I have vowed to myself that this year I will see and do more in the UK. I'm very quick to think that my next big adventure is going to be abroad somewhere, when actually there so much to see and do right here in the UK. London has so much to offer, as does Manchester and even the remote places for camping and active holidays, but today I want to chat about Newcastle and all the things you can do if you're planning to head to Geordie land...
I've been a few times for work as I've held events there, and each time I've tried to get a number of places I wouldn't do normal, for example last time I stumbled upon this restaurant on the Quayside that was BBQ style menu called the hop and cleaver. It had been put right into the old brick work plus it was amazing to discover they even brew their own craft beers!
The Newcastle Checklist
There are many things you can do in Newcastle but these are my top lot!
If you're driving inform the south you certainly won't miss it! A well-known work of art by Anton Gromley in 1998, this 20m wing span angel is the big stamp on the Newcastle map for culture. It's an amazing spot for a picnic and generally a must-see
// Bridge over Tyne
As I mentioned earlier this is the place I discovered my hidden gem of a restaurant! If you didn't know there are actually seven bridges crossing the River Tyne but the most iconic is the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside. It really took me by surprise when I first saw it, mainly in the discovering of such a masterpiece of engineering from many decades ago, the landmark Tyne Bridge, (opened in 1928 by King George V and modelled on Sydney Harbour Bridge) right the way to it's latest edition, Gateshead Millennium Bridge... which if you hadn't guessed was built in the Millennium year.
This is a bit of a combined section because there are many, many places to visit in Newcastle that come under this category. Firstly we have the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art - if art is your thing then this is a must especially as it hosted the Turner Prize back in 2011. It's free entry and as an added bonus provides awesome views of the Newcastle Gateshead cityscape. If you like art though there is also the Laing Art Gallery.
The Castle Keep and Black Gate re-opened in March 2015 as the Newcastle Castle. If you do decide to explore one of the Uk's finest medieval stone castles and the history of those within the castle walls, then you have to come and see this. Plus like the BALTIC Centre this boasts spectacular views as well.
You may be wondering why I've put this on my list! It isn't just any cinema it's actually a rare art deco cinema and is a Grade II listed building. We used to have a art deco style cinema where I lived but it got taken over by a big company, so this is a real treat for any big movie lover.
// Gateshead MetroCentre
It wouldn't be a list without some reference to shopping - would it?! If you love to shop then Gateshead Metrocentre is the place to go! It is the largest shopping centre in Europe, so I'm pretty sure you'll have plenty to occupy yourself with. Full of highstreet chains for clothing and food but spanning out from the main centre are boutiques and quirky foodie places, so you give yourself time to explore.
// Cycle your way around
Personally speaking I think bike hire is the best way to see any big city. You get about a lot quick, burn calories and see more! Big cities take so long to get around and you can miss such amazing spots purely due to being too tired to get there and soak it all in. Bikes are your best friend in Newcastle with lots of bike friendly areas too, even for the cycle rookie you should be whizzing about in no time. Check out The Cycle Hub for bike hire and tours.
Alternatively if you really want to sink your teeth into all the details of Newcastle past and present I always like a good guided tour. Sometimes we walk about cities and miss the smaller but more significant details. For tours check out http://www.northeastenglandtouristguides.co.uk/ to help you on your way.
Still not 100% sure on what do in Newcastle, or you just want to find out what events are happening when you go? Simply tweet @altweet_pet on Twitter (genius twitter handle!) for more information on upcoming events and ideas for things to see, do and visit or go to the official Newcastle Gateshead website.