Newcastle is a wonderful place: the culture of a big city compacted into a space small enough to get across in 20 minutes on a cold post-exam night. For anyone from a small town, the country or even another big city, Newcastle can be intoxicating – especially if you are living right in the heart of it.
However, unlike many other cities, Newcastle is spotted with hidden emerald gems: open fields and wooded parks, ponds and streams. You can find yourself 15 minutes from the city centre but feeling as if you are out in the Northumberland countryside. This is something that makes Newcastle a truly brilliant place to live and study, even more so when the sun decides to shine (which it does, sometimes).
Whether it is Leazes or Exhibition Park, the immense Town Moor with its accompanying herd of cows or the truly beautiful and seemingly never ending Jesmond Dene, Newcastle’s green spaces offer a wonderful foil for the hustle and bustle of any city. On a sunny day Geordies join the rest of the country in heading outside, and the city’s greens, open spaces and grassy slivers are crammed with people enjoying a drink, a barbecue and good company.
For me the best place to do this is Jesmond Dene, which is only 10 minutes’ walk from anywhere in Jesmond, Newcastle’s most popular student area. The Dene used to be Lord Armstrong’s own private four-mile-long garden, but is now one of the city’s most loved public spaces. It has everything one could ask for on a sunny day: a river to walk alongside, open spaces for barbecues, picnics or playing football, beautiful scenery and enough space to explore for your entire 3 years as a student. It even has as waterfall!
The Dene to me and many others I know is possibly the best thing about Newcastle. You can be in an idyllic country setting for the afternoon and back to the student pubs and bars for the evening. It offers wonderful stress relief for those days and weeks of revising with no view other than the terraces across the road or the view from the library window.
I can’t do it true justice here, whether in 400 words or 4000, so I urge you: if you come to Newcastle, go to the Dene and make as much use of it as you can. Everyone says their city is a wonderful place when the sun shines, but Newcastle certainly is. The Dene makes it better than most. Enjoy!