It’s often overlooked by people in other parts of the country, but the North East of England is a brilliant and diverse place to live.
There are lots of places to visit and the scenery is stunning. We don’t shout about our region as much as we could, in fact, we often prefer to keep quiet and keep it to ourselves.
But here are 10 reasons why North East England is such a special place to live:
Friendly, passionate people
It doesn’t matter where you go in the North East, you’re likely to find friendly people who are happy to chat or help you out if you need it.
It’s normal for people to strike up a conversation at the bus stop or in the shop. And people in the north often have a great sense of self-deprecating humour too.
We have some of the most beautiful landscape in the country on our doorstep. Whether it’s the North York Moors or the wilds of Northumberland – now officially a ‘dark sky’ national park – there are plenty of places to explore.
If you enjoy a stroll on the beach with the dogs or a hike with the camera, or even something a bit more adventurous, you can find it in the North East.
When they think of the North East, most people picture mining, steel and football. But there are plenty of museums and galleries here to rival those in other areas.
There’s the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the Sage, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), Beamish Museum, The National Glass Centre, and many, many more.
You can even find exhibitions here to rival London, such as the upcoming Yves Saint Laurent retrospective that will be held at the Bowes Museum in County Durham over the summer, or visiting festivals like BBC 6 Music’s Festival for 2015.
Plus there are hundreds of historical sites and museums to visit, from Hadrian’s Wall to Alnwick Castle and Gardens.
Over the last 10 or 15 years, house prices in the UK have rocketed. Whether you choose to blame the economy, the government, or the buy-to-let boom, there’s no denying that buying a property in this country can be a challenge, especially for a first time buyer.
But in certain areas of the North East we actually have some of the lowest house prices in the country. Here you can buy a large family home in a nice area for less than it costs to purchase a garage in some places.
The North East has a colourful history in mining, shipbuilding, steelworks and the chemical industry, some of which still continues to this day. Of course, this has its problems, as the decline in industry has at times meant job losses and urban poverty.
But there are innovations here too. The world’s first public railway for steam locomotives, the Stockton and Darlington Railway, can be found here. And the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough is the longest remaining bridge of its kind in the world.
Rise in digital industries
The North East is also home to a new kind of industry, with a huge rise in digital companies over the last five years. Our universities also offer popular courses in computer game design and animation, with Teesside University hosting the annual Animex festival, which attracts people from around the world.
Our rugged coastline is lined with dramatic beaches and quaint seaside towns. You can travel out by boat to the Farne Islands to see the wildlife, or drive over the causeway to Lindisfarne when the tide is out. Further south, you can see the beach at Redcar where the Dunkirk scene in Atonement was filmed, or walk the pier at Saltburn.
Food and drink
We gave the world Greggs the Bakers and Newcastle Brown Ale, not to mention the ham and pease pudding sandwich, the parmo and the stottie.
One of the best things about living in the North East is how easy it is to access other places. You can travel anywhere in the region in less than two hours, plus we have Yorkshire, the Lake District and Scotland on our doorstep.
Even if you live in one of the big cities, you can be out in the wilderness or at the seaside in less than half an hour.
The North East never leaves you
Wherever people may move, people still feel passionate about the North East. It will always be a part of their identity.