May 12, 2009
Insider Tips: Newcastle-Gateshead
The city is now a single visitor venue together with Newcastle, just across the River Tyne
By deepika shetty
Newcastle and Gateshead, located respectively on the north and south bank of the River Tyne in north-east England, have been transformed into a single visitor destination.
Renamed NewcastleGateshead, this is where the ancient resides comfortably with the modern, says Mr Jim Mawdsley, 42, festival director of Evolution, one of the biggest music events there.
It is held every May on the river banks.
Originally from Liverpool, he went to Newcastle to study about 25 years ago as it was 'musically vibrant even then'.
Here are his tips to make the most of a visit there:
'Music is my passion, so I'll start with that,' he says. The Evolution Festival, now in its eighth year, will be held from May 24 to 25 and will feature more than 30 performers including The Wombats, The Human League, White Lies and Ladyhawke.
Apart from the festival, the O2 Academy is a great venue to see the best in indie and rock music in the country. For a taste of upcoming bands, visit The Cluny in the Ouseburn Valley or Head of Steam opposite Newcastle Central Station.
INDIE FILMS AND CAKES
Tyneside Cinema, which has been overhauled recently, retains much of its original 1920s glamour.
It is the only place in this part of England where you can watch independent films in great surroundings. Head to the Tyneside Coffee Rooms here, they serve sinful cakes.
ART IN A GRAIN WAREHOUSE
No visit to NewcastleGateshead is complete without a visit to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art on Gateshead Quays (South Shore Road Gateshead, tel: +44-0-191-478-1810). This former grain warehouse is an art space with ever- changing exhibitions of contemporary and experimental art.
The centre also houses Baltic Rooftop Restaurant (tel: +44-0-191-440-4949), which offers spectacular views of NewcastleGateshead and The Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
FOOD AT COSY CAFES
Belle and Herbs (200 Heaton Road, tel: +44-0-191- 265-1000) is a cosy cafe which offers tasty soups, an extensive range of sandwiches and hearty breakfasts. A meal for two costs about £15 (S$33).
Eslington Villa Restaurant (Station Road, tel: +44-0-191-487-6017) at Gateshead is housed in a 19th-century villa. The ambience is sophisticated and its menu is modern British fine dining. Save room for dessert, especially its homemade pistachio ice cream.
HIGH STREET SHOPPING
Major shopping areas here include Northumberland Street and Grainger Town. Here you will find more than 100 high street stores as well as a range of smaller independent stores.
South Tyneside and North Tyneside both offer high street shopping, as well as great markets including the weekly market at Tynemouth Station.
The Tanners in Byker in Newcastle (tel: +44-0-191-222-1817) is a bohemian pub which attracts a great mixed crowd, thanks to its beer and good food.
Another place to head to is Forth Pub in Pink Lane (tel: +44-0191-232-6478), which is always busy because of its warm and welcoming staff.
OTHER KEY ATTRACTIONS
A visit to Grey Street, known as one of the most beautiful streets in England, is a must. At the top of this street, you can spot Tyne Bridge peeping over Victorian railway arches and amazing Georgian architecture. Then stand at the other end of the street and gaze up at Grey's Monument, named after Earl Grey, the British politician for whom the famous tea is named.
History buffs should visit Castle Keep and The Cathedral Church of St Nicholas, two historic buildings in the oldest part of Newcastle. Built during the reign of Henry II, Castle Keep offers great views of the Quayside and the city centre.
The Cathedral has for centuries been at the historic heart of Newcastle upon Tyne. Its rich architecture and heritage reflect that of the city. Within the Cathedral you will learn about the stories of the city, the diocese and many local heroes through the years.