How to Visit the Angel of the North

During our epic trip round the north of England last year, I fulfilled a personal ambition to see both of Antony Gormley's installations: Another Place at Crosby, and the Angel of the North near Gateshead.  Both more than lived up to expectations.  Read on to find out how to visit the Angel of the North yourself.


Modelled on a cast of his own body, like much of Gormley's work, the vast Angel stands in a commanding position on Birtley Hill between the A1 and A167 roads, and overlooking the East Coast Main Line route to Edinburgh.  As vast as you know it is in theory, nothing quite prepares you for this looming giant suddenly appearing through your car window.  Truly awe inspiring.


Standing 20m high, taller than four double decker buses, and with a wingspan of 54m, as big as a jumbo jet, it is believe to be the largest angel sculpture in the world.  And it truly is beautiful.  We were lucky to visit on a glorious May day with blue sky and sunshine, highlighting the glorious red of the copper in its weathered steel amalgam.


It was wonderful to have the place to ourselves and we spent ages admiring her from different angles and wandering around.  Our girls were amazed and fascinated by the statue.  When we arrived they ran towards her, then spent a long time sitting on her feet and gazing up at the immense structure.


The vast wings do not stand straight sideways but are angled 3.5 degrees forward to offer a sense of embrace.  She weighs 200 tonnes and can withstand winds of more than 100 miles per hour and is made from cold steel, but there is something so warm and welcoming about the statue.


Antony Gormley's glorious paean to the coal miners who worked beneath her feet for two centuries, has certainly had her fair share of critics over the years, but is now the UK's most famous piece of public art.



In the grass and woodland around the Angel there are tributes to people who have died, and it seems to have become a place of pilgrimage and remembrance.  This little memorial garden is very touching and some of the cards left will bring a tear to your eye.

The Angel has also come to represent the north east's transition from industrial wasteland to a modern, evolving area.  Unfortunately, you don't have to drive far from her feet to find communities still in the depths of poverty and deprivation, but on the other hand the thriving cities of Newcastle and Durham are only a stone's throw away.  A fascinating place.


The Angel of the North is truly spectacular, and well worth a visit.  We loved it and will definitely be going back.  Go!


How to Visit

To get to the Angel take the A167 north towards Gateshead (or go south then turn round at the roundabout).  It is a few hundred yards from the A1M junction.  There is no admittance charge.

There is a small free car park nearby with space for 26 cars and 2 coaches.  4 disabled spaces and several cycle bays are also available.

Angel 21 buses run frequently from Newcastle's Eldon Square and Gateshead Interchange.  You can find out more and check the timetable here.

An ice cream van and hot drinks van often park in the car park, particularly during the busier summer months.  There is plenty of room to have a picnic too, but there are no toilets.



Want more ideas of things to do in the North East?

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