Woo hoo! It’s time for our Part 2 of our European food-a-palooza!
(If you missed Part 1–all about Paris!–check it out here)
And this post might just be my favorite of the three because we’re focusing on Newcastle, England.
Have you heard of it? No? You’re not alone. I was in the same boat!
I was lucky enough to attend a conference in Newcastle (Retain Live, a membership site conference!), so after a little Googlin’, I learned that Newcastle (also known as Newcastle Upon Tyne) is a town 250ish miles north of London. As the name suggests, it’s located on the River Tyne and was a coal and shipping town back in the day.
I wasn’t sure what to expect traveling off the beaten path and going to a less touristy city in England, but man. I have so much to tell you about my experiences there!
Like my Paris recap, you can use these links to hop around this post:
Ready to discover the charm of this northern English city? Let’s dive in.
Eating Our Way Through Newcastle
How I got there
I went straight from Paris to Newcastle, and I decided to fly. I took the Paris metro straight from our Airbnb to Charles de Gaulle.
Like I mentioned in my post about Paris, the Paris metro is…tough. I was navigating solo (Abby was getting there a day later), and the metro is just tough figure out for an anxious, non-French-speaking person like me. I ended up getting there after asking for directions a few times, but that wasn’t before I was fined €35 for not buying the correct metro ticket to the airport.
And then my bag was too heavy. That was another fine. lol.
Roughly €80 later, a very sweaty, emotional Alexa made it through security and onto a small plan en route to Newcastle!
It was honestly one of the best plane experiences I’ve ever had. It was a short trip, and I ended up sitting next to the best Canadian couple. We talked and laughed the entire time, and they gave me a few Newcastle recommendations and tips that ended up being really helpful.
Chatting with them was just such a random highlight after a pretty crappy (and, um, expensive) morning. Seriously turned my day around!
Where I stayed
The conference was at the Hilton right there in Newcastle, so that’s where I ended up staying. You can’t be a zero-minute commute!
I was really happy with the hotel–especially with this view! They had an epic breakfast spread, the lunch options at the conference were great, and everyone was so nice.
Definitely no complaints here!
How we got around
During my solo day in Newcastle, I did a lot of walking, but I also used the metro a bit to get from the airport to my hotel and then to get back to my hotel after exploring.
The Newcastle metro was like…the first cool fall day of the year. The first drink of an ice-cold drink on the beach. The moment your cat decides to snuggle with you when you can’t fall asleep.
IT WAS SO SIMPLE. Seriously such a breath of fresh air after the Paris metro situation.
But I also loved walking. Not only was it a great way to discover all the nooks and crannies of this super cool city, but it was also a great way to just see how the city operates.
Every single person I spoke to was a literal peach. So nice. Always willing to give you recommendations or chat. I just adored everyone I met in Newcastle. It was such a fun realization and something I certainly didn’t take for granted while I was there.
What we saw
Because I was in Newcastle primarily for the conference, I didn’t see a ton of the city. That said, I did manage to fit in some exploring:
- BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art: I didn’t actually see much art, but the building was super cool, the cafe was adorable, and I ate on the top level twice (more on that later).
- The Newcastle Castle: How could I not with that name? I walked past it, gawked at its beauty, and tried to fathom how it was built in the 1200s. I mean…cray.
- The Newcastle Cathedral: I ended up moseying through this beautiful church, and again, was amazed that it dates all the way back to the 14th century.
- The Swing Bridge, the Tyne Bridge, the High Level Bridge, and the Millennium Bridge: I got all the Pittsburgh feels from all of these bridges! The Millennium Bridge is beautiful and curved and super cool, and the Tyne Bridge was actually designed by the same firm that designed the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Australia (the Tyne Bridge came first, as every Geordie was quick to point out).
This is the perfect city to just explore. I always felt safe, always found my way, and always found something fun to explore.
Where we ate
I’ve heard that English food isn’t…great. But man. Newcastle threw that misconception straight out the window.
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, S Shore Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead NE8 3BA, United Kingdom
Six is the restaurant that is located at the top of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art! And it was so good, I ended up going twice.
It’s definitely fancier, but it’s not too fancy. I went in nice jeans and a nice shirt, and I felt totally fine. I did end up making reservations, even though I was solo the first time I went, and I’d suggest you do the same if you ever find yourself there!
I was blown away at the vegan options on the menu. Just outrageously creative and flavorful. They even had vegan options marked on their wine menu. I’ve never seen that before in my life.
They have really great lunch and dinner deals–£18 or £20 for a starter and a main–so that’s what I ended up doing both times. Plus a cocktail because yum.
The first time I was there, I ordered:
- Tomato Tartare, which was served with super crunchy, seedy crackers
- Fried Cauliflower, which was served with some sort of prune puree, kale, and crispy rice
- Raspberry Lemonade Cocktail, with gin
It was a great meal. Everything was so visual, from my plate to my surroundings, and it was such a great experience while dining solo.
I also went back two days later for dinner with Abby! This time, I got:
- A Grain Salad, with burrata
- Portobello Mushrooms, with kale and pistachio butter
- Midsummer’s Eve Spritz, with Brugal Blanco, St Germain, mint, lime & prosecco
This was one of the most incredible food experiences of my life. The mushrooms were one of my top food experiences ever. Perfectly cooked, super tender, and not soggy in the least. Truly unforgettable.
Sutra Tea Company
2 Leazes Park Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4PF, United Kingdom
I had some more solo time, so after more exploring, I decided I wanted some tea.
I happened upon Sutra. They have so many different kinds of tea, and they’re located on the second floor of a cute building just outside of the hustle and bustle of the city.
I ended up getting a vanilla rooibos tea, and then I picked up a bag of loose-leaf green tea for Mark on my way out. They had really yummy-looking vegan desserts, and it was just a really cute and cozy place to take a break from exploring.
27 Sandhill, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3JF, United Kingdom
Alright. While a lot of the food I had in Newcastle was amazing, Rasika takes the cake. This was a top 5 food experience for me. No doubt.
I ate here solo for dinner, and it was delicious. The owner chatted with me for most of the night, which I really appreciated, and the food was amazing. Buttery naan that was perfectly crisp and chewy, a madras vegetable dish that was super spicy and flavorful, and a Cobra beer.
The naan was so good, I ended up ordering a second order. I couldn’t imagine a life where I ran out of this naan, so I made sure to eat as much as I possibly could. It. Was. Heaven.
I was so excited that this is the only half-decent picture I got there.
It’s funny that I loved this place so much because I was actually trying to find a different Indian restaurant that night. When I couldn’t find that one, I randomly walked into this place and asked for a table.
I couldn’t have loved this place more if I tried. Holy moly.
Proven Goods Co.
Unit 1 Maling Court, Hoults Yard, Walker Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 2HL, United Kingdom
Okay, technically I didn’t go to Proven Goods. Abby got a room in an Airbnb, and the owners had a bunch of these donuts. They graciously offered us a taste (they must have known Abby and I were both dessert people!), and woah.
It was some sort of sugar-coated Nutella situation, and it was delightful. So much so, Abby went back the next day to snag us some travel snacks.
They have vegan options, and even though it’s off the beaten path a bit, I highly suggest making a stop!
By The River Brew Co.
Hillgate Quays, Gateshead NE8 2FD, United Kingdom
Abby and I went to By The River Brew Co. for pre-dinner beer, and it totally didn’t disappoint. It’s right on the river, so in addition to killer beer, you also get incredible views.
I ordered some sort of tasty IPA (I think Abby got a sour of some sort), and we ended up splitting a bowl of crunchy corn nuts. Definitely recommended!
The Tyne Bar
1 Maling St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1LP, United Kingdom
From By The River, we walked down the river to The Tyne Bar. Again, it’s a bit out of the way from the hustle and bustle of city-center, but it’s definitely worth the trip.
Again, it’s right on the water, and they had a ton of vegan options! We got some sort of falafel wrap, vegan nachos, and the tastiest Vietnamese sweet potato fries. Plus beer, obv.
We also met a super cute pup named Roscoe, and we just had the best time here. We sat outside, eating our food, drinking our beer, and chatted about life. It was such a great place!
32 Sandhill, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3JF, United Kingdom
We decided we wanted one more beer on our last night in Newcastle, and per recommendations from our waiter at Six, we decided to try Redhouse.
It’s pretty much exactly what I think of when I think “English pub.” It has multiple rooms, great beer, and hardy food. Veg options too!
I wasn’t a huge fan of my ale, but Abby got this s’mores stout that ended up being really tasty. It somehow took you through each part of a s’more–the graham cracker, the marshmallow, and the chocolate–in liquid form. It was crazy.
A fab way to end our time in Newcastle!
Would I go back
I would go back to Newcastle as soon as I finish typing this sentence. I loved Newcastle.
It was so much more “me” than Paris was; it was easy to navigate, full of the nicest people, and it just constantly surprised me. Way less hustle and bustle than Paris while still nailing that whole “city” feel.
I think one of the main reasons I loved it so much was because it reminded me so much of my hometown, Pittsburgh. People who haven’t visited Pittsburgh (or people who haven’t been here in a few years) are always shocked when I tell them how fun and foodie it is now. It’s not the old steel town it once was.
I had the same experience with Newcastle. I was expecting this sleepy, boring town. Instead, Newcastle exceeded my expectations in every way possible. I’m counting down the days until I can make my way back.
Love you, Newcastle! Thanks for one of the most memorable abroad experiences of my life.
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