Whether you love football, film or food, here are the must-visit sites.
When tourists think about visiting Britain, the first place that comes to mind is London. The island nation might be small but it has a population of 67 million people, and each country as well as county has its own charm. Trust us: England has more to offer than the capital, which is why we went on a trip up north to Durham, Newcastle, Gateshead and beyond.
North England is famous for being more hospitable than the South. In London, you’d be lucky if someone looked at you on the London Underground. In the North, locals chatted to us when we sat on a bench. Plus, the Geordie accent – the name for someone from or living in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne – is regularly voted as Britain’s friendliest accent.
Celebrities from North East England include Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole, comedians Ant and Dec, footballer Alan Shearer and Mr Bean (aka Rowan Atkinson). The area offers thousands of years of history, amazing architecture, gorgeous greenery and, of course, world-class sport – Newcastle FC, anyone? Here are the must-visit sites in North East England.
Newcastle and Gateshead
Newcastle and Gateshead are two cities, which are located next to each other and accessible by seven bridges. The cities are located on the River Tyne – Newcastle is located on the north bank, and Gateshead is located on the south bank.
No trip to Newcastle is complete without visiting St. James Park. Home to Newcastle United Football Club, it can hold more than 52,000 dedicated fans. On our visit, we caught Brighton Vs. Newcastle. The stadium was a sight to behold with black and white flags waving, fans chanting in unison and families coming together. We even spotted two Saudi Arabian men who had come to support the club, which had been bought by the Kingdom.
House of Tides is the only MICHELIN Starred restaurant in Newcastle, and it is located in the iconic Grade I listed building, Quayside. The area boasts a vibrant bar and dining scene with mid-range restaurants, from alfresco cocktails at Roof Thirty Nine to modern Indian food at Khai Khai. Plus, the significant student population helps contribute to the buzzing nightlife scene.
The five-star Matfen Hall Hotel includes 65 bedrooms, which are fit for royalty. The site spans 300 acres of parkland, a 27-hole golf course and a 15-metre-long swimming pool. The luxury suites include high ceilings, grand windows and Insta-worthy views.
As you travel through the quaint, hilly city of Durham, you’ll find one of the country’s most prestigious universities and architectural wonders. Don’t leave without visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Durham Cathedral. Dating back to 1093, the Anglican cathedral is dazzling and dramatic, from its stained-glass windows to its soaring spires. Climb the tower’s 325 steps, and you’ll be rewarded with a view over Durham.
Beamish Museum is a living museum that has bought to life Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian England, from wartime to the 1950s. Set across 300 acres, it offers a unique day out. Guides are dressed in traditional outfits, and bursting with knowledge about the past. The attention to detail is so impressive, we overheard older people commenting on the accuracy. The team have paid attention to details, from the tram with historic adverts to a dentist’s surgery with old-school equipment.
When you visit Alnwick Castle, it will feel like you are in Harry Potter – it served as the set for the films Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secret, after all. The Outer Baily is where the students learnt to play the sport Quidditch, and you can too with the help of some actors and broomsticks.
Alnwick Castle is one of the largest inhabited castles in England. Dating back to the 11th century, it is now owned by the Percy family and home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. The castle boasts Capability Brown Gardens, a collection of paintings from the Old Masters and a library with 14,000 volumes.
You don’t have to go to Rome to see Roman history. Hadrian’s Wall stretches 73 miles across the North of England, and was built to guard the northwest frontier of the Roman Empire. Walk through the remains of forts, towers, towns and Roman baths.
How to get there
Visitors can travel from Newcastle to London by train in under three hours. Newcastle International Airport is well located and 15 minutes from the city centre. The airport welcomes sixteen airlines and connects to more than 80 destinations.
Emirates flies direct from Dubai to Newcastle and takes approximately seven hours. Saudi Arabia to Newcastle requires a stopover and takes approximately nine hours.