North-East metropolitan county Tyne and Wear is made up of the vibrant bustling towns and cities, most notably Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, the city by the sea and the coastal boroughs of North Tyneside and South Tyneside.
With a vast offering of activities and places of interest in the county, Tyne and Wear boasts the largest visitor economy in the North East England. The tourism industry employs over 31,000 people, catering for over a huge 39 million visitor every year.
Sunderland city is best known for its art and cultural attractions including the National Glass Centre exhibitions, the Museum and Art Gallery, the City Library and Arts Centre and the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.
The city of Newcastle, situated on the North bank of the River Tyne, owes its name to the castle built in 1080, by Robert II, Duke of Normandy and the eldest son of William the Conqueror. Historically, Newcastle's economy relied heavily on wool trade and later, on coal mining. The 16th Century port and shipyards regenerated the area and it became one of the world's largest shipbuilding and repairing centres. Whilst this industry has now ceased, modern-day Newcastle is primarily a business and cultural centre with a reputation for fantastic nightlife.