I’ve never understood why anyone would ever say ‘It’s grim up North’ but then I learnt about the ancient history of Newcastle at the newly re-opened Newcastle Castle and I think I may have stumbled across a few reasons…
As I explored the renovated rooms of the Black Gate and the Castle Keep (which have been brought together under the joint name of Newcastle Castle) I read about the outlaws and gang members that had been imprisoned in The Pit and the gruesome punishments they endured. I heard about the poor children who had suffocated while working as chimney sweeps. I also found myself squirming with disgust as I learnt of a time during the Middle Ages when the moat of the castle was used a ‘midden’, a place where people went before they had toilets! Eurgh!
Well you’ll be pleased to hear that despite the sites rather grim past and the fact the historical buildings were nearly demolished during the development of the city, Newcastle Castle is now a thriving visitor attraction!
Thanks to a £1.6 million revamp it can be enjoyed for many more years to come and facilities such as an audio-visual presentation, an external timber-clad lift plus toilet, buggy parking, shop and reception area mean it’s much more accessible too!
The only thing you might miss out on if you have mobility issues is the magnificent view from the roof of the Keep. It’s a snug spiral staircase with 99 steps to the top but it’s certainly worth the effort! I’ve highlighted some great vantage points of the city in previous posts, the view from fifth floor of Baltic, the rooftop of The Vermont and of course the top of Grey’s Monument being some of my favourites… but I think it’s safe to say that Newcastle Castle has the best cityscape views of all!
I’ve been to Newcastle Castle twice since it re-opened in March, on one occasion it was bright and sunny and on the other it was grey and blustery but I can honestly say I enjoyed both visits thoroughly, I particularly loved the detailed ceiling in the chapel pictured above!
I’m sure I’ll be back for a third time soon as I’ve only scratched the surface with how much there is to uncover of Newcastle’s fascinating past and I just can’t get enough of that magnificent view from the roof!