Newcastle filled me with awe the moment I first arrived and walked out of Central Station for the first time. When Grainger Town’s impressive neoclassical buildings towered above me I couldn’t help but feel dazzled. When you contrast them with the Chicago-style side streets near Quayside, and then the vibrancy of Ouseburn’s brutalism, plus Jesmond’s peace and quaintness, you have a perfect mix of architecture and vibes, ideal for whatever mood you’re in.
The best way to get a feel for a city? Go running. The thrill of exploring new routes in different areas has allowed me to appreciate the character of each of Newcastle’s neighbourhoods for themselves. Every time I run through the wonders that are Jesmond Dene, the coast or Quayside I have to remind myself not to take them for granted. Some people have to trudge through industrial parks and housing estates every day whilst I get these breathtaking sights. If you know where to go, Newcastle and Gateshead have some great spots to see the city skyline and a stunning sunset too. Of course, it would be wrong not to mention our iconic landmarks, like the seven bridges along the Tyne and the Angel of the North (actually in Gateshead, but deserves a mention).
As someone from rural, isolated East Anglia, Newcastle’s location really is perfect to me. You’re telling me I’m just a quick train ride away from some more of the North East’s, England’s and even Scotland’s major cities? Only a bus from hiking spots like the Cheviots and the Lake District? Magic.
A resolution to try a weekly new coffee shop has led me to discover another thing that makes Newcastle perfect: its cafes. From high street classics in the centre to small hidden gems in Gosforth, from busy and bustling to relaxing, jazz-in-the-background vibes, there’s so many great places for a brew. I’m even typing this in a cosy little café right now.
Sights, location and cafés are all well and good, but it’s people that really make a city perfect. It’s not just the wonderful friends I’ve made in Newcastle, but also the incredible friendliness and kindness of Geordies that gives me a warm glow inside. Complete strangers will smile at you, have a chat and even help you out if you look like you need it, something I’ve never experienced in the southern cities I’ve lived in. Another notable difference is the local and regional pride here – Geordies love their city, and they aren’t afraid to show it.
By now, the person who asked me whether I like my uni city is bored out of their skull listening to me rave about it. I’m not though, I love Newcastle, and will never shut up about it. The same awe still hits me every time I come out of Central station, and I’m proud to call this big, beautiful city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne my home.