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Points of Interest: Newcastle
Newcastle, or by its official name Newcastle-upon-Tyne, sits on the north bank of the River Tyne in the metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear. With a population of close to 280,000, it is the largest city in the North East of England.
Founded in the second century, Newcastle was originally a Roman fort and bridge built across the River Tyne. The city grew as a centre for wool trade, but a while later a royal act created a monopoly on coal trade for a number of businesses in the area allowing it to prosper.
Newcastle is an iconic city, recognised worldwide because of its Geordie accent, Tyne Bridge, and Premier League football team Newcastle United F.C.
The Tyne Bridge links Newcastle with neighbouring Gateshead. It was designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson, who also designed the Forth Road Bridge across the Firth of Forth in Scotland. Despite opening almost 90 years ago in 1928, it is still the tenth tallest structure in Newcastle.
Newcastle is also home to the Laing Art Gallery, which is named after the famous merchant Alexander Laing. It opened in 1904 and has an exceptional art collection featuring British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware.
The city is a popular nightlife destination and was named Britain’s number one tourist attraction in The Rough Guide to Britain. It manages to meet the needs of both old and young, with the Crown Posada being one of the oldest pubs in the area and The Gate encompassing modern bars and clubs such as Tiger Tiger and Aspers under one roof.
Anyone enjoying a night out in Newcastle will likely come across its iconic Newcastle Brown Ale. Launched in the late 1920s, the ale has had popularity revivals in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and now sells 100 million bottles across the UK.
Newcastle is also home to the Bupa Great North Run: the second-largest and most-popular half marathon in the world.
Devised by former Olympic bronze medallist Brendan Foster, it was first staged in 1981 and three decades later, the number of participants had more than quadrupled to 54,000.