Open top bus tours are a great way to explore a city, I’ve experienced them in Barcelona, London and Prague but never did I think that one day I would be the voice of the on-board commentary on a sightseeing bus in the city that I love the most… yes you read that right, I am one of the voiceovers you will hear guiding you around Newcastle and Gateshead when you take a trip on the Go North East Toon Tour! I still can’t quite believe it!
I’ve worked with the local bus company on their advertising campaigns for many years so I was delighted when they asked me to get involved in this latest project as it combines both my passions for voiceover work and promoting local tourism.
The Toon Tour launched as a trial service over the summer holidays but was so popular it has now been extended and runs every weekend, yay! I urge everyone to hop on board, whether you’re a local or a tourist. You’re sure to learn something about our fascinating local history and the views from the open air top deck are something else, you really do get to see Geordieland from a different perspective.
I took my family for a big day out on the Toon Tour when they visited recently, here’s a little round up of our adventure. If I’d like to plan your own trip then all the essential info you need is at the end of the post.
We hopped on the Toon Tour at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. The kids loved spotting all the bridges across the River Tyne and the street art near the Sage. There was much giggling when they heard Auntie Rachel’s voice booming through the on-board speakers, Pat the dog seemed fascinated by it too.
We loved sitting on the top deck, despite a little bit of rain. We could have chosen to sit on the fully enclosed lower deck but nothing could dampen our spirits as we enjoyed the spectacular sights from up high. Our bird’s eye views were particularly impressive as we were transported from Gateshead in to Newcastle across the Tyne Bridge (so good I forgot to take a pic, oops)!
Our first stop was Newcastle Central Station which is actually the official start of the Toon Tour route but it doesn’t really matter where you start or end your journey as the commentary still makes sense. You can hop on and off as many times as you like across a 24 hour period, so it’s great value for money too.
It just so happened that on that particular day Go North East had joined forces with other local bus operators to host a free event on Times Square. There was face painting, slime making, music and giveaways, all to celebrate the launch of a new initiative called ‘NE Bus’. The rain subsided and the sun even made an appearance, we couldn’t believe our luck!
Hunger soon got the better of us so we headed over to the nearby Town Wall pub and ordered some sharing boards. I love this pub and the food is great, it’s dog friendly too!
After re-fuelling we jumped back on the Toon Tour bus and sat back in comfort as we took in the famous sights including St James’ Park, Ouseburn and the Quayside.
My niece and nephew particularly enjoyed spotting several beautifully decorated elephants as we drove around. These stunning pieces of public art are part of Elmer’s Great North Parade which is happening across Tyne and Wear until 1st November. The lovely Samantha from North East Family Fun has written a blog post with all the details… www.northeastfamilyfun.co.uk/2019/08/elmers-great-north-parade-app-trail.html
Sadly, we had to postpone our plans to hop off for a wander around Ouseburn as we’d lost track of time but I definitely recommend this area for a pit stop. Ouseburn has loads of great places to eat and drink, there’s Ouseburn farm too which is great for families and free to visit. The national centre for children’s books, Seven Stories is also here, so there’s lots to see and do. There is also a stop beside The Great North Museum and if I had been more organised we could have stopped off there to see Dippy the Dinosaur!
As we arrived back in Gateshead, the whole gang commented on how much fun they’d had. We all agreed that the Toon Tour was the perfect family day out. If you fancy giving it a go yourself, here’s all the info you might need…
Your Toon Tour ticket can be used to make savings at local attractions, making your big day out even bigger…
Thanks fore reading and please feel free to leave your comments below, I love reading them!