NE1’s Summer in the City

*this is a collaborative post but all views are my own

Not sure about you but it feels like a lifetime ago we went on any kind of holiday and I’ll be honest I think it will be a while before we go on anther one again. That’s why it’s so nice to see that NE1 have brought back their Summer in the City campaign so those visiting our gorgeous city as well as those of use having staycation number 2 billion, still have something new to enjoy. The best part of it? It’s all completely free.

We decided to take a trip in town town last week on one of our days off to have a wander round the city and have some food and drinks. After all, we’re probably more guilty than most of not taking advantage of what’s going on in our own city. An afternoon in town, as anyone will know, needs good fuelling so we decided to try out the newly opened New Bridge Neighbourhood Bar which is right next to Manors metro station. It’s somewhere I’ve always been a fan on, having featured it previously in my Ouseburn Pub Crawl and Metro Pub Guide. It was when we found out about their ‘Dorty Afternoon Tea’ though that we knew it was the perfect place to start. They’ll be a full review of that coming next week but needless to say the burgers, fries, tater tots, chicken wings and brownies were to die for. And it’s always nice to go to more independent local places over the chain restaurants that dominate the city centre at the moment.

From New Bridge Street we walked down to the Quayside and very quickly discovered the 3D Floor Art by Joe Hill, which is just past the Pitcher and Piano and is so cool! It doesn’t look too spectacular with the naked eye but look at it through your phone and it creates this awesome 3D effect. So instagrammable and loads of fun!

Further along the Quayside walking towards the Tyne Bridge is 8 light up seesaws which emit a unique sound sequence when people interact with them. They are free to use, operational between 9am – 10pm and going to be insitu until 1st September. I’m really looking forward to going back one evening and seething them lit up in all their glory!

All that frolicking on seesaws and street art meant it was time for a sit down. It’s a shame the ever popular Quayside Seaside isn’t here again this year, I used to love going down there on my lunch break when I worked in the centre of town. What it’s been replaced with though is still pretty cool. All along Wesley Square is a new Astro Turf with giant garden games, the massive deck chairs that always used to be on the seaside and the addition of bean bags which looked really popular with kids. It was a great space for people watching, we sat there for a good 45 minutes soaking up the sun and there was plenty of seating without feeling overcrowded.

After finally lifting myself off my deck chair we headed again towards the Tyne Bridge were there was more art to be seen; a 75 metre long pavement installation by internationally renowned artist ‘Mr Penfold’ specially commissioned by NE1.  What’s also handy to know, if you didn’t already, that Newcastle Quayside has it’s own ‘walk of fame’ see if you can spot my personal favourite Geordies in the middle of Mr Penfold’s stunning, colourful, pop art inspired work!

All that art and seesaws and people watching is thirty work right? Right! So as we made our way up through town we stopped at Fitzgeralds on Grey Street for some refreshments wine. Since the gradual opening up of the world they now have some outside seating which is another perfect spot for people watching if you can get a table. Grey Street is undoubtedly one of Newcastle’s prettiest streets and you can spot office workers, shoppers, revellers and everything in between, it’s not unusual to see the odd super car round that part of town too!

The final couple of stops on our tour were up near monument, which is where we get the metro home from, and included another astro turf area outside where Byron used to be and of course, what’s become somewhat of a fan favourite these days; Screen on the Green, which occupies some of the grassy area in Old Eldon Square. Of course being the good old north east of England, it’s always risky planning watching a film out in the open, but I love that the option is there if you decide on the day it’s what you fancy. There’s a great selection of films too from classics like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (a firm favourite of mine!) to more recent films from the Marvel franchise. Listings can be found on the NE1 website. There wasn’t a film being a shown when we were there but there seemed to be loads of seats and even some bean bags if you wanted to have an extra chilled experience.

It was so lovely to walk through the city and see how alive it was, even on a Tuesday afternoon. It almost felt like the world was getting back to ‘normal’ again, or at least as close to normal as we’re ever going to get for a while. I also like that everything NE1 has installed isn’t necessarily child orientated either. We don’t have kids and it was still a great afternoon out. If you do have kids though there’s loads to keep them occupied for the afternoon all for the cost of your parking/bus/metro fare and perhaps an ice cream and the most ideally placed ice cream van in the city…

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