Northumberland and Durham one of the best places in England for hiking and history lovers …much better than the expensive and snooty south west .

Laura Bernardeschi
6 min readJan 31, 2022

Newcastle , a nice discovery .

When last September i told my Bristolian friends i was taking a break from Bristol to have an holiday in Newcastle , they told me to enjoy Scotland , lol !

Honestly i was quite surprised and disappointed in discovering the ignorance of the Southerners towards the north of the island .

You must know i have lived eleven years around London , Swindon and Bristol and for people of this area Birmingham is in the north , and Newcastle is not far from the North Pole where people, called Geordies, talk a foreign language.

By the way i decided not to listen to their stupid comments , took my coach and after 8 hours of travel i arrived in the North.

Immediately i felt in love with Newcastle with its elegant buildings, in certain aspects very similar to Stockholm and Praha . Completely different from the super expensive snooty Bristol , where i spent my last three years , full of tags , awful overestimated graffitis, abandoned cylinder of cheap drug on the streets , rubbish and angry people coming from rural Devon and Cornwall basing their lives on prejudices , gossip and strange dialects .

Therefore once back to Bristol , i decided to move to the north as soon as i could. In one month i was in my new home paying a decent rent for two bedroom flat , cheaper than the one in Bristol where i paid an unreasonable £650 a month for an old and cold 38 msq studio flat, managed by a couple of tight and arrogant landlords.


First of all the Geordies are not talking a foreigner language .Their English accent is completely understandable and in certain moments sexy …secondly they are nice people ready to enjoy with fun but in peace their lives .

Newcastle is also full of art , theatres , concerts and pubs where you can spend fantastic night outs.

But the great discovery was the countryside around the city .

Even if you do not own a car you can use the metro system or the train to arrive in less than 30 minutes in a beautiful and unique countryside .

If you love history you can visit all the roman adventures along the Hadrian wall starting from Hexham .You can travel by train from Newcastle central and once on the location you can buy a bus day ticket called AD122 , to visit all the Roman archeological sites of the area .

If you love the ocean, in twenty minutes from the central metro station you are in Tynemouth full of history , traditional shops and beautiful beaches .

If you love Anglo Saxon history you can rent a car and arrive to Bamburgh castle to visit the 3000 year old building and the surrounding areas full of long yellow beaches along the North sea.

If you love hiking you can walk along the sea from Bamburgh castle to Seahouses village, otherwise in less than 30 minutes by car you are in the eclectic Alnwick town with its art galleries, book shops, pubs , gardens and the castle ( reopens in April 2022) where a few scenes of Harry Potter films were filmed.

If you love ghost stories you can have a drink in the famous pub called Dirty Bottles where a legend connected to a few bottles in the shop window stop people to clean and touch them not to be killed by a terrible curse affecting all of them.

Also during the Covid pandemic situation you can enjoy these areas of the island because in the north there do not live so many people as in the south .Very rarely people queue in shops or at the ticket offices to visit art galleries or museums.

Durham is another amazing location to visit for its cathedral and castle.

You can drive for hours without crossing a car along the extreme but beautiful North Pennines next to Durham or in west Northumbria.There are amazing landscapes even in winter time perfect for photography , painting or drawing .

In the far 1980s Margaret Teacher stopped the economy of this land when she decided to close all the coal mines around. London probably was and is even today too far to understand the needs of the people living here .

There were many problems of unemployments and poverty because of that but everything seems better now .

During my travels around i can not stop watching the fantastic landscapes , talk with nice people , try excellent food , shopping in the numerous shops like Metrocentre and enjoy lots of cultural events…but still now this area is seen next to the North Pole from the Southerns !

The similar lake District , for example, is not far from Northumbria but is much more famous because it’s known by the Southerns and attracts thousand of people every year… once the Londoners and south westerns decide to push a location, this becomes more expensive and very cool to spend an holiday or buying an house .

In conclusion , I hope the touristic industry increases in this area to bring a better life to the locals but on the other side i would like to keep secret its incredible beauty to the rest of the world to have an unique place where i can sit all alone to think , watching at the hills full of lovely sheep or cows with black and white stripes and create my art .

Thanks for reading

Lauraartist68 artist and experienced travel agent .



Laura Bernardeschi

Actress, life model , blogger and writer , originally from italy but living in Uk since 2011 .She lives for art