Newcastle-upon-Tyne began its history as a major Roman fort defending the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall. The evidence is still there at the Arbeia Roman Fort & Museum a reconstruction of the fort that guarded the mouth of the Tyne, with a museum full of archeological finds from the site.
In the early Middle Ages, after the departure of the Romans, the Venerable Bede, an Anglo Saxon monk, lived and wrote his histories of early Britain at Jarrow, just down river from Newcastle on the south bank of the Tyne. Bedes World, in Jarrow is a new museum and World Heritage Site candidate near the ruins of Bede's Anglo Saxon monastery.
Newcastle is a good base for exploring of the northeast of England, but don't be surprised if the locals could care less about all that impressive history. They have their eyes firmly fixed on today and tomorrow.
Newcastle nightlife is legendary, spawning bands, performance artists and good times in quantity. Back in the 1960s, Jimi Hendrix lived and busked in Newcastle. He was discovered and managed by Chas Chandler, a musician with Newcastle band, The Animals. Dire Straits was a Newcastle band and Sting is a Geordie boy. ("Geordies" are natives of Newcastle). One of England's big university cities, students keep the Newcastle music scene alive and kicking.
Since the Millennium, the Newcastle/Gateshead Quays have been transformed into a futuristic and arty landscape. The Newcastle/Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a unique pedestrian "drawbridge". Instead of splitting and opening to allow tall boat traffic through, the bottom, pedestrian deck of the bridge tips up to meet the support arch, like an eyelid, opening and closing.Sage Gateshead, is an ultra modern music performance and learning center. Rock, pop, classical, acoustic, indie, couontry, folk, electronic, dance and world music are all welcome in Sage's gleaming bubbles of stainless steel and glass. The Northern Sinfonia has its home at the Sage.
GeordiesThe native dialect of Newcastle, Geordie, is distinctive and one of the oldest in England. If you've ever seen actor Jimmy Nail or Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole, you've heard this inimitable accent.