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Things to do in Newcastle

Catch some waves on a deserted beach

If you enjoy surfing on crowd-free beaches, head to the nearby sands of Tynemouth and Longsands. Admittedly, the North Sea may be frigidly cold, but what it lacks in temperature it makes up with in decent sized rollers. Tynemouth Surf Co (tel: +41 191 258 2496; www.tynemouthsurf.co.uk) offer lessons and equipment hire, including hats and gloves.

Engage in military action - for fun

Ever wanted to test your military mettle without the actualities of war? Then Turboventure (tel: +44 191 232 5872; www.turboventures.co.uk) is the place for you. Activities range from target practice using air rifles (traditionalists may prefer a crossbow) and woodland stakeouts with a paintball gun to handling a six-wheel drive whilst blindfolded. There's also tank driving. Yes: tank driving.

Enjoy a watery adventure on the River Tyne

The River Tyne is an iconic part of Newcastle's identity and what better way to get up close than paddling along the navigation. Newburn Activity Centre (tel: +44 191 264 0014) will help you get afloat with their range of vessels including canoes and kayaks, whilst land-lovers can rent bicycles to explore Tyne Riverside Country Park.

Swing through the treetops

For a family day out, strap yourself in and swing through the canopies of the Beamish Wild High Ropes (tel: +44 1207 233 733; www.beamishwild.co.uk). Over two hours, adventurers can tackle zip wires, bridges and adrenaline-inducing jumps in trees surrounding Beamish Hall, a 12-century country house, 20 minutes drive from Newcastle. Children must be over 10 years old.

Walk to the edge of an empire

Hike the Hadrian's Wall trail to follow in the footsteps of history. Begin at Wallsend and Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum (tel: +44 191 278 4217; www.segedunumromanfort.org.uk) and walk west along the edge of the old Roman Empire. Heddon-on-the-Wall is best for day-trippers, whilst hiking enthusiasts with more endeavour can reach Bowness-on-Solway in about eight days.

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Grey Street Hotel

Situated inside a Grade II listed building, this wonderful boutique hotel offers suitably classy accommodation with high ceilings, elegant Georgian bedrooms and triple-glazed windows. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi, plasma TVs, DVD and CD players and beds worth spending time in. Its onsite restaurant, The Living Room, is rather good too.

Express by Holiday Inn

Slap bang in the middle of town, and with the Holiday Inn stamp of familiarity, this modern 3-star hotel features 130 comfortable bedrooms with flatscreen TVs, free Wi-Fi and tea and coffee making facilities. It underwent a beautifying refurbishment in 2015 and also has a fully licensed bar. Breakfast included.

Roomzzz

This stylish apartment hotel with colourful boutique-style furnishings is set within a handsome Victorian mansion. Handy options include cosy studios sleeping two and Maxima suites for four, both with ample kitchen facilities and lounge areas with HD TVs. Splurge on a spacious Penthouse Suite with mezzanine and fine city views.

Hotel du Vin

The former home of the Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company has been converted into a 42-room property offering monsoon-style showers plasma TVs and breathtaking river views. It also has a very decent onsite bistro Bistro du Vin as well as the delightful Bubble Bar and an outstanding wine cellar.

Jesmond Dene House

This indulgent boutique hotel occupies a striking 19th-century mansion, surrounded by leafy woodland. From the underfloor heating in the bathrooms to the exquisitely designed rooms, every last detail has been considered to retain the charm and atmosphere of a manor house. There are 40 rooms, all of them sleek, spacious and modern, plus an award-winning restaurant and expansive gardens.

Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Hotel

The huge 254-room Hilton enjoys a superb riverside location 10 minutes from the city centre and close to the Baltic, the Sage Gateshead and the Millennium Bridge. Facilities at the hotel include a gym, swimming pool, spa and sauna, but the real draw is the stunning panoramic views of the quayside area. Excellent value off-season.