The Idealist

Insider City Shopping Guide: NEWCASTLE

Newcastle has everything you would expect of a major European regional capital city. Its history from shipbuilding days and the time of the Industrial Revolution has left its mark on the city but today Newcastle is as known for its Arts and Culture as for its history. Today, the city is best known for its vibrant music scene, its competitive football club, its exciting waterfront and, of course, its shopping.

Style Shopping

Upside Down Presents. This quirky gift emporium is located off of Grey Street near the Tyne. It offers a fun selection of housewares, greeting cards, pet accessories and other hand-made, one-of-a-kind gift items. We like that you never quite know what you’ll find here, but it’s always worth the trip.

Survived and Revived. This store calls itself “Newcastle’s coolest second hand store” and we can’t disagree. From furniture to wall art to items for the man cave, there’s something for everyone in this unique shop. The last time we visited, we found 1960s-era, hand-painted wig stands and vintage leather furniture.

Barker and Stonehouse. For elegant furnishings and accessories at very attractive prices, you can’t beat Barker and Stonehouse, located near Eldon Square. Make sure to check out their large selection of outdoor furniture and garden accessories.

Biscuit Factory. Located in a former Victorian warehouse, the Biscuit Factory is the largest showroom of independent arts and crafts in the UK. You’ll find wall art, sculpture, hand-woven textiles and rugs and lots, lots more. There’s even a restaurant on-site that features local farm-to-table food. We always find the architecture and the building as fascinating as the items for sale.

James Design/The Mushroom Works. Native Newcastle designer/wood artist founded The Mushroom Works in 2003. This collection of 12 artist residences/studios is located along the Tyne River, just east of downtown. The venue hosts a variety of special open studio events. We love being able to support local artists.

Staying Over

One of the most stylish places to stay in Newcastle is the new Hotel Indigo, located in the heart of the city. The hotel combines classic Newcastle design elements, such as ironwork and stone buttresses, with modern conveniences like floor-to-ceiling windows and free WiFi. There’s even a brew pub on-site.

Galleries and Museums

Among the fascinating galleries and museums in Newcastle are the Great North Museum, which houses a diverse collection of art, antiques and decorative arts; Seven Stories, a museum dedicated to the history of children’s books; and the Laing Art Gallery, which is noted for its watercolours and its decorative art collection, spanning 400 years.

Food

The Northumberland region, which surround Newcastle, is known for its local dish of smoked kippers and brown bread. The area is also home to numerous dairy farms and you’ll find a plenty of artisan cheese makers around Newcastle. The city also has a sizeable Indian and Pakistani population and the many ethnic restaurants in Newcastle reflect these influences. There is even a summer festival in Newcastle, a Mela, that celebrates Indian and Pakistani food, music, art and dance.

Must-See Things in Town

In addition to the excellent shopping and museums in Newcastle, don’t leave the city without visiting Quayside Newcastle, a collection of waterfront shops and eateries; the historic Grainger Town district with its brick streets, distinctive stone buildings and thriving food market; and its colourful Chinatown, one of the largest in the U.K.

How to Visit from London

Newcastle is about a three-hour train journey by train from King’s Cross Station in London. The trains run about every half hour to Newcastle’s Central Station, one of the busiest rail stations in England. Expect to pay around £130 for a roundtrip ticket. Be sure to purchase your rail ticket in advance; that fare doubles if you buy your ticket at the station on the day of travel.

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All photos courtesy of respective locations.

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  • Ellie lives in a village outside Oxford and works in fashion in London. She loves the vintage look, traditional English afternoon tea, prosecco and hiking in the Lake District.

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