We went up to Newcastle on the weekend - probably a good idea since the rain has come back with a vengeance (we knew this April summer madness couldn't last). Newcastle is waayyy up north and is actually not too bad a place. It sits on the River Tyne and has some nice coastal spots and even a mini Sydney Harbour Bridge (apparently it was built around the same time by the same architect as kind of a prototype - but I could be misinformed..) It is also (somewhat unfortunately) the stag and hen night capital of the UK so wherever you go, you can spot groups of sexed-up men or sad looking ladies in pink sashes and tiaras. The nightlife is pretty good though - we sampled it when I ventured up there in my first few months in the UK. This time it was a BBQ at Nicola's house for her birthday which was just as good, and involved around the same measures of alcohol. We stayed in Jesmond, which is a pretty, convenient area for anyone looking to visit Newcastle - there are a ton of reasonably priced hotels (but if you don't want to share it with a bunch of stags and students, maybe head elsewhere).
We also visited some nice coastline - like the beach at Tynemouth which if you close your eyes and squint, could pass for a beach down the south coast of New South Wales somewhere. Nearby is also the famous Hadrian's Wall which I didn't get the chance to see (ok, so it's only a wall but it's around 2000 years old and was built by a Roman emperor which I think is pretty cool). I really want to get around and see more of the UK this year - as there are some quality places to go which are so cheap as compared to London. I'm heading to Edinburgh this weekend which I'm very excited about. Got to make the death-haul to Gatwick but oh well - at least it is not Stansted! (I'm reserving that for my trip to Germany in a few weeks..).