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Durham may have the glories of its castle, cathedral, and university, but the liveliest city of the Northeast is Newcastle, currently reinventing itself (with some success) as a regional center for culture and modern architecture after years of decline. Settled since Roman times on the River Tyne, the city made its fortune twice—first by exporting coal and later by shipbuilding. As a 19th-century
industrial center, Newcastle had few equals in Britain, showing off its wealth in grand Victorian buildings lining the broad streets. Some of these remain, particularly on Grey Street. The cluster of bridges (older and newer) crossing the Tyne is a quintessential city sight.
Much of the regeneration since the early 1990s has been based around the Gateshead Quays. Here the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge—the world's first tilting bridge, which opens and shuts like an eyelid—have risen from industrial wasteland.
Dominated by a grand castle, the little market town of Alnwick (pronounced ahn -ick) is the best base from which to explore the dramatic coast...
Tiny Bamburgh has a splendid castle, and several beaches are a few minutes' walk away. ...