Located in the North East of England, NewcastleGateshead has always caught my eye as a great weekend getaway. Co-existing side by side despite being divided by the River Tyne, the history of these two places has been intertwined since Roman times, all the way through the Industrial Revolution to modern times. United by seven bridges across a spectacular riverscape, Newcastle (on the north bank) and Gateshead (on the south bank) form a single, diverse and extremely vibrant visitor destination.
A cultural centre, vibrant nightlife, award-winning dining, inspiring heritage, fantastic shopping and acclaimed architecture can be found here, together with the famous Geordie spirit which is symbolised by Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North as it welcomes travellers to the area.
Add to this the fact that NewcastleGateshead has been voted the number one place in the world to visit in 2018 by Rough Guides, and I immediately want to start packing my bags for my next weekend away.
But let’s be more specific about why NewcastleGateshead should be your next UK destination this year.
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Arts and Culture
In the last few years NewcastleGatehead has become a centre for arts and culture. A testament to this is this summer’s The Great Exhibition of the North, an exhibition that will celebrate the pioneering spirit of the North through amazing exhibits, live performances, displays of innovation, new artworks and unforgettable experiences.
The exhibition will have starting points that include the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, one of the area’s cultural jewel, and the Sage Gateshead, one of the top five concert halls in the world. Another starting point will be the Great North Museum, a museum of natural history, archaeology, geology and world cultures
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
No visit to NewcastleGateshead would be complete without a stop at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Located inside a re-purposed flourmill, BALTIC has an ever-changing calendar of exhibitions and activities created by a number of the world’s most prominent artists and designers. From hosting the Turner Prize exhibition in 2011 to a 2015 exhibition devoted to film star Bill Murray, and now being part of the Great Exhibition of the North, BALTIC is a must-visit attraction for visitors and locals who want to inject a little culture into their trip.
This unique building dominates the Gateshead skyline and it’s hard to miss when walking along the Quayside. Opened in 2004, it has been named as one of the top concert halls on the planet and showcases music and performances of almost every genre, from world-renowned classical and jazz artists to indie and folk bands.
If you visit at any time of the year, it is highly likely that there will be live performances, but if there happens to be none, you can still admire its striking curved glass and stainless steel design.
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Northern Food at its best
From honest pub grub or gourmet burgers to international fine dining and Michelin star cuisine, there’s a wide array of dining choices in Newcastle and Gateshead. There’s such a great variety that it’s pretty hard to narrow it down, but here are a short selection to whet the appetite…
Coffee & Brunch
Pink Lane Coffee
Pink Lane Coffee is a speciality coffee shop situated just steps away from Central Station in Newcastle city centre. Dedicated to providing Newcastle with the best coffee possible.
Les Petits Choux
A family run café and patisserie owned by a mum and her two daughters overlooking Leazes Park in the heart of Newcastle. As well as great coffee, as the name gives away, Les Petit Choux specialises in Choux Pastry and its on-site patisserie chefs bake a selection of pastries, scones, cakes and biscuits for customers to enjoy in the cafe or to take home and share.
Lunch and Dinner
Nestled behind the Hotel du Vin in Ouse Street, Cook House is a kitchen in a shipping container, a creation by adventurous food blogger, Anna Hedworth. The café serves a constantly changing menu of affordable, on-point dishes using regional ingredients and her own kitchen garden produce.
The Broad Chare
Priding itself on offering ‘proper food and proper beer’, The Broad Chare on the Quayside is not your average pub. Sophisticated yet sleek and simple, it offers a vast selection of real ales alongside a menu of hearty, ‘home-cooked’ meals and bar snacks, with such delights as a Handraised Pork Pie, Bubble ‘n’ Squeak and Mutton Masala – made with the very finest local and seasonal ingredients, this is as good as comfort food gets.
SIX can be found on the top floor of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and is known for its dramatic panoramic views of the Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside and beyond, as well as its delicious modern British cuisine.
House of Tides
If Michelin star dining is your thing, then you are in luck! A family run restaurant set within a Grade 1 listed 16th Century former merchant’s town house on the historical Newcastle Quayside, House of Tides is Newcastle’s only 1 star Michelin and 4 AA Rosette awarded restaurant. Highly awarded fine dining, but with a casual atmosphere with an emphasis on natural, seasonal and sustainable food, and a menu that changes with the seasons.
Possibly the Best Nightlife in the UK
It is a well-known fact that NewcastleGateshead has a lively and vibrant nightlife, and whatever your taste, there is a bar or pub to suit you.
Whether it’s a traditional boozer, a cool craft brewpub or a stylish and contemporary gastropub, there are pubs in Newcastle and Gateshead for everyone, and wherever you are in the city you’ll never be far from a great watering hole. Here are just a few of them.
The Cumberland Arms
A unique pub frequently bursting at the seams with folk musicians, spoken word events and comedy. Whatever the weather, visitors can enjoy good beer and good food on the terrace or cosy up inside with a board game by the fire. Oozing with character, the relaxed, informality is charming. The Cumberland Arms, which first opened its doors in 1898, must not be missed on any pub crawl.
Pleased to Meet You
This swanky, sophisticated and stylish gin bar has transformed one of Newcastle’s most historic Grade II listed buildings into a contemporary bar with a difference. With over 50 types of gin available, and helpful staff on hand to help you make the right choice, the bar also has a wide range of local and international craft beers, cocktails and cask ales.
One of NewcastleGateshead’s coolest watering holes, The Cluny is a venue with multiple personalities – a bar, and art gallery and a music venue all rolled into one. Attracting many of the city’s more artistic residents, it’s located right in the heart of the Ouseburn Valley – one of the city’s most exciting areas of change and regeneration.
Getting to Newcastle and Gateshead
Newcastle and Gateshead are very well connected by air, train, car and even sea.
Newcastle International Airport has links to the rest of the UK, Europe and beyond with direct flights to and from over 80 destinations. Check where you can fly from here.
Once at the airport, you can take the Airport Metro which runs every 15 minutes and will take you to Newcastle city centre in around 25 minutes.
Newcastle is linked by direct routes with London, Edinburgh ad Leeds among other UK cities. Newcastle Central Station is in the heart of the city, so you will be ready to start your city break as soon as you arrive.
Just like the main train station, Newcastle’s coach station is conveniently located in the city centre. You can easily arrive from pretty much any destination in the UK with either National Express or Megabus.
Have you been to NewcastleGateshead?
If so, what was your favourite thing about it? Let me know in the comments!
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Disclosure: This post has been created in partnership with NewcastleGateshead. As always, all views are my own.
Teresa is an award-winning travel blogger based in London. She’s on a mission to explore the world through responsible cultural and adventure travel, and through deeper, more meaningful local experiences. She’s a lover of adventure, the outdoors and everything food related, and she’s always looking for ways to make a positive impact through sustainable travel.