A thriving coastal city in northeast England, Newcastle Upon Tyne has cast off its former role of a major centre for shipbuilding to become a vibrant hub for tourism, culture and nightlife, all suffused with its distinctive Geordie ambiance. Today's Newcastle is an attractive city with handsome Georgian buildings, a revitalised quayside development, and a modern transport system.
Newcastle has grown up around its river, and an exploration of the city center should ideally start by the Tyne, beneath the iconic arched bridge, with a view over to Gateshead's striking Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. The warren of streets on the north side of the river still have a medieval feel to them, most obviously around the castle that gave the city its name. Pushing northwards from here, through the Black Gate, the distinctive medieval cathedral church of St. Nicholas is another highlight of the Newcastle skyline. A short stroll from the sacred to the profane leads visitors to the Bigg Market, famous and notorious as the heart of Newcastle nightlife. This cluster of pubs and clubs is thronged with locals at the weekends, and is the perfect place for an introduction to the unique Geordie nightlife. North west from Bigg Market is Newcastle's Chinatown, a compact but well-established area of restaurants, noodle houses and Asian supermarkets. From here it's a short step to Newcastle's main place of worship, St. James' Park, the stadium where the city's football team, affectionately known as The Toon, have enthralled, or occasionally appalled, the city since 1892.