Friday, 2 September 2011

Newcastle in 24 hours

Oh yeah, I was going to talk to you about Newcastle wasn’t I?

You know I’ve got to do this in a list don’t you? Otherwise there’s just going to be too much text and I know you’ll switch off. Don’t deny it!

The Angel of the North
This was the only thing I really wanted to see when we went up there, but we were faced with our usual problem of how to go and see things when you don’t have a car. Answer? You use public transport baby! There are 2 buses that you can catch from Eldon Square bus station in Newcastle, the 21 and 22, appropriately named Angel Buses.

There are two stops you can get off at but keep your wits about you because blink and they’re gone. There is also a slight problem in that the bus stops on the opposite side of the road to the Angel meaning that you basically have to run across a dual carriageway which isn’t the safest option I’ve ever come across.

(I should point out that at this point it was raining. It was all kinds of miserable. And I left my umbrella on the Angel Bus. And yet I'm still smiling, that's how much I was liking Newcastle.)

So we walked up to her and our first thoughts?

Erm....she’s kind of not as big as I thought she would be.

I mean she’s big and damn hard to get in a photograph, meaning that you have to resort to arty type shots of just bits of her but she wasn’t the totally massive structure I was expecting. Sorry Angel. We hung about with some Spanish tourists, but really once you’ve seen her there isn’t a lot else to do so we caught the bus back into town.

As You Like It
I found this place on the tourist info website which has a list of places to eat. I figured we deserved a little treat so looked for somewhere nice and discovered this place. A quick check to work out if we could get there with minimum fuss (you can, it’s just on the opposite side of the road to a Metro stop) and one phone call later and we were booked in for a fancy pants meal.

The food was gorgeous, the portions were massive and the service was incredible. Two thumbs up (or four thumbs up if you include The Person in all of this). After scoffing we retired downstairs to the bar area to drink cocktails. As The Person went to the bar to order some drinks I started having a look about at the clientele.

My eyes came to rest on a bloke in a grey jumper and white shirt. “How funny. That man totally looks like Alan Shearer.” I said to myself. Then....”Wait a minute. That IS Alan Shearer!” How hilarious, come to Newcastle and see Alan Shearer, you couldn’t get more clichéd (unless we’d seen Ant and Dec or Cheryl Cole I guess).

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge doing its blinky thing

Saturday morning dawned and our hangovers were knocking at our temples. We decided to head to the Quayside in the hope that fresh air would cure us. It didn’t, but a cheapo Full English breakfast did a pretty good job. We looked at all the bridges and were there in time to see the Millennium Bridge do it’s blinky thing – for those not in the know about the blinky thing, they close it and the pathway rises up and then down. Exciting.

The view when standing on the Millennium Bridge - that big silver slug is The Sage

Once it was back down we hop skipped and jumped across it to....

The Baltic
Hello modern art! We are cultured let us come and look at you.

Things you should know about the BALTIC:

- There is an exhibition on there at the moment which is uber cool by a guy called Maurizio Anzeri – he’s taken old photographs and embroidered over them. There could not have been an exhibit which was more suited to me. It was very exciting.
- There’s a very “moderny” exhibition that’s on the 3rd and 4th floors. When I say “moderny” I mean “I don’t get it”. And there’s a film that was flickering so fast it made my eyes water and started to become convinced that I was being brainwashed.
- Don’t be a clever dick and take the stairs. Get the lift. I cannot stress this enough. The stairs are a killer.
- The Baltic has the best gift shop known to man. I mean like seriously. As in we possibly spent more time in there than looking at art. I know the shame. But I don’t care because I bought awesome things.

Castle Keep
We like castles. It’s a fact. What’s not to like, it’s all history and stuff innit? You can go in the Castle and basically get lost inside it wandering about and up and down stairs and round corners. It looks tiny on the inside but it’s like a maze inside. I have no idea how they used to find their way about in the times of yore. It’s a wonder they weren’t all lying about with broken necks given the long dresses they would have worn, the lack of lighting and the craziness of all the stairs.

The entrance to the Castle

It’s not jam packed with exhibits and yes, those that are there could do with an update but I kind of liked that it was left alone and you could do as you pleased about it. And when you get up to the top you get some cool views of Newcastle.

View from the top

And inside you can totally pretend to be a gargoyle. You can’t put a price on that kind of fun. (Actually you can, it’s £4, but that’s pretty cheap in my eyes.)

And we managed to do all this in 24 hours (arriving in Newcastle at 12pm on the Friday and being back in the hotel room to get ready for the wedding by 4pm on the Saturday). Pretty impressive. We didn’t even get to go to the beach and play Pirate-themed mini golf which was an option if the weather hadn’t been so crap.

So. When can I go back please? 


  1. LOL its really weird seeing a 'tourist' view of my city! Us locals hate the angel! It's just a rusty old eyesore! And it's in Gateshead, not Newcastle ;-)
    You should come back to Newcastle soon. We have lots of awesome stuff, like the Hancock Museum and the view from the top of the John Lewis car park :-) (puts the one from the castle keep to shame!)
    We also have one of the best live music scenes in the country (only beaten by Nottingham I would say, and I travel all over the country to see bands!)

  2. The gargoyle. One word: hilarious!

  3. Well done on packing so much in! I have never been to Newcastle (the English version of course) but would love to!

  4. "Erm....she’s kind of not as big as I thought she would be."
    That's what I thought about Stonehenge. I'd expected it to be huge and really impressive, but it's actually quite small and not as exciting as I'd been led to believe.

    Spending more time in the gift shop then the actual place you're visiting sounds exactly like me haha. My mum loves telling the story of how I found 5p on a trip to Windsor Castle when I was about 4, then desperately wanting to go to the gift shop to spend it and not caring about the rest of the castle.

  5. Oh! you make me want to go back! When I was there they were only talking about the BAltic and the blinky bridge.
    Hmmm. I feel very old now.

  6. I forgot to mention in my other comment.... You didn't go and see the vampire rabbit?? You can't visit Newcastle and not see the vampire rabbit!

    Let me know next time you are up here and if my other half's band have a gig that night, you'll have to come along. You haven't experienced Newcastle until you have stuck to the floor in one of our many dingy pubs lol :-)

  7. Thanks for these pics,I love the last one most of course,and The most lovely sentence,get it!"sorry angel",lol...Check out my blog if you have the time :D

  8. Hmm well in response to above comment I'm fairly local and love the angel, don't know anyone who doesn't like her! (But then I liked the lego men that got taken down for being an eyesore)

    Totally going to make an effort to go to the castle next time I'm there, looks much more exciting than it does from the outside! x


Go on. Say something. You know you want to...