Newcastle Quayside in the snow

Newcastle and Gateshead are a hop skip and a jump from London and Edinburgh if you arrive by train. If you’re planning a festive city break or a weekend away in the UK to get started on your Christmas shopping then let us be the first to throw a North East staycation into the mix. To make it even easier for you – we’ve created a packed festive itinerary of things to do in Newcastle and Gateshead at Christmas and top tips on where to stay and where to eat while you’re here.

For a full list of festive events, Christmas shopping hot spots and where to go for all your indulgent food and drink needs – visit our Winter Festival website.

Newcastle city centre

Day 1 | Christmas in Newcastle

Where to stay: Motel One in the heart of Newcastle city centre.

Stay in the thick of the festive action at Motel One. The modern hotel is both stylish and well-placed and can be found along the cobbles of High Bridge Street just off the historic Grey Street.

Start Your Day With a Little Christmas Shopping in Newcastle

Enjoy breakfast full of all the choice at Motel One before wandering into the centre of Newcastle to hit the Christmas shopping on offer in the city centre. Browse Newcastle Christmas Market which not only has row after row of stalls but also has a 30m toboggan slide (of course!). If markets are your thing, then don’t miss an opportunity to stroll through Grainger Market a vibrant indoor market that has been part of Newcastle’s bustling retail experience for nearly 185 years.

Fenwick Newcastle Christmas Window is a must-see at Christmas

It wouldn’t be a visit to Newcastle without a trip to admire the Fenwick Newcastle Christmas Window which this year is a stunning retelling of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Duck into the flagship department store and step into Fenwick Food Hall which is a foodie’s paradise. Get ready for wall-to-wall delicacies, local produce, artisan treats and top-quality patisserie, meat and grocery counters. Fenwick’s dedicated Christmas floor is well-worth a browse – especially to marvel at the glistening wall of Christmas decorations in every possible colour and variation.

Stop for lunch

All that shopping will build up an appetite. Take a stroll towards Newcastle Quayside and stop off at Colonel Porters on Dean Street for festive afternoon tea – make it Tipsy with a Christmas cocktail.

You may want to lay off the cocktails until a little later as we recommend you finish off your afternoon with with a spin around the ice at Life Science Centre’s popular outdoor ice rink. There's lots of festive activities at the science museum and the last admission to the ice rink is at 8pm each evening.

Skating at Life

Festive Evening Vibes in Newcastle

If you’ve still got energy after a busy shopping and showing off your ice-skating skills… head to STACK for a drink and nibble. Choose from a range of street food kiosks or head into Hadrian’s Tipi for a hot mulled wine or cider around their open fire. There is always a lively atmosphere in STACK and if you’re feeling up for a dance, hang around for live music and party classics.

The beauty of staying at Motel One means you can dash home and spruce up before joining the festive revellers for a glass of fizz and celebratory cocktail in Newcastle’s famous and vibrant nightlife. Try Banyan and Leila Lily’s for an impressive array of cocktails and all your Instagram needs.

STACK Newcastle is a hive of activity with live music, great food and even a little shopping!

Day 2 | Christmas in Newcastle

Lazy morning in Newcastle

Start your second day in Newcastle with a slap-up brunch (with bubbles!) at The Botanist which also has brilliant views of Grey’s Monument.

Hop on the metro just outside The Botanist at Monument and travel the short journey to Manors. You can then talk a 10-minute walk to Ouseburn where you will find Newcastle’s cultural quarter and a great range of pubs.

Explore Ouseburn and the Quayside

Browse the art galleries and independent shops at The Biscuit Factory and Seven Stories for Christmas gifts. Pop in to say hello to the animal residents at Ouseburn Farm before wandering along the river to the Quayside.

Take in the bridges as you get closer to the heart of the Quayside and walk along the Swing Bridge to By The River Brew Co which has a cosy Alpine Lodge where you can sup a craft beer or enjoy some street food.

Relax at Christmas on Gateshead Quayside at By The River Brew Co.

Stroll back along the Quayside to complete a loop and enjoy some contemporary art on display at BALTIC, Centre for Contemporary Art. Currently on display is a exhibition celebrating the work of Judy Chicago.

Treat yourselves to a final festive feed before you go home

Indulge in the ultimate festive meal out at Trakol. You will need to book in advance as this is a very popular place for dinner and tables book up quickly.  Nearby River Beat also situated on Gateshead Quayside is another excellent choice for relaxed but delicious dining – this time with an Asian-fusion vibe.

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