How to spend 48 hours in Newcastle and Gateshead

Discovering a city, or indeed cities (as Newcastle and Gateshead straddle opposite sides of the River Tyne) through the food and drink offerings, is often the best way to explore. We were invited to do just that and immerse ourselves in the various restaurants, cafes and bars in a whirlwind fashion on two food tours within Newcastle. Everything below took place over two days so if you find yourself with 48 hours in Newcastle, here is what you can do in that time. Newcastle is an hour from Edinburgh and 3 hours from London on LNER, so no excuse not to visit.

Image from Newcastle Gateshead Initiative
This map was created with Wanderlog, an itinerary planner on iOS and Android

Hotel in Newcastle

Our accommodation for the 48 hours was at INNSiDE by Melia. We have stayed with this hotel group before in Majorca (see here for our trip to Majorca). At their Newcastle hotel not only can you buy local beer (one made especially for the hotel) and wine (yes, wine from Gateshead!), you can also make use of their gym facilities and hire bicycles at a discount.

@foodieexplorers #innsidebymelia #newcastle #hotel #fyp #newcastletiktok ♬ S31 – Samuel Ifeanyi

INNSiDE by Melia is located on Newcastle’s historic Quayside and has panoramic views of the River Tyne from the lounge and terrace area. The hotel is a short walk from Newcastle Railway Station and well situated for culture, shopping and nights out.

Book INNSiDE by Melia here.

A taste of Newcastle

We met with Triple-A Food Tours for their “Taste of Newcastle” tour. This was a fantastic tour, with a balance of historical and foodie information. We met at Newcastle landmark, Grey’s monument.

Grey’s Monument

This is like the Newcastle equivalent to Nelson’s Colum in London or the Sir Walter Scott column in Glasgow’s George Square. Grey’s monument was built in 1835 in memory of Earl Grey, who in his time as Prime Minister was the architect of the 1832 Reform Act and the man who gives his name to the famous tea which was reputedly specially blended for Lord Grey.

Grainger Market

We then wandered to the nearby Grainger Market. This area is named after Richard Grainger, the builder who worked with architects to redevelop Newcastle in the 19th Century. The area where you find Neoclassical Newcastle is known as Grainger Town.

Grainger Market is a Grade I listed covered market which was constructed as part of the 19th-century redevelopment of the city to replace markets on the site of Grey Street. The market is home to perhaps the smallest branch of Marks & Spencer, a market stall known as Marks and Spencer’s Original Penny Bazaar.

Our first foodie stop is  SnackWallah, a stall serving the street food of Mumbai.  Here we tried some pani puri, delicious crispy shells of semolina, flour and salt made by deep-frying dough, then filled with a liquid brimming full of the spices of India. We wanted to sit here and just eat these all day.

But there was more to eat, with a visit to Lindsay Bros Fisheries where we tried some Lindisfarne Oysters and admired their display of fish.

After some oysters, we visited the stall of Firebrick Brewery to enjoy a flight of their locally brewed beers.


Blackfriars restaurant claims to have the oldest dining room in the UK. The site is where Dominican friars settled after arriving in Newcastle in 1239. As well as the dining room, Blackfriars also has a cookery school, bar, banquet hall and tasting room.

Kaltur Wine Bar and Restaurant

Our next stop was Kaltur Wine Bar and Restaurant where we stopped for a sharing board of Spanish meats and cheeses. 

We shared superb meat and cheese plus tempura aubergine fried in extra virgin olive oil with cane syrup, cod and king prawn croquettes and Iberico acorn ham croquettes

St Nicholas Cathedral and the new Castle

We passed by the beautiful Cathedral Church of St Nicholas to get to our next stop, remember to look for the Vampire Rabbit and the actual new castle which gives Newcastle its name.

French Quarter

Our last stop on this tour was ‘The French Quarter and here we ate café gourmand, a trio of three puddings paired with three wines. Passion fruit posset, crème burly and chocolate mousse were paired with a sweet Muscat de Rivesaltes, an Chateau des Plassons Pineau des Charentes and a rich Mas Amiel Maury Grenache. 

Sadly it was time to say goodbye to Triple-A Food Tours and make our way back to the INNSiDE by Melia for a rest before a dinner within the hotel at Gino D’Acampo Quayside.

Here we ate bruschetta, calamari, pasta and swordfish whilst reminiscing over the day’s activities.

Day Two

Talk about four seasons in one day, we had this with a snow thunderstorm during the night – which looked fantastic from our hotel window and the backdrop of the Tyne bridges. In the morning we had a quick coffee in the INNSiDE by Melia and made our way towards the meeting point for the next Triple-A Food Tour, this time in the Ouseburn area of Newcastle.

Walking from the hotel to our meeting point meant that we got to see the riverside of Newcastle and Gateshead. Walking from INNSiDE by Melia, the first bridge is the Grade I listed High-Level Bridge which is a road and railway bridge designed by Robert Stephenson. It consists of 5,050 tons of iron and certainly looks sturdy.

The next bridge is the Grade II* Swing Bridge which when opened in 1876 was the largest swing bridge ever built. It has a 281 ft (85.6 m) cantilevered span with a central axis of rotation able to move through 360° to allow vessels to pass on either side of it. The bridge occasionally opens to allow yachts and pleasure crafts to pass by and on the first Wednesday of each month as a maintenance exercise.

Not far from the swing bridge, you will find Bessie Surtees House, which is two former 16th and 17th-century Jacobean homes that have a romantic past. It is from here that Bessie eloped with John Scott, a coal merchant’s son, who was to later become the Lord Chancellor of England.

One of the signature sights of the North East is surely The Tyne Bridge. The Grade II* listed structure was built in 1925 and designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson the engineering firm responsible for the Forth Road Bridge. You also won’t miss the resident kittiwakes which have made the Tyne Bridge their home. The Tyne Kittiwakes are ‘The Furthest Inland Breeding Colony in the World’.

Finally, you will see the Gateshead Millenium Bridge, also known as the winking eye bridge.  This pedestrian and cyclist tilt bridge opened in 2001 and is lit up at night perfectly for city riverside shots.

Beside Gateshead Millenium Bridge you will see Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts, the UK’s largest contemporary art institution, housed in what was the Baltic Flour Mill. As well as The Sage, Gateshead, a live music venue with a dramatically styled roof.


We met up with Triple-A Food Tours again, this time to discover the foodie delights of the Ouseburn area. A quick look at The Victoria Tunnel (The normal Ouseburn Tour from Triple-A Food Tours has a look inside).

The Victoria Tunnel is a subterranean wagonway that runs under Newcastle upon Tyne from the Town Moor down to the River Tyne. It was built between 1839 and 1842 to transport coal from Leazes Main Colliery in Spital Tongues to riverside jetties ready for loading onto boats for export.

Kiln was our next stop to sample two dishes from their brunch menu: one savoury; one sweet. We had the bonus of going behind the scenes to meet resident potter Jun Rhee who told us about his artistic ethos while displaying some of his new wares.

A special shout out to the sourdough toast with roasted cherry tomatoes and feta, deliciously tart and creamy.

We then moved next door to visit Brinkburn Street Brewery. You could easily spend all day in this microbrewery. Not only is the beer selection superb, but the Sunday lunch menu looked tantalising with dishes such as lamb shoulder and beer brined chicken, and there are couches and a cosy fire.

It was a short walk to Cookhouse. Chef Anna Hedworth started Cookhouse as a supper club and blog with pop-ups in a container and further afield. Now she has her own restaurant and has been featured in the Good Food Guide since 2016. This is somewhere we will certainly return to for a longer visit. An eclectic array of dishes, homemade pickles, fermented foods and kombucha are on offer. The vibe was relaxed and welcoming, and the food was delicious.

Finally, Ernest for pudding. We were stuffed, so an affogato for Mark to wake him up and some Ernest Mess for me. A perfect spot to catch up with friends. That mixture of relaxation but with a lively buzz of activity, a quandary that works.


We had some free time before meeting up for dinner so a quick visit to The Punch Bowl and it was soon time for more food! This time at Träkol By The River Brew Co perfectly situated under the iconic Tyne Bridge. Meaning charcoal in Swedish, due to the predominant means of cooking, we had to order one of the feast dishes. A 1.2kg T Bone Steak. There are vegetable dishes on offer so it’s not just a restaurant for meat-eaters.

@foodieexplorers #newcastle #newcastlefood #newcastletiktok #foodtiktok #fyp #foryou ♬ BARELY BREATHING – Grant Averill

A final wander

We wanted to have a final wander around Newcastle before our train home so up early for breakfast in the hotel. A sunny morning with a view towards High-Level Bridge over coffee and breakfast.

Central Arcade

After checking out, we headed to the Central Arcade, a historic grade II listed, triangular-shaped Edwardian shopping arcade, and as the name implies you will find it in the centre of the city. It was originally built in 1837 as a commercial exchange and newsroom, then later used as an art gallery. Following a fire, it was rebuilt so the current building dates to 1906. Inside the beautifully tiled building, you will find a variety of businesses including greeting card and gift specialists Scribbler, The Naked Deli and JG Windows, a music shop that we noticed sells electric ukuleles. They are the arcade’s longest-serving residents having been open since 1908!


Fenwick is an independent chain of department stores and was founded in 1882 by John James Fenwick in Newcastle upon Tyne, and today consists of nine branches. A visit to their food hall is a must. If only we had more time we could have had lunch here, it was a popular spot.


Next to platform 12 inside Newcastle Station is CentrAle. Every time we visit Newcastle we have stopped here and left laden with beer. This visit was no exception, we bought a rucksack full of beer and wine incuding a bottle of Stefanija 2020 rosé from Laneberg Wine in Gateshead.

Many thanks to Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, Triple-A Food Tours, INNSiDE by Melia and LNER for making this a fantastic trip.




I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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