6. Newcastle Upon Tyne

From Roman beginnings, through the Middle ages and wars with the Scots, to becoming one of the major cities of the British Empire, Newcastle’s streets reflect its exciting history and vibrant present. Hadrian was here, William Wallace was here, Charles the First was here and George Stephenson invented the railway here. Sieges, riots, death and mayhem, Newcastle has seen it all. Ships set out from here to conquer the world and the wonderful architecture of the town show how much money was made in trade. Newcastle boasts the ‘finest street in England’ and with two universities, is a young and exhilarating place. Only London and Berlin have a better night life in Europe. Geordies know how to enjoy themselves and have a reputation for open friendliness that belies their British roots. I’ve lived in this area all my life and I will explain what you’re looking at and what happened here. I’m looking forward to meeting you. Don’t bring any coal with you.

ITINERARY

Meet at Grey’s Monument – the spiritual centre of town. We will explore the main streets and architecture of Victorian Britain going steadily back through time to the Medieval Castle and Cathedral and down to the quayside where so much happened through the centuries. I will explore the centre with you and we can start at your hotel or the railway station or any other reasonably central place and I can change the itinerary to suit whatever it is you’re interested in most.

The then Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Gladstone said of Grey Street in 1862 that it was ‘ the finest street in England’

Pevsner concluded Newcastle to be ’the best designed Victorian town in England and indeed the best designed large City in England altogether’.

In John Ardagh’s A Tale of Five Cities (120) (1979) wrote of Tyneside ‘’one of the few areas in Britain where true regional traditions survive. It is at least as real and self-aware as Languedoc (and Newcastle) has a stronger personality than any other big English town.

Newcastle walking tour; £40 for any number of people up to 4 then £10 per head after that. Duration; 2 hours approx.

Gallery

The famous Tyne bridges

The famous Tyne bridges

The 'New' Castle

The ‘New’ Castle

Grey Street, described as architecturally one of the finest in Britain

Grey Street, described as architecturally one of the finest in Britain

The wonderful Theatre Royal

The wonderful Theatre Royal

Grey's Monument the spiritual centre of town

Grey’s Monument the spiritual centre of town

Grainger Street and excellent shopping

Grainger Street and excellent shopping

Bessie Suttees house showing some of Newcastle's historic past

Bessie Suttees house showing some of Newcastle’s historic past