The Great Exhibition of the North is taking place this summer. It is a celebration…
When people think about England, they would usually picture the Queen, the Royals and London. But, even though it is considered a small island nation, the United Kingdom is a very big place with lots of hidden gems to be discovered, rich in history. The South and the North West are typically the “Go-to” holiday destinations because of their prominence in British history and their part in the Industrial Revolution.
These regions are beautiful and great places for any history buffs; London and the South speak for themselves, and the Northern areas such as Merseyside and North Yorkshire are rich with historic treasures like Quarry Bank Mill which was a major part of the British cotton industry and eventually workers’ rights movements, and Whitby, where, of course, Bram Stoker set and indeed wrote his timeless classic novel, Dracula.
But ask any foreigner about Tyneside and Wear and they would have no clue what you are talking about, which is a shame since the North East of England was, and is, just as important as any part of the rest of the nation.
Covering roughly 8,500 square kilometers, the region is saturated with historic insight, strong English tradition and a population like no other. The vast countryside of the North East includes such iconic landmarks as The Angel of the North, Durham Castle and, of course, Hadrian’s Wall.
The Angel of the North
Created by famed sculptor Sir Anthony Gormley and positioned along the A1 motorway near Gateshead, The Angel of the North stands guard as a watchful protector of the Northumbrian countryside. Commissioned in 1994 and finished in 1998, this giant steel monument stands at 20 meters and attracts around 150,000 visitors to the region each year.
That might be a far cry from the Tower of London’s six million, but it is a respectable number and one that is of great benefit to the area’s tourism industry.
Part of the Durham Castle and Cathedral site, the Norman-built Durham Castle is a monumental 11th-century chapel and keep complex with a rich history and features some of the most fascinating architecture of the time. The building is so well designed that it is still in working use today as part of Durham University.
The castle has seen numerous attacks, breaches and refurbishments, and as it stands has been designated as one of the most important world heritage sites and may have been made even more famous to young and old Harry Potter fans alike since the castle was used for some exterior shots of Hogwarts school of magic.
Hadrian’s Wall probably needs no introduction as it has served as one of the most important and iconic locations in British history. Originally conceived as an official border fortification between Southern and Northern England by the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, the 84 miles long stone structure was eventually looted of its valuable materials as time went on following the fall of the Roman Empire.
However, most of the lower portions of the wall remain and archaeologists, scholars, historians and tourists alike flock to Hadrian’s Wall in order to glimpse a forgotten past or see into the lives of souls long gone.
The River Tyne
Flowing through this richly historic region is also the river Tyne which stretches approximately 73 miles from South Shields to Tynemouth in the North Sea and weaves its way through some of the North East’s most iconic locations.
Landmark bridges such as the iconic Tyne Bridge, the beautifully modern Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the historic Victorian Wylam Railway Bridge are just a handful of the 26 amazingly engineered bridges that cross the mighty Tyne which essentially makes this river a Bridge Spotter’s dream.
Because of its lengthy flow and vast amounts of waterways and tributaries, the Tyne also plays home to much of England’s beloved wildlife, including super-cute Otters, Water Voles and even Salmon among many others.
In order to preserve the bountiful nature of the Tyne and its animal inhabitants, Tyne Rivers Trust holds various events and projects that everyone can get involved in. Education for children and adults alike, conservation advice and pollution reduction can all be accessed via their website.
Given the natural beauty and history of England’s North Eastern region, as well as its many attractions, families of all kinds can be sure to make many amazing memories when visiting this culturally rich and diverse land and it’s not all history and geography.
Durham’s Adventure Valley caters to the younger children with soft play areas designed with safety and fun in mind, crazy golf where everyone can join in. There’s also a farm animals zoo to introduce the younger ones to their first wildlife and you can get cheap photo prints here to relive these magic moments over and over.
For those with a more curious nature and a nose for classic literature, Saltholme plays home to RSPB Saltholme bird sanctuary as well as an intriguing Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter’s Tea Party like something straight out of imagination.
The sanctuary is home to many types of wildfowl including Lapwings, Water Rails and the famous Peregrine Falcon from Barry Hine’s modern classic novel A Kestrel for a Knave and immortalized in Ken Loach’s much-loved movie adaptation Kes.
And it’s not just the land, architecture and attractions that are famous around the North-Eastern region. The area plays home to many famous celebrities and not just the ones from Geordie Shore.
Hugely talented football player and manager Alan Shearer hails from Newcastle as does Charlie Hunnam from hit TV series Sons of Anarchy as well as acclaimed movie director Paul W.S Andeson, known for his adaptations of the Resident Evil video games series and the upcoming Monster Hunter.
The many attractions and historical sites will have you running down the batteries on your mobile as you take a grotesque amount of photos on your mobile. From the vast scenery and flowing current of the Tyne to the gothic halls of Durham Castle, or even while grabbing a drink at one of Newcastle’s famous lounges, you’ll never forget your visit to this amazing part of a beautiful country.