Category Archives: newcastle

Newcastle’s Hidden Gems

For a small city, Newcastle is packed full of culture and excitement, so much so that some amazing places may slip under the radar, especially for students. Don’t worry though, here are some recommendations for you to really experience what The Toon has to offer.


For an entire neighbourhood, Ouseburn is pretty hidden. Located on a hill, ending on the bank of the Tyne, the area is full of  independent bars, creative businesses and music venues so you’ll be able to find something for you if you hunt hard enough. Try The Cluny to catch a glimpse of the newest up-and-coming bands, The Tyne Bar if you fancy an unusual pint by the river, or Ouseburn Farm if you fancy, well, you know, animals. For a city, Newcastle really does have an abundance of farms.

Pizzeria Italia

From the family who brought you Slice in Grainger Market comes Pizzeria Italia where you can bag yourself a 12 or 18 inch version of their incredible pizza for under a tenner! The simple cafe has flown under the radar because of its location in Benton but it’s definitely worth the metro ride. Authentic Italian ingredients and old family recipes makes this pizza something truly special. Do not leave Newcastle without experiencing this at least once. Trust me, you’ll be begging to go back!

Benton Park Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7LX

Cook House

Located in a shipping container in Ouseburn, Cook House is run by a successful local food blogger, Anna Hedworth. A great place to eat, drink and relax, the container has been transformed into a bright and airy space which makes you instantly feel at home. You can go for lunch or their famous supper club which features an ever-changing menu featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients. If you want to get involved then they also run a food school which caters to anyone from a student beginner to a wannabe masterchef.

20 Ouse Street, NE1 2PF

Heaton Perk

Heaton Perk is a small cafe in Heaton (duh) which attracts a huge variety of customers, from students to mums and their toddlers. Whilst it takes its inspiration from the iconic Central Perk cafe from Friends, it definitely isn’t a replica. Instead it is decorated in an interesting and quirky fashion packed with retro pieces. The cafe serves great coffee and has a outdoor patio for you to enjoy an old school soda float on a warm afternoon. This isn’t your ordinary coffee shop though. The Perk is also home to a book trading scheme and has a selection of board games for you to play whilst you indulge!

103 – 105 Heaton Park Road, NE6 5NR

Quay Ingredient

OK so this gem probably isn’t very well hidden any more as the Quay Ingredient, located on the Quayside (haha, get it?) is now a favourite amongst the brunch lovers of Newcastle. The tiny cafe doesn’t take reservations so you’ll have to be lucky to get a table but it’s definitely worth trying. They’re open all day but make sure you go before 12 if you want to experience their legendary breakfast. It won’t disappoint!

4 Queen Street, NE1 3UG

The French Oven

The French Oven Bakery is part of a family run group of stalls in Grainger Market. It sells an amazing range of freshly made pastries, pies and cakes, all for a reasonable price. The owner’s French background and passion for baking really shine through in everything she makes. Why settle for Greggs when something like this is on your doorstep?!

Unit 27-28, Grainger Arcade, NE1 5QF

Where’s your favourite hidden gem in Newcastle? Comment below!

Katie x

Top 5 Alternative Activities in the North East

Bored of doing the same old things weekend after weekend? Do feel your social life spiralling downwards into an unbreakable cycle of shopping, cinema and dinner (or more realistically getting stupidly drunk, probably on your own)? We’ve all been there. But don’t fret, the North East offers plenty of exciting, alternative activities to break you out of this hellish monotony.

1) Bubble Footballbubble

It’s a well known fact that I hate football so when I was asked to go and run around chasing a ball on a boiling hot day I was less than excited. I was, as usual in these situations, wrong. It’s similar to playing football on a bouncy castle expect the ground is solid and you are bouncy. Yes, YOU ARE BOUNCY. The aim is technically to score a goal but really it’s to knock other people over and watch them struggle to get up again like poor turtle on it’s back. The perfect activity for a Saturday afternoon with a group of friends who enjoy seeing each other in bad situations.

More info here.

2) Battlezone Laser

You may have grown up with a local laser quest, or Quasar, in your town that you would always visit for 8th birthday parties. This is basically that, but it isn’t attached to a bowling alley and it makes you feel more like a grown up (ish). Not only do you get to wear an exciting army jumpsuit (that smells a bit funny at first, but you get used to that), the whole thing is set in a huge warehouse with secret passageways, hideouts and rooms to make this the closest thing you can get to real war whilst still enjoying it. They also have a bar, which is always nice.

More info here.


3) Go Ape

I’m sure you’ll have heard of Go Ape before as it’s a a nationwide favourite for adventurous souls. Climb, swing and jump on a tree top aerial assault course at Matfen Hall in Northumberland. It’s part of a luxury hotel and spa in case you feel the need to treat yourself once you’ve completed it, or drop off any scared mums there before the kids go and have some fun.

More info here.

4) Infinite Air

So this place is a room of trampolines. Just a room of trampolines. So simple and yet so much fun. You can find it in (yet another) warehouse, this time in the Durham area, and bounce away to your heart’s content for up to an hour. They have bouncy basketball hoops, a trampoline dodgeball arena and a giant crash mat where you can pretend to be James Bond’s latest stunt man. You also get a free pair of very fetching fluorescent socks.

Tip: Try and go during school hours because children who can back flip around you are very irritating.

More info here.

 5) Indoor Surfing

Surfing for the slightly less weather hardy is brought to you by “Flowrider” (ooo catchy) in Gateshead. It’s pretty ideal as the main thing that puts me of surfing is the freezing cold water…you know, other than my severe lack of balance or any form of coordination. This is another one of those activities that’s great fun but is so much better if you go with someone who you’d love to watch fall over. Laughing at other is half the entertainment. Maybe more like three quarters.

More info here.

Katie x

Katie Goes: Alnwick Castle

So I find myself on a bus at 9.30am with an overly enthusiastic Rob, on our way to Alnwick Castle after a fairly eventful 21st the night before. Safe to say I was regretting the plan to ‘make the most of the day’ by starting early. Bacon helped.IMG_4159.JPGFor those that don’t know, Alnwick doubled up as Hogwarts for the filming of the first two Harry Potter films, which was obviously the main draw for us, and every child in Northumberland apparently. While the history of the castle was interesting and the scenery was absolutely beautiful, we did spend most of our time running around pretending to fly.IMG_4153.JPGThe activities at the castle were definitely geared towards children which was perfect for us, despite being the oldest people there without kids. A crazy witch lady with a dragon was circling the castle, an added extra that some children were loving, while others were left crying in corners. The crying children were particularly entertaining. Broomstick lessons and a potions master rounded off the Harry Potter experience perfectly.IMG_4137.JPGI’d definitely recommend a visit to the castle for anyone with kids, or anyone who likes the idea of pretending to be a wizard or a knight for day, like me. Or you could be a civilized adult and respect the historical value of the castle itself…but why do that when you could pretend to fly?!

Katie x

Katie Goes: Jesmond Dene

IMG_4642.JPGIf you have any free time when in Newcastle and want something relaxing to do then I’d definitely recommend taking a trip to Jesmond Dene. The park, situated on the edge of the Jesmond area (and a handy minute away from my house), is home to a petting zoo and a waterfall as well as acres of beautiful greenery. This photo was taken on a pretty chilly evening but when the sun finally shows its face up north, the Dene will be the perfect place for picnics, barbecues and all of the outdoor activities you can shake a literal stick at. I’ll see you all there in the summer for a game of rounders and a nice refreshing cider.

Katie x