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© 2015 mo'adore | Content and design by Morag Lee | Powered by Blogger.

A (vegan) weekend in Newcastle


Gateshead Millennium Bridge

As you might have gathered from my last post, life hasn't been too peachy for me recently. Redundancy is still in full swing and I'm yet to find a full-time salaried job, just little bits and bobs here and there to keep me going. At times like this you really do learn how to count your blessings, and one blessing came my way recently when Travelodge* popped into my inbox asking if I'd like a weekend trip to one of their hotels in Newcastle. With everything that's been going on recently I think a weekend away is exactly what the doctor ordered! 

Newcastle is somewhere that I've only ever stopped by briefly when travelling on to somewhere else (it was actually one of my stops on the Jailbreak I took part in right when I started blogging). However, it has always been on my list (maybe from around the time Girls Aloud were formed *cough*). It's popular for a night out and has plenty of culture, and it is the first English city you hit when you travel south from Scotland. 

But obviously, being me, when I visit any new city I always hit up the local vegan scene. And my blog post is pretty much going to be about food (but at the end I've thrown in some extra non-vegan attractions to check out!).

Herb Garden vegan pizza

Admittedly Newcastle doesn't have the massive stretch of vegan places that Glasgow has, however what I did find was of incredibly high quality. The first place I stopped by on Friday night was The Herb Garden, on a side street not far from Newcastle Station. I was originally only going to check out 100% veggie places but when I found out this omni restaurant had two vegan pizzas on the menu, I knew I had to bend my rules slightly (as I'm always on the hunt for the perfect vegan pizza). Was I impressed? The base was the thinnest and crispiest in the land, but the topping could have done with a bit more flavour. But aside from that I couldn't fault it (as they did also have a vegan dessert and a vegan option on the specials board, and the service was impeccable). 

Bohemian fruit jack pitta

For lunch on the Saturday I popped over to The Bohemian, a vegetarian restaurant which was built using a wishlist of things my ideal café would contain. A cool atmosphere? Check. Vegan wine list? Check. A cocktail of the week? Check. Delicious but not stereotypical vegetarian food? Check. A mini record shop in the corner? Check. I can't the fault the place and if I lived in Newcastle you'd struggle to get me to go anywhere else (I had a pulled jackfruit pita btw). 

If you follow me on Snapchat you'll have witnessed my videos moaning about the weather. In order to keep warm (it is December after all) I popped in by Tea Sutra Tea House to try one of their 30 something teas. With everything under £5 a pot who could actually say no to something such as chilli and cherry tea (you certainly won't find that in your local Tesco!). The best tea I've ever had (and I've drank a lot of tea). 

For my final meal on the Saturday I nipped into the only 100% vegan place in Newcastle: The Painted Elephant. A small place hidden from view with a menu that changes daily, I opted for the sprout, orange and truffle gnocchi. And some white grape juice. But obviously you might have something completely different...

And bonus: I found a vegan friendly place in Newcastle Station. So I had a hot breakfast role from ÜGOT before getting on my (delayed) train. 

MetroCentre

Other things I got up to (and what I didn't quite fit in): 

The Travelodge I stayed in was located very close to the Metrocentre, the largest shopping centre in the UK. I don't think there was a single high street name I didn't see whilst walking through the four malls. There's also a train and bus station on site for handy access to the city centre. 

As with all my trips to any UK city I always check out the local Forbidden Planet. The Geordie store is small but the memorabilia contained within is exactly up my street. It had a more mainstream and accessible feel to it than other FP stores with lots of Buffy, Harry Potter and a wider selection of Vinyl Pops. Also: plenty more Batgirl than this fangirl is used to seeing. 

I also stopped by Geek Retreat. Only two exist in the UK (the other is in Glasgow) and the Newcastle store is the bigger of the two (and not in a basement, and has a bathroom door covered in Magic the Gathering cards). 

Independent shopping still stands strong in Newcastle. Some of the Geordie stores I stopped in by included the Newcastle Arts Centre, Hip Cat and UpSide Down Presents

Any city with a river always has magnificent bridges to stand in awe at (just think of London and Glasgow). The Millennium Bridge is a piece of architecture not to be missed, and the views from the High Level Bridge at night are breathtaking (even if it was a bit too windy for photography). 

The Newcastle Gateshead Walk of Fame is hardly the Hollywood Walk of Fame by any means but it's still fun. As voted for by locals in 2013 it hosts small plaques alongside the river commemorating some of the individuals who made Newcastle what it is from celebrities to community activists. 

St James's Park is the home of Newcastle United, and whilst I wouldn't consider myself a massive football fan I can't deny the sheer impressiveness of this stadium (as I said on Snapchat it makes Ibrox look like a "small fucking box"). You'd need to attend a game to get inside but you can access their official store which includes all the memorabilia you'd want including away kits, dart boards, aftershave and dummies for babies (in case any of you know any babies who are avid Newcastle fans). 

Just to the west of St James's Park is Chinatown: a red-bricked street lined with Chinese restaurants and lanterns. I popped in by the Chinese supermarket and found Hedgehog shaped red bean paste buns (amongst the foods you'd normally find in a Chinese supermarket). 

If you're a bit of a history geek, there's no shortage of historical sites to visit. Newcastle Castle (you knew there had to be a castle somewhere!) is only £6.50 for adults but I actually managed to see quite a bit of the Black Gate before I was stopped by the paying customers only banners.

If time had been on my hands I would have stepped in by Seven Stories, a museum for Children's Books, to satisfy my pop culture nerdiness. 

If you have a car - or just a bit more time on your hands - you can head south to see the Angel of the North in person. 

Being there myself did mean I wasn't in the mood to do any bar hopping. However, I can see why Newcastle is a popular destination for stag dos and weekends away. There was a wide selection of bars open when I was walking along after my evening meal. 

Travelodge Newcastle Gateshead review

The logistics
For my stay, I was in the Travelodge Gateshead which is further east of the city and not far from the MetroCentre which had train and bus links into the centre. I also travelled down by train, and managed to get a straight through train each way. Obviously travel sickness is a factor for me, but the Megabus is also an option for people who can cope with that journey! And Newcastle wasn't an expensive city either! And it has a Metro service similar to that of the Glasgow subway. 

My final verdict? 
Even though my stay in Newcastle was brief, I got a good feel for the place and it's honestly one of the best UK cities I've visited so far. It was cultured, down to earth and has a strong identity, which are all things I look for in a city. But when I tried to sit down and decide which other UK city I'd compare it to, I couldn't think. Maybe as my travels of the UK widen I'll find a city that is similar, but all in all the land of Geordie Shore was something within itself. Newcastle, you've not seen the last of me...



P.S. Should be getting my vlogs up soon too! 
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morag | mo adore
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2 comments:

  1. I spent a couple of days working in the Metrocentre a while back. I could not get over how huge it was! Practically a town in itself!

    Sounds like a great trip and just what you needed.

    x

    ReplyDelete
  2. I didn't know that you came to Newcastle, I am so glad you enjoyed your stay! Let me know when your next planning to come down and we could arrange to meet up :) xx

    The July Journal

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