The great British divide

“I’d better not talk while we’re out or I’ll get smacked in the face.”

A very bold statement made by a friend from Kent who, in a rash moment of bravery, had heroically crossed England’s north-south border to spend the weekend with me in Newcastle.

“Why’s that?” I asked, already fully aware of what her answer was going to be.

“Well, because of my accent and they’re all pretty rough up here aren’t they? Always looking for a fight?”

“But I don’t have a Geordie accent. I’m from Liverpool and I’ve never had any trouble,” I replied.

“Yes but you’re from, well you know, up north.”

I sighed and told her not to worry as we headed into Newcastle, more affectionately known as Toon, for our night out.

As we walked out of the grand 19th century, listed building that houses Newcastle Central

Grey Street

Station, took a walk down the gentle curve of Grey Street – home to the most Grade II listed buildings outside London – and down towards the beautifully bustling Quayside, which offers unparalleled views of the River Tyne and its iconic bridges, I smirked to myself as my friend’s jaw fell to the floor.

“I didn’t realise it was so beautiful,” she said as I stifled a smug “told you so”.

By the end of the night, Newcastle had cast the same hypnotic spell on her that it had me when I visited 12 years ago.

I still haven’t left.

Not only had she fallen in love with the thriving cosmopolitan city and its incredible architecture, splattering of unique boutiques, bars and range of restaurants that take you across the globe, it was the people that surprised her the most.

They say there’s nothing like Geordie hospitality and they – whoever they might be – are right. The warm nature was the drug that really got me hooked when I first landed in Newcastle. People have time for you, they stop and say hello, help you out if you’re in need and have a wicked sense of humour – or good craic as they say up here.

So with the spotlight thrust on London for the summer’s Olympics, I’m determined to do my best to attract as many visitors as I can to the place I now call my adopted home.

Using my only weapon – words – I wrote an article for travel website BootsnAll, and if it manages to get one person interested in my adopted home then I’m happy.

Take a look at the feature here: http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/12-06/escape-london-during-the-olympics-and-explore-the-north-east.html

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13 thoughts on “The great British divide

  1. Newcastle looks beautiful in the photos you have taken. Isn’t it sad how we as human beings build stereotypes in our minds of every place that is different from us. We do it about different countries. God knows how many people I have met who think people in Pakistan live in caves (all thanks to the US Media). And who think I am probably covered in a black burqa from head to toe when I head out on the streets back home. Some of them actually wonder if I am even allowed to go out on the streets.
    Your article is interesting since it shows that we hold these delusions even for a different city in our own country.

    • I’ve always said the only thing that would unite the world is an alien invasion. I doubt that’s very going to happen so we have to do our best to educate people on the beauty of diversity.

  2. When I worked in Essex I encouraged a colleague to visit the north of England – he told me that he didn’t fancy it because it was full of factories and coal mines. I think he had a Lowry print hanging in his front room!

  3. Never been to the north! I’ve done London, wales etc. Next time I’ll look up Newcastle for sure! Who knows… maybe I’ll adopt it as home as well! 😉

  4. Hi! Loved your feature. I lived in Newcastle for a year and loved it. I’ve been in London for two years since then, but reading your article rekindled those old feelings. Might be time for a visit 🙂

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