Sometimes, after you’ve been traveling around, walking all day, touring castles, ducking into shops, and learning all sorts of things about a new place, it’s good to just sit back and relax. Sometimes you can do this by curling up in your hotel room with a good book, and just forget about what’s happening next. But sometimes, you can relax like the locals do.
Newcastle is one of those places that you can do that. And the Quayside is just the place for it.
Newcastle has always been a blue-collar town, and up until recently, the river area was dominated by industrial docks. When the industry moved on and found other means of shipping goods, the docks became run down, and very few people went to the river. The city decided to redevelop the area to create a nice part of town for social gatherings, arts, and, yes, maybe a drink or two.
On the north side of the river, there’s the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, which is free and open to the public (it also has a lovely viewing platform on the fifth level, if anyone fancies a lovely picture). On the south side, there are pubs and restaurants, many of which are perfect for a sunny summer evening (they do have some, albeit not many, of those). There’s even a makeshift beach!
To go from the north side to the south side, there are a series of bridges over the river, including the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which is probably the most recognizable of the lot. Opened in 2001 to commemorate the turn of the millennium, it’s a tilt bride, which means that instead of detaching from one side and raising, like so many other bridges, the whole think tilts upward, forming an arch, when boats need to pass underneath. The first time I went, I just sat there and watched it go up and then come back down, because it looked so cool.
So if you’re looking for a relaxing walk, a nice drink, or even a mesmerizing bridge view, the Newcastle Quayside is the place to go.