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Newcastle Gateshead

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Newcastle, on the north bank of the River Tyne, and Gateshead on the south bank, have been transformed into a single visitor destination known as Newcastle-Gateshead. They are linked by a series of bridges.

Grey Street, in the heart of Newcastle-Gateshead's historic Grainger Town, was voted the best street in Britain by listeners of a national radio station. It boasts more listed classical Georgian buildings than anywhere else in England, other than London and Bath. Of its 450 buildings, 244 are listed. They are predominantly four storeys with vertical dormers, domes, turrets and spikes.

The Central Arcade, dating from around 1840, is a marvelous triple domed edifice on a triangular site, fronting Grainger, Grey and Market Streets. Each dome is crowned by a bunch of monstrous bronze feathers. Below the glass barrel-vaulted roof are glistening Burmantofts ceramics in beautiful shades of browns, buffs and yellows. There are huge panels, little niches, grotesque animal heads and elegant letter. It's quite a special place to visit.

The Grainger Market is a covered market constructed as part of the 19th century redevelopment of the city. It is a busy centre for traditional products such as meat, fruit and vegetables, but all up there are 250 shops and stalls selling an enormous range of goods. Many shops have been held by the same families for over a century. Also surviving there is the smallest and oldest branch of Marks & Spencer's, the Penny Bazaar. It opened in 1895.

Quayside is packed with venues of all kinds and those looking for entertainment, clubs, drinks in a real Geordie pub, food of all nationalities should head there.

Bridges play a most important part in NewcastleGateshead's day-to-day life. There are many — Swing Bridge, King Edward VII, Tyne, Queen Elizabeth II, New Redheugh and the latest, Gateshead Millennium Bridge. It is also called the 'winking eye' and is the world's first tilting bridge. It turns on pivots on both sides of the river, forming a gateway arch resembling the opening and closing of a giant eyelid. There are scheduled opening times for this amazing piece of architecture which has won a multitude of awards, including the country's top prize.

The Tyne Bridge opened in 1928 and bears a striking similarity to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It's around a quarter of the size of the Sydney landmark which makes it look rather cute.

The Antony Gormley cor-ten steel sculpture Angel of the North is one of England's 12 official icons. It is 20 metres high and its wings 54 metres wide. Its wide open arms greet visitors as they arrive — around 150,000 of them each year — and its colour is warm and appealing. The weather resistant steel contains copper and the surface oxidizes to form a patina which mellows with age to a rich red-brown.

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art presents the world's largest dynamic, diverse and international program of contemporary visual art. It has an ever-changing calendar of exhibitions and activities.

A fantastic way to see the city is from the river, and River Escapes has a fleet of three luxury vessels with cruises covering all budgets. They have comfortable lounges, a bar and catering so you can relax in the best vantage point in town.

Greystreethotel, part of the modern nichehotels group, is the first boutique hotel in Newcastle city centre. While minimalist, it is warm and chic with neutral tones, mood lighting and great service. It offers contemporary dining, its beds have award-winning hypnos pocket-sprung mattresses and chocolate leather headboards. They are dressed with Egyptian cotton sheets and duvets and downy pillows. Wrap yourself in fluffy towels after a powerful shower and enjoy their special range of toiletries.

Greystreethotel is a dog friendly accommodation. They offer doggy beds, bowls and biscuits for house-trained and people-friendly Fidos.

Location

England's north-east.

Cost

River Escapes one hour sight-seeing cruises are around $15 for adults and $10 for children.

The Greystreethotel rooms start at around $330 a double a night — and your pet can stay for free.

Emirates has direct flights to Newcastle and is offering special fares.

From fare
Perth
$1594
Brisbane
$2090
Melbourne
$2100
Sydney
$2108
Adelaide
$2670
Darwin
$3006

Valid for sale until August 31, 2007. Valid for travel between October 4, 2007 to February 29, 2008. Perth and Darwin flights are valid for travel until November 25, 2007.

For more information

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Gateshead Quays
South Shore Road
Gateshead NE8 3BA UK
Ph: +44 (0)191 478 1810
Fax: +44 (0)191 478 1922

River Escapes


Unit B2, Whitehouse Farm Centre
Stannington, Morpeth NE61 6AW
Ph: 01670 785666 / 785777
Fax: 01670 785656
Website: www.riverescapes.co.uk

greystreethotel


2-12 Grey Street
Newcastle, Tyne and Wear NE1 6EE
Ph: +44 (0) 191 230 6777
Fax: +44 (0) 191 230 6888
enquiries@greystreethotel.com
Website: www.greystreethotel.com/index.htm

Visit Britain
Ph: 1300 858 589
Website: www.visitbritain.com.au

Emirates
Ph: 1300 303 777
Website: www.emirates.com

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