Home to Geordie humour, the hardiest women in the UK, and no less than seven bridges Newcastle and Gateshead are ideal for a spa break, a city break and pretty much any other type of break you might be in the market for. Symbolised by the iconic Angel of the North, the city encompasses several different and diverse areas, with lots of culture, a world-class nightlife and of course some fantastic shops.
Newcastle is home to some great photo opportunities, from the spectacular Quayside which is a perfect place to stop off during the day or spend your evening, and of course there’s the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which you may or may not know actually tilts, and links Newcastle and Gateshead for pedestrians and cyclists.
Culture lovers should head to the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, which is a total dream for art aficionados, but if all you want to do is chill out after a relaxing spa day, why not just make the most of the enviable selection of riverside bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants, or see what’s on at The Sage Gateshead?
For a bit of history, there’s the Castle Keep, and the gorgeous and particularly photogenic neo-classical architecture of Grey Street, which even won a Great Street Award from the Academy of Urbanism in 2010.
- In a perfect location just 15 miles away from Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland is the Mercure George Washington Hotel Golf and Spa. It’s the perfect excuse for a spa day, or a golf day if that’s what floats your boat, and once you’re there you get a chance to experience the friendly spa, complete with its welcoming swimming pool, top class gym, spa pool and sauna.
- If you’re after more of a country retreat but still want to be within easy reach of the city, you could opt for the Slaley Hall near Newcastle which also suits anyone in the market for a pamper day in the beautiful Northumberland countryside. The spa has been refurbished recently and now it’s even more welcoming, with a spa-perfect range of treatments including ESPA and other favourites. If you want to counteract all the chilling out with some fitness, that’s all catered for too.
- Visit the BALTIC Centre and try Six – the rooftop restaurant that gives away stunning panoramic views across the city as well as great food. The menu is created by Fresh Element, and the Executive Chef Richard Sim calls the dishes ‘British modern cuisine’ which of course means that they all feature the very best ingredients, cooked to perfection and served in a relaxed and friendly setting.
Address: Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne NE8 3BA
Tel: 0191 440 4948
- Jesmond Dene House Hotel has won three AA Rosettes and uses top quality local ingredients where possible to make dishes that deliver on flavour without confusing the taste buds! It’s an informal restaurant with two dining areas, one of which is the old music room with earthy tones and the Garden Room with its light and airy feel and a summer terrace.
Address: Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE2 2EY
Tel: 0191 212 3000
- For cool and contemporary, look no further than the Living Room in Newcastle, a piano bar and restaurant that’s known as one of the most stylish places in the city to go for an evening. By night there are resident musicians in the bar and a menu of scrumptious cocktails to enjoy with, or after, your meal.
Address: 12 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 6AE
Tel: 0191 255 4450
- When you need spicing up, try some Punjabi Indian cuisine at Sachins which has been serving up delicious Indian food for 25 years. The menu is creative as well as exotic, and everything is s individually prepared with fresh ingredients by one of the top Punjabi chefs in the UK. All the spices used in the dishes are are roasted and ground on the premises, too.
Address: Forth Banks, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 3SG
Tel: 0191 261 9035
- Blackfriars Restaurant is the place to go for traditional British food in Newcastle. It’s right in the heart of the city and home to the oldest dining room in the UK. The delicious menu features traditional British cooking, all made from seasonal produce sourced from local artisan suppliers and farmers – and the restaurant’s herb garden.
Address: Friars Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 4XN
Tel: 0191 261 5945
- If you’re enjoying a night at the theatre, you might also enjoy McKenna’s at Northern Stage – which is also an award-winning restaurant and bar. Although it’s open all day, from 5.30pm the upstairs restaurant deck the acclaimed Bistro Menu offers everything from soups to grilled black pudding, Thai curry and steak.
Address: Northern Stage Theatre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 7RH
Tel: 0191 242 7242
- For lovers of oriental cuisine there’s Hanahana – a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant close to Newcastle’s Chinatown. Diners can sit at one of eight teppanyaki grill stations and watch the chefs in action creating masterpieces. There’s also a wide choice of sushi and sashimi, and for more entertainment drop into the karaoke room downstairs (this needs to be booked in advance).
Address: 45 Bath Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE4 5SP
Tel: 0191 222 0282
- El Coto is the place to go if you want to try authentic Spanish food. It’s right in the city centre, not far from St James’ Park, and the menu includes delicious home-made tapas and paella along with other continental favourites, all day long. There’s also a selection of Spanish wines and some authentic home-made sangria.
Address: 21 Leazes Park Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 4PF
Tel: 0191 261 0555
- Newcastle’s lively Quayside is where you’ll find Prima, with its stone-walled dining room and Italian flavour. Renowned for being a top notch pizzeria, the restaurant’s head chef is also a dab hand with pasta with more than 20 pasta dishes on offer along with risottos, steaks and more.
Address: 40-46 Side, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 3JA
Tel: 0191 233 1011
If there’s one thing that Newcastle isn’t short of, it’s nightlife. Everything from music and comedy venues to bars and clubs is open for business and all part of giving the city its reputation as a party city. In fact, Newcastle was chosen as TripAdvisor’s third best party city in Europe in 2010.
- The Gate entertainment complex is right in the centre of the action, and provides much of it, with more bars and restaurants than you can shake a stick at and The Sage Gateshead is a popular entertainment venue with everything from folk to orchestral music.
- The Hyena Comedy Club and Jongleurs are where you’ll see up and coming as well as well-known comedy acts, and can top the night off with a drink and a bite to eat.
- Newcastle's super club Digital is a good place to find top DJs in their natural habitat and some of the club nights, like the Turbulence Drum ‘n’ Bass night, are the most popular club nights in the north east. Trust us; it will be super-busy in there. There are two rooms and a capacity of 1400 to cope with the demand, along with one of the best sound systems around, the Funktion One Dance Stack. Drinks are reasonable and there are plenty of deals.
- The Quilted Camel is a buzzing cocktail bar with the claim to fame that it was Newcastle’s first million pound bar when it first opened in 1995. The newly updated bar has been styled to look just like a boudoir complete with a striking pink, black and cerise colour scheme and some seriously over the top black crystal chandeliers.
- If you’re in the mood for something upmarket, the Tup Tup Palace is a boutique bar and club which prides itself on being a little bit more refined than some of the other bars. It’s totally off the scale for overdoing it on the décor though, and has to be seen to be believed. There’s a real flame wall, indoor waterfalls, an elliptical recessed champagne snug and a surreal sunken bar, to complement top name DJ's and global club brands.
- Florita’s Miami Bar and Tropical Garden is a bit different to say the least. The bar has a Miami style Tropical Garden set into an oversized outdoor garden, which has a barbecue, cocktails, and cold beers. The Main Room offers a dance floor with summer anthems and in Tropicalia you can even drink out of real coconuts, pineapples and watermelons...
- 1970s nights out in Newcastle are catered for in well-worn retro style in Flares, the 70s bar and disco. The club has its very own funky DJ who creates play lists crammed with floor fillers. It’s the cheesiest bar in town.
- Barluga is a very upmarket champagne and caviar bar, which is artfully split over two levels and decorated in cosy colours with plenty of seating. The clientele is diverse; it’s popular with the business crowd but also attracts fashionistas and people looking for good food, which has a reputation for being divine.
- At the back of the Gate Complex you can find the Players Bar, offering a different top local DJ every night of the week. The club has a reputation for dancers – from famous female podium dancers to the best break dancers in the north east. It’s also a great place to hit for a drinks deal, so keep an eye out for promotions if Players is your kind of thing.
- One look around the bar and you can see straight away why Perdu was declared the city’s coolest bar by the Sunday Mirror. Once a staid solicitors’ office, everything is totally decadent in Perdu these days, with a funky crushed velvet, black glass and snakeskin designer-style interior and a drinks menu that serves up anything you can think of from expensive Champagnes to alcopops.
What better way to complement a spa break than with some glamorous clothes and dedicated retail therapy? You won’t be let down by Newcastle’s excellent shopping opportunities, so grab your credit card and get out there. As well as the Metrocentre in Gateshead, which everyone’s heard about, there’s also Eldon Square, one of the UK’s largest city centre shopping complexes.
If you prefer to shop in a more laid-back, exclusive location, sneak in a trip across to Market Street, High Bridge and Hood Streets, where there are trendy, upmarket boutiques on both sides of the street to tempt you in. or you could find your way to Jesmond which, isn’t far from Newcastle city centre and is known for being fashion conscious. There’s also the advantage of plenty of bars, restaurants and places to stop and rest your weary shopped-out feet.
Eldon Square recently unveiled the brand new St Andrew’s Way, a veritable shopping treasure trove that features the likes of a four-storey Debenhams, alongside the usual selection of favourite brands, including upmarket labels like Guess and Hollister, and an Apple store for techies. High Street loving fashion divas can check out the flagship New Look, River Island and Topshop.
Newcastle is home to a brand new Marks and Spencer, a Fenwick, and a John Lewis, and for designer girls there’s a swanky Vivienne Westwood store on Hood Street which has all the ranges including Gold Couture, Red Label, Anglomania and MAN, with a completely fabulous selection of accessories, perfumes, jewellery and of course shoes to go with them.
Metrocentre in Gateshead has a choice of more than 330 shops including major department stores and runs the gamut of budget to high end all under one roof. Choose a themed area to peruse from The Forum, The Studio and The Village, or there’s also plenty to entertain you on a day out that doesn’t necessarily involve shopping, including 50 restaurants and a selection of leisure facilities.
Head out of town to North Shields and the designer outlet centre Royal Quays has more than 50 different shops on hand to tempt you away from your hard-earned cash. The stores offer bargain designer and brand name goodies at up to 60 per cent off the usual prices, and there’s regular entertainment and live events on hand to make sure that you enjoy your shopping trip just a little bit more!
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE'S TOP THREE SPAS
- Saks is a big name in hair and beauty and it’s not hard to see why they are so well respected if you book a fab spa day at the Saks Hair and Beauty Spa in Newcastle. If you’re not sure where to find it, look for the David Lloyd Leisure Club in Newcastle, inside which there’s a fantastic gym as well as pools, sauna and steam room. And of course a lovely beauty spa where you can book a treatment or two and really spoil yourself.
- The stunning Slaley Hall is only minutes from the city centre, so if a touch of luxury amid the most glorious countryside floats your boat then this magnificent Edwardian Manor is for you. You can expect sumptuous cuisine that will delight even the most fussy foodies along with some delightfully soothing spa treatments.
- Yes, it’s a chain hotel but don’t write off the Village Urban Resort Newcastle where you can get yourself an indulgent beauty treatment in the Viva Spa, get fit in the gym, cycle like a mad woman (or man) in the spinning studio, have a or just chill out in the steam rooms and sauna.. The reason we mention all that lovely fitness (and don’t forget the beauty offering either) is that the hotel also boasts its own pub, coffee shop and even an Italian restaurant!