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Newcastle: it’s got charm, personality and lots to brag about. The evolving quayside boasts the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the Sage Gateshead and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art – all of which simply underline the fact that this is a great city. Add it to your ‘must visit’ list now.
Regular TransPennine Express services run to Newcastle station, and from here there are a number of ways to get around. For unlimited bus travel around the city, buy a Newcastle Plusbus ticket with your train ticket for £3.80 (£2.50 with a railcard). You can board the Yellow or Green lines of the Metro, which will take you to most places, including Gateshead, Sunderland and Newcastle Airport. Outside, there’s 24-hour parking, a taxi rank and regular local buses.
On the Gateshead side of the river is the BALTIC, and, of the things to do in Newcastle, it really shows you how the city is building on its heritage. It has 5 floors of exceptional and inspiring contemporary art exhibitions and also houses a restaurant and a cocktail bar with amazing views. A 45-minute walk from the centre is the glorious green haven of Jesmond Dene park (it’s also served by the Yellow and Green Metro lines). For a different sort of wildlife, Jesmond’s main street, Osborne Road, is dotted with bars and eateries. Also, the Angel of the North and Hadrian’s Wall are both within easy reach of the station – just 4 and 7 miles away respectively.
The House of Tides is local lad Kenny Atkinson’s Michelin-star restaurant. It’s not wildly expensive and the food is inventive and fun - there’s a vegetarian tasting menu too. At the other end of the scale, vegan café and community arts centre The Settle Down is cheap as chips and friendly as you like. Finally, The Broad Chare, with its mantra of ‘Proper Pub, Proper Beer, Proper Food’ might just be the Goldilocks choice for food and drink in Newcastle. And for the best burgers in town? Venture down to Fat Hippo Underground.
Right next to Newcastle station, Centre for Life is a year-round attraction with a 4D motion ride, live science shows and a knack for pulling in crowds with must-see exhibitions. Tyneside’s rich history of science, industry and invention is laid bare at the free-to-enter Discovery Museum. If you go, don’t miss seeing Turbinia, the world’s first steam turbine-powered vessel. The Boiler Shop Steamer takes place on the first weekend of the month and you’ll find it behind Newcastle train station. Visit and you’ll join a jostling crowd to eat street food, drink craft beer and listen to live bands.
In Newcastle, shopping comes in various guises. At the top of the heap there's Intu Metrocentre, the UK's biggest shopping centre. Meanwhile, Intu Eldon Square has every high street store you’ll need, good chain restaurants as well as a free kid’s club. Grainger Market is a slice of consumer history in a Grade 1 listed building. It has a Marks and Spencer’s Original Penny Arcade and Nan Bei’s Chinese dumplings are a tasty highlight. High Bridge, in the centre of the city, is a small knot of vintage clothes shops where you might just find the bargain to round off your trip.
For more ideas of what to do in Newcastle, visit NewcastleGateshead.