In Other

The Pocket Guide is full of great things to do and see across the whole of the North East region. It's a brilliant way for locals and visitors alike to see the best of our city and enjoy every second of their experience.

Sometimes though, it's hard to know exactly what's the crème de la crème. To make things a little easier, I've picked out my number one favourite from each section. It should make for a pretty exciting itinerary for anyone visiting NewcastleGateshead.

Visitor Attraction: Life Science Centre

Life Science Centre, Newcastle

I had no hesitation in picking my favourite visitor attraction. Life, an award-winning science centre near Central Station in Newcastle, is home to some of the best one-off events and exhibitions in the North East.

This year sees the return of the ever-popular Wildlife Photographer of the Year, as well as the greatest show (and tell) on earth, Maker Faire.

And this year's biggy? Game On 2.0, the world's biggest collection of playable computer games from the past 60 years (my inner-child just punched the air!).

It doesn't stop there, Life also hosts the city's only outdoor ice rink in the winter and has many year-round attractions like the 4D Motion Ride.

Basically, it has something for everyone, all the time.

Entertainment & Performance: Tyneside Cinema

Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle

Tyneside Cinema is the last surviving newsreel theatre still operating as a cinema in the UK and a must see piece of heritage in Newcastle.

Situated in a Grade II listed building, it has been lovingly restored to preserve the grandeur of its original 1937 art deco design.

With four screens, the cinema has a varied programme ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to classic film from around the world.

It also operates great one-off movie nights for the likes of Valentine's Day and Halloween, and offers free daily tours to any visitors.

It's newest addition is a contemporary Bar Cafe that serves up great food and free films.

Shopping: Quayside Market

Newcastle Quayside Market

Newcastle's Quayside Market has evolved a lot over the last few years, becoming a haven for arts and crafts lovers.

Taking place every Sunday from 9.30am until 4pm, it is a vibrant and varied showcase of quality goods and produce from local businesses.

Amongst the hustle and bustle, you'll find artists, designers, jewellers, food producers, photographers and fashionistas. As well as buskers, food stalls and street performers.

On a sunny Sunday, there really isn't anywhere else to spend your afternoon. Oh, and there's plenty of great bars and restaurants around if you needed quick refreshment after your shopping is done.

Sport & Activities: Lane 7

Lane 7, Newcastle

Gone are the days of scruffy bowling alleys with cheap hot dogs and fluorescent lights flashing everywhere.

Say hello to the future, boutique bowling.

Lane 7 is the perfect place to hang out with your mates, it's a cool concept that we are confident you'll love.

Think about what makes a great bar. Stylish, modern and spacious? Great customer service? A fun atmosphere? An impressive selection of food and drink?

OK, now add to that: ten-pin bowling, ping-pong, pool and karaoke.

That's Lane 7. I really don't think I need to say much more. If you haven't tried it, it's about time you did.

History & Heritage: Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle is an iconic symbol of the city's past, made up of the Castle Keep and the Black Gate.

It's recent refurbishment allows visitors to delve further into the city's colourful and rich history.

The Castle Keep is all that remains of the stone medieval stronghold built in 1170 by Henry II. It's cellar and upper-floor now boast state of the art audio-visual installations, relaying key events from the past.

The Black Gate, built in 1247, was the fortified gateway for the castle. It is now fitted with an external lift for accessibility and the three levels include an exhibition space, gift shop and toilets.

Definitely the best place to visit for anyone who loves a bit of history.

Parks & Gardens: Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene, Newcastle

The North East is blessed with so many beautiful parks and gardens, but my favourite one of all is Jesmond Dene.

It's a unique, peaceful and tranquil valley that follows the River Ouseburn between South Gosforth and Jesmond Vale.

This provides an important wildlife corridor right into the centre of Newcastle.

There is a spectacular mix of native and exotic trees, and the Dene is home to a lot of wildlife, notably the kingfisher, the red squirrel and many woodland birds.

It's also great for families with a fantastic play area and the popular Pets Corner.

Where to eat: Artisan

Artisan, The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle

When it comes to dining out, I like things that are regional, fresh, seasonal and a little bit fancier than the spag bol I rustle up at home.

Artisan, located at The Biscuit Factory, the UK's largest art, craft and design gallery, is a modern restaurant serving up British-inspired menus.

It's headed up by award-winning chef Andrew Wilkinson and sources a lot of its ingredients from fields, foragers and fishermen.

Their food is a balance of delicate technique and intense fresh flavour, which creates outstanding food at reasonable prices.

Nightlife: The Boiler Shop Steamer

The Boiler Shop Steamer, Newcastle

When it comes to nightlife Newcastle is not short of great bars, pubs and clubs. To really get a feel for the city's cultural nightlife, I can't look any further than The Boiler Shop.

The Steamer is a vibrant, monthly event celebrating all that is great about food, drink, music and art.

Founded by Riley’s Fish Shack and Wylam Brewery in association with Silverlink Holdings, The Boiler Shop Steamer is held on the first Friday and Saturday of each month in the impressive surroundings of The Boiler Shop; the birthplace of Robert Stephenson’s Rocket.

With its energy, aromas, flavours, sounds and visuals, The Boiler Shop Steamer is a truly unique experience.

If you're here any other weekend, my second pick would be The Botanist, a sophisticated bar with a horticultural theme and a myriad of cocktails and beers.

By David Morton 




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