A Guide to Newcastle
I first travelled to Newcastle as a child, growing up in the north west of England, it wasn’t too far for us to get to on a day trip. All I remembered from our visit back then was Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North structure, and a distant TV memory of watching Biker Grove. So as an adult now living in Edinburgh, I decided it was time to hop on a short train journey, to rediscover the city of Newcastle.
With no idea what to expect stepping onto the platform at Newcastle’s Central train station, immediately hit by the wind and rain, so common in the north of England, yet somehow I managed to forget how un-predictable the weather can be! Not to let that dampen our spirits, we ploughed onto the nearest (Instagram-worthy, of course) coffee shop, Pink Lane Coffee, to make our plans for the day.
Thanks to a quick TripAdvisor search of local hotspots and attractions, we set about our next steps for where to visit. It soon dawned on me that Newcastle isn’t as large as I imagined it was, which was definitely a positive. Super easy to navigate by public transport and by foot, the whole city has a very relaxed vibe about it. From the independent coffee shops and boutiques, to the bars and nightlife the city has to offer.
Once a busy industrial area, the quayside has since been developed to provide a modern environment, encompassing modern arts, music and culture. It’s also along here you’ll find several restaurants, bars and night clubs, not to mention a great view of the bridges!
In the historic heart of Newcastle, you’ll find Grainger Town. Seeking shelter from the rain, we dived into Grainer Market, where we found rows of independent shops, from traditional sweet shops to record stores. Further into the market you’ll also find fresh vegetables and produce, and the freshest fish. It’s great to see a traditional market, first built in 1835, holding it’s ground today.
Gateshead Millenium Bridge & the Tyne Bridge
It’s almost impossible to go to Newcastle without paying a visit to the bridges. Most notable is the Gateshead Millennium bridge, which is a tilt bridge which spans the River Tyne. Allowing for all boats and ships to pass under it. Head up to the view point in the Baltic Centre on the other side for a view like no other across the bridges.
Baltic Art Gallery
The Baltic centre for contemporary art is a fabulous modern gallery, breathing new life into an old flour mill. A gallery which since opening, has gained an international reputation for its commissioning of cutting edge exhibitions. The gallery is open daily between 10am and 6pm. Enjoy a view like no other over a cocktail or lunch with friends at the Baltic Kitchen, or the Six Rooftop Restaurant as the sun sets over the city.
The Discovery Museum
The Discovery Museum was the first science museum to open outside of London in 1899. Immerse yourself in the history of Newcastle and Tyneside in the Discovery Museum. Here you’ll find any temporary exhibitions, as well as the Newcastle Story. From Roman Times into the millennium. Grab a coffee in the cafe with views overlooking the Turbinia and steam engines.
Centre for Life
With over 600 people working in the Centre for Life, it’s home to pioneering organisations, full of doctors, nurses and researchers. All working to improve chances of life.It was here that scientists first produced the world’s first cloned human embryo and ground-breaking stem cell research to restore eyesight. The Centre for Life gives a fascinating insight into the science behind all of the research and discoveries undertaken here, from immersive 4D rides and experiments for kids. It’s definitely somewhere you can get lost and geek out in for a while!
Intu Shopping Centre
One of the biggest shopping centres in Newcastle is the Intu Centre on Eldon Square. Easily accessible from the Central train station, it’s got every store you can think of. From beauty and cosmetics to fashion and places to dine. It’s got a bit of everything you fancy, and well worth a look around on a rainy day.
Where to Eat & Drink
I’m a big foodie, and since I’m always dreaming up what my next meal is going to be, this was going to require some pre-trip research. Taking advice from other Newcastle locals and looking up on Instagram where others had been going to, I had several places on my list to check out, and they didn’t disappoint.
Pink Lane Coffee
Across from the Central station, Pink Lane Coffee is a small and inspecting coffee shop. Offering teas, coffee, hot chocolates and delicious cakes and pastries. Inside has a great artist vibe, from the fun painted murals on the walls, to the neon signs providing light for a great work space in the back.
The Botanist Roof Bar
Ideal for sunnier days, grab a cocktail at one of Newcastle’s coolest bars, The Botanist, with it’s very own roof terrace. Sit down, relax and watch the world go by looking down from the terrace above.
Pet Lamb Patisserie
I love pastries, and I love tea, so this was my kind of cafe. With wonderful Instagram worthy pastel pink and purple exteriors and interiors, it’s picture perfect and pretty well priced too. Ideal for an afternoons break over a pot of tea.
Meet & Treat
Missing being in Hong Kong, I find myself dreaming of chau siu bao, so to get my sticky pork bun fix we just had to head to Meet & Treat. A delightful little restaurant just off China Town, it offers great food at cheap prices. Also bonus points for being the most Instagrmamed floor in Newcastle!
Have you been to Newcastle? Where are your favourite local hotspots?