For all the bad rep the north of England can get as a tourist destination (the whole industrial wasteland thing is kind of a stereotype, people), Newcastle is actually a pretty awesome city for a short break. And it’s not just because there is literally a Greg’s Bakers on every corner. Seriously, count them.
You probably know enough about the football already, so here are five reasons Newcastle is actually a pretty awesome place to visit and you should totally go:
Newcastle boasts both the largest shopping complex in the UK and the largest indoor shopping centre and leisure complex in Europe. It’s safe to say, one of Newcastle’s big attractions is in shopping day-trips.
Fenwick’s is a bit of an institution as a traditional-style department store in the city centre. They have a decent selection of high-end to high street labels to take a look at, just don’t get lost in the labyrinthine layout!
And if you’re a bit of a geek, by the train station you have a double treat of Travelling Man and Forbidden Planet, situated right next to each other. Travelling Man alone is definitely worth a look for independent, small press and zine work.
Let me tell you, if you’ve got an extended stay in Newcastle and you’re really into different types of Asian cuisine, the supermarkets in this part of town are going to be your best friend – the restaurants are pretty good as well, be sure to pencil in a dinner at one of them.
The Castle Keep
Did you know Newcastle was actually originally conceived as a traditional Norman fortress town? You can check out the old city walls right in the middle of downtown itself and my, hasn’t the town grown from its humble beginnings. The Roman forts and walls in the surrounding area are pretty sweet too, though the sites might require more of a proper day-trip to go see them.
If more recent history is your thing, the Victoria Tunnel is worth a look as a remenant of Newcastle’s industrial past (plus, getting to see the city’s underground!).
BALTIC Centre for the Contemporary Arts
Look over the water into Gateshead, and after seeing the Millenium Bridge, this’ll probably be the next thing you see. What was once an iconic warehouse has been turned into one of the coolest contemporary arts centres UK has to offer. Combine it with a short trip out to see the 20m tall Angel of the North by sculptor Antony Gormley. It may be a bit schmaltzy, but it’s iconic enough to be worth a snap.
If you’re more into the theatre arts, Newcastle is also the regional home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which has a base in the bombastic Theatre Royal. You can’t miss it, it’s right in the city centre.
OK fine, we have to say it: the nightlife
The North East of England has a bit of a rep for partying hard. As for where to go for said party, you have quite a few choices. The waterfront, for one, has a cluster of higher-end clubs. Jesmond is popular with students; it’s got a decent number of pubs, bars and restaurants for a night out. Of course, the city centre proper has something for everyone. Just be sure you bring something in your luggage that’s up for the occasion; Geordies go all-out in dressing up!
Have you done anything cool in the Newcastle area lately? Share with us in the comments section below.