48 Hours in Newcastle?
June 17, 2019 5:17 AM   Subscribe

I booked my Hadrian's Wall trip this summer. (With Contours, so thanks for that recommendation!) I decided to spend 48 hours in Newcastle from 2-4 July before I meet my friend to begin the hike. What should I do?

I'm looking for recommendations for things to see, do-not-miss restaurants, special hotels for a comfy solo weekend, shopping districts which aren't big brands, parks/gardens and anything else which you think I should do. I'll likely never make it back to Newcastle, so I want to use my 48 hours wisely.

Also, if there are MeFi's in Newcastle, let me know. We could maybe do a meetup.
posted by frumiousb to Travel & Transportation around Newcastle Upon Tyne, England (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoyed a half day at Jarrow Hall, which is an Anglo-Saxon living history museum as well as a regular indoors museum of Anglo-Saxon life and the life of the Venerable Bede. (When I was there it was called Bede's World, but it seems it has changed its name.) A few yards down the road is St. Paul's Monastery, which is an English Heritage site and the ruins of the monastery where Bede lived. Most of the church standing there now is Medieval, but there are still some bits of the original Anglo-Saxon building making up some of the walls and it's super old and very cool. (I'm assuming from the very fact that you're walking Hadrian's Wall that you're as into this sort of thing as me.)

And IDK how you'd get there without a car (it's not far, about 10 miles out of town) but when I was there I was visiting friends with a car so we drove but the Beamish Living History Museum of the North was absolutely mindblowing. If you're at all interested in industrial and labor history, you'll love it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:11 AM on June 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Every time I go back to Newcastle, I end up riding the Metro out to the coast. I stop at Tynemouth if there's a market on (it's in the station itself) and browse all the odd and wonderful things for sale there. There's also a nice beach which is in easy walking distance. There's another little coastal resort a bit further along - Whitley Bay. Hinnies is a good place if you want a moderately fancy lunch.
posted by pipeski at 6:13 AM on June 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oooo! We just came back from Northumberland, though we stayed further north than Newcastle, up in Bamburgh. However, we went back through the area on our final weekend to do some walks in the area, and in particular to check out the Wall. Here's some bits you may find lovely:

First, before I went I did some reading on the wall, and it's amazing ot me that a good chunk of the reason it's been preserved so well is the interest and advocacy (and, well, money) of a 19th century guy named John Clayton. His family estate, at Chesters (~half an hour from Newcastle), turns out to be the location of a nontrivial fort along the wall, and includes baths & etc. It's lovely there, and well worth the stop.

Second, for our final week-end in the UK, we stayed at a beautiful inn down in Blanchland (~1 hr from Newcastle center) called The Lord Crewe Arms. The village is tiny and remote, but it's gorgeous, and the restaurant and pub are wonderful. There's good walking just out the door of the inn, plus you're not far from places like Chesters. ;

Third & finally, there's some great walking along the wall available near Vindolanda; we did an out & back there that ended at the Twice Brewed pub & brewhouse, which has lovely food and better beer, if you enjoy that sort of thing. That's further west, so it might be too remote, but I thought I'd throw it in anyway.

This'll out me as a certain sort of middle aged guy, but my subconscious kept playing an old Sting tune -- no words, just the tune -- while I was in the area, and I finally connected the dots. He grew up in Wallsend, and wrote a whole concept album about the loss of his father (The Soul Cages, back in '91). In it, there's a song that talks explicitly about the Roman ruins being there, etc. ("All This Time").
posted by uberchet at 6:48 AM on June 17, 2019

It's about 45 minutes NW of Newcastle, but Wallington is well worth the visit. Lovely gardens, manor house, and giant stone Griffin heads on the lawn. There is a shop, and they have a little cafe. There is a greenhouse with rare plants, and an orchard, and woodland as well. I enjoyed every minute of my visit there.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:42 AM on June 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Be aware that nightlife in central Newcastle is pretty hard core. If crowds of drunk people isn't your thing, plan your evenings accordingly!
posted by DarlingBri at 8:05 AM on June 17, 2019

I'd have a walk down along the Quayside in Newcastle: it's really spectacular. I recently stayed overnight at the Malmaison, and paid ten quid extra for a view of the river, where the Sage and the Baltic are. It was worth it. I was transfixed.

If you're arty, check out the Biscuit Factory (gallery thingy) in Ouseburn. Plus the Cluny is one of the nicest pubs ever.

Also the Tynemouth Market is really worthwhile. There's great food, and the atmosphere is laid-back and friendly, with plenty of opportunities to talk to the locals and hear Geordie in its full glory. Plus Riley's Fish Shack on the beach at Tynemouth is supposed to be pretty good (from what I hear).

In Newcastle city centre, the Stack is a gaggle of laid-back, cool restaurant stalls in repurposed shipping containers. (I know, but still.) The Tyneside Cinema nearby has a good cafe and bar.
posted by Grunyon at 11:26 AM on June 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Don't forget that Durham is just 15 mins by train from Newcastle, and Durham Cathedral is one of the architectural wonders of the world. You can do it in half a day: spend the morning exploring Newcastle, catch a train to Durham at lunchtime, see the cathedral, stay on for Choral Evensong at 5.15 (an important part of the Durham Cathedral experience) and be back in Newcastle in time for an evening meal.

If you have a car, then Jarrow, Beamish and Blanchland are all excellent suggestions. If you don't have a car, there's Gibside, which is a good place for a stroll on a sunny day. The website gives you directions for getting there by public transport: basically you take the bus to Consett, get off at Rowlands Gill, and it's a half-mile walk from there. Again, allow half a day for this.

If you want to do Hadrian's Wall thoroughly, you might want to pay a visit to the Hadrian's Wall Gallery at the Great North Museum (formerly the Hancock Museum) in Newcastle. I know, I know: why visit a gallery when you can visit the Wall itself? But some of the sights on the Wall, like the Temple of Mithras at Carrawburgh, are more meaningful if you've seen the archaeological finds first.
posted by verstegan at 11:53 AM on June 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Hi all— thanks for the suggestions! I’m walking the complete wall after my 48 hours in the city. Sorry I wasn’t more clear.
posted by frumiousb at 3:40 PM on June 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

OH WOW I'm super jealous. Have a great time!

(In that case, this is the inn/brewhouse near Vindolanda, not far past Sycamore Gap.)
posted by uberchet at 7:27 AM on June 18, 2019

I wanted to loop back and finish this post since I just returned back from my trip.

I ended up staying at the Maldron Hotel Newcastle. It was a bit expensive for what it is, but the location is absolutely perfect (5 minute walk from the train station) and the staff were great and they do seem to have frequent deals.

For a nice meal in the mid-price range, I want to recommend The Broad Chare. The food was really good and they have a nice selection of beers.

We took the recommendations of going to Whitley Bay and Durham and those were right on the money.

I can also recommend crawling around the Ouseburn neighborhood. If you like graffiti, there is an awful lot of good stuff out there. It's more of an industrial ruin & rebirth experience, but I was a fan.

The Biscuit Factory was a really nice independent art space, though sadly out of my price range. I also recommend the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art if only for the views and seeing the Kittiwakes nesting in its eaves.

Thank you so much for all the input!
posted by frumiousb at 1:15 AM on July 13, 2019

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