Middlesbrough has hit the headlines more recently with the negatives. High unemployment, the closing down of factories and steel works, and, in 2008, being named “The Worst town in the UK” by Channel 4’s ‘Location.
Yet, despite the picture these headlines appear to paint, Middlesbrough, a industrial town in the North East of England, does have something to give people who are looking for something that bit less run of the mill for a weekend break.
Actually, Middlesbrough has lots to offer tourists. From museums and art galleries, to a wide ranging nightlife with good food, pubs and clubs. Also it is a central location for some of the best that the North of England has to offer, with the seaside a short drive in one direction and the North Yorkshire Moors a short drive in the other.
As for museums, Middlesbrough holds the Dorman Museum which holds varied and interesting exhibitions and the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum. The town also spent £19 million on Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (Mima) which holds, amongst others, paintings by Picasso and has free entry.
Middlesbrough is also home to one of the blossoming new music scenes in the country, producing bands such as Dartz, Young Rebel Set and The Chapman Family. This is partly due to the thriving live music scene in the town. Venues such as The Empire, Arena and The Crown frequently provide the best in new unsigned music, as well as a good, cheap night out for those who are that way inclined. On top of this at the start of June, the town centre shuts down to hold Intro Festival, a day long music extravaganza. The once free festival has played host to top talent in recent years from Florence and the Machine all the way to Kasabian and the Kaiser Chiefs.
The main criticism levelled at Middlesbrough is that it is dirty, grey and run down, possibly due to its industrial past. There are a lot areas that are like that, possibly comes with the territory of a once huge steel making and bridge building area, famously constructing the Tyne bridge and the Sydney Harbour bridge. Although in the midst of the smoggy cooling towers, comes great structures such as the Transporter bridge.
Walks and Seaside
Also only a short drive away are popular walking spots in the North Yorkshire Moors where hills such as Roseberry Topping are descended upon by thousands of walkers each year. Also it has the picturesque seaside towns of Saltburn and, slightly further afield, the historical Whitby.
Local resident, Dave Owens, 27, said: “Middlesbrough is a very underrated town that gets a lot of harsh press due to its industrial background. From a personal point of view, being able to enjoy one of the best music scene’s in the country and enjoy real top draw art at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, make it a brilliant place to live.
“Also to be able to go for a walk in the hills or for a day to the beach with ease makes it a mint place to be.”
So if you are looking for a weekend away in somewhere that will make peoples heads turn, don’t believe the hype, give Middlesbrough a go.