March 24, 2021 4 min read
Nowadays it’s not easy to hop on a plane and jet away for some well-needed rest and recuperation in the sun, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a mini-break a little closer to home.
Although it isn't currently allowed, the spring/summer season will bring a slight easing of restrictions that will allow us to travel around the UK. The North East- particularly the North East coast- was a popular holiday destination during the 20th century after trains became more affordable and travel was more accessible to the general public. If you’re planning your next trip or even your summer ’21 holiday why not visit the North East? We can accept it's no Barbados, but you may be surprised to see how many wonderful places are crammed into our lovely little region.
You shouldn’t need any persuasion to visit but, if you do, we’ve constructed our list of Top 5 must-see sites in the North East that will help you decide where to visit.
This blog will be the first in the mini-series 'Summer Is Coming' where we list the best places to eat, drink, visit and enjoy in the North East, take a look for some staycation inspiration.
High Force Waterfall:
Situated in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Beauty is the incredible High Force Waterfall, one of the natural wonders of the North East. The top of High Force sits at Forest-in-Teesdale which carries the River Tees downstream to a 21-metre drop into the plunge pool below. The waterfall has been around for centuries, but the surrounding rock has been dated back over 300 million years. The waterfall alone is a breath-taking experience, however, the countryside surrounding it is equally worth a visit with many opportunities to go fishing, walking, cycling and kayaking.
The Angel of the North:
It is almost impossible to imagine the landscape of the North East without the iconic embrace of the Angel’s wings which is precisely why she had to be placed at number one of our Seven Wonders list. Designed by Antony Gormley in 1998, the Angel is emblematic of the past, present, and future of the North of England. Gormley’s concept is threefold; firstly, the placement of the Angel is symbolic of the centuries of coal mining that occurred just below her. Secondly, Gormley wanted to conceptualise the transition between the industrial and information age through the size, stature, and composition of the sculpture. Finally, Gormley envisioned the Angel as a focal point for our ever-evolving hopes and fears for the future. Towering at 20 metres high and 54 metres wide, the Angel is as magnificent in her form as she is in her significance, she is a truly remarkable symbol of Northern heritage.
Next on our list is another special woman, the Lady of the North. Northumberlandia is a unique piece of restorative public art crafted from the curves and crevices of the Shotton surface coal mine. Designed by Charles Jencks and funded and built by the Banks group, the Lady of the North pictures a reclining woman across 46 acres of a community park. The Lady sits at 100ft high and quarter of a mile long yet many of her features can only be observed at a height, up close she tends to morph into the landscape, appearing only to be a series of hills and ditches.
The mesmerising Penshaw Monument memorial imitates the classical architecture of an ancient Greek temple. The monument was first erected in the mid-nineteenth century to commemorate John Lambton, the first Earl of Durham. The impressive stature of the monument stands at the top of Penshaw Hill and can be visible from up to 80km away. Penshaw is a Grade I listed building and is so symbolic of Sunderland that it appears on Sunderland A.F.C’s crest. Despite being heavily criticised in its early years, Penshaw has stood the test of time and is an incredibly significant monument that celebrates the heritage of Durham and Sunderland.
St Mary’s Lighthouse, Whitley Bay:
Just off the shore of Whitley Bay on the secluded tidal St Mary’s island lies the eponymous lighthouse and our final wonder of the North East. Built in the late 19th century by the local John Miller company of Tynemouth, the lighthouse was used to direct passing boats away from the shore with a rotating optic that caused a sequence of flashing lights. St Mary’s Lighthouse is built upon the site of an 11th-century monastic chapel and is now a Grade II listed building from which the adjacent Souter Lighthouse can be seen with the naked eye. Despite its decommissioning in the eighties, the lighthouse has been transferred into a museum and is popular with tourists all year round. St Mary’s is the emblem of Whitley Bay and represents the fishing heritage of North Tyneside.
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