Vibrant and handsome, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE has emerged from its industrial heyday and its post-industrial difficulties with barely a smut on its face. Its reputation for lively nightlife is just the tip of the iceberg; with its collection of top-class art galleries, museums and flourishing theatre scene – not to mention the shopping – the city is up there among the most exciting in Britain.

The de facto capital of the area between Yorkshire and Scotland, the city was named for its “new castle” founded in 1080 and hit the limelight during the Industrial Revolution – Grainger Town in the city’s centre is lined with elegant, listed classical buildings, indicating its past wealth and importance as one of Britain’s biggest and most important exporters of coal, iron and machinery. The decline of industry damaged Newcastle badly, signalling decades of poverty and hardship – a period recalled by Antony Gormley’s mighty statue the Angel of the North, which, since its appearance in 1998, has become both a poignant eulogy for the days of industry and a symbol of resurgence and regeneration.

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