Tyne and Wear is a county in the north east of England and part of the area known as Northumbria. Northumberland forms the northern border of this county, the North Sea its eastern border and to the west and south lies County Durham. It takes its name from the 2 large rivers which flow through the county to the North Sea - the river Tyne and the river Wear. It is upon their banks that the vast majority of its 1,121,000 people live, work and play. Once upon a time the river Tyne formed the southern border of Northumberland and the northern border of County Durham but today it is the bustling centre of Tyne and Wear and both rivers are the scene of much regeneration. Tyne and Wear may be the smallest of all the northern counties but it is the second most densely populated (Merseyside in the northwest being the first). The county has 2 cities and a number of large towns. The city of Newcastle upon Tyne lies on the northern bank of the Tyne opposite the large town of Gateshead and its conurbation on the south bank. On the Tyne estuary and the coast lie the areas of North Tyneside and South Tyneside respectively. In the south of the county the city of Sunderland presides over both banks of the river Wear.