A couple of days ago I posed the question, Why Middlesbrough as a destination for a holiday.
Well, I think over the last couple of days I’ve found an answer
I’m not quite certain what I was expecting from Middlesbrough, and certainly if you believe the London centric press it’s the epitome of it being “Grim up north”.
And yes, the final approach into Middlesbrough through the car breakers yards, the heavy industry and the empty derelict lots doesn’t fill one with masses of hope.
However, the same could be said in the good old days of Eurostar trains running into Waterloo, the final couple of miles through the breakers yards and gas works of Battersea and Brixton are a pretty bleak and forbidding introduction to London.
Once you’re through the grim outskirts, and better that the grime and industry is on the edge of town rather than in the middle, you reach a little gem.
Bustling, lively streets with lots of shops and lots of shoppers. And unlike some other towns further south, sorry Coventry I am thinking of you here, a good mix of stores from the odd couple of “Poundland” derivatives up to high end department stores and specialist shops. This is not an area that is mired in abject poverty.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty certain there are areas of depravation in Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas, but in the city centre it’s probably healthier than many Southern “wealthy areas”.
Middlesbrough has a large number of attractions, a series of good museums, stunning art galleries and an industrial heritage that the locals are fiercely proud of.
It’s got a strong history of industrial innovation with the world’s first passenger railway only a couple of miles away in the neighbouring town of Stockton.
And it’s provided the world with some pretty important people. James Cook, largely credited for discovering, or at the very least properly mapping, Australia, is a local son that is evident in streets, car parks and shopping centres named after him.
And, when you’ve exhausted all that Middlesbrough has to offer it’s perfectly placed for the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Coast, County Durham and both Wearside and Tyneside.
True it may not have the number of attractions of a Bath, York or Newcastle. But it’s got enough to keep you occupied for some time and at the end of the day, that’s what you want in a city break.
So if you’re looking for somewhere a little off of the beaten track with lots to do, stunning countryside surrounding it and good transport links, then why not consider Middlesbrough for your next city break?