The area inland from the north bank of the Tyne is mostly built up, though there are still tracts of rural calm and beauty. Dominating this region is Newcastle-upon-Tyne, one of Britain’s most important cities. Its metropolitan area stretches out as far as the small towns of Tynemouth and Whitley Bay to the east, Longbenton to the north, and Throckley to the west. Industry made this part of Britain. It is real Geordie country, steeped in hard work and refreshed by Newcastle Brown Ale. (Why Geordie? The most likely reason is that Newcastle was the only town in the region to take the side of King George I, keeping the Jacobite rebels outside the gates.) People found work in coal mines, great engineering works and Tyne and Wear shipbuilding, and never travelled far to spend their leisure time or holidays. They headed for Whitley Bay or Tynemouth, eight miles east of the city centre on the North Seacoast, but a lifetime away from their harsh living and working conditions. Alternatively, they could head north into rural Northumberland, one of the UK’s most beautiful and unspoilt counties. The area south of the Tyne is largely industrial in character, encompassing large conurbations such as Gateshead, Sunderland and South Shields. But there is still plenty to see, as these places, just like Newcastle, are rediscovering themselves and their heritage. And open spaces and countryside, especially to the south, are still there to be explored.
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