Things to do in Tyne and Wear

Tyne and Wear, located in the North of England, is a metropolitan county that encompasses five boroughs: Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, and Sunderland. Established in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, this area is steeped in industrial history and cultural heritage, making it a vibrant region with a unique identity. The River Tyne runs through the county, historically serving as a crucial part of the area’s development through shipbuilding and coal mining, which have shaped its landscape and culture.

Today, Tyne and Wear is known for its dynamic urban centers as well as its green spaces and coastal areas. The transformation from an industrial powerhouse to a hub for culture and technology has been remarkable. With renowned institutions like Newcastle University and cultural landmarks such as the Sage Gateshead and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, the county offers a rich tapestry of experiences ranging from educational to recreational activities. Its extensive public transport system including buses, the Metro light rail service, and ferries makes it easily accessible for both residents and visitors.

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  • BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art: Located on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, BALTIC is an international center for contemporary art. Housed in a converted flour mill, it features dynamic exhibitions from global artists without a permanent collection to encourage fresh experiences on each visit.
  • Sage Gateshead: An iconic building on the Gateshead Quayside designed by architect Norman Foster houses this music venue. It’s home to Royal Northern Sinfonia and hosts a wide range of musical performances from classical to pop genres.
  • Centre for Life: Situated in Newcastle upon Tyne, this science village includes an interactive museum focused on science and technology, making it perfect for families interested in learning through fun exhibits and workshops.
  • Great North Museum: Hancock: This museum offers collections that span ancient civilizations to natural history. It’s ideal for those curious about everything from Egyptian mummies to Hadrian’s Wall.
  • Tynemouth Aquarium: Experience marine life up close at this coastal aquarium that showcases local sea life along with tropical species in engaging displays suitable for all ages.
  • Beamish Museum: Step back in time at this open-air museum that tells the story of life in Northeast England during the 1820s, 1900s & 1940s through preserved buildings, vehicles, objects and costumed staff members.
  • Hatton Gallery: Located within Newcastle University’s campus, Hatton Gallery boasts an impressive collection of modern art including works by Francis Bacon among others.
  • Ouseburn Farm: A community-led project offering an urban farm experience right in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley. It’s great for families looking to learn about sustainable farming practices while meeting animals up close.
  • Victoria Tunnel: Offering guided tours beneath Newcastle’s city streets; this preserved 19th-century wagonway has stories spanning its original coal transport use to its role as an air-raid shelter during WWII.
  • Arbeia Roman Fort & Museum: Explore Roman life at this historical site that served as a garrison fort approximately 1,800 years ago. It features full-scale reconstructions including gates and barracks.
  • Segedunum Roman Fort & Baths: At Wallsend’s eastern edge stands Segedunum which marked the end of Hadrian’s Wall. The site includes remains of baths complex alongside interactive exhibits detailing Roman Britain’s frontier history.