Newcastle – Overview

October 16, 2008 at 9:30 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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I came to Newcastle to visit relatives and I guess I’ll have to do that again in the future but without that impetus I’m not sure what the city has to recommend itself.
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It’s fine, it’s pleasant but not outstanding.

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It has some interesting and well known bridges plus the upper/lower city dynamic I found fascinating in Edinburgh. Perhaps I’m being too harsh and using London too much as a benchmark?

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Newcastle does have a long and colourful history and it’s compact enough for the casual tourist to wander.

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I’m not going to come back anytime soon but the city was pleasant for a short break.

While in Newcastle I stayed at (another) Euro Hostel. These looked like operational college dorms (during term months anyway). I booked for an ensuite but the room only had a salle de bain. So it was a communal bathroom. I should have asked but I didn’t care that much. That and I didn’t want to be a nuisance especially as the staff where particularly friendly. OK I’m weak. On that note I found everyone I encountered in Newcastle friendly and helpful.

More photos at Flickr.

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Newcastle – Centre for Life

October 16, 2008 at 9:14 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, UK | Leave a comment
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Newcastle’s Science Museum known as the Centre for Life covers a wide range of topics from evolution to climate change and space with a few special exhibits and events thrown in for good measure. While I was there they were focusing on nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Most science museums offer the same content and will have a range of interactive displays to teach you these principles. Newcastle’s offering is no different. That’s not to say it isn’t fun because it is. It’s not to say it isn’t educational because again it is. However if science museums aren’t your thing then you may not get much out of it, or if the entry fee of £8 is too much try the free Discovery Museum.

It was an entertaining respite for a few hours and pretty informative too!

Located on the corner of Westmoorland Road and Marlborough Crescent.

Newcastle – Segedunum

October 16, 2008 at 8:52 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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A brief 20 minute metro tip from Newcastle’s city center is Wallsend. Funnily enough this is where Hadrian’s Wall ended and at this terminus there is the ruined Roman Fort Segedunum, which has been progressively excavated. Of course when I say ruined I actually mean a rough outline of where the buildings used to be with the odd surviving mortar and stone dotted around the site.

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Entry is £3.90 but you could probably enter unnoticed via the excavation pits but why would you do that when the price is so cheap? The information centre looks like an airport terminal with its viewing platform overlooking the site.

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The museum while child focussed has enough material to keep an adult’s attention. If not you can always play the games!

The site is located near a shipyard and the area’s modern industrial past explains why so little of its Roman heritage remains.

Across the road is another smaller excavation site that features part of Hadrian’s Wall.

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No that big wall isn’t it. The barely visible strip on the right are the wall’s remains. Uninspiring. The staff helpfully apologise and explain that the former coal mine destroyed the wall. The reconstruction on the left does help a little. If you want to see the real wall from Newcastle you’ll need to take a day trip.

The other part of the site is a reconstruction of the Roman Fort’s Bath House. It’s opened on the hour for 20 minutes so you’ll need to plan your visit accordingly. I assumed that if it was only open for a short period it must be at least partially operational but this wasn’t the case – except for a little bit of water. Still it was good to get an idea of the bath’s layout and operation. Still I think a trip to Bath might be a better option.

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Segedunum, which sounds a bit mantric the more times and faster you say it, is fine and interesting for those with a limited knowledge of the Romans but it does help to provide some contrast to the rest of the city.

Newcastle – Castle

October 16, 2008 at 8:37 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | 1 Comment
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Newcastle’s Castle is an absolute steal to visit.
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For only £1.50 this is a great deal and climbing onto the roof of the keep provides excellent views of the city – well it would if it wasn’t raining.

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The rest of the castle provides a history of its (re)construction, which provides the city with its name. Not very original obviously. Granted it’s no Edinburgh Castle or Tower of London but the castle has seen the Normans, civil war and Scottish invasion before being left in disrepair and now being revitalised.

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The masonry and depth of the walls was fascinating.
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Overall, it is quick, cheap, has views and offers a snap shot of local history. If you’re in Newcastle you should visit, well, it’s castle!

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