The Angel of the North – Gateshead, England - Atlas Obscura

The Angel of the North

Huge winged monument in the United Kingdom. 


With slightly angled wings, the massive Angel of the North has stood in embrace of its country, towering over Gateshead and greeting 90,000 staring faces every day.

Since its installation in 1998, the Angel of the North has evolved from local pariah to one of the most recognized symbols in the United Kingdom. With its stature as an Icon of England and considering its size, recognition and acceptance might have been the only path for the giant monument.

Designed and created by Antony Gormley, the Angel of the North stands at a massive 66 feet tall and extends its wings to a length of 180 feet. Due to its position on a hillside, the Angel’s construction was a logistical nightmare. The statue needed the ability to withstand 100 mph winds and as such required concrete foundations 70 feet below the ground. All totaled, the foundations alone weigh 600 tons, and sufficiently supports the incredible 200 ton statue.

Standing bright red atop a hillside, the enormous statue cannot be missed from the road. During its construction, this was one of the biggest concerns of the community. Many locals feared that drivers would gaze at the statue and ignore the road while driving, causing traffic accidents along the A1 road. The fear of traffic accidents and financial concerns over its state-funded million dollar cost led to bitter disputes around the statue, and caused the project to take four years for completion.

However, 13 years after its initial construction, the United Kingdom has returned the Angel’s powerful embrace and the statue is now well-loved across the nation.


Know Before You Go

Visible from the A1 and A167 roads at Low Fell, as well as from the East Coast Main Line. There is a small car park off Durham Road, a short walk takes you to the foot of the statue. Free to visit and accessible 24 hours a day.

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