Tyne and Wear Area Guide

Tyne and Wear area guide | Bridgfords


Tyne and Wear is a county in northeast England settled around its eponymous rivers, Tyne and Wear. The county overflows with cultural quayside cities and North Sea beaches, like Tynemouth Longsands, which is popular with surfers. Built by the Roman Empire, Hadrian's Wall – the most popular tourist attraction in northern England – ran from the banks of the Tyne. These days, The Angel of the North, a well-known contemporary steel sculpture, overlooks the region from a hill near Gateshead.

This urban industrial region officially began its existence in 1974. It consists of five boroughs: South Tyneside, North Tyneside, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead and the city of Sunderland. The region’s bound by the North Sea, sharing borders with Northumberland and County Durham. It contains an estimated population of around 1,120,000 people.

The area’s greatest historical asset – coal – once led Tyne and Wear’s economy. Ages before the Industrial Revolution, coal-dependent industries, including glass, pottery, chemicals, and iron, were developed along the Tyne. Tyneside was also the country’s chief salt-producing area (using coal to evaporate seawater). Older industries gradually became replaced by shipyards then, by the end of the 20th-century, sectors like electronics, engineering, and services became prominent.

Transport Links

Road: The A1(M) passes through NewcastleGateshead linking the area to London, Scotland and major routes nationwide. Other major roads include the A1, A19, A69, A167, the old Great North Road, and the A1058 Coast Road.

Rail: Newcastle Central Station is located in the heart of Newcastle city centre. Virgin Trains operate the East Coast Mainline and there’s also the CrossCountry route. Northern Rail runs services from Teesside and beyond while TransPennine Express stops at stations across Yorkshire. Grand Central Trains operate a Sunderland to London Kings Cross service.

Air: Newcastle International Airport is served by many airlines providing direct links to top destinations.

Metro: This 48-mile urban rail system connects Newcastle to Sunderland, as well as the other boroughs.

Bus: Bus services are operated by Arriva North East, Go North East, and Stagecoach North East. The main stations are Eldon Square, Haymarket, Gateshead Interchange and Park Lane Interchange. A hybrid electric bus service called QuayLink operates between Newcastle Quayside and Gateshead Quays.

Water: Newcastle’s international Ferry Terminal at North Shields offers a service to Amsterdam. The Shields Ferry also operates between North Shields and South Shields. 

Property Market Intelligence

Newcastle almost represents a microcosm of the national housing market. From 2000 onwards, high-profile city centre projects have built market confidence. Indeed, the city has seen tremendous growth in the number of new homes built. Planning policy has subsequently been steering development towards the suburbs. However, development in the city centre has not ground to a halt. In fact, the number of new homes built, which are not for private sale, has multiplied.

While many households tend to move to be closer to a school or work, the transport connectivity offered by the Metro means many can stay put. Homes close to stations are bought and sold less often plus they also tend to be worth more. Further away from stations, house prices diminish. Sixty percent of Newcastle’s population lives within a mile of a Metro station. Housebuilders recognise the importance of this: most new homes sold over the last decade have been built within a mile of the Metro.

New student homes have met the refreshed demand generated by increasing student numbers – while another 4,000 unbuilt homes have received planning permission.

Shopping & Amenities

The Georgian grandeur of Grey Street hides the cobbled street of High Bridge – a must-visit for independent shopping plus the city’s oldest pub, The Old George. Be tempted by vintage shopping and quirky gift shops like Attica, which stocks retro fashion and memorabilia. Be welcomed by the Pleased to Meet You gin house and cocktail bar; BALTIC 39 centre for contemporary art; and the Stand Comedy Club. 

A short bus journey from central NewcastleGateshead is one of Europe’s largest leisure and shopping centres: Intu Metrocentre. This place isn't just a fashionista’s dream – it also showcases an ODEON IMAX cinema, a Namco Funscape bowling alley and an arcade. Here you’ll find Radley, House of Fraser and Topshop to name a few prominent brands – alongside foods from France, Spain, Italy, Japan, China and the UK.

Leisure & Entertainment

Sports: Newcastle United – ‘The Magpies’ – have always played at St James' Park. They have a local rivalry with Sunderland dating back to 1898 plus a Tyne-Tees derby with Middlesbrough. NewcastleGateshead is home to two top-level rugby clubs: the Newcastle Falcons in rugby union; Gateshead Thunder in rugby league.Picturesque cycling routes around Tyne and Wear offer scenic bike rides.

Family: Spend summer days at Sunderland's coast on the sandy beaches at Seaburn and Roker. Roker Park is an idyllic green space hosting a model railway, boating lake, and tennis and basketball courts. The award-winning Life Science Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne contains a 4D Motion Ride plus the north’s biggest planetarium.

Historical: Stone-built Hadrian's Wall stretches across northern England – and was once guarded by forts at five-mile intersections.A significant portion still stands and can be followed on foot. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.The Wallquest community archaeology project allows public volunteers to help research and excavate parts of the wall.

Music: Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena lures big names in music and comedy as well as sporting events, ice shows and family performances. Newcastle City Hall was the city’s first concert hall and is ever popular. The Sage Gateshead has its own orchestra – Northern Sinfonia – performing a year-round classical programme. The O2 Academy hosts indie faves. And for real Geordie flavour, head to The Cluny, housed in an old whisky distillery. This popular venue also stages bands – with a laid-back atmosphere to boot.

Events:  The four-day Big Eat Weekend in September features Newcastle’s best street treats. The region’s tastiest food trucks and talented chefs educate foodies in the arts of eating, cooking and drinking. EAT! NewcastleGateshead is the antidote to traditional food festivals with a creative programme that changes annually. On the coast, the exhilarating Sunderland International Airshow offers a weekend of flying displays, featuring the RAF Red Arrows, as well as fairground rides and military exhibitions.

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