Newcastle upon Tyne is a city with over a quarter of a million people located on the banks of the river Tyne in the north east of England. The city has been an important settlement since at least the time of the Romans and has grown ever since. Currently, it is the twentieth largest city in England.
Newcastle has inherited much of its street layout from medieval times. There are lots of narrow alleys, especially close to the river, that are only wide enough to be used on foot. There are also many flights of stairs leading up from the river bank to other parts of the city.
Almost all that remains of Newcastle's castle nowadays is the Keep and the Black Gate. The keep is an 81 foot tall almost square building which includes the Great Hall. The Black Gate was added to the castle during the 1200's and has been restored to bring it back to its original splendour, although the original drawbridges are now wooden foot bridges instead.
One of the centrepieces of the city is the tilting Gateshead Millennium Bridge which spans the river and has been acclaimed worldwide. The bridge opens when large ships pass underneath and, because of its attraction for tourists; it is also opened for sightseers.
Newcastle upon Tyne has a reputation as one of Britain's top night spots and the centre of the city is home to a multitude of pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants. The main areas for these are Bigg Market and also the Quayside area of the city, although areas such as Jesmond are also popular with fun lovers.
During the year, Newcastle is home to a variety of festivals including an electronic arts event, the AV Festival, which is held every other year. In June each year, the Hoppings takes place. This is thought to be Europe's largest travelling fair and has taken place each year since 1882.