A Local’s Guide to the North East
Now, given the virus that shall not be named is still about, and it’s still considered quite unsafe to travel abroad, I think its fair to say we all need something to look forward to. However, a week in the sun is not yet on the cards. As lockdown hopefully eases with a more permanent decrease in risk, it’s time to think about leaving the house again. The solution is clear: day trips.
The North East is perfect. It’s far enough away from everyone else for the journey to feel more substantial. and the locals talk funny. Close enough, right? But, seriously, there’s a lot to do up here and no one knows about it, so here’s a guide to some fun days out that you can trust. I would know – I’ve done them all.
DISCLAIMER: before making your journey, please check your local coronavirus restrictions to make sure the places mentioned are open to the public and it is legal for you to travel to them.
Have you heard of Beamish? I hope you have. Its amazing and we’re all dead proud of it. Beamish is a living museum set in the beginning of the 20th century that holds a manor house, town, pit village, colliery, farm and a railway station. They are all connected by period appropriate transport: buses, a tram and your very own legs. You can spend a whole day there easily and it is genuinely so interesting. Each section is filled with actors dressed up and prepared to answer your questions and tell you all about ‘their lives’. You can have a look round the school, but try not to be too intimidated by the school master and give your best shot at playing with the booler (the metal hoop on a stick that you run with) in the playground. The town has so much to see too! The authentic Victorian sweet shop, Jubilee Confectioners, is a must. It’s kid friendly and I would recommend anyone who can, should go. There are cafes, tearooms and even a chippy for when you need a sit down and a cuppa to process all of the history.
The Centre for Life
There is also the Centre for Life – a science museum that is interactive and ever changing. A lot of my childhood memories feature this place, we went there a lot. But that’s the beauty of the Centre, you can come back regularly and see something new every time. I distinctly remember an animatronic dinosaur exhibit for the Walking with Dinosaurs Tour (which I still have on VHS somewhere) and I remember loving it. As an adult, I’ve visited the world renowned Body World exhibit, where actual human bodies were on display to look into the science of human physiology, and the Game On 2.0 exhibit, an exploration of 50 years of video games. I’ll have you know I absolutely dominated at Pong. As well as the carousel of exhibitions, there are the regularly updated classics as well. The planetarium, the motion ride, the egg enclosed theatre (in which wild and entertaining science talks take place – from penguins to pollution, I’ve seen them all) and on the top floor there’s a designated kids science play area. Everything I’ve mentioned so far is designed to both cater to children and adults equally, which is a very impressive balance to achieve. While you read the information explaining how early man evolved to walk, there’s a play area attached designed for some monkeying around (or more homo erectus-ing around, but whatever). It’s in the centre of Newcastle, just up the road from the train station, it literally couldn’t be easier to get to.
The ‘Triple A’ Food Tour
I’ve talked about two interesting and family friendly things already so here’s something a couple, or simply a group of mates could do: a food tour! There is an array of food and drink tours you can do in and around Newcastle but I’m going to be more specific and talk about the one I actually did. In September of 2020, lockdown was lifted and things were open again. It was also my birthday. The Triple A Food Tour that I booked with my partner was probably the nicest thing to happen to me all year. We had two local guides, who wore masks and maintained social distancing. We walked to each establishment, independent eateries ranging from a stall in Granger Market to a posh French restaurant, and talked about the history of the city. They said that you would be surprised how many locals try these tours to discover a little something about the Newcastle food scene they didn’t know before.
For more information about Newcastle specifically, check out our travel guide. We discuss the key safety information whilst also recommending you some other great places to visit during your stay.
And that’s just three things you can do in the north east for a day trip! Things that will be safe and enjoyable. Things that you could take your kids to or just go with a friend.
Visit the north east, take it from me – I live there.
Written by Beth Percy