An industrial engine room now reshaped as a party capital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne is an evocative city of many different guises.
The beating heart of the Northeast exudes energy and charisma, offering good times, rich cultural heritage, iconic urban views and a trademark Geordie welcome.
Jesmond Dene nature trail
Flora and fauna thrive in idyllic Jesmond Dene, a delightful wooded valley linking South Gosforth with Jesmond Vale. A network of nature trails and bridges allows you to walk or jog through the narrow dell, home to the historic Old Mill water wheel.
Get barrelled at South Shields
One of the Northeast’s best-known beach spots is around a 45-minute drive from Newcastle city centre – and also happens to be an excellent surf spot on its day. Fair warning: conditions tend to be best outside summer, though you’ll need to be prepared for chilly water any time of year – this is the North Sea, after all.
Jog the Great North Run route
Each September, the UK's most famous half-marathon starts in Newcastle, before crossing the Tyne Bridge and tracking the river to South Shields. If you're a keen athlete, why not follow in the footsteps of Mo Farah, Paula Ratcliffe and co. by running some or all the route? If you do, be wary of traffic.
Explore wild Northumberland
With its windswept beaches, wild moorland, forests, rolling hills and market towns, stunning Northumberland is simply ripe for exploration. Head up the coast to visit Bamburgh Castle, Alnwick Garden, Holy Island or Berwick's walls. Kielder Water, the Cheviot Hills and Linhope Spout are among the natural wonders of this ancient county.
The legendary Hadrian's Wall
The northwestern frontier of the Roman Empire runs for 73 miles (117km) from Wallsend on Newcastle's eastern fringes to Solway Firth near Carlisle. Two millennia after its construction, many sections of Hadrian's Wall remain, including key sites at Housesteads Roman Fort, Corbridge and Sycamore Gap.
Visit historic Durham
With its steep cobbled climbs, UNESCO-recognised castle and cathedral, and sumptuous views, Durham is a medieval city treasure. The leafy River Wear meanders its way around the historic centre – 19 miles (30km) south of Newcastle – creating a rare sense of urban tranquillity. Savour the picture postcard views, but don't overlook Crook Hall or the university's Botanic Garden.