Like many other cities in the UK Newcastle gets overlooked as a destination and not just by visitors from overseas. Us Brits often choose London or Bath as a city break destination and neglect our many other beautiful cities.
I recently visited Newcastle with my husband and son, as a day trip, while on a short family break in Newbiggin by the Sea.
I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was on the river Tyne and that it had a university. We chose to take the bus as we had done quite a lot of driving during our holiday. We caught a shiny new Sapphire bus that was clean and comfortable with free wi fi.
Newcastle wasn’t far from where we were based so thought it would be a short hop on the bus. We were wrong. This bus route took the long way round, so it was more like an unguided tour of the Newcastle suburbs. It was also jolly expensive at over £6 per person for a day ticket. It was, however, a better option than driving around a strange city and searching for car parks, and we did get to see more of the surrounding areas.
The Tourist Office was our first stop, getting a map and some general information about what to do in a day in the city. The very helpful woman there, in response to my surprise at how beautiful the city is, informed me that Grey Street is reputedly the most beautiful street in Britain. And it is very beautiful.
Much of the Georgian architecture remains intact.
I am guessing that, unlike many other British cities, it was not bombed as much in the Second World War. So it has less of the awful post war buildings that Coventry and Birmingham have.
As we explored, we stumbled across many art students sketching the city.
Newcastle on Tyne is of course on the banks of the River Tyne, with 7 bridges connecting it to Gateshead. As we did the walk suggested by the Tourist Office we found these. The Geordie walk of fame.
The Grade 1 listed, Norman, Castle Keep is definitely worth visiting. Climb to the roof for some fantastic views. Well worth the £4 entrance (note cash only when we visited).
We are not shoppers, although I now regret not going to visit the first Fenwicks Store, so we avoided the identiket modern shopping malls and headed to Grainger Market instead. What a treat, if only all markets in England were as lovely as this one.
I liked Newcastle. If you are looking for a city break, instead of London or Manchester, try it out. I don’t think you will be disappointed. Come to Birmingham too! It is also a city that gets overlooked.