Written by fizzytom on 01 Jul, 2003
Once the largest out-of-town indoor shopping ventre in Europe, the first phase of the Metrocentre was built in the mid 1980s on reclaimed land on the south banks of the Tyne, a couple of miles west of Gateshead. Since then, the centre has expanded further…Read More
Once the largest out-of-town indoor shopping ventre in Europe, the first phase of the Metrocentre was built in the mid 1980s on reclaimed land on the south banks of the Tyne, a couple of miles west of Gateshead. Since then, the centre has expanded further and continues to grow.
The main building consist of a series of malls linked by central "town squares" which are often used for childrens' entertainment, musical performances, and fashion shows. All the high street chains are represented and there are also small "villages" with independent shops. The "Antiques Village" is just one -- when the centre first opened it was crammed with tiny antique shops, but sadly there are only a few left now. The other units are given up to jewellery shops, craft shops and one fantastic store that sells locally produced foodstuffs and drinks such as mead from the island of Lindisfarne off the Northumberland coast.
You'll be able to buy pretty much everything you want in the Metrocentre -- records, books, clothes, cosmetics, china and glass, shoes, elecrical goods, etc.
At one end of this section is a 10 screen cinema, showing mostly the big blockbuster films.
Eating places abound in the Metrocentre. There are cafes and coffee shops dotted around the malls but there are two dedicated food areas too. The first is the food court. There is a central area with tables and around it are various counters selling everything from chinese food to sandwiches and fish and chips to ice cream sundaes.
The other area is the Mediterranean Village where there are restaurants serving French, Spanish, Mexican and Greek food. This section has the best eating places in the Metrocentre.
Children will love Metroland -- an indoor theme park with fairground rides and even a rollercoaster. You buy a ticket as you enter and can also pay individually for extra rides.
Elsewhere on the complex, there are other retail parks including a huge supermarket, a mammoth IKEA furniture store, and various furniture stores. There are further eating places including the famous Harry Ramsden's fish and chips restaurant serving big portions of Britain's national food.
There is even a huge bingo hall -- if you've never been, this is the place to try it.
Written by fizzytom on 03 Jul, 2003
What a let down! Gateshead town centre is a stark contrast to Newcastle over the river and also in relation to the newly regenerated Gateshead Quays area where a mini cultural village is being created. The main town in the borough of Gateshead is overshadowed…Read More
What a let down! Gateshead town centre is a stark contrast to Newcastle over the river and also in relation to the newly regenerated Gateshead Quays area where a mini cultural village is being created. The main town in the borough of Gateshead is overshadowed and outclassed not only by Newcastle across the water but by smaller towns and villages within its own borough.
The city's most famous and striking feature is a grim concrete testament to 1960s architecture. This multi-storey carpark was featured in the classic "Get Carter" starring Michael Caine and has of late been the subject of much debate. Those who hate it and want it knocked down, against film lovers who think it a travesty to touch it. However you feel, it says something that this town's most visible landmark is a lump of cold, dirty crumbling concrete.
But then that description could apply to Gateshead town centre as a whole. The whole place has an abandoned feel to it. The better shops have long since gone. There are no restaurants, just down at heel cafes selling fried breakfasts to equally down at heel looking people.
Perhaps I'm doing Gateshead an injustice? On a positive note, there is a fantastic second-hand book exchange downstairs in the indoor market and an equally good used CD stall there too. There are bargain shops galore, but who wants to buy second rate trash all the time?
The High Street plays host to a plethora of pubs, mostly rough and unlikely to welcome strangers. For a warm welcome seek out the Borough Arms, a good pint and just about the only pub to offer a friendly welcome. If the shops along the High Street are still open, they're likely to be about to close down or peddling hideous second hand furniture. However, if you love rummaging around charity shops, you'll love Gateshead.
There's little to be said of any architecture (the carpark aside)in the city centre. There's nothing very striking or of major significance. The old Town Hall is worth a look, if only for the very pretty black and gold clock which stands outside.
If you've made the short walk up the hill to Gateshead, you'll have been disappointed. If you face the possibility, knock it on the head and have another beer on the Quayside instead.