Newcastle has come out top in the Guardian and Observer Travel Awards 2014 - voted Favourite UK City - beating the likes of Edinburgh and London to the coveted title. 

Newcastle is only the second city outside Edinburgh in the past 15 years to secure the top spot - and has nudged last year's winner Bath into second place. 

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative - which markets the area nationally and internationally to attract both  leisure and business visitors - said: "This is a fantastic result. We're delighted that Guardian readers have chosen Newcastle as their favourite city. 

"This title helps to reinforce NewcastleGateshead's growing reputation as a leading city break and demonstrates its ability to punch above its weight - beating popular visitor destinations like York, London, Edinburgh and Leeds to the title."

Kathie Wilcox, head of marketing and communications at NewcastleGateshead Initiative was invited to attend the Awards alongside leading businesses and organisations from the global travel industry and accepted the trophy on behalf of the destination. 

Kathie said: "The Guardian and Observer Travel Awards are an important date in the calendar for the travel and tourism sector. It is a real coup for Newcastle to win this title and not only raised its profile significantly amongst the industry heavy weights in attendance but also provides a great platform for us to promote the destination over the coming months." 

Sarah Stewart added: "This recognition just reinforces what we all already know - that we have a fantastic asset. The mix of vibrant cultural and sporting venues and events, excellent shopping facilities, wide choice of restaurants, bars and hotels and our beautiful quayside and cityscape make this an attractive and enjoyable place to visit for business or pleasure. And the warmth and personality of the place and people undoubtedly helps us to stand out from the competition. 

"It's these strengths that we actively promote throughout our marketing and PR campaigns to change perceptions of the place and provide reasons to visit. We've seen the visitor economy continue to grow, despite challenging economic times, and now more than 19 million people visit annually and enjoy what NewcastleGateshead has to offer. "

In the Guardian's coverage of the winners, journalist Harry Pearson writes: "That Newcastle was voted the best UK city by readers of the Guardian and Observer therefore comes as little surprise. Certainly no local will do a double take on hearing the news... You see, Newcastle's atmosphere of almost pathological friendliness and good humour stems from one simple thing: all Geordies believe themselves blessed to have been born here."

He goes on to describe its many credentials as a 'great city', from the famous nightlife to its history and heritage founded on innovation and engineering; from the area's best pubs to our contemporary art galleries, including BALTIC and its sister-gallery BALTIC 39. The full article can be read here:http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/nov/22/newcastle-travel-best-uk-city-galleries-restaurants

For details of all categories and winners, see: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/nov/22/travel-awards-2014-the-winners

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