Newcastle upon Tyne or simply Newcastle, is a city and metropolitan borough in Tyne and Wear, England. The city is located on the River Tyne’s northern bank and forms the largest part of the Tyneside built-up area. Newcastle is also the most populous city of North East England. Newcastle developed around a Roman settlement called Pons Aelius and the settlement later took the name of a castle built in 1080 by William the Conqueror’s eldest son, Robert Curthose.
Famous landmarks in Newcastle include the Tyne Bridge; the Swing Bridge; Newcastle Castle; St Thomas’ Church; Grainger Town including Grey’s Monument and the Theatre Royal; the Millennium Bridge; St James’ Park; and Chinatown. Culturally, Newcastle is famed for its nightlife; bakery chain Greggs; television personalities Ant & Dec; the Great North Run half-marathon; and Newcastle United Football Club.
The city has a proud history of theatre. Stephen Kemble of the well-known Kemble family managed the original Theatre Royal, Newcastle for fifteen years (1791–1806). He brought members of his famous acting family such as Sarah Siddons and John Kemble out of London to Newcastle. Stephen Kemble guided the theatre through many celebrated seasons. The original Theatre Royal in Newcastle was opened on 21 January 1788 and was located on Mosley Street. It was demolished to make way for Grey Street, where its replacement was built.
The city still contains many theatres. The largest, the Theatre Royal on Grey Street, first opened in 1837, designed by John and Benjamin Green. It has hosted a season of performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company for over twenty-five years, as well as touring productions of West End musicals. The Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre hosts smaller touring productions, whilst other venues feature local talent. Northern Stage, formally known as the Newcastle Playhouse and Gulbenkian Studio, hosts various local, national and international productions in addition to those produced by the Northern Stage company. Other theatres in the city include the Live Theatre, the People’s Theatre, Gosforth Civic Theatre, and the Jubilee Theatre. NewcastleGateshead was voted in 2006 as the arts capital of the UK in a survey conducted by the Artsworld TV channel.
The Newcastle Beer Festival, organised by CAMRA takes place in April each year. Evolution Festival, a music festival that attracted tens of thousands of attendees, took place in May from 2002 until 2013 and was described as “the biggest festival Tyneside has ever staged”. The This Is Tomorrow festival now takes place over the spring bank holiday and is in the same location. The biennial AV Festival of international electronic art, featuring exhibitions, concerts, conferences and film screenings, is held in March. The North East Art Expo, a festival of art and design from the region’s professional artists, is held in late May.
The city has a strong sporting tradition. Football club Newcastle United has been based at St James’ Park since the club was established in 1892, although any traces of the original structure are now long gone as the stadium now holds more than 52,000 seated spectators, being England’s seventh largest football stadium.
The Newcastle Falcons are the only rugby union team in north-east England to have played in the Aviva Premiership. They play at Kingston Park Stadium in the northern suburb of Kingston Park.
Newcastle International Airport is situated on the northern outskirts of the city at Woolsington, near to Ponteland. It is the largest and busiest airport in North East England and the second largest and busiest in Northern England (behind Manchester), handling over five million passengers per year. It is also the tenth-largest, and the fastest growing regional airport in the UK, expecting to reach 10 million passengers by 2016, and 15 million by 2030.
The Rough Guide to Britain placed Newcastle upon Tyne’s nightlife as Great Britain’s no. 1 tourist attraction. In the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Destination Awards for Nightlife destinations, Newcastle was awarded third place in Europe (behind London and Berlin) and seventh place in the world.
There are many bars on the Bigg Market and its adjoining streets. Other areas popular for nightlife include Collingwood Street (commonly referred to as the ‘Diamond Strip’ due to its concentration of high-end bars). Neville Street, the Central Station area, Osborne Road in Jesmond and the wider Ouseburn area are home to a variety of younger metropolitan bars. “The Gate”, located on Newgate Street, has become a popular venue for late-night entertainment in the past decade and a half. Newcastle’s ‘pink triangle’ is concentrated on Times Square, surrounded by the Centre for Life.