Newcastle takes its name from a wooden Norman fort built on the banks of the Tyne in 1080 by a son of William the Conqueror. Originally a major port for England's wool trade, Newcastle and Northumberland were transformed by the Industrial Revolution, which was powered in large part by the vast deposits of coal surrounding the city. Today Newcastle on Tyne is renowned as a cultural center and the gateway to Northumberland, a region particularly rich in history. Hadrian's Wall, once the furthest outpost of Western civilization, wanders across the area's lonely moors. Nearby Lindisfarne was the cradle of English Christianity. And during the Middle Ages, the great border lords of the region erected impressive fortifications including Bamburgh and Alnwick Castles.
The architect Richard Grainger redesigned Newcastle's old medieval center in the early Victorian Era. Grainger replaced the maze of medieval alleys with a well-designed city grid. Today Grainger town is renowned for its collection of elegant, sandstone buildings.
A designated World Heritage Site, Hadrian's Wall, constructed on the orders of Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD, travels 73 miles across northern Britain, the most famous of the frontiers of the Roman Empire.
Angel of the North
Dominating the skyline, British sculptor Antony Gormley's statue is constructed from 200 tons of weathering steel, with an impressive wingspan of 177 feet (54 meters).
Instantly recognizable as Hogwarts Castle from the "Harry Potter" films and from the television show "Downton Abbey," Alnwick Castle has been the hereditary seat of the dukes of Northumberland since 1309.
Perched above the North Sea, Bamburgh Castle, resplendent with stately rooms and extensive grounds, is one of the most significant castles in the United Kingdom, the fortified home of the kings of Northumberland during the Anglo-Saxon period.
Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, North Pennines possesses the remote and iconic beauty of open heather moors dotted with verdant woods, flower-strewn meadows and sparkling rivers.
Best enjoyed on foot, lively Durham showcases graceful architecture and heritage buildings highlighting the last 1,000 years of the city's history and its Anglo-Saxon roots through the Victorian age.
Heralded as the finest Norman building in Europe, Durham Cathedral, an architectural wonder built between 1093 and 1133, has been in continuous use as a place of worship and holds over 1,700 services a year.