Why Would Anyone Visit Gateshead?

A tourist arrives at an airport in the south of England. When questioned by immigration officials, she told them she wanted to spend the week in Gateshead. Officials quickly concluded that such a prospect would be so ghastly that it must be a fabrication; so they were denied entry into the country.

J.B Priestley once remarked that “no true civilisation could have produced such a town”; but is Gateshead really so frightful to have been designed by an enemy of the human race”?

Okay. So Gateshead isn’t perfect, but chances are, it’s got a lot more going for it than you might have expected.

Angel of the North


Antony Gormley’s iconic steel angel watches over the borough from a perch in Birtley. The structure, also known as the Gateshead Flasher, is designed to represent our past industrial heritage alongside our hopes and fears for the future. The angel has a wingspan of 54 metres and can be visited at any time of the day free of charge. It is one of the most viewed pieces of artwork in the world, seen by an estimated 33 million motorists each year.


Gateshead Quayside

The arrival of a new millennium helped Gateshead to emerge from its post-industrial depression of the late 20th century. The Quayside area received a facelift with the arrival of the striking Millenium Bridge. Sage Gateshead  – an internationally significant concert venue – and Baltic contemporary art galley further livened the area. Gateshead’s Quayside is now an architectural and cultural delight. When combined with Newcastle’s riverside offering, it is possibly the finest waterfront destination in the United Kingdom.


Saltwell Park

Attracting over 2 million visitors each year, Saltwell Park is home to the imposing Saltwell Towers – once a private home – and is one of the finest examples of a Victorian Park in England. Just as it has always been, Saltwell Park remains a community hub and prized possession of those of live close by.



Gibside is a magnificent 18th-century landscape garden built by the prominent Bowes-Lyon family, but it’s now in the care of the National Trust and open to all. Hugely popular with ramblers, the gardens offer a year-round programme of events and plenty of space to lose yourself in nature.


Tanfield Railway


Dating from 1725, the Tanfield Railway will become the first to celebrate its tricentenary in 2025. Today, it depicts life on an industrial railway in the early 19th century and can also boast the world’s oldest railway shed and the magnificent Causey Arch; strictly speaking, a part of County Durham. The railway operates passengers services hauled by delightful steam locomotives at least once a week throughout the year.



You’re right, don’t bother coming to Gateshead – there’s nothing here…