Exploring Newcastle ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ

Here are 4 tips for exploring Newcastle, this beautiful city situated in the heart of the North East of England.

1. Angel of the North

You can’t visit Newcastle and not visit Britain’s largest sculpture! The Angel of the North, designed by Antony Gormley and completed in 1998 is known as a symbol of Gateshead and the wider area of the North East.

The sculpture itself is multi- functional. It serves as a reminder of industrial history of the site where minors spent centuries working, a hint to the future showing the transition from the industrial era to the Information Age and a focal point for human hopes and fears.

As it is situated in such an exposed location, the sculpture, which weighs a total of 200 tonnes, was built to withstand winds of up to 100 miles per hour.

Top Tip: Easily accessible by bus from Newcastle city centre

Newcastle

2. The Sage

Located on the south bank of the River Tyne, The Sage is a concert venue, a centre for musical education and a culture centre. It was designed by Foster and Partners and it includes 3 performance spaces 1 with 1700 seats, the second with 450 seats and the third being a small rehearsal and performance hall. The building was built around these three spaces to allow for the best acoustics. The spaces are 3 separate buildings that’s have been insulated from each other to stop noise and vibration travelling between them.

Artists who have played at The Sage include The Pet Shop Boys, James Brown, Elbow, Mumford and Sons and many more.

Check out concerts and events here.

Top Tip: If you fancy a look inside, the venue is open all day to the public

Newcastle

3. Bridges

Newcastle is home to 7 bridges that span across the River Tyne with all 7 being instagram worthy.

  • Gateshead Millennium Bridge – This is a tilting foot and cycle bridge that opened in 2001 that is self-cleaning, which means that litter is collected in traps at either end of the bridge. During the week it is lit up in white and in colour at the weekend
  • Tyne Bridge – This grade 2 listed bridge can be used by both pedestrians and cars and is the largest single-span steel arch bridge on the British Isles. It was designed by Sir Ralph Freeman who used a similar design for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Can you see the similarities in the picture below?
  • Swing Bridge – This is also a grade 2 listed bridge and at the time of its construction in 1876 it was the largest swing bridge ever to be built. It was designed by Sir W.G. Armstrong Company and was built to improve navigation and to expand trade to the upper parts of the river. Nowadays, the original hydraulic mechanisms are still used to move the bridge but now they are powered electrically instead of by steam. This bridge is also for both cars and pedestrians.
  • High Level Bridge – This grade 1 listed bridge was built between 1846-1849 and is a a double deck construction of both arch and suspension design. The upper deck is used for the railway and the lower deck is used for buses and taxis s well as there being a cycle lane and a walkway for pedestrians.
  • Metro Bridge – This was opened in 1981 by the Queen and as the name states, it is used for the Tyne and Wear metro.
  • King Edward VII Railway Bridge – Another listed grade 2 bridge that opened in 1906 and has 4 railway tracks
  • Redheugh Bridge – Probably the least attractive out of the 7, this bridge is just for road traffic and was opened by the Princess of Wales in 1983
Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Newcastle
Tyne Bridge
Newcastle
Swing Bridge. Image by Barrie Taylor

4. Quayside

On both sides of the River Tyne, this is a must-visit place for visitors to Newcastle and Gateshead. It’s the perfect place for a scenic walk and take in the bridge views or to even hire a bike and cycle along it. Both sides are lined with restaurants, pubs and bars. If you feel hunger pangs or feel like sitting down with a drink to watch the world go by, there is no shortage of places. However, if you want to sit outside, choose a sunny day as it an get very grey and cold there.

There is a market which takes places on Sundays and sells handicrafts, gifts and souvenirs, street food and desserts.

During the summer a little beach arrives at the quayside and during the winter the area is transformed with pop up igloos.

If it’s some culture you’re after, the Sage is found at the Quayside area so you could take in a musical performance or you could visit the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

The Quayside used to be central to Newcastle’s industrial past as coal was ferried up and down the quayside and along to the Victoria Tunnels, which are underground waggonways running under the city from the Town Moor and down to the River Tyne. They were built around 1840 and were used to transport coal from the main Colliery and down to the river where it would be exported by boat. It is now possible to visit and even take a tour of the tunnels.

Quayside
Quayside, image by Geoff Duke

5. Hadrian’s Wall

Newcastle is the perfect city from which to visit Hadrian’s Wall. There are carparks at several places along the wall but it is also possible to reach it by train. Take the train from Newcastle to Hexham (about 25 mins) and then catch the hop-on hop-off Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus 122 AD, which was named after the year the wall was built. I is also possible to visit by booking a tour. Check out my Handy Travel Apps page to find an app to book yours.

Built in 122 AD, Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stretches 73 miles from the east coast to the west coast. There are remains of forts, turrets, towns and towers with the main sites being Housteads Roman Fort, Chesters Roman Fort, Corbridge Roman Town and Birdoswald Roman Fort. Enjoy walking along the wall and taking in the fantastic scenery.

Hadrian's Wall

C.King

Brit girl on a bummel. A solo female traveller accompanied by her camera, aiming to see as much of the world as possible and sharing what she's learnt along the way!

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