A May 2002 trip
to Newcastle upon Tyne by milliebell
Quote: Newcastle is close to my home town, and I visit often.
Internet access is available from 'The Internet Exchange' just opposite the Tourist Information Centre on Grainger Street, a few minutes walk from Monument metro.
Most hotels here cater for the business and conference trade, and are not cheap. There are two youth hostels here, both in the same area. I have never stayed there, being local, but I have heard no bad reports about them either.
Get an explorer ticket if you want to explore Northumberland and County Durham by bus. Out of the city, bus fares are very expensive and this will be a saving. For the Metro, you can buy a day pass for unlimited travel. Day returns are also a good deal if you have definite plans.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 8, 2002
22 The Side
Warner Brothers Complex
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 8, 2002
Hot Box Cafe
St Mary's place
Attraction | "The Metrocentre"
It is split into four quadrants and two levels - blue, red, yellow and green. For your own sake make a note of which quadrant you enter. Numerous cars have been reported stolen from the car parks and it has turned out that the owners are looking in the wrong place! There are hundreds of parking spaces over several car parks. In addition, the Metrocentre is served by frequent buses and trains from Newcastle Eldon Square bus station and Gateshead Interchange metro station.
All of the high street stores you could wish for are here, plus several speciality shops. Whatever you want, you'll find it. There are hundreds of shops. There are several bookshops, music shops, phone shops, jewellers, clothes shops, toy stores, and gift stores. Woods is one of my favourite stores, for music.
If you get tired of this scene, try the Mediterranean village. This is far too twee for my liking, but it is an area laid out like a Mediterranean village with outdoor cafes. With the British weather, that is usually the nearest you will get to pavement cafes.
Metroland is the Amusement park. The rollercoaster there would not scare a pre-schooler, but it has some good views from the top. If you have kids, this is some good fun for them. If your idea of a theme park is Alton towers or an American equivalent, you will find this a bit flat. It is a bit of fun but not exactly an adrenaline rush.
There is a wide range of restaurants of varying cusines. I tend to eat at the foodcourt, where there is a big selection but mostly budget stuff. Try the Pizza place for a cheap lunch, or Singapore Sams. The usual fast food restuarants have several branches, including McDonalds, Burger King, and Pizza Hut. The Mexican restuarant Chiquittos has a branch here. There are several Italian restaurants in the Mediterranean village.
For other entertainment, there are usually free performances going on in the squares, especially for children during school holidays. That said, during school holidays and near Christmas, it can be VERY crowded. There is a cinema complex and a few bars. There is also a chapel here if you need a place for quiet reflection. Public toilets are free but few and far between, so go whilst you have the chance, and expect a queue.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 12, 2002
BEACHES. The best beaches are in Northumberland. Getting there involves a bus trip from the Haymarket bus station (beside Haymarket Metro). My favourite beach is CRESSWELL. It's really sandy, with lovely big high dunes. It can be reached by bus X33 from Newcastle. Sunday and evening service is limited, so check carefully first. NEWBIGGIN has quite a good beach, and is a small former fishing village. It is quite faded and run down now. Try bus 432. SEAHOUSES is very popular, also as a destination for cruises to the Farne Islands. There is a 2 hourly bus service.
If you want convenience by public transport, go to those accessible by Metro. For all of these destinations, the Metro runs frequently from early morning to late evening. WHITELY BAY is a favourite one. The town centre has a good selection of restuarants and St. Mary's lighthouse is a popular visitors' spot. At the end of the day, it becomes a popular evening spot, especially among the younger population, with several bars. Check the times of the last Metro carefully! Nearby TYNEMOUTH is more upmarket, but suffers delusions of grandeur. It has some nice shops, and a good stretch of beach, but its sense of superiority is perhaps not justified. Still,the Tynemouth priory is nice to visit. SOUTH SHIELDS is another good choice. The town centre has a nice art gallery, and there are several good eating and shopping options as well.
POPULAR SIGHTS - The village of WARKWORTH is very touristy, but very very pretty. Warkworth castle is in ruins, but intact enough to give you a good idea of what it was like. In the village, St. Lawrence's church carries a lot of history. Warkworth was the scene of many former battles between the Scots and the English. Look out for Bridge End house by the bridge. This is a wonderful building, but sadly not open to the public. Bus 518 stops at the castle and in the village centre from Haymarket bus station. Nearby AMBLE is a short stroll down the river. They describe themselves as "Britain's friendliest port." That is a bit of truth-stretching though. I went to school there: I know. The marina is a popular strolling spot. Also in North Northumberland, BAMBURGH castle is finely preserved and is justifiably popular as a tourist site. There is a good beach there too. Ask at the Haymarket about the infrequent buses.
Going the other way, DURHAM is a historic city with a famous university. The Cathedral and castle are wonderful to visit. There is so much there that a prolonged stay would be better, but if you're doing it as a day-trip, trains leave from Central station often, and there are frequent buses. BEAMISH is an open air musuem near the town of Chester-le-street. It is set around a mining village. The drift mine tour is interesting and so are the tram rides. It is good for souveniour shopping and will provide a few hours entertainment.
OUTDOORS - Here you might be pushed using public transport. The Cheviots are fantastic for walking. The village of Longframlington is a good base and can be reached by bus. However, the buses to here don't run often and you are still a bit out. Rothbury is an old market town that provides some walking opportunities. It is reached by the same limited bus service as the above, but provides better accommodation options. The only budget spot on the scene is the camping ground though. My favourite outdoor spot is Harewood Forest. This provides several hiking trails in a thick, dense forest with several deer and other good wildlife spotting opportunities.
HADRIANS WALL is famous. This is better if you don't have a car. Bus AD122 from Eldon Square bus station runs along all of the main sites, including Vindolanda and Housesteads, and it calls at all of the main towns on the way, such as Corbridge, Hexham and Haltwhistle. There are some good hiking routes between bus stops.
KEILDER reservoir and forest is also a popular outdoor spot with several campsites. If you're using public transport, it will require an overnight stay. A bus goes from Newcastle about twice a week. There is a youth hostel nearby.
Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom