Here at TLE we pride ourselves on offering a genuine insight from those in the know and if we haven’t visited a place yet we call upon the experts with local knowledge. So who better to give us an introduction to the vibrant city of Newcastle than inspired blogger Rachel Kershaw.
Rachel has a passion for English tourism. It was this that saw her win VisitEngland’s Fan in a Van competition in 2012 when she travelled around the country, blogging about her adventures. These days Rachel is based in Newcastle upon Tyne and regularly writes about the place she knows best at www.lifeingeordieland.com Her blog is full ideas and inspiration to help you make the most out of a visit to the North East.
Let’s see where makes the grade on Rachel’s luxury hit list.
Quilliam Brothers is a quirky teahouse in the beautiful Claremont Buildings and is run by three brothers with a passion for the arts. There are over 60 varieties of tea to choose from and it’s popular for its ‘Saturday Scran’, a breakfast menu offering delicious dishes to get your weekend off to the perfect start.
Other great places for breakfast include Quay Ingredient, a small but perfectly formed coffee house nestled under the Tyne Bridge and Blakes, a bustling cafe on Grey Street in the heart of the city.
Newcastle Gateshead is renowned for its vibrant culture, from beautiful architecture to events, exhibitions and festivals that attract people from across the globe. You couldn’t possibly squeeze everything in to 24 hours, but no visit to Geordieland is complete without a stroll along the iconic quayside where you’ll see many famous landmarks. Walk over the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the world’s first and only tilting bridge and you’ll come to Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and The Sage Gateshead, an impressive music venue, both are well worth a peek inside!
There’s an abundance of independent coffee shops throughout the city, as well as the popular chains. If you need a caffeine hit while shopping then Cafe Royal is a great choice, their cakes are rather tempting too. Pumphreys Coffee Centre and Brewing Emporium has a rich local heritage and can be found inside the historic Grainger Market. You also can’t go far wrong with Pink Lane Coffee; they do the most amazing iced lattes.
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a spot for lunch, Newcastle is foodie heaven and there are fabulous cafes, bistros and restaurants on every corner! Current favourites include The Herb Garden, a pizza place famous for its wall of herbs growing free from pesticides in metal cylinders, The Botanist where you can enjoy delicious hanging kebabs while looking on to Grey’s Monument and Bierrex which is popular with meat lovers, they have a wood fired smoker in the kitchen.
It’s no secret that Newcastle knows how to get the party started, in 2010 it was voted third best city in Europe for nightlife and it’s only got better since then so as you can imagine, there’s no shortage of places to enjoy a tipple. The Botanist is a great place to start your evening, they do fabulous cocktails and there’s often live music but if you’ve already had lunch there then try Pleased to Meet You on High Bridge instead. There are over 50 varieties of gin and a tantalising selection of tonics and botanicals so you can create your perfect beverage.
Six is a sophisticated rooftop restaurant on the top floor of Baltic, the food is simply cooked with fresh local ingredients and there are spectacular panoramic views of the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside. Artisan is another popular restaurant inside an art gallery with a creative and modern menu to inspire you as much as the surroundings.
For a real taste of luxury book in advance and secure a table at House of Tides. You might recognise head chef Kenny Atkinson from the TV, he’s a regular on shows like Saturday Kitchen. Here in Newcastle he’s created a unique dining experience in a Grade 1 listed 16th Century town house and the Saturday evening bespoke tasting menu will send your taste buds in to overdrive!
Be sure to pack your dancing shoes because you won’t want to miss the chance to paint the Toon red! Head to Livello or Bonbar for lavish cocktails in a chic and stylish setting or if you want to dance the night away till the early hours then World Headquarters is probably one of the friendliest nightclubs you could ever stumble in to. There’s also Hoochie Coochie, a luxury lounge bar which has a strict door and music policy to ensure it only attracts those who really appreciate good music. Recent live acts have included Jocelyn Brown, The Brand New Heavies and Roy Ayers, if they don’t get you dancing then no one will!
When you’re finally ready to get some beauty sleep then Hotel du Vin is the perfect place to turn in for the night. It’s a magnificently refurbished Edwardian building on the banks of the famous River Tyne that once belonged to the Tyne Tees Shipping Company. There are stylish nods to the building’s maritime past throughout the hotel from ships’ ropes in the courtyard, to porthole windows in the showers.
Interested in learning more about Newcastle and Rachel’s recommendations? Follow Rachel on Twitter.