Things to do in Newcastle, England: One day three ways

The industrial grime has gone and in its place are hip cafes, great art and architecture and a wealth of history.


Newcastle has cast off its gritty northern image and emerged as a hip, cultured city. Check out the sexy Gateshead Millennium Bridge (; free), which gazes like a Cyclops eye over a revamped riverfront. Then head up Grey Street to admire Georgian architecture and enjoy brunch at Blake's Coffee House (; $20). Wander through the shopping district towards Laing Art Gallery (; free), the region's premier art collection. Then learn how Newcastle developed as an industrial and engineering centre powering the British Empire at the terrific Discovery Museum (; free). Tuck into British seasonal cuisine at Blackfriars (; $27 two courses) in an old Dominican friary. For a late night, weekend-packed Digital (; from $5) has one of England's best sound systems. Sleep at Waterside Hotel (; from $77 including parking and Wi-Fi), where rooms are compact but well-presented.

TOTAL: $130


Get fine views from the Norman castle (; $7) that gives the city its name. Head along the river to admire Millennium Bridge and The Sage Gateshead concert hall (; tickets from $18), where you could take in an evening performance. Further along, BALTIC Centre (; free) is a rival to London's Tate and features changing exhibits of modern art. Then catch the train to lovely market town Hexham for a  country-style lunch at Bouchon Bistrot (; $24 two courses) before exploring magnificent Hadrian's Wall on the AD122 bus (; $21). Returning to Newcastle, have an ale at Centurion Bar (; $5) in the train station. Dine at suave restaurant and piano bar the Living Room (; $23 two courses). Retire to Malmaison (; from $142), a trendy riverside hotel decorated in dramatic colours overlooking Millennium Bridge.

TOTAL: $240


Tom Keating Tours (; $223) provides a top blue-badge guide for an insightful half-day walk outlining Newcastle's history and recent regeneration. Lunch at popular Scrumpy Willow (; $18), an organic eatery with outstanding vegetarian and vegan nosh. In the afternoon, head to Great North Museum, (; free) for eclectic natural history and archaeology displays, and an interactive recreation of Roman Britain. Then shop. Biscuit Factory ( is the largest commercial art space in Britain, tempting with drawings, sculpture, furniture and glassware. Have a cocktail with spectacular river views at Pitcher & Piano (; $13) and dine at Michelin-recommended Cafe 21 (; mains $36) on venison with wild mushrooms, followed by mango tarte tatin. Sleep at Jesmond Dene House (; $215), a lovely Arts & Crafts property with luxurious bathrooms, set in green space just beyond the city centre. 

TOTAL: $505

The writer travelled courtesy of One North East and Emirates Airlines.