If there is something that really sells the prospect of visiting a city to me it’s great architecture. And my oh my does Newcastle have this in abundance! Little did I realise that it is actually the largest area of Georgian building’s in the country (outside of the capital and Bath – and we all love Bath!) – AND being quite a compact city, the place is a beautiful place to explore on foot that really doesn’t require much except a sense of adventure, appreciation of a great city and a good old walk!
I was actually in Newcastle because I was working on the boxing. One of my client’s was the top bill in a world title eliminator fight and being his strength and conditioning coach I was there with Team Williams. If you’re a boxing fan then you can watch a replay of the fight on BT Sport here. This meant I didn’t really get a lot of time to explore compared to if I was away for the weekend on holiday, but I did get up early both days and go out before breakfast to see the city and managed a couple of hours each day to chill out and take a look around. I think I was pretty nervous for the boxing myself so it was a little stress reliever to go and grab a coffee and walk around the city when we had a little time to spare!
Anyway, why is this city well worth a weekend of your time and what’s on offer?
Newcastle City Centre
Grainger Town was the place to be – designed by internationally renowned Richard Grainger in the 1830’s, Grainger Town is the historic heart of Newcastle upon Tyne and includes Grainger Market, Theatre Royal, Grey Street, Grainger Street and Clayton Street. We were particularly impressed by Grey Street and even more so by Grainger Market, which at one point was the largest in the country. In a time where high street shops and little businesses are crumbling left right and centre, it was a breath of fresh air to see this place so vibrant with independent stores and people enjoying food and drinks.
Newcastle – Castle!
Built around the 12th century you can explore the ruins of the castle and soak up some of the cities history. There’s a fair few interesting historical sights all within close proximity and just nearby and free to enter in Newcastle cathedral – one of the most impressive I’ve been to and has a little cafe inside at the back.
I got up before sunrise to go for a run down the river Tyne and passed an abundance of restaurants and cafes along the river. We were leaving Sunday but from the window of our hotel I could see what looked like a very good Sunday morning market here as well. Quite a bit further down the river (about 5 miles) are old Roman bath ruins and a museum, but you’d need a car/bus/taxi to go there unless you’re a sad person like me who gets up early to run while people are asleep!
We stayed at the Hilton Hotel, Gateshead, Newcastle and was pretty much the perfect location. 5 minutes walk into Gateshead and you have an abundance of places to eat, shop and get coffee, with a cinema and local pubs all around. Walk 5-10 minutes across one of Newcastles many impressive bridges and you’re into the city centre. I was definitely impressed with the breakfast here and a nice little swimming pool, spa and gym downstairs made this a good place to stay. The best bit though – the view of the bridges of the river Tyne right from your bedroom window – stunning!
We flew From Bristol to Newcastle and it took around 1 hour. A taxi from the airport into the city centre will cost around £15. If you’re driving from anywhere in the U.K except up north of Edinburgh then it’s probably going to be a lengthy journey!
Favourite spot for a drink
As we couldn’t go out drinking we only popped in to have a look around a few places and the Botanist was absolutely amazing. Live music, food and a huge array of weird and wonderful drinks would make this a great place for a few evening beverages.
For tea and coffee head inside to Grainger market, this tea house was exceptional:
Personally I would actually love to come to Newcastle again by car and explore all of the surrounding areas as well as the city. It is home to some beautiful coastline and is not too far from Scotland and some of England’s least visited national parks. I would recommend a weekend break for the city itself and a week if you wanted to explore more.
Have you been to Newcastle? What did you think? And where do you think I should explore next? I’d love to hear what your favourite city is in the U.K because if it hadn’t been for working in Newcastle I may have let this one slip under the radar for many more months!
And if you have already been to Newcastle but want to learn more about another northern adventure then check out my recent trip to Yorkshire by clicking here.