North East England is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It covers Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and the area of the former county of Cleveland in North Yorkshire.
The region is home to three large conurbations: Teesside, Wearside, and Tyneside, the last of which is the largest of the three and the eighth most populous conurbation in the United Kingdom.
There are three cities in the region: Newcastle upon Tyne, the largest, with a population of just under 280,000; Sunderland, located in the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear along with Newcastle; and the city of Durham, the county town of County Durham. Other large settlements in the region include Darlington, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, South Shields, Stockton-on-Tees and Washington. In common parlance, and geographically, north-east England is popularly, if vaguely, conceived to include somewhat more of north Yorkshire than stipulated above.
Northumberland, although largely rural and an important tourist location with its castles, beaches, and history has a nationally significant concentration of pharmaceutical manufacturing companies around Cramlington and Prudhoe. The county has also seen a huge investment into the creation of the UKs largest reservoir, Kielder Water, enabling the Northeast to attract more industry. Kielder forest around the reservoir is known to have the darkest night sky in England, making it an ideal location for both professional and amateur astronomers.
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