Windswept beaches, rugged uplands and pulsating towns and cities…Tyne & Wear has it all.
Tyne and Wear sits in north east England, bordered by Northumberland to the north and County Durham to the south.
The region is dominated by the cities of Newcastle upon Tyne, dubbed The Toon, and Sunderland. But it also offers a windswept coastline – and is a gateway to miles of rugged countryside.
What to expect living in Tyne and Wear
At the heart of Tyne and Wear is the former industrial powerhouse of Newcastle upon Tyne, which has emerged as a regenerated cultural centre in recent years. It was crowned one of the happiest cities in Europe by the European Commission in 2016.
Locals are known for their optimistic outlook, generosity, sense of humour and civic pride, making for a welcoming atmosphere if you’re planning to move to the area.
Both Newcastle and Sunderland boast thriving social scenes and retail centres, but for those seeking a quieter life, beautiful countryside and rugged coastline is close at hand.
From Victorian houses and former factories and warehouses converted into homes, to new housing developments, you’ll find a variety of housing options in the region. And current average house prices in Tyne & Wear now stand at £170,480, considerably lower than £297,893 for the UK as a whole, according to Zoopla data.
Where to start your property search
Tyne and Wear comprises five metropolitan boroughs: Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Home to the iconic Angel of the North sculpture, this is the largest metropolitan borough in Tyne and Wear. The town itself is an important business centre, along with neighbouring Newcastle on the opposite side of the river.
There’s a wide range of property available in Newcastle city centre, including new-build apartments and contemporary conversions of some of the large historic buildings.
North Tyneside boasts an attractive mix of charming seaside resorts and suburban commuter towns, with easy access to urban centres.
The town of Tynemouth is a popular choice for property buyers. Its windswept coastline, a haven for surfers, has a ruined castle and priory. You’ll find 17th and 18th century cottages and townhouses in the centre, while classic Victorian parades are closer to the seafront.
For apartments, terraced houses and modern suburban abodes, try the Cullercoats area between Tynemouth and Whitley Bay.
Also located on the coast, South Tyneside has some of the most beautiful beaches in England, including Sandhaven beach.
Further south, Sunderland offers something for everyone: sea views, urban living, country retreats and family homes – not to mention buy-to-let investment opportunities in the area surrounding Sunderland University.
Sunderland city centre, like Newcastle, is a good spot if you’re a young professional, with plenty of new-build apartments and flats in period conversions. But there are also some terraced houses to be found.
The seaside resorts of Roker and Seaburn and the affluent village of Fulwell, all to the north of Sunderland, are particularly popular residential areas, especially for families. And leafy suburban Ashbrooke, to the south of Sunderland, as well as Houghton-le-Spring, Shiney Row and Penshaw to the south west are also worth considering.
Getting around in Tyne and Wear
Train: The national rail network serves local stations throughout the region, as well as the larger stations in Newcastle and Sunderland. Direct trains between Newcastle and London take around three hours.
Tyne and Wear residents also benefit from the county’s Metro system. The rapid transit and light rail system is the second largest in the UK, and serves Newcastle, Gateshead, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Sunderland. It connects smaller towns with the main urban centres and provides easy access to Newcastle Airport.
Car: A network of major ‘A’ roads serves Tyne and Wear, with the A1(M) south providing access to the M1 to London, the A1 heading north to Edinburgh and the A69 heading west to Carlisle. Commuters tend to favour the Metro as the city and town centres suffer from congestion at peak times.
Air: Newcastle International Airport, located on the north west border of Tyne and Wear, is within easy reach of all parts of the county. The journey between Sunderland and the airport takes 40 minutes by road, and an hour by Metro. Aer Lingus, Air France, British Airways, easyJet and Flybe are among the airlines that fly out of the airport, offering direct flights to 80 destinations.
Things to do in Tyne and Wear
For heritage, art and culture, you’ll find a range of top galleries in Sunderland, Newcastle and Gateshead. They include the Laing, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.
Newcastle and Gateshead in particular are known for the arts, in no small part thanks to the Sage Gateshead – named as one of the top five concert halls in the world by the late Lorin Maazel, former conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra.
If you’re interested in history, try Newcastle Castle, Tynemouth Priory and Castle, and Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum in Wallsend.
There’s also a cluster of historical things to see and do in Sunderland, including Hylton Castle, the Washington ‘F’ Pit and, in the Monkwearmouth area, St. Peter's, one of the UK’s earliest stone churches. It was once home to renowned scholar the Venerable Bede.
Meanwhile, St James’ Park in Newcastle and the Stadium of Light in Sunderland provide plenty of diversions if you’re a football enthusiast, including behind-the-scenes tours.
The coast: Try Tynemouth for surfing; South Tyneside for sun, sea and sand on its award-winning sandy beaches; South Shields and Whitley Bay for a traditional seaside holiday atmosphere; and Sunderland and its boroughs for dramatic coastal paths.
Also, don’t miss Souter Lighthouse at Whitburn, St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay, and the Grade II-listed Roker Pier and Lighthouse in Sunderland.
Hidden Tyne and Wear
Deep beneath Newcastle’s streets is the Victoria Tunnel, built in 1842 to transport coal from Leazes Main Colliery to riverside jetties, before becoming an air-raid shelter in 1939.
Visitors can now explore part of the tunnel via a guided tour, complete with visual and sound effects – and, possibly, an appearance by the ghost that is rumoured to haunt the tunnel!
Reasons to live in Tyne and Wear
Bustling towns and cities
Excellent transport links, including the local Metro system
Rich heritage, art and culture