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Exploring the North East

Out and about

Being born and bred in the North East, I think I can confidently say that you’ve come to the right place if you want to find out about what there is on offer. And, of course, there are the obvious parts, like Newcastle itself, but sometimes stepping out of the city can open your eyes to all of our natural wonders.

As someone who is always up for a stroll along the beach, a hike up a hill, or a peek at natural interests, I have already managed to tick off quite a few of the places that I’m about to show you and can guarantee that they’re brilliant places to be. So, here goes…

Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle

Starting the furthest North, at around a 1 hour train ride, is the infamous Holy Island. Otherwise known as Lindisfarne, the island is rich in history, dating back to the Anglo-Saxon and Viking ages. Most entertainingly, though, is the fact that the island can only be accessed when the tide is out, making the risk taking element of ‘Will I make it to the other side?!’ an adventure in itself.

Then, moving around half-an-hour South, you are faced with one of the North East’s most spectacular castles. Again, dating back to the Anglo-Saxon era, Bamburgh remains one of the largest inhabited castles in England. Nowadays, it still lies in the hands of the Armstrong family, relatives of Lord William Armstrong (an incredibly influential business man who brought a lot of wealth and history to Tyneside) who purchased the castle in 1894, and sits proudly on the Northumberland coastline. It is certainly a beautiful place to visit in the summer, with it being so close to the beach, and offers tours and public viewings all year round.

Alnwick Castle

Another spectacular castle, south of Bamburgh and further inland, is the legendary Alnwick Castle. As seen on Blackadder, Downtown Abbey, and of course, Harry Potter - you’re sure to have seen this castle on your TV screens at some point. Open between March and October, the castle welcomes visitors but, if you’re particularly a fan of Harry Potter, then you’ll be delighted to find out that our Students’ Union Harry Potter Society take trips there too, so be sure to get involved!

Morpeth

Next, just less than half an hour away from the centre of Newcastle, is the beautiful country town of Morpeth. If you’re the kind of person that has lived in cities all of your life, then you must take the chance to visit this countryside location. Quintessentially equipped with a farmers market, a river, a park, and a farm, I must say that one of the things that I’m most enthusiastic about is the Bird of Prey centre where you can watch the enormous birds on their flying displays. If you fancy a little escape from the hustle and bustle of Newcastle (but still fancy the Geordie lingo) then Morpeth is waiting for you.

Tynemouth

Now, just a hop-skip-and-jump (or metro ride) from Newcastle are the wonderful coastal towns Whitley Bay, Cullercoats, Tynemouth, and South Shields. My favourite has to be Tynemouth because of how unique it is for a coastal village. Labelled as one of the Best Northern Places to Live last year, it’s also a great place to visit with friends or family. The town itself contains shops, bars, and characterful restaurants, then the sandy beach is a perfect sun-trap for a bit of fun in the summer. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a visit to a Northern coastal town without a helping of fish and chips. 

Beamish Museum

Now, before I get too excited and move onto the areas around my hometown, I must mention the Beamish Museum. This museum, which makes me feel completely nostalgic, is a fun way of literally walking through history. The idea is that you get to walk through towns as they would have been decades ago - for example, you may enjoy the 1900s Pit Village or the 1940s Farm, topped off with the chance to experience traditional bread or sweet making workshops. Not only is this one an educational visit, but it most certainly entertains people of all ages.

North Yorkshire Moors and Teesside

I couldn’t do this without mentioning the area in which I grew up, could I?! If you’re looking to head further South of Newcastle to see the rest of the North East, it’s worth following the coastline, entering towns such as Saltburn-by-the-Sea, then heading further inland to experience the very start of the North Yorkshire Moors. Sitting pretty at the top of the North Yorkshire Moors is Roseberry Topping (a hill that I’ve climbed a few times in my life - never seeming to learn from the strain) which provides brilliant views over the Teesside region. Just below the hill are the two quaint towns of Great Ayton and Guisborough which, just like Morpeth, provide you with that warm, countryside feeling of wholesomeness and community. All of these are fabulous places to visit to grasp a few last drops of the North East region.

 As a place often stereotyped as a concrete jungle of industry, opening your eyes to the North East displays quite the opposite. A region thick with history, natural beauty, and influence, I certainly encourage you to take some steps outside of the cities and explore more of what it has to offer.

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