If you’re a fan of London, definitely give Newcastle a visit whilst you’re in England- it has the same bustling nightlife, similar cultural attractions and an equally interesting history. However, unlike London Newcastle is less victim to the formidable crowds and is also a short train ride away from the coast, something hard to find in the capital. I’ll cover the beauties of the Northumberland coast in my upcoming posts but for now, here’s what to check out in the city centre. Newcastle is the hometown of my boyfriend Josh, so I got a free in-depth tour around the best sights. I’ve been a couple of times so here’s a break-down of some of my favourite spots:
Grey Street and Eldon Square
In the centre of the city lies Eldon Square where you’ll find Grey’s monument, a tribute to the Second Earl Grey. Josh says that on sunny days sometimes they project a movie in the middle of the square and hand out deck chairs to lounge around so if you’re lucky you may catch one. Surrounding the square is the typical shops in any UK high street and also leading off is Grey Street, named the best street in the country for its classical architecture. Grey Street is also home to The Theatre Royal if you feel like treating yourself to a show.
Grainger Market was opened in the Victorian era and still has a very old and quaint ambiance. Inside you can find an awesome shoe store with lines of awesome Doc Martens, an adorable florists, old-fashioned butchers, and one of the original Marks and Spencer’s penny bazaars. You can also buy a massive slice of pizza for just over a pound, which is delicious.
Mog on the Tyne
One of the UK’s first cat cafés is in Newcastle and it’s absolutely adorable! It’s five pound each for an hour surrounded by kittens climbing about and playing with their toys. You can’t pick up the cats and have to take your shoes off to avoid harassing them too much, which is understandable as they are subject to human contact almost every hour of the day. You can buy cat-themed food, snacks and drinks but make sure you don’t feed any to the cats or you’ll be swarmed!
Laing Art Gallery
Most of the exhibitions here are free and we spent some time wandering about the ‘Spirit of the North’ free exhibition, which showed art from Josh’s hometown on the coast and elsewhere around Newcastle. The art goes from the Victorian era to modern times and also features some interesting information.
Newcastle Castle is made up of the Black Gate and Castle Keep, surrounded by a pretty grassy heath. Its definitely worth a visit on a sunny day for a picnic and to read up about its history.
The Castle was originally built in timber by the son of William the Conqueror after the Norman invasion of 1066. It was replaced by a stone version a century later, fell into ruin during the medieval period and then again used as defence stronghold in the Siege of Newcastle 1644. In the Victorian era the area surrounding the Castle coined the ‘Castle garth’ was full of slum housing and shops, eventually destroyed during the creation of the railways in 1840. The area was renovated and opened to the public as a visitor attraction in 2015.
A wander down an alleyway from the castle brings you to the Quayside. Walking along the river there are a large number of bars and pubs to get a drink in with a pretty riverside view. Walking all the way down you’ll find Free Trade Inn, a place with the cheapest drinks going, overlooking the whole city and the river- perfect for a nice pint watching the sunset.
Newcastle is a beautiful place it’s easy to see what the Geordies are all so proud of! Don’t forget to read about our cycling adventures along the coast in up and coming posts 🙂
- Prices: 9/10
- Accommodation: n/a
- Veggie options: 9/10
- Food: 9/10
- Favourite spot: Castle!
Much love <3