Things to do in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
Gateshead was settled in Roman times when there was a river crossing over the River Tyne where the Swing Bridge is now located.
Even as long ago as 623AD Gateshead was mentioned by the Venerable Bede who referred to Utta, the Abbot of Gateshead in his writing. Clearly the area had an early christian abbey.
During Mediaeval times, the area was mostly forest and agriculture belonging to the Bishop of Durham.
During the 19th century Gateshead expanded rapidly. A locomotive works, wire rope manufacture and other industries thrived on the demand of the Industrial Revolution.
The first house in the world to have electric light was in Kells Lane. Inventor, Sir Joseph Swan, patented his invention in 1878.
Unfortunately the good years came to an end in the Great Depression of the 1920s and 30s when unemployment in Gateshead was crippling.
Present Day Gateshead
Gateshead is the home of the MetroCentre, the largest shopping centre in the EU. It also includes many entertainment and leisure activities. It is complemented by Eldon Square shopping complex.
The town has a large purpose-built commercial estate known as Team Valley.
Gateshead is well known for its architectural landmarks which include the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, The Sage Gateshead Performing Arts Centre, the 20 metre high Angel of the North contemporary sculpture and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, a former flour mill.
Saltwell Towers was designed as a fairytale castle for its owner, William Wailes, a celebrated stained glass designer. The Grade II listed building is now owned by Gateshead Council.
Things to Do Around Gateshead
Saltwell Park, which surrounds the Victorian Saltwell Towers, has won numerous awards as Britain's Best Park. As well as the mansion there is a boating lake, play area, a domestic zoo, bandstand and sports courts.
Namco Fun Scape is an activity centre for all ages in the Metrocentre Qube. It has bowling, dodgems, games, a sports bar and a play area.
In early May Gateshead hosts an annual Beer Festival.
Across the water, Newcastle's Castle Keep is one of the UK's finest Norman keeps. It offers over 2,000 years of history.
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