What to see
You’ll find accounts of Newcastle’s tourist attractions in Towns of Two Halves (and of 91 other places: order the book now for £8 from firstname.lastname@example.org). For additional information plus shopping, eating out etc there’s:
• Visit Newcastle/Gateshead
• Rough Guide
• Visit Newcastle
Comment and colour
“The Discovery Centre, to the west of the city centre, ticks both boxes. On a Saturday morning it is alive with children and their parents. Attractive exhibitions share floors with Play Tyne, a play area for under-sevens, and the Play & Invent space. There are fantastic models. With a Challenger Tank on the forecourt and the world’s first steam turbine-powered steamship Turbinia dominating the ground floor, the museum isn’t short of life-sized replicas or the real thing either.
“If you walk from the Discovery Museum to the Great North Museum, you can take in a section of the city’s West Wall, with inset Chinese garden; a memorial to the Gallowgate Lead Works; the arch into Chinatown; and without too great a diversion, the column on which stands a statue of the 2nd Earl Grey, Prime Minister and tea champion in the 1830s. If you want to sample the view from the top, just 164 steps stand in your way.
“Still for the most part free, the Laing Art Gallery charges for special exhibitions. For free you get some fine British oil paintings, watercolours, glass and silver. And the hallway into the café has a Henry Moore Seated Woman, a tea-pot collection and a metalwork of fronds on a sea-bed which you are invited to touch. A mild electric shock might make an artistic point.
“Beyond Newcastle Castle you’re on to the Quayside. To the right, the Jacobean Bessie Surtees House was closed, it being Saturday. Bessie’s story is a romantic one; she eloped with the man who would become Lord Chancellor, and the timber-framed window through which she defenestrated is there to be admired.
“To the left is the Newcastle Quayside, passing underneath the famous Tyne Bridge and leading to the Gateshead Millennium Bridge across which you can walk to Sage Gateshead and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Just before you reach the footbridge you’ll pass the Wesley Memorial Fountain, marking the spot where John Wesley
first preached on Tyneside in 1742. His text was the verse from Isaiah which ends: “The chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed.”
“From here it’s less than 30 minutes’ walk to the football ground, for more stripes of an almost mystical nature.”
(This is an extract from Towns of Two Halves. To read more on Newcastle and 91 other places, order the book for £8 from email@example.com)