Famous for its friendly welcome and vibrant nightlife, Newcastle offers something for everyone, from culture vultures to shopaholics.
With the original settlement founded in the second century AD, Newcastle has a long and varied history. The Castle Keep and St Andrew's Church both date from the 12th century. Medieval streets in the form of narrow alleys ('chares') are still in existence, particularly around the riverside; in the Quayside area, buildings from the 15th century right up to the modern day can be seen. The neoclassical centre, developed in the 1830s, is home to Grey Street, which frequently appears in the top 10 of the UK's favourite streets.
Newcastle provides great shopping, from Eldon Square (one of the UK's largest city centre malls, housing famous names such as John Lewis, Fenwick, and Debenhams), to quirky independent shops and the stunning Central Arcade. A Grade I listed covered market, the Grainger Market, was built in the 19th century and is home to the smallest branch of Marks and Spencer, a stall selling discounted goods and known as Marks and Spencer's Original Penny Bazaar. One of Europe's largest retail and leisure centres - the MetroCentre - is a 15 minute bus ride away, in Gateshead.
Always near the top of listings for the best nightlife in the UK, almost all international cuisines are catered for. The city contains at least six theatres, with the largest - the Theatre Royal on Grey Street - hosting a Royal Shakespeare Company season each year. The largest independent library outside of London - the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne (known as the Lit & Phil) - contains more than 150,000 books. The city also hosts a number of museums and galleries, with the Great North Museum: Hancock within close proximity of the University campus, and the Centre for Life housing a visitor attraction.