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12 Experiences to Try In and Around Newcastle in 2019

January 8, 2019 in Days Out 7

With nearly five year’s worth of blogging about Newcastle under my belt, you could assume that I’ve tried just about everything there is to experience in this fine city and the surrounding areas, but you’d be wrong! There are so many North East experiences and attractions that I haven’t ticked off my list yet.

So this new year, instead of making resolutions, I’ve drawn up a list of the top things I want to do in the area over the next 12 months. I thought 12 would be a good number, because I can aim to do at least one a month. Of course, I’ll be sharing my experiences right here on the blog so if there’s anything else you think I should add to my exciting to-do list let me know.

Take a Guided Tour of the Victoria Tunnel

Image Credit: NGI

Did you know there’s a preserved 19th century waggonway that runs under the city of Newcastle from the Town Moor all the way to the River Tyne? It was originally built to transport coal and was later converted in to an air raid shelter to protect Geordies during World War 2.

In 2008, after careful restoration, it was opened to the public and is now run by Ouseburn Trust who charge £8 for guided tours on selected dates throughout the year. It’s something I’ve always wanted to experience, so hopefully this year I will get round to finally doing it!

Enjoy a Meal at Spanish City

Who wouldn’t want to dine under this gorgeous Dome?

The re-opening of Spanish City in in 2018 was a momentous moment for Whitley Bay and people from all across the region flocked to check it out, me included!

It’s a beautiful building with a tempting array of new eateries but so far I’ve only sampled some takeaway chips from Trenchers (they were soooo good)! I’ve only heard positive experiences about the dining experiences on offer so I am definitely planning on treating myself to a meal at 1910 Steak and Seafood Restaurant or a fancy afternoon tea beneath the dome in 2019.

Kayak on the River Tyne

No, I haven’t gone mad, you really can kayak on the Tyne! I spotted people paddling down the river last year and a quick Google led me to Cullercoats Bike and Kayak who provide everything you need for this unique 3 hour experience. I’m booking up for April and at the time of writing there was still places available if you fancy joining me.

Explore Gateshead’s Great Outdoors By Bike

I often cycle through Leazes Park (pictured) but want to explore further afield

I received the most gorgeous bike for Christmas in 2017 but I didn’t get out and about on it anywhere near as much as I should have last year. I know there are lots of great places for a bike ride in Gateshead as I’ve enjoyed exploring places like Derwent Walk Country Park and Gibside on foot. This year I’ll be re-visiting these picturesque spots on two wheels.

Cheer on the Newcastle Falcons

2019 is set to be the year of rugby in Newcastle. European rugby’s biggest weekend will be hosted here Friday 10 – Saturday 11 May, with the Heineken’s Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup taking place at St James’ Park.

I figured it’s about time I got my head around the rules of this much loved game and what better way to immerse myself in to rugby culture than by supporting the local team? If you see a confused looking lass cheering loudly at a Falcon’s game in the near future, that might just be me.

Take the Kids for a Day Out at Alnwick Castle

Image Credit: NGI

It’s famous the world over for its Harry Potter connections (you may recognise it as ‘Hogwarts Castle’ in the first two films) but despite Alnwick Castle being only a 45 minute drive away from Newcastle it’s somewhere I’ve never visited. I did attempt to once but my campervan broke down on the way there! I’ve also been to a concert in the grounds but that doesn’t count does it?

Now that my niece and nephew have started getting in to Harry Potter I’ve decided that their summer holiday in Newcastle will definitely feature a trip to Alnwick Castle. I’m going to make sure our visit coincides with a day of ‘broomstick training’, something that takes place between March and October in the very spot where Harry Potter himself learnt!

Watch a Film at Newcastle Castle

The perfect setting for a haunting film!

Newcastle Castle is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and I’ve visited several times, the views from the turret are spectacular! I’ve never watched a film there but I bet it’s a really wonderful experience. Pulp Fiction and Beetlejuice are being screened at Newcastle Castle later this month and a little birdie tells me there are more classics to be announced throughout the year.

See Dippy the Dinosaur at Great North Museum

Dippy is currently on a tour of the UK and will be heading to the Great North Museum in Newcastle from 18th May – 6th October. The Natural History Museum’s iconic famous dinosaur is sure to be a sight to behold!

Ride a Steam Train at Stephenson Railway

Image Credit: Visit North Tyneside

I’ve always thought there’s something rather romantic about taking a ride on a steam train and as there are several historic sites still offering the traditional transport experience here in the North East I thought it would make a lovely summer day out. The Stephenson Railway Museum is just up the road in North Tyneside and heritage train rides start up again in February.

Take a Picnic to Saltwell Park

Of all the beautiful parks across NewcastleGateshead (and there are many), Saltwell Park is probably the one I’ve explored the least. I’ve visited several times for Enchanted Parks in the winter but have never spent a full summer day out there. I’m adamant on changing that this year with plans to pack a picnic and wander the 55 acres of lush landscapes, woodlands and ornamental gardens.

Eat and Drink with Friends at By the River Brew Co

Was this the best new addition to Geordieland last year or what?

My boyfriend and I spent many lazy weekends eating and drinking our way around the HWKR Market at By the River Brew Co and admiring the views across the River Tyne last year. This quirky and creative container community was, in my opinion, the best addition to Geordieland in 2018 and I can’t wait to take my friends from around the UK there when they next come to visit me.

Visit Beamish at Christmas

I may have only just taken last year’s Christmas decorations down but I am already making plans for Christmas 2019 and a visit to Beamish is definitely on the cards. It’s one my family’s favourite places to visit in summer but we’ve yet to experience in winter.

It may be a mainly outdoor attraction but that doesn’t stop Beamish being a brilliant place for a day out in the colder months, with an ice-rink, Santa’s grotto, real reindeers, carol services and a chance to soak up the seasonal sights, sounds, smells and delicious tastes of Christmas past at Beamish Bazaar.

Have you made any plans for days out in the North East this year? I’d love to hear them!

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Newcastle FamilyLife
Newcastle FamilyLife
5 years ago

So many great ideas. I really want to visit Beamish at Christmas (we only seem to go in summer) and do the tunnel tour. x

Samantha Rickelton
5 years ago

Fab list Rachel – we’re hoping to explore the Victoria Tunnel this year too xx

fixit (@Fixitcafe)
5 years ago

Hi Rachael…. that’s a bit of a short list can i also invite you to some of my favourites …. See a film or gig @Starandshadow – the world’s best volunteer run cinema, @fix your stuff at @fixitcafe join an unusual choir @noizechoir have a top pint at the Cumberland arms @thecumby eat on the beach @rileysfishshack

Francesca Boyle
5 years ago

Some great suggestions, I’ve been on the Victoria Tunnel Tours twice and even we to see a play down there – was very good. I’d love to kayak on the Tyne and I’ve not been to Spanish City yet so I’ll have to add them to my list.

5 years ago

I’ve did exactly the same last year. I was fed up of constantly saying “one day we must see the puffins” so I wrote it down and it meant we actually did it! So I’ve done the same for 2019 and hope to tick loads more off the to do list!

Victoria Tunnel is on mine too! Along with a trip to Belsay, Kielder Observatory, the Simonside Ridge Walk, Blossoms at Alnwick Garden and a little look inside Bamburgh Castle!


[…] you may have read in my last post, one my aims for 2019 is to explore more of the North East on my bike, I’m hoping to persuade […]


[…] I mentioned in THIS POST at the start of the year, I have made a promise to myself to spend much more time in Saltwell Park […]

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