I’ll be the first to admit that this section of the metro line is uncharted territory for me, my dad’s a Heaton lad, my mum’s from Birmingham and I grew up in Cramlington so there was never any real great need for me to visit Howdon in North Tyneside.
Howdon station was actually opened in 1839 as part of the Newcastle & North Shields Railway. It was rebranded and reopened as a metro station in 1982 after being almost entirely rebuilt and is the only station on the yellow line where the platforms are split by a level crossing.
I confess that two things let me down on our visit to Howdon on a sunny Saturday afternoon in April; my ability to sufficiently research something and my ability to read a map. As such when we came off platform 2 and started walking in the wrong direction of The Willington Quay, we stopped and asked somwehere the nearest pub was, their response of ‘I wouldn’t recommend any pubs round here like’ fell heavy on our hearts.
However we had a job to do, and we would not be beaten, even if it meant buying a bottle of cider from Aldi and drinking it in the park. Thankfully we were saved as right next door to Aldi (cross the train tracks from platfrom two and walk straight up Howdon Lane for 2 minutes) we saw High Howdon Social Club and decided that surely that was a better option than 4 thirty somethings drinking cider in the park?
Despite not being members were was no one at the front desk so we gingerly approached a local at the bar and asked whether he thought we’d be able to stay for a drink, half expecting to be sent back along our merry way or at least being asked to pay a fee. We were in fact greeted with exceptional hospitality and told by the barman we were more than welcome and to take a seat.
It was North East Hospitality at it’s finest. I mean don’t get me wrong, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it’s a duck and this walked and quacked like every other social club you’ve been in since 1960. Dark wooden furniture, pink upholstery with cigarette stains, glasses of wine by the bottle and sport on every screen as far as the eye can see. However the benefits of being a social club is that 2 bottles of Budweiser and 2 large glasses of wine were £9. There are some really interesting Newcastle United memorabilia on the walls and some of the notices amused us too..
Ideally, we wouldn’t be visiting social clubs on our tour however High Howdon Social Club was an absolute oasis for us on the day and despite our reservations I’m really pleased we went in as it restored my faith in the kindness of strangers. Shame on me for being such a snob in the first place really!
High Howdon Social Club
Tyne and Wear
Tel (0191) 289 9981
Find out where else we’ve visited on our metro adventure here