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Newcastle-upon-Tyne/United Kingdom

Introducing Newcastle-upon-Tyne

For the uninitiated, Newcastle is all about coal and industry – the lifeblood of modern civilisation but not that interesting for tourists. First things first: get rid of all those notions. You won’t find a trace of coal dust anywhere and what little industry there is left is safely confined to the suburbs not mentioned anywhere in these pages. These days, Newcastle is superstylin’, a cool urban centre that knows all about how to take care of itself and anyone else who comes to visit.

Yet, thankfully, Newcastle has built this new reputation as a hipster capital on a set of deep-rooted traditions and mores embodied by the city’s greatest strength: the locals. Geordies are a fiercely independent bunch, tied together by history, adversity and that impenetrable dialect, the closest language to 1500-year-old Anglo-Saxon left in England. They are also proud, hard-working and indefatigably positive – perhaps their greatest quality considering how tough life has been.

Their city is a reflection of all those characteristics. Raised and subsequently abandoned by coal and steel, Newcastle has matured into an elegant city of some grace and culture, exemplified not just by its excellent new art galleries and magnificent concert hall, but by its growing number of fine restaurants, choice hotels and interesting bars. It’s not just about the Tyne bridges – although the eclectic, cluttered array of Newcastle’s most recognisable feature is pretty impressive.

As is the city’s great draw. A night out on the town is the alpha and omega of so many visits to the city, and the energy you’ll find is so irrepressible that it borders on the irresponsible – how can they wear so little when it’s so bloody cold?