WITH its quaint cobbles, time-weathered buildings and nearby market square, it would fit most people’s ideal image of a traditional old English street.
Now the historic panorama of Alnwick’s Bondgate Within, and 15th century Hotspur Tower, has been named as Britain’s best shopping street.
The mix of independent family-run shops, fashion stores, leading High Street names and two supermarkets has earned the wide and imposing thoroughfare the accolade, as part of the 2011 Google Street View awards.
Bondgate Within beat off competition from 19 others including Kingston Market Place, Low Pavement in Nottingham and Belfast’s Lisburn Road.
The awards bring a double honour for the North East, with South Shore Road in Gateshead chosen as Britain’s ‘hippest’ street.
The road, close to The Sage and Baltic gallery finished ahead of chic boulevards including Call Lane, in Leeds, and Whitecross Street, in London.
Nominations for the awards, which also include Britain’s most romantic street, were compiled by a Google panel of experts from the world of travel, shopping and lifestyle.
More than 20,000 people took part in a national online vote on the 60 nominations last month.
Bondgate Within was nominated by David Else, lead author of the Lonely Planet Guide to Great Britain. He said: “Part of a triangle of streets around the old market building in this historic Northumberland town, it offers a great mix of high street stores and supermarkets, with a wide choice of independent stores.”
Alnwick Mayor, Alan Symmonds, said: “I’m delighted that Bondgate Within has won this prestigious Google Street View award.
“It more than holds its own in the formidable list of nominees.
“The street is characterised by a large number of individual shops, many of which are well-established family businesses and all of which pride themselves on offering a personal service to their customers.
“This award follows others for Alnwick and confirms that it is a wonderful place in which to live, and a fantastic centre for tourists.”
Local county councillor Gordon Castle said: “This is great news for our town and follows on from the Country Life magazine accolade of best place to live in Great Britain a few years ago.”
South Shore Road in Gateshead was nominated for the ‘hippest’ street award by lifestyle journalist Chrissy Iley, for its stunning views and cultural importance.
Mick Henry, leader of Gateshead Council, said: “Tens of thousands of visitors come to South Shore Road every year to visit Baltic, take a stroll across the Millennium Bridge and listen to great music at The Sage Gateshead.
“It says everything that needs to be said about Gateshead – modern, hip, stylish and ambitious.”
Front Street in Bamburgh, Northumberland, overlooked by the village’s historic castle, finished second in the most romantic street section of the awards, behind Copse Hill Road, in Lower Slaughter, near Cheltenham. Last year’s inaugural Google Street View awards named The Shambles, in York, as Britain’s most picturesque street.