It’s been an emotional run-through the Top 10 Counties. And here’s your winner (well, mine, your views don’t count, obvs).
One of the smallest “counties”, but barely a square inch wasted (though the Boldons is a bit dull, unless there’s anyone there reading this, in which case the Black Horse is OK ).
Let’s start with the bridges, then.
Quite simply, one of the finest views in the world, and free as the train pulls into Newcastle Central, up there with the scene from the Empire State or Griffith Park or the John Lewis cappuccino bar in Milton Keynes.
The view from the top tier of St James Park isn’t bad either, though sadly you can’t see the actual match, which will involve the Magpies sticking 11 men behind the ball and nicking a point against City on the break.
Back at ground level, the Toon is just one of the best places to walk anywhere, except in the snow that descended in 2010 and 2018.
A decade ago we spent 5 days before Christmas in the Travelodge behind the Pitcher & Piano for a total of £50, gorging on endless free museums and cheap coffee and Chinese food as the ice settled in for a long winter.
Tyne and Wear is more than Newcastle, of course. Sunderland still has the grandeur and the obsession with the FA Cup.
But it’s the trendy boutiques that draw folk to the Roker coast.
If there’s one thing that edges Tyne & Wear above Greater Manchester it’s that coast.
On a sunny day, nothing beats Seaton Sluice* and the view from the King’s Arms.
The last few years have seen a few unexpected rural highlights, like the poppy fields of High Spen with its wonderful micropub.
You get a higher quality of small pub in Tyne & Wear. The Town Mouse was the best of the bunch; cheery, lived-in, unpretentious, inclusive.
The Beer and Pubs forum would hate it.
With the trad pubs like the Posada and Bodega and Bridge having been in the Guide for years, recently my scruffy note of new pubs has looked like an extract from the Micropub Annual 2019.
One of the joys of the region is the metro, all day travel for £5.20 and a GBG pub at every stop.
Some of the most gorgeous pubs in the GBG kingdom for you, with high quality beer virtually guaranteed.
Ah yes, the Tynemouth Lodge. A great place to talk Bass with snowmen.
You’ll no doubt meet local legend Electric Pics (whose pic that is) in the Lodge, too. By the time you’ve finished your pint another bar will have opened in Whitley Bay (oh, it has).
Oddly, it was my niece Emily who’s ended up living in Newcastle, no doubt drawn by the haute cuisine.
and family friendly entertainment in Gateshead.
Talking of Gateshead, this is the Angel of the North, celebrating Tyne & Wear’s triumph.
*Pub Curmudgeon correctly points out that the Sluice is just over the GBG border, though oddly Bing Maps thinks it in Tyne & Wear.
NB : So there’s the Top 10. Having asked you to guess them, I’ll put the correct answers in a hat and get Mrs RM to draw out the winner tomorrow.