Three things I love about Newcastle

January 23, 2015

I came to Newcastle Upon Tyne almost by accident. I was trying to choose a university and somehow Newcastle ended up on the list. I did not know much about the city when I arrived but soon grew to love the friendly vibrant place. Many years later I am still finding new places in the toon to visit and explore. Whilst I have visited many cities around the world Newcastle is the place I call home. There are so many things to do in Newcastle that if you come for a visit your time would be full. There is fabulous shopping with InTu Eldon Square and the InTu Metro Centre a short bus ride away. If you want food there is a great selection of restaurants and pubs and a vibrant nightlife. If museums are more your taste there are plenty of free museums like the Discovery Museum and the Great North Museum. It is really difficult to pick out the three things I love most about Newcastle. If pressed I would pick the following three things:

1. The Bridges

Newcastle bridgesNewcastle is a city of bridges, some old and some new. There have been bridges spanning the river Tyne since the time of the Romans. The Quayside area of Newcastle is home to a great number of bridges from the iconic Tyne Bridge to the more modern Millennium bridge. When I see the Tyne Bridge I always know I am home. It was the first view of Newcastle I saw when I arrived by train and  crossing it by road its green arches welcome you to the city.

Newcastle bridgesThe bridges also represent the industrial background of the city. The hydraulic swing bridge was built by Armstrong, a Newcastle scientist and industrialist. It is unique as it swings round to let ships though using hydraulic power.  The high level bridge was designed by Robert Stephenson and is the oldest bridge crossing the Tyne. It is both a railway bridge and a road bridge.

High level bridgeThe bridges look lovely by night and you can sit and have a drink looking across at them, watching the world go by.

Millenium Bridge2. The history

When walking around Newcastle you will find old mixing with new. You can be walking along a shopping street and suddenly find you are at the Castle Keep. It was built by Henry II and goes back to the time when Newcastle was surrounded by a city wall for defensive purposes.

castle-keepParts of the city wall still remain and recently I walked along some of their length with my son on the way to the Centre for Life. He was fascinated and kept stopping to read the information placards along the way.
city-wallsI love the way the city has mixed the old with the new, keeping its sense of history.

3.  The Uniqueness

Newcastle is a very unique city and this can be seen as you walk around it. You will find strangely named streets like Pudding Chare and Amen Corner as well as aptly named flights of stairs like this one called Long Stairs.

The long stairs
The dog leap stairs always make me smile as the name is so apt. Bessie Surtees is said to have ridden up these stairs on horseback with John Scott before they were married in Scotland. The stairs are also mentioned in the Dire Straits song “Down to the waterline”.

dog leap stairs

Where else can you find bricks like these?

Forth Street

Or be walking along a street and find a lot of shopping trolleys made into a sculpture.
Shopping trolly scuplture

If you look you will find examples of Newcastle’s uniqueness all through the city.

I would love to know what your favourite things about Newcastle are. What you you add to my list?

 

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