge – go and take a look and decide if you think there’s a touch of Star Wars about them too.
Do: The Bowes Museum in Teesdale is as striking on the inside as it is on the outside. As well as its collection of beautiful paintings, the museum is also home to a number of intriguing trinkets – we love the tiny mechanical mouse.