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Is there a city similar to Austin, TX in the UK?

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mechtilde:
Newcastle upon Tyne. I moved up to this are 22 years ago and never left. They still call it "The Toon" (the town) even though it has officially been a city for over 100 years. The people are very friendly. Lots of parks, museums, galleries and music venues in Newcastle and on the south side of the river in Gateshead. There's even a herd of cattle living just outside the city centre- they are owned by the freemen of the city, as are the fields where they graze. It's called The Town Moor, and the ancient rights of the freemen are what prevented the land from being built on.

There are two universities, so there's a young population, a strong local music tradition, great food, lovely scenery just outside the city, and beaches you can reach easily on the local light railway system.

As a bonus there are two world heritage sites (Hadrian's Wall and Durham Cathedral) nearby; the city's 14th century walls are still intact in places, there are amazing buildings from the 12th century to the present day and the New Castle itself? Still there, but not very new these days...

http://www.newcastlegateshead.com/

123Sandy:
I've never been to Austin but going by what you're looking for, I'd recommend Edinburgh.

emwithme:
Definitely Bristol.  I moved to the South West about ten years ago and have lived in (or within spitting distance of) Bristol that whole time.  There are *still* new things for me to see and do (and old favourites, of course).

The architecture in certain areas, particularly Clifton Village which is mostly Georgian, is gorgeous.  There's not much beats the view from Royal York Crescent (I used to live in the middle of the crescent, in a top floor flat.  I miss that flat and those views.  I do not miss the 67 steps to get there, or the scrum for parking!).  There's also lots of new building going on, particularly apartments being built along the harbourside. 

There are lots of parks and "hidden" green areas.  One of my favourites is Queen Square, which is right in the centre of town.  It's nice and peaceful most of the time - occasionally there are events there with big screens (they showed the Olympics there and people brought deckchairs to sit and watch them) and at (sunny) lunchtimes in the week it fills up with office workers eating.

In terms of culture, there's something for everyone.  The Bristol Hippodrome has both regional and national tours and the ENO and WNO come at least annually.  Colston Hall has music performances of every type, and there's some great smaller music venues - particularly The Fleece, who have both up and coming bands, tribute acts and some surprisingly large names playing for a really small venue.  There's a permanent street-art project and Bristol is the home of Banksy!

There's the ss Great Britain, the world's first iron hulled steam ship (this is where I got married last year) and Clifton Suspension Bridge, both designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. 

In terms of shopping, there's Cabot Circus (in the centre of town) which has shops, restaurants and a cinema, as well as various out-of-town retail parks and lots of local high streets offering independent shops as well as the larger, national chains. 

There's two universities (Bristol University and The University of the West of England), lots of major employers (including Rolls Royce and many legal and financial services firms have offices here), the airport is only half an hour outside of town and the train links you to Birmingham in 90 minutes and London in just under two hours.  Bath is next door, and Glastonbury is near enough for a day trip.  The countryside and coast are both within a 45 minute drive. 

http://visitbristol.co.uk/

faithlessone:
My first thought was Bristol as well, and not just because it's where I live. ;D

perpetua:
Lots of votes for Bristol  :D

It's ace, it's got such a lovely vibe to it, and it's pretty, too.

(I nearly moved there a couple of years ago; looked at a lovely house in Fishponds. Got as far as filling in an application but sadly it was let to someone else, I think the guy had about 35 people apply for it, which gives an indication of how popular the place is)

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