Last October, I got invited by VisitBritain to join my very first group press trip! My journey started in Amsterdam, and from there we travelled all the way over to Newcastle Upon Tyne on board of the DFDS Princess Seaways. Let me tell you all the story around around this magnificent trip to the UK!
As I just mentioned, everything started in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam to be more precise. I arrived at Schiphol by plane from Germany and after a short walk around the city I jumped on the shuttle bus which took me to the ship terminal in IJmuiden. The ferry we took was operated by DFDS, one of the leading ferry companies which allows you to travel from one side to another across the Northern and the Baltic Sea such as the Channel. Around 4 PM I then arrived at the terminal. At 5.30 PM, we left the Netherlands and were off to the sea! It was the first for me to stay on a ferry overnight. We stayed in the Commodore Cabin, the Premium category of rooms.
After the check-in we got a tour of the ship and we also had the chance to see a little „behind the scenes“ of all what is happening on the journey to Newcastle. From the kitchen to the navigation bridge, it was really interesting to see how many people actually work on such journey which not even is longer than 24 hours!
Next morning, we had breakfast in the on board bistro called NORTH SEA and around 9AM we arrived at Newcastle. There is a shuttle bus who took us to Newcastle Central Station. From there we walked a bit to our hotel (Motel One Newcastle) and we got some first impressions of the city. After the check-in at the hotel, we met up for lunch at Yolo Townhouse, a lovely restaurant just in front of our hotel! Super tasty and not so expensive.
After lunch we met our guide for the day who showed us around in Newcastle. Here are the 5 places I liked best from the visit and Newcastle!
In the historic heart of Newcastle, Grainger Town, you will easily find the Grainger Market, a covered market built in the 19th century. It is divided in two parts, one is a vegetable market and the other part is meat market. The market is not used anymore in the same way as it used to be. However you can still go grocery shopping in this market. 😊 If you would like to shop something else, why not having a look at Marks&Spencer’s probably smallest shop worldwide? 😅 The market stall has the name of Marks
and Spencer’s Original Penny Bazaar. Moreover we learned that people used to come to the market to weigh their products and even themselves at the General Weigh House, because the weighing scale was the most correct in town. Even today many locals come to Grainger Market to get weighed.
Right next to Grainger Market is the Central Arcade. This beautiful passage was built in the 19th century by Richard Grainger (yes the name sounds familiar 😄) in an Edwardian style. The actual arcade was finished in 1906. A very instagrammable place, add this place to your lists of spots whenever you are in Newcastle!
Only a few steps from the Central Arcade is Grey’s Monument. On the column stands the former Prime Minister of the UK, Charles Grey. Funfact: the Earl Grey tea is called after him. 😉 It is a great location for shopping by the way. If you go down Blackett Street, you’ll arrive to a big shopping centre! And if you wish to take some great photos from the monument from above, then you can go up to The Botanist a very cool bar just in front of the Monument!
Newcastle’s official name is Newcastle upon Tyne (name of the main river in the city). There are in total 7 bridges crossing River Tyne, but there are two that I really liked. The first one is Tyne Bridge, which reminds you a bit of the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia, though the one in Newcastle was built first. The construction period ended in 1928, four years before Sydney. Did you know that it is ranked in the top ten of the highest structures in the city? We even saw some people on a ropeway up from the bridge to the banks! How cool is that? 😄
The other bridge is a bit more special in my opinion. The Millennium Bridge is the only pedestrian bridge in the world that is curved! Yes, that’s right! You walk a tiny bow before you arrive on the other bank 😉 The other highlight of this bridge is that it can lift the walking part, so when a taller ship would like to pass, the pedestrians are alerted that the bridge will „open up“. The movement resembles a bit to one of a moving eye 👁 . I saw it with my own eyes and I was really cool to be honest 😄!
④ CHINATOWN & BLACKFRIARS
Blackfriars and Chinatown are located very closely to each other, this is why I put them together in one category. Though they are two totally different „attractions“ with different stories. Blackfriars is a restored monastery from the 13th century. It is a really calm place compared to other parts of the city. This house on the left-hand-side up here may be the oldest restaurant in the United Kingdom because already back in time the monks used to eat there! 🤓🇬🇧
The district of Chinatown is relatively small compared to the other four Chinatowns existing in the UK (Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and London). Apart from the entrance arch, everything can be found on Stowell Street. The interesting part is that this street used to belong to the Blackfriars monastery. The arch was built in 2004, and the two lions are facing St. James’s Park, the football stadium of Newcastle. 😉⚽️
This was not on our visit itinerary, though I found this place through Instagram and I definitely needed to go there! I simply love libraries, they are so pretty! The Lit&Phil is located close to the Central Station of Newcastle and is a historical library. It is the biggest independent library outside of London! 🤓 You can still lend books, if you are a member, and you can meet up with your friends for a chat or a game of chess 😄 I really loved the atmosphere inside there. The visit is free, but you should ask if you can take photos. For us it was no problem, so here are some shots from this beautiful gem in Newcastle!
In the end I would like to mention with whom I have been on this trip together. Here is the list of bloggers that you can check out:
Claudia for landmeedchen.com
Laura from herzanhirn.de
Mila from heldenunterwegs.de
Christian from kreuzfahrt-trend.de
And check out Ali on Instagram! –> @vanguardvoyager
DISCLAIMER: Thank you really much to VisitBritain (Advertisement*) for making this trip possible! Thank you DFDS and MOTEL ONE Newcastle for their kind hospitality! But I would like to mention here that I wrote this article on my own and all opinions remain my own.