Whoever said: “It’s grim up North,” was wrong

Way back in September (ages ago now, I know!) Jeff and I headed up to Newcastle on a daily deal voucher for a 2-night stay for 2 including breakfast and wine. (Not a bad find if I do say so myself!

It was my first time up north (well, I did go to York for a day trip way back in 2008, but that doesn’t really count because it was only for a few hours to see some tourist spots and not a proper stay) and I absolutely loved it!

The journey started with a 3-hour train journey out of King’s Cross at the unheard of hour of 9.30am on a Sunday. (Listen, I’m usually still asleep at that time on a Sunday so I found the early start tough!)


We passed cities and country side and we knew we were almost there when we saw Antony Gormley’s The Angel of the North, located in Gateshead.

After we checked into our hotel (not pictured above – that’s a building that I thought looked really sweet on the walk from the station to the Surtees Hotel) we quickly headed back out to see the sights.  newcastle_03

First up was Sunday Roast (served with black pudding!), followed by a stroll to Quayside Sunday Market where we found these great object descriptions.


Then we crossed the Gateshead Millennium Bridge to check out the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, where we were introduced to the healthy rivalry between Newcastle and Gateshead:



Once an iron and steel manufacturer, then a flour mill, now an art gallery. So versatile!newcastle_07

We ended day one at BrewDog Newcastle, where we relaxed with craft brews, super friendly bar staff, and enjoyed a local gig.


Newcastle is filled with beautiful Edwardian Architecture, including the beautiful interior of the Central Arcade (built in 1906) and the Rolex building.



Check out the world’s smallest Marks and Spencer store – complete with a great old school sign – at Grainger Market.


Only within the past few months have I started seeing whoopie pies in London, so I was stoked when I found this blueberry and cream gem at French Oven Bakery. It tasted even better than it looked.


Best. Cakes. Ever. (FYI: I don’t count whoopie pies as cake, they are whoopie pies!)

Olive and Bean had an excellent selection of cakes, plugs to charge our phones (snapping too many pictures!), papers for us to read, and plenty of seats to relax. Exactly what a tourist needs for a recharge.
newcastle_16 newcastle_17If you couldn’t guess, I really like neon signs. Even more so when they say nice thins. We found this one at The Red House. (They do a great pie and mash, by the way!)

On our second night in Newcastle Eleanor Friedberger Of Fiery Furnaces was playing a solo gig at The Cluny. I haven’t seen her play since 2007 back in Boston, USA, so I was very pleased with this coincidence.


On our last day we swung by the Lang Art Gallery, where I tried out some of the activities (not just children like to interact with the art!) and drew this portrait of Jeff. Spitting image, yes? newcastle_21

After the art gallery it was off to Whitely Bay to enjoy some seaside! newcastle_23

I miss living just a 10 minute drive from the ocean (I also still miss owning a car, but that’s a different story), so hanging out at Whitely Bay Beach and looking out at the North Sea was an absolute treat for me. If I had it my way, we never would have left that spot and I’d have relocated there in a heartbeat!newcastle_24 newcastle_25

Pretty sure Whitely Bay has the coolest looking rocks.

Amalgam (n): a mixture or blend.

AKA: Katie’s favourite kind of rock.

newcastle_26 newcastle_27

Word on the street was that Pantrini’s makes the best fish and chips in the area, so once our bellies started to rumble we gave it a go. And it exceeded all of our expectations with perfectly light batter, extra bits, and gravy on the side.


It’s not a holiday without post-lunch ice cream! Can you guess who picked which colours?


As much as I enjoyed Newcastle and loved Whitely Bay, I was more than ready to return home and get back to the daily grind. But first, we said goodbye to the new castle from Newcastle rail station.


So here we are, rushing back to London on a train moving at about 130mph.

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