Newcastle upon Tyne (October 2010)

December 6th, 2010 22 Commented

Finally, I manage to allocate some free time share my humble tour of Newcastle upon Tyne. There will be more follow-up posts, sharing my impressions and experiences of the various places of attraction that I visited in Newcastle.

As some of you might have already known that my wifey is doing her masters degree in Newcastle, so I bunked in her little hostel room. Surprisingly, the hostel room looks pretty well maintained when we moved in. You must be wondering why I’m describing about this little hostel room. Well, if you want to save some expenses on the lodging, you can actually rent a room from this hostel, Clapham House. Short stay costs about £75 per week which I think it’s cheap for a nice and convenient place like this.

Don’t you agree that it looks cozy after we unpacked our stuff? ;)

The kitchen is well-equipped with a fridge, microwave oven, conventional oven and four usable stoves. I prepare breakfast and dinner for my wifey almost everyday. ;) We bought most of the utensils and cookeries from IKEA.

Here is a sample of a breakfast that I made. It’s kinda shameful to put this up since it’s no where near any of those fine dining restaurants I visited. But, I’ll still share it with you. :) It was definitely easy and fast to prepare, also a cost-saving meal.

That’s all for the lodging. Now, let’s take look at the streets of Newcastle. Fortunately, the hostel is located near the busy area of the city area. The Northumberland Street, a famous and major shopping street, is only a few walks away. The street is considered as the most expensive location outside London to own a shop. It’s crowded everyday. Yep, you’ve got it right. I walked passed that street everyday when I was there. :) And of course, you can find Eldon Square here — the focus of shopping and dining in the city centre, with 156 outlets, including John Lewis, Fenwick and Marks & Spencer department stores. It’s a shopper’s paradise!

This is a part of the Grainger Town which is only a five-minute walk away from Northumberland Street. It is known as the ‘city of palaces’ when completed in 1839, containing many fine examples of classical Victorian architecture. And of course, that monument you see in the photo is none other than the Grey’s Monument. I’ll provide a more detail coverage on Grainger Town and Grey’s Monument in a separate post.

[Click on the image for the larger version]

I took this photo while riding on the City Sightseeing Bus. You can easily identify the reflected building from the photo above. This open-topped tour bus goes around the major landmarks of NewcastleGateshead starting from Newcastle’s Central Station.

This is the Castle Keep at Castle Garth, built by Henry II in the 12th century on the site of the “new castle”. It is one of the finest examples of a Norman Keep in the country and is consider as a Grade I listed building. Again, I’ll have a post dedicated to this impressive structure built entirely of stone. ;)

[Click on the image for the larger version]

Situated above the River Tyne, Newcastle is linked to its neighbor Gateshead by a series of road and rail bridges. The Tyne Bridge (painted in green), opened in 1928, is one of the most famous symbol of Newcastle. It bears a striking resemblance to the roughly contemporaneous Sydney Harbour Bridge, which isn’t surprising as both were designed by the same civil engineering company.

[Click on the image for the larger version]

There are several other well-known bridges built across the River Tyne. Just naming a few here.

  • The Swing Bridge (painted in red and white) is known to swing open to let ships through since 1876.
  • The High Level Bridge (see image below), opened in 1849, carries both road and rail traffic high above the Tyne.
  • The Gateshead Millennium Bridge erected across the Tyne in 2001 and designed to take both cyclists and pedestrians.

The Quayside is the first view of Newcastle for visitors from the south, whether traveling by road or rail. It is the heart of this elegant city. The area is now a thriving, cosmopolitan are with bars, restaurants and public spaces. It also boasts some 17th-century merchants’ houses that mingle with Georgian architecture. As a tourist promotion, Newcastle and Gateshead have linked together under the banner NewcastleGateshead, to spearhead the regeneration of the North-East.

[Click on the image for the larger version]

The Chinatown has an array of top quality Chinese restaurants, craft shops, and specialist supermarkets. I saw many buffet promotions too. Unfortunately, we haven’t tried any as my wifey was busy with her school work. I’ll make sure I try one/two of them during my next visit.

This is the grand arched gateway located at the head of Stowell Street. It is a 11.3 metre high traditional arch based on a Chinese Royal Palace architectural style. As you can see, some restoration work was in-progressed.

Newcastle boasts about their vibrant night-life which I’ve no idea about it initially. I was totally taken aback when I learned that all departmental stores and shop close at six in the evening. It was pretty lifeless for us and we normally headed back to the cozy room after six. However, on a particular night, we decided to try out their cinema and catch a movie at 8.30 p.m. So, we went to The Gate, a multi-tiered complex packed with bars, cafes and restaurants, Aspers casino and 12 screen cinema. I must admit that the place was crowded with people. So, this is where the people go! You can see ladies wearing sassy short dresses, mini-skirts (despite the cold weather) and very high-heels. Bars were filled with people. It was really a happening sight!

Thanks to Tyne & Wear Metro, opened in 1980, the city and its surroundings are closely linked. It is rated as one of the country’s most efficient modes of transport and an ideal way to get to and from the airport, NewcastleGateshead, Sunderland and the coast.

The airport is conveniently located only 20-25 minutes from Newcastle by metro. It supports flights from UK, Europe and the world. Well, the sky in the photo sure looked gloomy that day, depicting my feeling of departing from my wife for… somewhat that I consider long.

Lastly, I would like to share with you two HDR photos of bridges of the Tyne which I made/took when I was there. I have included the wallpaper versions too. I hope you like them and also, apologies to you for not being able to update any sooner.

[Click on the image for the larger version]

Wallpaper: [1680×1050] [1600×1200]

[Click on the image for the larger version]

Wallpaper: [1680×1050] [1600×1200]

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22 responses to “Newcastle upon Tyne (October 2010)”

  1. Aya says:

    Long time no see :D

    Looks like a great place :D

    Nice Hostel by the way

  2. h4mster says:

    wow, all of the buildings are looking ancient..
    You must have a very fun journey there ^^

  3. AS says:

    Looks like a pretty good hostel and it’s located in a busy area which is nice for people watching.

    Home cooked food I believe is always better than what’s cooked at a restaurant in my opinion. I eat out more often nowadays but when I go home and cook for other people it gives me a satisfaction that I can’t get from ordering food.

    • softz says:

      The hostel location is really good. My wifey is staying there for the duration of her course. I saved a lot in transportation actually, in fact almost zero spent unless I was visiting outskirt area.

      Frankly speaking, they sell mostly western food, breads and buns. We tried a very restaurants initially and my wifey mentioned that she wanted noodles and soups, and blah.. blah.. I didn’t know where to get them and so cooked them. :)

  4. Nopy says:

    £75 is a good price for such a large room for an entire week. The thing I don’t like about most parts of Europe is that everything closes up at 6pm. It’s really annoying when you want to go out and buy something.

    Those HDR images are nice, they look so vibrant.

    • softz says:

      I totally agree with you on the price. When I visited Europe the last time, I paid £75 per night. Man…

      Oh, I forgot to mention. They actually opens until 8.30pm on Thursday. I guess they treasure quality life than working long hours. However, when I was in Milan and Florence, the departmental stores actually opens till 10 p.m. Hmmm…

  5. BioToxic says:

    Looks like you had fun, although the weather when leaving doesn’t look too great.

    Man, those buildings sure are dirty and aged. Most of our outdoor shopping districts look the same as Northumberland Street – white cobbled paths with shops either side; and usually main roads running along side them.

    The shops close up about 5pm here. You get the odd corner shop staying open until 10pm – which afterwards is illegal to sell alcohol so most close. You’ll probably find any shopping centres with cinemas or bars are still open late into the night, but getting inside them to get to said bar can be a pain.

    • softz says:

      You’re right! Indeed it was fun, though it was cold too. I guess it’s colder now. I’ll be visiting U.K. again real soon for Christmas.

      I enjoy looking at the worn-out and aged look of the buildings. We don’t get to see many of those heritage here in Singapore. There are concrete sky-rises every where.

      Oh ya, they open until 8.30pm on Thursday. But shops and stores in Milan and Firenze open till 10 p.m., London too. I’ve not walked into any of the bars yet. I’m a non-drinker actually. :(

      • BioToxic says:

        You might just miss the snow – :( or :). We’re still stuck with it, and it’s started to freeze now. Not too sure about how things are doing down south.

        I don’t drink either, but it’s such a serious problem here in the UK that it’s kinda hard to ignore just how much revolves around it. Hopefully you didn’t encounter any of the clowns :D

        • softz says:

          Hmm… I hope I don’t miss the snow. I wanna make my first snowman!!!

          Talking about drinking, I saw a few college girls drunk. They simply couldn’t walk straight. I don’t know your definition of clowns ;)

  6. rockleelotus says:

    very comfy looking place. you are awesome to cook everyday, that meal looks very appetizing… im a horrible cook lol

    i enjoy seeing all that classical architecture, very beautiful structures. awesome HDR shots, they look like paintings!

    • softz says:

      Hihi… I started cooking at the age of ten. So, cooking pasta, western food and some simple Chinese cuisines are pretty okay. It’s just that I got pretty lazy, so I leave all the cooking chores to my wifey. :) She actually asked me why didn’t I cook what I prepared in U.K. back at home. Well, to tell the truth, back at home, we can easily eat out. It’s so convenience. :) In U.K., I can’t find one of I like, other than those western food.

  7. Yi says:

    Wow, the architecture and the scenery are gorgeous! New Castle is a beautiful place.

    Anyways, the room looks super cozy. ^ ^

    • softz says:

      I’ve gotta agree with you, Yi. I like the scenery very much. There are lots of places to cover in England actually. I hope I can do while my wifey is there.

  8. alucard13mm says:

    lol i wish china towns didnt make it so “china-ish” XD its almost stereotypical

  9. Fabienne says:

    Ah that brings back memories as I was at a 7 day field excursion with my class from school 10 years ago *woot* so long ago.
    ok it wasn’t in Newcastle but somewhere in England
    We’ve been there in summer and it was great
    Newcastle seems to be a nice city.

    mhh your breakfast already looks a bit english
    only the baked beans and sausages are missing
    sorry Im just kidding XD

    thx for sharing :)

  10. A great place to visit. The buildings look like an ancient. The hostel is good. Stunning photos!

    • softz says:

      Thank you Mamie for dropping by. I’ve gotta agree with you. Those buildings are magnificent. I hope to visit more of U.K. in future. :)

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