Pros: Night Life, Bridges, Quayside, Friendly Geordies, History, Culture, Restaurants, Countryside... I could go on!
Cons: The weather isn't always great... but you don't come to Newcastle for a suntan!
It's very difficult to write a 'brief' review of a spectacular city like Newcastle. There are so many things to do and see that it would be impossible to list them all here. If you want more information I would suggest you visit one of the wealth of websites promoting the area, such as http://www.visitnewcastlegateshead.com. You will see frequent references to 'Geordies' in this review - to cut a long story short, a Geordie is someone from Newcastle... or Gateshead and surrounding areas, if they show sufficient patronage to Newcastle :-). Many people say a Geordie has to be born within a mile of the river Tyne... or must live in Newcastle... but being a Geordie is more than just boundaries and rivers... it's a culture like no other in the world ...and no other city in the world has been through quite the same set of uniquely historic and unfortunate events, such as the decline of ship-building and coal-mining ...and few other cities have shown the sheer grit, determination and pride to bounce back in the same way as Newcastle and Gateshead. If you don't believe me, watch the 1971 film 'Get Carter' before visiting but don't let it put you off!! ...you're in for a pleasant surprise.
There's no getting away from the fact that Newcastle is now one of the world's top party cities. We have some of the biggest concentrations of bars / clubs and restaurants to be found anywhere in the country. The Historic quayside hosts 70 bars and restaurants alone, while the rest of Newcastle plays home to at least 300 more pubs and clubs.
The main concentration of bars and clubs in Newcastle are to be found around the Quayside and Bigg Market. There are other 'clusters' of entertainment to be found around Haymarket, Osborne Road (Jesmond) and Central Station, to name but a few.
Newcastle Quayside boasts a rich choice of lively bars, clubs and restaurants and plays home to England's most spectacular New Year's Eve celebrations (see http://www.newyearsevenewcastle.com). The bars can become VERY busy on weekends so be prepared to queue for drinks on Friday / Saturday nights. The Quayside is much more relaxed early on in the week. Some of the highlights include:-
Pitcher & Piano and Baltic Bar - The Pitcher & Piano is a glass fronted bar on the Newcastle (North) side of the river Tyne. The Baltic Bar is located in the ground floor of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, on the Gateshead (South) side of the river Tyne. Both bars offer spectacular views across the Tyne and are both right next to the Millennium Bridge.
Tuxedo Princess, Baja Beach Club, Foundation and more... - You're pretty much spoilt for choice for clubs in Newcastle - the Quayside hosts about 8 of them. The Tuxedo Princess is multi-roomed floating nightclub in a big white ship, complete with revolving dance floor; Baja Beach Club is a themed beach bar with tub girls serving drinks in bikinis; Foundation is one of the UK's premier clubs for non-commercial dance music, attracting the world's best DJs.
One of the latest additions to Newcastle's entertainment scene is 'The Gate'. This futuristically designed building boasts one of the biggest glass frontages in Europe and houses a collection of stylishly upmarket bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants. The top floor of The Gate plays home to a brand new Odeon 12 screen cinema complex. The Gate caters for any age range although is ideally suited to the 25-40 bracket - one of the most popular venues being Tiger Tiger with 6 bars 2 dance floors and a restaurant. Most bars in The Gate are open until 2 or 3am. Other attractions in The Gate include the contemporary 'Spice Cube' Indian restaurant and the ultra-chic 'Beyond - Bar Grill'. The Gate has been described as a playground for grownups!
PLACES TO VISIT
Newcastle upon Tyne is an ideal base for visiting some of Britain's most historic sites and landmarks. It would be impossible to list all of them here, but these are some of the more 'tourist' orientated aspects:-
The river Tyne and it's Bridges
The river Tyne has more than 20 bridges crossing it, 8 of which are concentrated around the heart of Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside. The magnificent Tyne bridge, rumoured (incorrectly!) to have been the prototype for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, is one of the most famous bridges in Britain. When it was built around 1928 it was the biggest single span bridge in the world. The latest addition to the Tyne is the beautiful Gateshead Millennium Bridge - http://www.gateshead.gov.uk/bridge/bridged.htm
The Angel of the North - http://www.gateshead.gov.uk/angel
Britain's largest sculpture - with a wing span of 54 metres, 20 metres tall and 200 tonnes, the Angel of the North is your first welcome to the North East of England.
Baltic - http://www.balticmill.com
Baltic is the major new international centre for contemporary art, which opened in July 2002. The landmark building is situated on the south bank of the River Tyne, Gateshead. The project has transformed the former Baltic Flour Mills, a disused 1950's grain store, into a leading international contemporary arts venue, one of the biggest temporary art spaces in Europe.
The Sage Gateshead - http://www.sagegateshead.com
The Norman Foster designed 'Sage Gateshead' music centre promises to be one of the most spectacular landmarks in the UK. Due for completion in 2004, this striking piece of modern architecture has been described as a cross between the Sydney Opera House and the Starship Enterprise! It will house a world class 1,650 seat concert hall, a ten-sided 400 seat studio hall, a music education centre with 25 individual teaching spaces, workshops and studios.
The International Centre for Life - http://www.centreforlife.co.uk
The Centre for Life is the North of England's premier science centre hosting a range of activities ideally suited for families. Uncover the secrets of life at The Centre for Life, the North's premier science centre, which takes visitors on an exciting hands-on journey through the life sciences.
Other Stuff Worth Seeing...
The Castle Keep, Hadrian's Wall, St. James' Park (football stadium), Stowell Street (Chinatown), Osborne Road - Jesmond (hotels and bars), The Laing (art gallery), the Blue Carpet (public art), Grainer Town / Grey Street (recently voted the best street in Britain), the Town Moor (home to the Hoppings - a 40 acre travelling fun-fair which visits Newcastle for 2 weeks every year), The Theatre Royal (one of the UK's best theatres), Northumberland countryside, the Metrocentre (Europe's biggest shopping centre under one roof!), Eldon Square (Europe's biggest inner-city shopping centre)... enjoy!
The 'Geordie' is a strange beast.... dissimilar to any other 'race'. We're friendly, generally obsessed with football (with the exception of me!), inherently industrious and intensely proud of our roots and culture. You'll find all walks of life welcomed in Newcastle and if you want a cheap 'guided tour' just tell any Geordie taxi driver that you're a tourist and they'll be more than happy to show you the flesh pots of the North East. I find it difficult to keep up with all the changes that have transpired in this city over the last 20 years or so, yet Newcastle will never forget it's history and few people I know who have visited the place have failed to be pleasantly surprised. Have fun!