Recently i was gifted an opportunity to join a one of Iles Tours. I particpated in a Newcastle walking tour to find out a little more about this city and some of the history behind it. Being a Londoner now immersing myself into the city and its culture we celebrate what Newcastle is great for now. However its also important to understand the past and know why and how some of the things we celebrate today came about.

Iles Tours is a private tour that offers up a selection of tours around Newcastle, Durham and Northumberland. I attended a 2 hour history tour of Newcastle.

With new guidelines due to Covid you can now only attend in a maximum group of 5, however on the tour i attended it was just myself and another couple anyhow. I liked this intimacy as it meant that we were being talked to directly, engaged and open to ask questions at any point of the tour.

The meeting point was Greys Monument, which has stood proudly as every geordie for many a generation has grown up. Synonymous for being a meeting point, a place for protest, music displays and a place to sit. How many people actually have taken the time to know why it stands? Yes, it is linked to the origins of Earl Grey tea, but we were told of so much more, including the reformations made by this man to which we owe to what we see in modern society and the way it works.

Onwards we moved down Grey Street. Learning of Richard Grainger’s influence on this town, his life and his links to John Dobson. You may have also noticed all the street signs adorned with Grainger Town. Learn why this is also.

We ventured through more points of historical fact and architectural brilliance. Learning more about Milburn House, the railway viaduct, construction of the Swing and High-Level Bridges, The Gateshead Millenium bridge and why it doesn’t actually touch the Newcastle side. Why in the 13th Century Urine was one of Newcastle biggest exports? How many of the concrete buildings on Pilgrim street can be linked back to council leader T Dan Smith who was guilty of corruption to Newcastle Castle, Newcastle Cathedral and the Bigg Market’s origin.

The tour was carried out at a good pace, with plenty of time in each location and point of interest to be able to understand, take in its history, ask questions and grab a photo if need be. Nothing was rushed. Our tour guide Alexander Iles was knowledgeable, passionate and up to date on town plans, as well as all the historical fact he had for us. Alex was able to answer some random questions that came up, and again apply either historical knowledge or current information to answer.

I learned more about this town in 2 hours than I had ever known, and I first came to visit this city 20 years ago. This tour is normally priced at £35 pp which for some may be a little high, however like any private tour or business you are investing in the knowledge brought to you by the guide, the tour presentation and the knowledge they have to bring. If you love your history then I feel its worth the money.

For more info on this tour or other tours available please visit Iles Tours

Thanks for reading,

Aaron

Read my recent article on other things to do in Newcastle with the opening of Point Blank Shooting.

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