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United Kingdom: Newcastle Bridges

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Newcastle Bridges | United Kingdom | Europe

[Visited: March 2007]

The Romans were the first to establish a settlement on the banks of the river Tyne - and called it Pons Aelius, or Aelian Bridge. They in fact constructed a bridge to allow easy passage across the river Tyne. Many centuries later, after wars with the Danes and destruction north of the river Tyne as a punishment for the rebellion against the Normans, Monkchester, as it was called, was also levelled. This allowed construction of a new town, of which the castle is still visible now. The name of the new settlement: New Castle. The need for bridges remained, and currently Newcastle counts with seven bridges. It is possible to walk along the banks of the Tyne which gives a good view of all of them.

Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Bridges of Newcastle seen in a row

It is possible to walk along the banks of the river Tyne, and pass under most of the bridges. The walk allows for great views on most of the bridges, while allowing to cross several of them. Starting from the highway bridge in the West, you can see all bridges spanning the Tyne in a row. Walking towards Newcastle, the next bridge high above is a railway bridge, after which you reach the elegant blue Queen Elizabeth Bridge. After a few hundres metres, you arrive at the High Level Bridge offers a river crossing for both cars and trains, and was sadly under reconstruction when I visited - it has been so for years already. Opened in 1849, it was the first combined bridge in the world to give passage to both cars and trains.

Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): View through Tyne Bridge

From here, there is a high density of bridges. The Swing Bridge, one of the few bridges crossing at low level, with its remarkable lighthouse-like top, can be opened for passing river traffic. The Tyne Bridge is a landmark bridge in Newcastle, resembling the Sydney Harbour Bridge and in fact designed by the same Dorman Long. Its colossal iron arch is the highest of the bridges in Newcastle. From the bridge, you have great views over the river and the city. You look down on the only very modern Gateshead Millennium Bridge, a white arch bridge allowing passage to cyclists and pedestrians only. In line with Newcastle's progressive bridge building, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge is the first tilting span: it can be opened to allow ships to pass. It blends in well with its surrouding area of modern architecture and has become the second landmark bridge of Newcastle.

Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Gateshead Millennium Bridge at dusk
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): View on Tyne Bridge from the west
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Tyne Bridge coming to life after sunset
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Looking towards Tyne Bridge through Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Tyne Bridge and Sage Gateshead at sunset
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Gateshead Millennium Bridge and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Top of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge in close-up
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Dusk falls over Newcastle, seen through Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Sage Gateshead Musical Centre seen through the arch of Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Reflection of Gateshead Millennium Bridge in the Tyne River at night
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Gateshead Millennium Bridge with white light at night
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Swing Bridge and High Level Bridge in the background
Picture of Newcastle Bridges (United Kingdom): Swing Bridge with Castle and Cathedral in the background

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