The North East of England encompasses Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and parts of North Yorkshire. Major towns and cities include Newcastle Upon Tyne, Durham, Middlesborough, South Shields, Stockton on Tees, Washington, Darlington, Hartlepool and Gateshead. The area covers 8,592 square kilometres and is home to a population of 2,597,000 people. It offers good rail and road connections to the rest of the UK and features some of the most naturally beautiful stretches of coastland in the world. The tallest point is The Cheviot, in the Cheviot Hills, reaching 2,674 feet high.
It’s a friendly, welcoming area famous for the Geordie accent and has a strong sense of local identity and pride.
Things to see and do
The North East of England is eternally popular with visitors of all ages, offering something for everyone. The region holds strong religious and historic importance, which can be experienced in Northumberland’s ancient castles and Hadrian’s Wall, one of the famous frontiers of the Roman Empire. Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, is a must visit for history lovers, and visitors can see the works of 7th Century Cuthbert up close and personal. It was also here that the Lindisfarne Gospels were written by a monk named Eadfrith, later to become the Bishop of Lindisfarne. Housestead’s Roman Fort and Museum is a great day out for the whole family, featuring interactive installations and games.
The local landscape is rugged and battle-scarred thanks to wars with the Vikings, but this only adds to the charm. There’s a real sense of history and “oldness” here that makes the North East all the more attractive to visitors from all over the world.
The name Newcastle is steeped in history. It comes from the castle built by William the Conquerer’s eldest son, Robert Curthose, after the conquest in 1080. There’s a strong industrial heritage too. Thanks to its abundant local materials including salt and coal, the North East played a major role in the country’s economic activity. Just a short drive away is the Vindolanda Roman Fort and Museum, which gives a glimpse into the daily life of a Roman garrison town. Beamish Open Air Museum in Durham is a fun packed day out for all the family.
Those who like their exhibitions to be more contemporary should visit the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, a state of the art modern gallery in Newcastle city centre. Or for unrivalled views of the Northumberland night sky, take a trip to the Kielder Observatory – perfect for a bit of stargazing. That leads us nicely to the Northern Lights, which if you’re lucky can be viewed from the North East. For the best chance of experiencing the Aurora Borealis in and around Newcastle, visit the observatory between October and March.
The nightlife in the North East rivals London, and it’s a lot friendlier too. Tyne Bar is a big hit with locals and visitors, and the open bar and auditorium is perfect for balmy summer evenings. Or for something a little more glitzy and sophisticated, try Lola Jeans – a sparkling jazz bar complete with chandeliers and stunning murals. It’s said to do some of the best cocktails in the North too. And if you do like a tipple, visit Saint Aiden’s Winery in Lindisfarne for some traditional, blow-your-socks-off mead.
Serious shoppers love the Metro Centre in Gateshead, home to every high street name you can imagine and lots of high end ones. You’ll be spoilt for choice for somewhere to get a bite to eat or a coffee too.
The North East is prized for its beaches, and rightly so. It’s full of secret hideaways, craggy rocks and fun filled promenades. For good old-fashioned seaside fare try South Shields, or if you’re looking for something more remote Holy Island is an idyllic setting for a picnic and nature spotting. There are whales, puffins, seals and porpoises to be spotted on a good day, and if you want to go a little further afield Norwegian cruises sail on the North Sea.
Why buy a holiday home in the North East?
The North East is an ancient land, blessed with truly stunning scenery and outstanding beaches that are beautiful all year round. It’s one of the most welcoming parts of the UK, and once you’ve made friends with the locals you’ll be taken in as part of the family. There’s always someone to share a story with, as well as countless great days out for the whole family.