‘For some reason, it is always thrilling to spot your home town in the news’ – Craig Brown
There are many things Newcastle is known for: Grey’s Street, which has been voted one of the best streets in Europe, being a nightlife hotspot and, of course, being home to the mighty Newcastle United. But among the hustle and bustle, there lay some of the city’s best kept secrets, some that even the locals do not know about.
I’ve collaborated with stag & hen planning superstars Last Night of Freedom to create a top ten of the Toon’s best kept secrets:
The Old George – Newcastle Most Haunted Pub
We start off this list in spooky fashion. Nestled behind the shops and bars of the Bigg Market sits the Old George Pub. The pub, which dates back to 1582, is reportedly the most haunted pub in Newcastle. Bar staff have reported feeling uneasy and being watched – especially whilst alone (not to scare you too much). The identity of the ghostly presence is open to debate, but within the “Charles I Room” there is a chair in which King Charles I sat during a visit to the city. Sightings of an outline of a grey figure have been reported, sitting in the chair, prompting ghostly fanatics to visit from far and wide. Enter if you dare.
The Curry Train – Passage to India
If you love Indian cuisine, but have exhausted the Toon’s regular restaurants – this one is for you. Meet under the big clock at Newcastle Central station at 6pm, and be transported to an elegant Indian wonderland via Passage to India. You will be escorted in authentic Raj-style from the station onto your train from Newcastle to Corbridge. You will then indulge in a delicious four course meal from The Valley restaurant. A truly fantastic experience not to be missed.
The Gin Lab @ Dacantus
Situated on the famous Grey Street, Dacantus is a gin lover’s paradise. Not only can you meet here to have yourself a G&T or two, you can also indulge in a tasting session in the gin lab from Sunday – Thursday. With a range of gins from around the world you will learn all there is to know about styles of gin, botanicals and tonics. You can get samples as you go and rumour has it they even stock my ultimate fave – Malfy Lemon Gin, which I can drink by the bucket load!
The Secret Cocktail Den – The Viceroy
The exotic British outpost offers fantastic cocktails, using ingredients and recipes from colonial ports across the globe – from the Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof Rum, to the Tokyo Plum Sour, to the Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila (it makes me happy). With a den like location and vibe, this secret lair is not widely known about yet. But once you have been, you will be back for more.
On Top Of The World – Climb Grey’s Monument
It is a Grade I listed monument, a central meeting point, a metro stop and a guardian over the bar and eatery-lined Grey Street – but did you know that you can actually climb to the top of Grey’s Monument and experience the phenomenal panoramic views over Newcastle? On occasional dates throughout the year, a trained guide will accompany groups up the narrow, spiral staircase to the viewing balcony 40 metres above the majestic city centre. The views are remarkable and make you appreciate just how beautiful Newcastle really is.
The Prohibition Bar
A stone’s throw from the Tyne Bridge, a railway arch unit in Brandling Street has been transformed into the region’s first roaring 20s-30s Prohibition style bar. Visitors are transported to another world, with traditional cabaret, vaudeville and music-hall entertainment is recreated as they sup their moonshine. With a huge range of whiskies, bourbons, ryes, rums, gins, beers, lagers, stouts, porters, ales, IPAs, spirits and wines, it is a great place to start the night before heading into Newcastle and absolute must for any Peaky Blinders fans!
A View From Above – The Sky Lounge @ Vermont Hotel
200 feet above the city lies the luxurious, opulent Sky Lounge. Boasting unrivalled, panoramic views of the city and the River Tyne, this exclusive hidden rooftop terrace, situated on top of the plush Vermont hotel, is typically only available for private events, functions and celebrations, but does open its doors to the public on occasions throughout the year. Keep your eyes open and you will see what we mean when you are taking in the sumptuous views.
High Pie Society
For just a pound you can join Newcastle’s mysterious High Pie Society. Each month, Pie Club meets in a secret location, which is revealed only 48 hours beforehand – and enjoy each other’s home baked creations, and a bit of good conversation. Not much is known about pie club, but rumour has it the first rule of pie club is do not talk about pie club.
The Science Bar
Opposite Newcastle’s central station lies the quirky Science Bar and Lounge. Drinks come with a scientific twist which includes multi-coloured shots from test tubes in a rack and it boasts competitive drinks offers as well as Prosecco, which will set you back just £15 a bottle. Its charm lies within the laid back ambiance of the Science Bar, where images of Einstein and Hawking line the walls, and guests are welcome to doodle on the tables in chalk.
St. James’ Roof Tour
No list would be complete without mention of one of the cities focal points. Even if you are not a massive fan of Newcastle United, or football in that matter, St James’ guided rooftop tours are a little known wonder, offering fantastic bird’s eye views of the expansive stadium and hallowed turf. The Toon is peppered with famous landmarks such as the Tyne Bridge, Grey’s Monument and The Sage, which can all be seen from this panoramic hot spot. Truly breath-taking, it is one to cross of the bucket list for most Geordies.
To check out what else Newcastle has to offer, as well as tailor made stag & hen do packages, head on over to: