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Experience the Culture of Newcastle upon Tyne

submitted on 2 July 2023 by

An Introduction to Geordie Land

There's a city in the northeast of England that will make you feel like you've walked into an alternate universe, where the language is vaguely familiar, yet completely incomprehensible. This city, dear traveler, is Newcastle upon Tyne, or as the locals call it, "The Toon." Known for its hardy residents, friendly atmosphere, and a penchant for partying, this city is a must-visit for anyone hoping to experience a truly unique slice of British culture. But be warned: upon entering Newcastle, you might just find yourself a changed person, or at the very least, sporting a baffling new accent.

Peering into the Geordie Language

The first thing to know about Newcastle's culture is the language. The Geordie dialect is a linguistic enigma, and to the untrained ear, it may seem like the locals are speaking a foreign language. But fear not, for with a little practice, you too can baffle your friends and family with phrases like "howay man" (come on), "canny" (good), and "gannin' yem" (going home). To fully immerse yourself in Geordie-speak, we recommend yelling "why aye!" (yes) enthusiastically at any opportunity, and adopting a habit of dropping the 'g' from the end of words, such as goin', doin', and seein'.

Embracing the Liquid Culture

It's no secret that the people of Newcastle enjoy a drink or two (or ten), and the city is famous for its thriving nightlife. But the liquid culture of this fair city isn't all about getting "mortal" (very drunk), there's also a proud tradition of enjoying a pint (or several) of locally brewed beers. If you find yourself in a Geordie pub (and you will), be sure to sample the local delights such as Newcastle Brown Ale, Wylam Brewery's Jakehead IPA, or the ever-popular Exhibition from Hadrian Border Brewery. And remember, the more you drink, the more fluent in Geordie you'll become (or so they say).

The Angel of the North: A Giant Rusty Hug

As you approach Newcastle, you'll be greeted by a colossal, rust-colored figure with outstretched arms, seemingly offering a warm embrace. This is the Angel of the North, a 66-foot-tall steel sculpture designed by Antony Gormley. While it may look like an ancient relic from a forgotten civilization, this iconic artwork has only been welcoming visitors to Newcastle since 1998. Some say its rusted exterior represents the city's industrial past, while others believe it's simply evidence of the British weather's relentless ability to tarnish anything it touches.

Football Fervor: Toon Army Assemble

There's one thing you'll quickly learn about the people of Newcastle: they absolutely adore their football team, Newcastle United. Often referred to as 'The Toon Army,' the city's football supporters are some of the most passionate, dedicated, and downright obsessed fans you'll ever encounter. A visit to St. James' Park, the team's hallowed ground, is an essential part of any trip to Newcastle, whether you're a football fanatic or just want to experience the electric atmosphere of a match day. Make sure to brush up on your knowledge of black and white striped jerseys, local hero Alan Shearer, and the team's enigmatic owner Mike Ashley before you go - you'll need it to survive a conversation with any true Geordie fan.

Quayside Culture: Bridges, Bars, and Baltic Art

For a taste of Newcastle's more refined side, head to the Quayside. This picturesque area along the River Tyne is home to several of the city's most iconic landmarks, including the Tyne Bridge, the Millennium Bridge, and the Sage Gateshead, a spectacular glass-fronted concert venue that looks like a spaceship that's crash-landed next to the river. The Quayside is also home to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, a former flour mill that now houses exhibitions from some of the world's most cutting-edge artists. If modern art isn't your thing, you can always opt for a pint in one of the Quayside's many bars, where you'll find yet another prime opportunity to practice your newfound Geordie lingo.

Final Thoughts: Becoming an Honorary Geordie

By the end of your whirlwind tour of Newcastle upon Tyne, you'll likely find yourself with a newfound appreciation for the city's unique culture, and perhaps even a few new phrases to confuse your friends with. You might not be a fully-fledged Geordie, but you'll certainly have a tale or two worth telling about your time in this fascinating city. Now, howay man, get yourself to Newcastle and start experiencing the Geordie way of life for yourself!
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