Visitors are encouraged to think of the city as Newcastle Gateshead, an amalgamation of the two conurbations straddling the Tyne. On Gateshead Quays are the BALTIC contemporary arts centre and Norman Foster’s Sage music centre, and on the opposite side, Newcastle’s Quayside is scene of much of the city’s contemporary nightlife. The city splits into several distinct areas, though it’s only a matter of minutes to walk between them. The castle and cathedral occupy the heights immediately above the River Tyne, while north of here lies the city centre, Grainger Town. Chinatown and the two big draws of the Discovery Museum and the Life Science Centre are west of the centre, while east is the renowned Laing Gallery. In the north of the city, on the university campus, is the Great North Museum: Hancock and even further north, through the landscaped Exhibition Park, is the Town Moor, 1200 acres of common land where freemen of the city – including Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and Bob Geldof – are entitled to graze their cattle. The old industrial Ouseburn Valley, home to an alternative cultural scene, interesting galleries, the excellent Seven Stories children’s museum and some popular bars, is a short walk east along the river from the city centre.

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