|| Newcastle seems
to be the city equivalent of a fine wine that gets better
with age, with a full bodied history, a rich cultural
scene, a vibrant party atmosphere and an innovative spirit.
Located in the North East of England, Newcastle is considered
to be the capital of the region. Although this is an unofficial
title, it’s easy to see how the city has earned
it. In the early years Newcastle had an important part
to play as the first line of defence for Britain against
attack from the north, later the city was at the forefront
of the Industrial revolution and today it’s
the leading centre of culture and industry in the North
On visiting Newcastle it’s easy to see the prosperous
past the city enjoyed as you look around the city centre. Grey Street [map] in particular is a distinctly grand Victorian thoroughfare
with the elegant Theatre Royal [map] at the top. Created by architect John Dobson in
the 1830s, the street was described by one time poet Laureate,
Sir John Betjeman, who said:
"As for the curve of Grey Street, I shall never
forget seeing it to perfection, traffic-less on a misty
Sunday morning. Not even Regent Street, even old Regent
Street London, can compare with that descending subtle
However, while the city is steeped in history, you’ll
also find that Newcastle is evolving. Probably the best
example of this is the transformation of the historic Quayside [map] into a modern example of Euro chic with plush hotels and
fashionable bars and restaurants now lining the banks
of the River Tyne.
And as you sit riverside and sip your cocktail, the views
you’ll enjoy will include the impressive set of
bridges that cross the Tyne and Gateshead’s quayside.
Due to their proximity to each other Newcastle and Gateshead
are closely linked, and the fact that they jointly applied
to be the UK’s Capital of Culture 2008, shows that
this is more than just geographical connection.
And Gateshead itself does have lot to offer, including
Anthony Gormley’s jumbo jet sized Angel of the
the MetroCentre [map],
the Baltic contemporary art gallery [map],
and the soon to be opened Gateshead Sage [map],
a new international centre of music.
But if you decide to stay on the Newcastle side of the
river, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. The
city is home to several cultural treasures including the Laing art gallery [map] and the Theatre Royal, but it also has some first class
sports teams to watch, an attractive selection of shops
and a late night party atmosphere that’s both cosmopolitan
Newcastle city centre itself is quite compact and is easy
to get around on foot. However if you plan to navigate
around the city it may be useful to know where the local
Bigg Market is probably the most well known, particularly
for partygoers. Confusingly the name is not just the name
of a street but also the name of the area around it, located
just up from the cathedral.
Other areas in Newcastle central are Grey Street, in the
heart of the city centre where you’ll find the Theatre
Royal, and the popular Quayside area, down by the River
Newcastle also has its own Chinatown, at the centre of
which is Stowell Street, and its own gay area that you’ll
find close to the International Centre for Life around
Scotswood Road. And slightly further out is Haymarket,
the name for the area where the universities are.
Now that you have an idea of what the city has to offer,
why not explore the site further and get to know Newcastle
a little better...