I decided to add a City Guide button to the side panel on the right. When people think of England, they quite often think only of London. And while London is of course the capital and has so much to offer, there are lots of other towns, cities and villages worth visiting. Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England is one of them, in my opinion.
I think I've mentioned here before that I was not born in this city but moved for work and have lived here for the last ten years. Despite it's Stag & Hen Party image, there is a lot more on offer. This guide is by no means a comprehensive guide to the city but rather is a collection of the places that I like to go to and that I think are worth a visit. And while I'm sure many of you have absolutely no intention of ever visiting the North East of England, you may enjoy this little trip around my home city anyway.
This so far, is the starting point of my City Guide, which I will update regularly as I find new places and find the time to work on it. The Guide is not limited only to central Newcastle as the areas around the city are all very accessible and not too far away. I will make a note on a post whenever I update so you know to check back if you desire. And you never know, it may entice you to visit the city one day...
● Shopping ●
Vivienne Westwood - 1 Hood Street, NE1 6JQ
This boutique needs no introduction. It only came to Newcastle within the last few of years but the infamous Orb has gone down a storm
Freefall Accessories - 24 High Bridge Street, NE1 1EN
This is a great little shop for quirky gifts and knick-knacks, definitely worth a visit
Central Arcade - NE1
This small Edwardian built shopping mall is home to Office, Space NK and JD Windows, the design of the building is I think stunning
Space NK - 132 Grainger Street, NE1
This beauty emporium is where I like to go to stock up on favourites Eve Lom, Diptyque and Nars
H&M - 42 Northumberland Street, NE1 7DF & 1 Hood Street, NE1 6JQ
This remains one of my favourite stores, lots of bang up-to-date fashion at very affordable prices. The store is much bigger on Northumberland Street and includes the Trend range
Top Shop - St Andrew's Way
Housed in a new £170 million shopping complex, this Top Shop is hailed as a New York style store and opened in February 2010
Urban Outfitters - 139-153 Grainger Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5AE
(You can view a full post here)
Cath Kidston - 136-138 Grainger Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5AF
Opened in November 2012 to sit alongside Fenwick Department Store Concession, this shop gives the full range of Cath Kidston including homeware, fashion and vintage one-offs.
Razzpberry Bazaar, 14 Front Street, Tynemouth, NE30 4 DX, (0191) 2963133 - quirky boutique selling alternative ladies clothing and accessories plus lots of gift ideas. A short drive out of the city centre to the coast.
RE, Bishops Yard, Main Street, Corbridge, Northumberland, NE45 5LA, (01434) 634567 - around a 20-30 minute drive out of the city centre but absolutely worth it. Post on RE here and post on Corbrdge here.
● Vintage ●
Retro - High Bridge, NE1
Best Vintage - High Bridge Street, NE1 1EN
Tynemouth Flea-Market - Tynemouth Metro Station, NE30 4RE
A little drive to the coast or a short Metro ride, this is a great flea-market open Saturday and Sunday Mornings, Saturday has my favourite sellers - you can see posts here and here.
● Sleeping ●
Malmaison - 104 Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3DX
A boutique a hotel situated on the Newcastle side of the Quayside, I love the gothic black and purple decoration in here. It is a small and intimate hotel where you can enjoy the relaxing surroundings of the bar for a quiet drink as well as the hotel restaurant, without needing to be a guest. I like to come here for a drink while nibbling on the never-ending supply of olives and pistachios they bring out to you.
Hotel du Vin - Allan House, City Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2BE
Hotel du Vin is another small chain of boutique hotel with a slight relation to the Malmaison Group. This hotel is fairly new to Newcastle and again is very small, yet has the same relaxed ambience as Malmaison. I like to come here for a meal where they often do great offers.
Jesmond Dene House - Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 2EY
Another intimate hotel where I have been for Afternoon Tea on more than one occasion. Situated within the lovely Jesmond Dene (see Gardens).
Close House - Close House Estate, Heddon-on-the-Wall, NE5 0HT - Another favourite for Afternoon Tea and set in sumptuous grounds with a killer golf course (so I'm told). A drive of around 20 minutes out of the city centre but definitely worth a visit if the countryside is to your liking.
● Culture ●
Baltic - South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 3BA
Previously a Flour Mill, the Baltic is an amazing space situated on the South Bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead. It is the biggest gallery of it's kind in the world and is an ever changing art space, so gives the incentive to keep up to date on the latest exhibitions. I love the Baltic Shop in the entrance, as well as lots of commemorative Baltic gifts it also sells lots of unusual books, cameras and knick-knacks.
Barter Books, Alnwick Station, Northumberland, NE66 2NP, (01665) 604888 - one of the largest second hand bookshops in the country and situated in an old converted railway station. The most charming bookshop you will find. Well worth the half hour drive out of the city centre, perfect to fit in around a visit to Alnwick Gardens. You can find a post here.
Seaton Delaval Hall, The Avenue, Seaton Sluice, Northumberland, NE26 4QR, (0191) 2379100. Recently re-opened as a National Trust property and with stunning architecture - you can see a post here.
Wallington Hall, Cambo, near Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 4AR, (01670) 773600 - another National Trust property with beautiful gardens and lake and the house where you are allowed to take photographs (non-flash) - a rarity and visual treat for the eyes. Another drive out of the city up to Northumberland, I would definitely recommend a visit. You can see a post here.
Central Library - Charles Avison Building, New Bridge Street West, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AJ
This new library only opened in the city centre in June of last year and cost £24 million. It's a fantastic space, my favourite area being this glass reading room with gorgeous pink butterfly chairs. If this doesn't entice you to pick up a book, I'm not sure what will! It also has a great little cafe on the ground floor from local company Stewart & Co Fine Food which sells delicious coffee and muffins.
Lit & Phil (The Literary & Philosophical Society) - 28 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE
I wanted to include another library, as this is the stark opposite of the new Central Library. If you love the smell of old books, this is the place for you. It is the largest independent library outside London and houses over 150,000 books and is a Grade II listed building that opened in 1825.
Laing Art Gallery - 1 Higham Place, NE1 8AG
With an impressive reputation, the gallery is renowned for bringing some of the biggest names from the art world to the North East
Theatre Royal - 100 Grey Street, NE1 6BR
Opened in 1837, the Grade I listed building brings some of the biggest performances in the world of dance, drama, music and comedy. My favourite is The Rambert Dance company which visit most years.
● Gardens ●
Jesmond Dene - situated between Jesmond and High Heaton
So pretty, especially in late spring/early summer which was when I took these photographs in 2009.
The Alnwick Garden - Denwick Lane, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1YU
I love a drive up to Alnwick in Northumberland to see the amazing garden which was set up by the Duchess of Northumberland. There really is so much to see and do - the Poison Garden, breath-taking waterfalls, the newly planted Cherry Blossom Orchard (I can't wait to re-visit when these are fully grown, they were mere babies when I was there last spring, 2009). And for food, the adult sized Tree-House is a step into nature where they serve light snacks in a cosy atmosphere.
Saltwell Park - Park House East Park Road, Gateshead, NE9 5AX
A Victorian Park since 1876, this park is lovely for a walk in the summer or on an autumnal Sunday morning. It has a lake with Swan shaped pedalos, a rose garden and offers events throughout the year. I recently went to the winter Enchanted Parks festival which housed a light installation based on the 12 Days of Christmas.
Howick Hall Gardens, Howick Estate Office, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 3LB, (01665) 577285. Stunning gardens in small market town Alnwick in Northumberland, perfect to coincide with a visit to Alnwick Gardens and Barter Books. You can see posts here and here.
The architecture in Newcastle is stunning, especially around the Grey Street and Monument areas...
so don't forget to look up!
so don't forget to look up!
• Eating •
Browns Brasserie, 51 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6EE, (0191) 2618210. Newly opened (2012) in the city centre, the Newcastle arm of this restaurant chain has already proved very popular (I would recommend booking well in advance to secure a table). You can see a post here.
Garden Kitchen, Eldon Garden, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RA, (0191) 2327885. Part of the group Fresh Element which also own Six Restaurant at the Baltic, my friend and I have already proclaimed this cafe to hold the best Lavender Cosmo cocktails in Newcastle. A perfect re-fuel in amongst a busy shopping trip, you can find a post here.
Crusoe's, On the Beach, Longsands, Tynemouth, NE30 4HH, (0191) 2587593. A small wooden hut, located right on the beach. You can enjoy coffees and snacks whilst watching the surfers.
Mister Woods - 1-2 King Edwards Court, Front Street, Tynemouth and 42 Front Street, North Shields. There are two branches of Mister Woods cafes (that I know of), the top two pictures were taken in Tynemouth and the bottom two in North Shields. Both out of the city centre, heading towards the coast, I love the hot chocolate and Daim cake.
Scrumpy Willow & the Singing Kettle, 89 Clayton Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE5 5HS, (0191) 2212323. Situated not in the best part of town but they serve amazing vegan and vegetarian food. You can see a post here.
Six Restaurant, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 3 BA, (0191) 4404948. Post here.
Tea & Tipple, Corbridge, Northumberland - a cute little tea shop with an array of delectable cakes and coffees.
The Angel Inn, Main Street, Corbridge, Northumberland, NE45 5LA, (014343) 632119 - lovely gastro-pub, definitely worth a visit if travelling up to Northumberland.