Final year English literature student and NorthEnglishes intern Liv Bird shares her favourite hidden gems in the North East with her #ToonTips:

Ah, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The greatest city on Earth, some might say. Well, I’m sure Paul Gascoigne would say that at least. Famous for its wild nightlife and deafening football fans, Newcastle has quite the reputation for being the crazy, party city of the North. And, while that may be true, we have so much more on offer. That’s why we at the NorthEnglishes team are excited to introduce our newest feature, #ToonTips. These posts will be bringing to light the hidden gems of the North East by recommending exciting places to go and wonderful things to see. So pull up a chair, pop the kettle on, and keep scrolling while we reintroduce you to the city you know and love. 

To kick the series off, we’re starting with one you history buffs are going to love – Newcastle’s historical hidden gems. The places we’ll be discussing in this post are all filled with rich history, as well as being interactive with exciting events on offer, so they’re great places to enjoy with your friends or family.

My family and I about to brave the depths of the city!

First off, the Victoria Tunnel. When we said ‘hidden’, we weren’t kidding. The Victoria Tunnel is a 19th century wagonway which runs right underneath the city centre. It stretches all the way from the Town Moor to the River Tyne, with part of the tunnel even under Northumbria University campus. Most of us are blissfully unaware that this wonderful landmark runs right underneath our feet. You can book a visit to the tunnel to explore the depths of Newcastle and learn all about the tunnel’s use for coal mining before being used as an air raid shelter during World War 2. You will be provided with a helmet and torch, but just remember to bring a jacket!

My friends and I caught a screening of Pulp Fiction at the Castle.

Next, Newcastle Castle. A short walk from the hustle and bustle from the city centre, the city’s namesake can be found near the Quayside. A lot of people claim that The Castle is where the history of our great city begins, so it’s a must-see for every Geordie and visitor to Newcastle. The Castle is open for visits and tours, as well as providing other fun-filled activities such as ghost hunts and even cinema viewings. There’s something very surreal about watching a Tarantino movie in a secret room of a Norman Fortress.

A very old picture of my sister and I clambering inside Grey’s Monument.

Finally, Grey’s Monument. Whilst Grey’s Monument isn’t quite as ‘hidden’ as the rest, what most people are unaware of is that you can actually climb it. After squeezing through a tiny blue door on the side of the monument you’ll be led up a spiral staircase of 164 steps until you reach the top. Up there, you’ll find the most stunning views of the city while learning all about the fella who Earl Grey tea is named after. Not to mention, there’s a canny breeze on a warm day!

We hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about some historical hotspots within the city. Keep your eyes peeled for the next installation of #ToonTips as we continue to reveal must-sees of the North East. Let us know in the comments your favourite places to visit in Tyneside!

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