To Brits, the city of Newcastle, is probably best known for the striped shirts of its football team, the drunken nights out that make up 90% of the reality show Geordie Shore, and for - somewhat more respectably - producing the nation's most beloved TV-duo, Ant & Dec. Once an industrial hub, this city on the Tyne River has for too long, and quite unfairly, been written off as little more than a good night out. Now, the tide is finally turning; with many of the north east of England's major attractions within easy reach, a booming cultural scene, and its status as a shopping capital (plus that legendary nightlife), it's increasingly seen as hip and up-and-coming. Throw in the locals - Geordies, as they are known - who have a reputation for being as fun and warm as they are gritty, and a completely charming accent, and you've got yourself quite the city.
Things to do
- Victoria Tunnel - A tour of the Victoria Tunnel, which runs beneath the city and was originally used for transporting coal, before being converted into an air-raid shelter during World War II, is a great way to bring Newcastle's history to life.
- The Angel of the North - Technically in Gateshead, but a very short drive from Newcastle, this 20 metre tall steel statue of an angel stretching its wings is now an iconic symbol of this region, despite originally facing fierce opposition.
- Seven Stories - The National Centre for Children's Books. Almost everyone has a favourite childhood book, and this centre is dedicated to celebrating all kinds of children's stories and bringing them to life. With visits from authors, storytelling, dress up sessions and craft activities, it's a fun day out that even the most screen-addicted kids will love.
Where to eat and drink
Stretching over both sides of the Tyne River that runs through this city, the Quayside is a lovely place to wile away a few hours, just strolling along the river or exploring cultural sites such as the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. However, it's also here that plentiful options for food can be found, with numerous restaurants enjoying views over the river, as well as the famously arched Tyne Bridge and venus fly-trap-resembling Gateshead Millennium Bridge. By night, the Quayside is also the place to be, with various pubs and cocktail bars giving it a vibrant edge.
- Durham - The stunning city of Durham is just a 15 minute train journey from the centre of Newcastle and a must-visit for anyone interested in history. Pretty enough just for its cobbled streets, wide river and hilly terraces, it's made even more spectacular by the 11th-century castle, grand cathedral and the elaborate buildings of one of the UK's oldest and most illustrious universities that are all at its centre.
- Hadrian's Wall - Constructed by the Roman emperor Hadrian in AD 122, Hadrian's wall is considered one of the most impressive ancient engineering feats in the UK, and although set in the middle of open countryside, it's still just a short ride from Newcastle. To get there, take a 25 minute train to Hexham then jump on the hop-on hop-off Hadrian's Wall Country Bus, the AD 122, which travels to various points along the wall.