Trains leave from Neville St. for Edinburgh (I’ahr. approx. every hr. £.36) and London King’s Cross (3V4hr. every hr. £83). National Express buses ( (08705) 808 080) leave Percy St. for Edinburgh (3hr. 4 per day, £14) and London (7hr. 4 per day, £24). The tourist office is on 132 Grainger St. facing Grey’s Monument. (a 277 8000. Open June-Sept. M-W and F 9:30am-5:30pm, Th 9:30am-7:30pm, Sa 9am-5pm, Su 10am-4pm; Oct.-May M-W and F 9:30am-5:30pm, Th 9:30am-7:30pm, Sa 9am-5pm.) To get to the friendly YHA Newcastle , 107 Jesmond Rd. take the Metro to Jesmond, turn left onto Jesmond Rd. and walk past the traffic lights. Call well in advance. (281 2570. Internet access. Open mid-Jan. to mid-Dec. Dorms £12, under-18 £8.30.) University of Northumbria , Sandyford Rd. offers standard dorm accommodations, but its proximity to the city center is a plus. Some rooms come with partial kitchen. ( 227 3215. Breakfast included. Open June-Aug. Singles midweek £23, weekends £28.) Gershwins , 54 Dean St. is a cool underground grotto restaurant that serves continental cuisine at a great price. (2-course dinner with wine £7-11. Open M-Sa ll:30am-2:30pm and 5:30-10:30pm.) Postal Code: NE1 7AB.


The largest city in the northeast, Newcastle (pop. 278,000) has emerged into the 21st century determined to forge itself a new identity. Ambitious building efforts have lent the city genuine daytime energy, and its nightlife is hotter than ever as locals, students, and tourists continue to flock to its pubs and cafes. A combination of hoary old and resilient new, Newcastle’s monuments blend well with the city. The largely intact Castle Garth Keep, at the foot of St. Nicholas St. is all that remains of the 12th-century New Castle complex. Oddly enough, the city derives its name from a castle that existed over 100 years earlier. (232 7938. Open Apr.-Sept. daily 9:30am-5:30pm; Oct.-Mar. 9:30am-4:30pm. Admission £1.50, concessions 50p.) The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, housed in a renovated grain warehouse, is the largest center for contemporary art outside of London. This stunning yet simplistically designed museum rises seven stories above the Tyne and showcases current artists at the cutting edge of their fields. (478 1810. Open M-W and F-Sa 10am-7pm, Th 10am-10pm, Su 10am-5pm. Free.) Treat yourself to an evening at the lush gilt-and-velvet Theatre Royal, 100 Grey St. undoubtedly northern England’s premier stage. The Royal Shakespeare Company makes a month-long stop here each fall, complementing other top-notch performances. (232 2061. Call for performance times.) Rowdy Bigg Market features the highest concentration of pubs in England, while Quayside (KEY-side) is slightly more relaxed and attracts local students. Chase, 10-15 Sandhill, is a flashy pub, while nearby Offshore 44, 40 Sandhill, has a tropical theme. (Both open M-Sa llam-llpm and Su noon-6pm.) The hottest dance club is The Tuxedo Princess, on a cruise ship under the Tyne Bridge. (Open M and W-Sa 7:30pm-2am.) For a happening gay and lesbian scene, head to Waterloo St. for a night of drinking and dancing at The Powerhouse. (Open M, Th, and Su 10:30pm-2am, F-Sa 10pm-3am.)


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