Newcastle Upon Tyne, England | Welcome to the Toon!

Me and Newcastle are going to celebrate our 5 year anniversary this September. Therefore, it is only fair I decided to write about my current home city. A little bit of my personal experience about how 5 years have passed, I have improved my Geordie knowledge, got used to the girls wearing sleeveless dresses in winter (no, I am not that brave yet) and understood that Newcastle is not just Geordie Shore, cheap booze and 3am kebabs on your way home.For those of you who don’t know, Newcastle is located at the north of England, crossing paths more closely with the Scottish border than the rest of England. It’s the capital of the North East that has everything you could simply ask for – great culture, impressive heritage, famous nightlife, a wide range of restaurants, bars, as well as shops of well-known high street brands and international fashion designers for those with a bit higher style expectations. My most and least favourite thing about Newcastle is that it is very compact. Every place is easily accessible and you can almost walk across the whole city within 20 minutes. On good days, I love how close everything is. On bad days, I wish I would not have to bump into the same people over and over again.For the last couple years Newcastle’s name was flashing between national papers and online websites. The city has been named the best place in the UK to raise a family and the happiest place to live in the UK. The main reasons for that were affordable housing, comparing with sky-high London prices, great education with one of the top UK universities, called Newcastle University, within reach and low crime rates. Most recently, Newcastle’s symbol, the Angel of the North has been voted the 3rd best tourist attraction in England for people to visit too.I could not deny it even if I tried that Newcastle is a picturesque city, rich in Grade I and II buildings. You cannot keep your eyes away whether you are walking down the Quayside and passing Newcastle’s renowned bridges that always look their best at night or strolling along past the stunning Theatre Royal, which is by the way Newcastle’s Grade I listed theatre. Magic!One of the main streets in Newcastle, called Grey Street, is also named one of the most beautiful streets in Britain. The city seems to have the best of everything, right? It is where Newcastle’s heart lies and even a great English poet John Betjeman rated Grey Street over London’s Regent Street for its perfection, “As for the curve of Grey Street, I shall never forget seeing it to perfection, traffic-less on a misty Sunday morning. Not even old Regent Street London can compare with that descending subtle curve.”Newcastle was once made famous by the TV show Geordie Shore and it has got an international party reputation. The city has been known to have the best nightlife in the UK. Therefore, it’s no surprise that on Fridays, when work is done, hen and stag groups as well as thirsty nightlife lovers overfill Newcastle’s Central Station. There’s going to be another weekend of fun to be had for some. If there’s a football match on, you might find a few dressed in black & white stripes, mixing in between the themed groups and ready to celebrate as well.As I started a topic on football, it’s only fair to say that Geordies love their football team, which is Newcastle United who are nicknamed The Magpies because of the black and white colours. It ain’t a posh football club with a big budget or world-known football players and they’ve been struggling for the last few years, getting relegated last season and now coming back to the Premier League in 2017 with the help of Spanish football coach Rafael Benítez. However, if there’s one thing special about Newcastle United it is their fans. Only in Newcastle I have seen fans so passionately supporting their club through ups and downs, and always welcoming each match with a good song at their St James Park stadium. Pubs get packed on match days, as well as streets filled with people in football strips. If you ever are in Newcastle, go and watch a game, it will be a good memory!Since the day I moved to Newcastle, the city has pulled its pants up and injected a bit of class in it. Now more than ever you can find a variety of higher-end restaurants that offer great quality meals and excellent cocktail bars. Cheap and average franchises are finally taken over by one-off restaurants or smaller restaurant chains with bigger personalities, better food & colourful interiors. There’s something for everyone in Newcastle, starting from traditional breakfast bars, lunch cafes, restaurants with British and international cuisines as well as cocktails bars, sports bars or traditional British pubs. Newcastle has also got a one Michelin-star restaurant House of Tides which is a brilliant achievement by the great chef Kenny Atkinson.If you want to see Newcastle’s beautiful architecture from above, there’s two places to be – Grey’s Monument or Six restaurant inside The Baltic Centre which is a contemporary art museum. If you opt-in for Six restaurant, you are also in for a very good plate of food! There’s a few other restaurants, such as The Botanist or Chaophraya, that can offer a lovely view of Newcastle from their rooftop bar areas.However, the greatest thing and the secret why people return to Newcastle is people itself. Geordies are genuinely friendly with a great bit of banter and they wear their hearts on their sleeves.  They might not know you but if they see you struggling, Geordies will always offer you their help. Conversations can sometimes be challenging here if you are a newbie around and struggle to understand their accent! Ask a Geordie if they are proud where they come from and you will most likely hear whey aye man (yes in Geordie language)! Many local accessory shops like to idolise Geordie culture selling cards, wall images or frames with such phrases as Geordie and proud; British by birth, Geordie by the grace of god. As someone raised in a very traditional Bavarian region in Germany, I understand where proud Geordies are coming from!Today, Newcastle is a city for everyone. You don’t have to wear an embarrassing costume to have a great night out in Newcastle. Neither do you have to fit the mould to be good enough for the city. Everyone is welcome here and most likely they will be able to find something for their taste. Now you can plan your day or night depending if you want to have a cultural adventure, visiting museums and theatres, a quiet drink and meal with your travelling companion or are keen for a serious out-out, a sing song and a good ol” dance. What’s more, living here gives you the best of both worlds.If you would like to find out more about my travels, please don’t hesitate to follow me on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook !