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Party Toon.

Byline: By Paul McMillan

Newcastle top of list in UK guide

What's the best attraction Britain has to offer?

It's not Big Ben, the white cliffs of Dover, the Scottish Highlands or the Welsh Valleys ( it's a night out on the Toon.

The authors of the influential Rough Guide to Britain have placed a night in Newcastle as the top attraction in the UK.

Researchers were impressed by a vibrant and modern Quayside and placed it top of the 35 things to do, further cementing its reputation as a party city.

It was put ahead of surfing in Cornwall and the dreaming spires of Oxford.

A walk along Hadrian's Wall also came highly recommended and the historic structure ranked 26th out of the top 35 UK attractions.

A spokeswoman for Rough Guide said: "The authors do a lot of research and travel around the country. They felt Newcastle deserved a bit of a shout."

Andrew Dixon, chief executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said he was thrilled the area had been named as the number one attraction.

Mr Dixon added: "NewcastleGateshead has long been synonymous with having a great night out and now that does not just have to mean visiting one of our many fantastic bars, restaurants and clubs.

"Now visitors are just as likely to attend a concert at Sage Gateshead, a cutting edge art exhibition at the Laing or Baltic or a performance at the Theatre Royal or Dance City."

In general, the guide describes Britain as a place where "multiple homes are the rule for some and squalid homelessness the norm for others", says the Rough Guide to Britain.

It goes on: "Heritage is big business, with everyone from the Queen in Buckingham Palace to seedy tourist shops in John O'Groats cashing in on whatever assets are available."

Rough Guide also describes Buckingham Palace as a "graceless colossus" and "a palace that's as bland as it's possible to be", which visitors "pay through the nose" to see. The Tate Modern is a "masterful conversion", Shakespeare's Globe is "amazing", Birmingham has "excellent museums and one of Britain's best club scenes", and the Welsh Valleys region is "one of the most interesting and distinctive corners of Wales".

Newcastle City councillor Pauline Allen, executive member for culture, heritage, libraries and sport, said she was delighted the city had been recognised as Britain's top attraction.

She added: "Those of us who live and work here are fiercely proud of our city and its recent cultural transformation.

"This means our city's vibrant nightlife includes not just bars, restaurants and clubs, but also world class theatre, live music and other entertainment.

"By day, there is also a wide range of cultural and historic attractions, as well as great shopping to enjoy.

"We hope this excellent review will encourage even more people to find out for themselves."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 21, 2006
Words:472
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