The United Kingdom offers a wealth of vacation opportunities with vacation destination ranging from a typical seaside vacation in Blackpool to the highly popular vacation in London. Over the last few decades there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people visiting places in Britain which are not usually high on the list of best vacation destinations in the UK. In the article below I will be introducing Tyne and Wear in the North East of England.
While many people visiting the UK tend to visit the mulcherparts popular destinations in the South of England, such as London, and some venture North in Scotland (Edinburgh and the Highlands are extremely popular) many miss the places between which is an incredible oversight on their part. The North of England has a number of cities which are well worth spending at least a weekend in, especially if you enjoy a wild night out. Besides the lively nightclubs, bars and pubs of northern cities you will find some of the finest museums and art galleries, fantastic stately homes, plenty of castles and masses of first class visitor attractions. In the North East of England cities such as York and Newcastle stand out as great destinations but looking around the area you may be surprised to learn that Tyne and Wear has plenty to merit a couple of weeks of your time.
Unlike many of the counties of England, Tyne and Wear is not a ceremonial county, it’s a metropolitan county which was created in 1974. The northern part of the county had previously been in the county of Northumberland and the parts south of the River Tyne had been part of County Durham. Today the area is promoting itself within the tourism industry using a variety of tactics which include marketing the city of Newcastle and the town of Gateshead as one entity Newcastle-Gateshead and while this may sound strange it makes perfect sense when you realise that it is only the Tyne which separates the two and if you go on a shopping trip you will, most likely, visit shopping districts in both places, the MetroCentre in Gateshead is a shopping Mecca and Northumberland Street will also be of interest.
Visitor Attractions In Tyne And Wear
Unlike Northumberland to the North, Tyne and Wear has only a very small number of castles to visit, the most prominent being the Newcastle Castle Keep with Hylton Castle and Tynemouth Castle completing the list. However there are a number of historic houses and other important buildings to visit as well as an incredible number of museums and art galleries and a respectable number of excellent modern visitor attractions. If you prefer things a little more sedate then the Tyne and Wear coastline provides some excellent vistas and the countryside is stunning, of special note is the fact that parts Hadrian’s Wall fall within the county and it is well worth visiting at least one of the sites (Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum in Wallsend and Arbeia Roman Fort & Museum in South Shields may also be of interest).
There are only two cities within the county, Newcastle and Sunderland and there is a deep running competition between the two which is most evident in the support of their respective football teams. One important thing to keep in mind when visiting either is the fact that Geordies come from Newcastle but people hailing from Sunderland are known as Mackems (and, although they sound very alike to outsiders, they do take great offence at being called Geordies). Within these two cities you will find the most prestigious visitor attractions so it may be best if you base yourself in either for the duration of your visit taking day trips to attractions elsewhere in the county.
In recent decades there has been something of an explosion within the region’s art scene. The most obvious element of this interest in art is the imposing sight of the Angel of the North, by Antony Gormley, in Gateshead. This 20 metre (66 ft) tall sculpture has a wing span of 54 metres (177 ft) and cannot be missed if you are travelling into the town by road or rail. In typical northern humour the contemporary sculpture has been nicknamed the “Gateshead Flasher” but what I find really interesting is that there was some controversy over the cost (£1 million). On a recent TV program I saw one of the scale models created for the local council to show how it would look. There were several made as each one was tuned and tweaked to perfection but when this one alone was valued at over £1 million I realised that Gateshead had, in effect, got the Angel of the North for free (but only if they sell the model – but they might have more which could mean that they could make a profit). If you are interested in art you should make a visit to BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the Laing Art Gallery and, if you find the time, the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art should be added to your list of places to visit in Tyne and Wear.
The Discovery Museum in Newcastle is stunning and the diverse range of exhibits could easily take you three or more hours to explore. Other museums in Tyne and Wear to visit include the Beamish Museum, Bede’s World, the wonderful Centre for Life, Hancock Museum, the Stephenson Railway Museum and many more. If you enjoy fine architecture Grainger Town, in Newcastle’s Central Conservation Area, is a “must see” visitor attraction, especially the beautiful Grey Street. I think I may write an article about Grainger Town as there is simply too much to write about to include it here! Unfortunately I have written so much already I will not be able to write about some of the many other visitor attractions in Tyne and Wear. However I hope that this article has inspired you to investigate further.
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