28 May 2020| | 3 min read
What are you missing most about the North East?
During English Tourism Week (25 – 31 May) people from across the North East have been sharing their favourite memories and activities in the region, as well as what they are most looking forward to do when it is safe to do so.
Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council: “Newcastle is world renowned for our tourism and attracting visitors to our great city. They are part of what makes us such a vibrant, welcoming and diverse city. Ensuring that venues and events can open safely will be a crucial step in our recovery from the on-going Coronavirus pandemic.
“Our city calendar always features a huge and diverse range of world-class events and we have a reputation for being able to put on a remarkable show. Last year alone we hosted the European Rugby Finals, World Transplant Games, Pride, This is Tomorrow Music Festival and an incredible Christmas Market.
“Although we have had to postpone many of our major events in 2020, we are working to bring them back bigger and better than ever next year. I am looking forward to the return of the This is Tomorrow Festival, splashing colour across the city centre when we host UK Pride and officially launching the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.”
Cllr Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council: “Every year millions of visitors flock to Gateshead and the wider North East, bringing over £600 million to the local economy in Gateshead alone. From the iconic Angel of the North and Sage Gateshead through to every single one of our amazing hospitality businesses, the region has something to offer everyone and, when it is safe to do so, we are looking forward to giving a warm welcome to visitors again.”
Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah: “I am really missing being able to roam around our North East countryside which has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, as well as fantastic hospitality. My two favourites - visiting Newcastle Castle and Black Gate then Armstrong’s Swing Bridge over the Tyne, and walking from Craster to Newton-by-the-Sea, popping in on Dunstanburgh with a drink at a great local pub at either end.”
Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell: “Newcastle is a fantastic city which I’m proud to call home. Every year we welcome millions of visitors, who come to enjoy our museums, galleries, bars, music venues, history, warm personalities and our beautiful surrounding countryside. Tourism brings over £1 billion to our local economy and supports many thousands of jobs. Whilst the current restrictions mean things are on pause, we’ll be ready and waiting to welcome visitors again when it is safe to do so.”
Ian Thomas, Director of Leisure Tourism and Research at NewcastleGateshead Initiative: “I have always described myself in the office as the most regional person we have, I live in County Durham, support Sunderland and work in Newcastle but I think it is that proximity of all the North East has to offer that I have missed most.
“I am really looking forward to the day I can go and watch football with my brother again but equally I can’t wait to spend the night in Newcastle with my wife eating at places like Blackfriars and The French Quarter and enjoying drinks in our fabulous bars in the city.
“While it’s been great to be able to venture a little further into the countryside over recent days I am excited to be able to visit areas such as Stanhope and Weardale and end the walks with a pint in one of the local pubs or head to Seaton Carew for ice cream with the family. Just thinking about all of those makes me smile.”
In 2021 there will be a huge programme of events across Newcastle - including the This Is Tomorrow music festival, UK Pride and Rugby League World Cup - which kicks off at St James' Park!
Simon Laing, Founder of CBK’s Adventure Co.: “As much as I'd love more people to come and see us, I really love how the north east England remains that little bit off the beaten path. It is a place where even in high summer, you can still find a stretch of coast, a hiking trail or a patch of forest where you can bask in total solitude. That's pretty special on a busy island like Great Britain."
Anna Wadcock, General Manager of The Maldron Hotel Newcastle: “What I am really looking forward to doing when we can resume some form of normality, is to enjoy a family walk through the Quayside market on a Sunday morning. Seeing all the quirky items for sale and being able to try different food items.
“I also miss the buzz that this city has when we have a home football game. The sea of black and white shirts moving through town and the roar you can hear across the city centre when we score! I cannot wait until we get our buzz back!”
Andy Hook, Owner of Blackfriars Restaurant, Dobson and Parnell and Hinnies Restaurant: “I first moved to the North East in 1994 from London though I grew-up in Cambridge and graduated in Swansea so it really was a question of east, west, south, north. Despite enjoying the varied landscape of my previous homes, the thing that really struck me and impressed me the most about Newcastle and the North East was the close proximity of the coast, castles, hills and countryside - all less than an hour’s drive from the city.
“Everything here is on our doorstep - endless sandy beaches, more castles than you can through a cauldron of burning tar at, fantastic National Trust and English Heritage houses and gardens. And that’s on top of the restaurants, bars, theatres and concert halls enjoyed by the cities. Not to mention the football! The North East has an embarrassment of riches to be proud of and travel connections that make it really easy to get to - what you waiting for?”
During lockdown a survey from NewcastleGateshead Initiative asked people what they were missing the most about the North East and the first thing they would do once restrictions were lifted. Over 300 people revealed what they were most looking forward to doing, with a trip to the coast (87%) or countryside (77%) proving popular, while respondents were also keen to get back out to the best the North East had to offer in terms of restaurants (77%), shops (61%) and visitor attractions (56%). Others were also missing live sport, pubs and having a coffee out with friends and family.
NewcastleGateshead Initiative is urging people to keep supporting the industry in any way that they can during this difficult time. As part of English Tourism Week, the organisation is encouraging the public to share pictures or videos of their favourite places in the North East on social media using #SupportNEtourism.
I am looking forward to the return of the This is Tomorrow Festival, splashing colour across the city centre when we host UK Pride and officially launching the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
Cllr Nick Forbes
Leader, Newcastle City Council