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  • Sleeperz offers Edinburgh hotel breaks on a budget

    Cityroomz Edinburgh bedroom

    Finding an affordable hotel right in the heart of Edinburgh city centre is about to get a whole lot easier.

    About eight months ago the Sleeperz team heard about a city centre hotel in Edinburgh that was closing its doors.

    Amazingly, the hotel was just off Prince’s Street – in Shandwick Place – right in the city centre and about 10 minutes walk from Edinburgh Waverley Station and the Haymarket station

    Makeover for Edinburgh budget hotel
    It was too good an opportunity to pass over and so we took over the building, a former Travelodge, and set about giving it a Sleeperz Hotels makeover.

    It won’t be called Sleeperz Hotel Edinburgh. Why?

    Well, we aren’t creating a striking and beautiful building from scratch – which is a Sleeperz hallmark – we are transforming an existing hotel into stylish, comfortable and convenient budget accommodation.

    A new kind of budget hotel
    We had another idea – why not launch a brand-new rooms-based sister brand?

    We had a think about all of the great value hotels (some might even say cheap hotels) and budget brands and came up with Cityroomz, a new form of comfortable and conveniently located accommodation at great value prices.

    There are 72 rooms in the building we’ve bought and we have already gone to work turning it into something special.

    In fact, we’ve completed our master room already and here’s what you can expect when you stay at CityRoomz Edinburgh.

    Cityroomz Edinburgh bedrooms

    Convenience, comfort, great value prices and excellent facilities at the new Cityroomz Edinburgh

    Bespoke beds and pillows for hotel guests
    What you can’t see in the photo is that we ordered the mattresses to be custom made for CityRoomz and we have invested in the finest microfiber pillows.

    Plus, how many other budget hotels have a safe in the room big enough for a laptop, free wi-fi and tea and coffee making facilities?

    Tea and coffee making facilities at Cityroomz Edinburgh

    Free tea and coffee in all Cityroomz Edinburgh

    There’s a whole host of free TV channels to watch on a flat screen and like Sleeperz Hotels, CityRoomz will be bright, cheerful and welcoming.

    Best city break in the UK

    Edinburgh has always been thought of as one of the best city breaks in the UK and Sleeperz is so excited to be opening up a hotel right in the Scottish capital.

    It’s a place of history and culture, famous for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Military Tattoo, and watched over by the impressive Edinburgh Castle.

    Edinburgh Castle

    Edinburgh Castle – one of Scotland’s must-see tourist attractions

    One of the best times of year to visit Edinburgh is New Year or Hogmanay, as the locals call it, when Prince’s Street is packed with crowds watching one of the biggest fireworks displays anywhere in the world.

    We are set to open our new hotel in early May 2013 and you can find out more at www.cityroomz.com

    Cityroomz Hotel Edinburgh will operate 72 rooms and offer a fresh continental breakfast (£4.95) with rates starting at £49 per night, including free and fast wi-fi. 

  • Top-Five tourist attractions in Cardiff

    Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay

    Cardiff is the capital of Wales and while its history is one of castles, coal and conflict, today’s city is a modern cosmopolitan place visited by lovers of sports, arts, entertainment and shopping.

    There are so many things to see and do in Cardiff during a city break or short hotel stay.

    To make it easier for our hotel guests to enjoy their time in Cardiff, we’ve come up with our top five tourist attractions in the city.

    1.Cool Castles
    Cardiff has a greater concentration of castles than any other city in the world.

    The Romans were the first occupiers to build a fort on the site of modern day Cardiff Castle, marking the start of 2000 years of history – spanning the Norman Conquest through to Victorian Britain – at one of Wales’ most inspiring historical monuments.

    Cardiff Castle

    Cardiff Castle is one of Wales’ most important historical monuments

    It’s just a five minute walk from Sleeperz Cardiff to the Castle. It opens at 9am and closes at 6pm in high season (Mar – Oct) and 5pm in the low season (Nov-Feb). Adult tickets are £11 and children aged 5-16 visit for £8.50.

    Other excellent Cardiff Castles include St Fagan’s, home of the Welsh National History Museum and Castell Coch – known as the Red Castle – a modern bi-product of a Victorian imagination and funded by a wealthy aristocrat. Caerphilly Castle is a short drive out of the city but is Britain’s second largest castle and an impressive monument to medieval architecture.

    2. Sensational Sports

    Cardiff is one of the best places in the UK to watch and take part in sports. You can see world class international rugby at Millennium Stadium, see the Bluebirds of Cardiff City F.C and watch Cardiff Blues Rugby team in the domestic league.

    Cardiff Arms Park Rugby ground

    Cardiff is a great place to watch world class sport – like here at Cardiff Arms Park

    If you love adrenaline and water you’ll want to visit the world class water sports facilities at Cardiff Bay, where you will find Cardiff International White Water and its incredible rapids – great for canoeing and white water rafting.

    3. Stylish Shopping
    Cardiff is the 6th best city in the UK for shopping and some of the best shops in Cardiff are less than 800m from Sleeperz Hotel, including Spiller’s Records – the world’s oldest record shop.

    Spiller's Records Cardiff

    The oldest record shop in the World – Spiller’s Cardiff

    Nearby are the Edwardian and Victorian Arcades, Cardiff Indoor Market and the ultra-modern St David’s Shopping Centre which carries the latest and best high street brands.

    shop in Cardiff's Victorian and Edwardian Arcades

    The Victorian and Edwardian arcades in Cardiff are great places to wander and pass the time!

    4. Top TV Locations

    Cardiff is a major media city and lots of BBC dramas are filmed in the city, including Torchwood, Doctor Who and Casualty.

    Location for BBC TV show Torchwood

    One of the quirkier locations for shooting Torchwood in Cardiff Bay

    You can visit many of the film set locations in the city, either as part of a Dr Who Cardiff Bus Tour or on the 2-hour walking tour which take you to sites including the National History Museum, Llandaff and Penarth.

    Don’t miss the BBC’s own tourist attraction The Dr. Who Experience featuring countless props, costumes and sets from the cult programme.

    If Sc-Fi is not your thing, you can also go on the Gavin and Stacey coach Tour on Barry Island, packed with locations from the sit-com written by James Corden (a.k.a Smithy).

    5. Beautiful and Tall Buildings

    The world’s first ever £1m deal was struck at the Cardiff Coal Exchange in 1907 and the building still stands today as an iconic music and entertainment venue.

    In Cardiff Bay, the birthplace of Welsh songstress Dame Shirley Bassey you will find the stunning Wales Millennium Centre – Wales’ number one tourist attraction. It is a contemporary arts centre and concert hall and a truly iconic piece of architecture.

    Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay

    Welsh arts and culture has an iconic home in Cardiff

    Back stage guided tours run daily for £5.50 and there are a host of great restaurants, bars, cafes and stage shows to choose from. Just a short walk from the WMC you will find the Norwegian Church – where world famous children’s books author Roald Dahl was baptised. Today it serves as a modern day arts centre.

    Norwegian Church Cardiff

    Roald Dahl was baptised in the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay

    Cardiff has the greatest number of tall buildings of any city in the UK. Currently its three tallest buildings are Millennium Stadium (400 feet), Stadium House (300 feet) and the Capital Tower (262 feet).

    So, there you have it – a fascinating mixture of culture, history, innovation and natural beauty coming together in one proud Welsh city. It couldn’t be easier to visit Cardiff’s top-five tourist attractions when staying at Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff.

    We are a short stroll from the rail station, next door to Millennium Stadium and right in the heart of the city centre.

    Book today and don’t forget to like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sleeperzhotels and follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/SleeperzHotels

     

  • How a disused parcel works became a work of art

    Art in the Arch@Sleeperz is a free gallery space in an original railway arch in the heart of a Newcastle Hotel

    You can’t switch on the TV these days without watching a makeover show.

    Teams of experts transforming old barns, historic farmhouses and ramshackle castles into dream homes.

    We have a makeover story of our own.

    Instead of just one happy owner, thousands of people every year now have the opportunity to enjoy the special hotel we’ve created on a site of a disused and derelict parcel works in Newcastle city centre.

    More than seven years ago we learned about a ramshackle old works site alongside the East Coast Edinburgh to London mainline in the centre of a conservation district in the Geordie capital.

    Disused industrial parcel works on the site of today's Sleeperz Newcastle

    From disused parcel works to a RIBA award winning hotel in the heart of Newcastle

     

    Awkward and Unusual Space
    The space was awkward and unusual and butted onto the end of a series of original railway arches.

    You wouldn’t have looked at it and thought it could be transformed into a curved and gleaming award-winning building.

    Or, that it would offer stylish contemporary hotel rooms less than two minutes from Newcastle City Centre.

    Working with Clash Architects, the team behind our first design-led budget hotel in Cardiff, we set out to bring our passion for spaces and places to the North East of England.

    We won an award, from RIBA no less, the Royal Institute of British Architects; for architectural excellence.

    View of Sleeperz Hotels Newcastle - iconic building

    We didn’t scrimp on anything.

    • Wet room pods built by the same engineers and craftspeople who used to make Bentley’s
    • Showers by Grohe
    • Sinks by Villeroy & Boch
    • Floating shelving
    • Free hanging wardrobes that are fashionable, minimalist and functional

    Well, our Newcastle Hotel is 1-year-old and we are throwing a party this week to celebrate as well as opening our first-ever art gallery space inside a hotel.

    Art in the Arch@Sleeperz is a free exhibition of light-based art and urban city-scape photography.

    It has been installed in a passageway beneath an original railway arch and is open to the public and hotel guests.

     

    Art in the Arch@Sleeperz - exhibition of light based art in Newcastle

    Mick Stephenson’s art work shares Sleeperz’s passion for industry, design, architecture and building

     

    We have a passion for spaces and places and for art, architecture and design and so we decided to invite North East artists who share that passion to fill this space and share art with our guests.

    Art in the Arch@Sleeperz is being curated by Carlo Viglianisi and Nick Maylan of Empty Shop, an independent not-for-profit arts organisation, based in Durham.

    Empty Shop regenerates empty and disused spaces, turning them into art studios and holds events, exhibitions and workshops.

    There is also a photo-essay curated by architectural photographer Steve Mayes telling the story of how Sleeperz Newcastle was built in pictures.

    Light artist Mick Stephenson is also exhibiting light-based sculptures inspired by building, architecture and design.

    Mick Stephenson's Art in the Arch@Sleeperz exhibition

    Wooden figures interact with light in this art work suspended from the walls high above the hotel restaurant

    Mick spent 20 years as a sound and lighting technician in the music business and 15 years working in construction. His Fusion installation featured 4,000 pieces of everyday materials lit with LED lighting, and was commissioned for Lumiere 2011 – Durham’s bi-annual winter festival of light.

    Get this, it costs less to light this entire exhibition than it does to boil a kettle.

    If you share our passion for spaces and places stop by Art in the Arch@Sleeperz. Exhibition opens from Thursday February 21st and runs until May 21st 2013.

     

     

  • Newcastle Guffaw Guide – Super-Six Comedy Clubs in Newcastle

    Newcastle is a top city for comedy clubs

    January has to be the most depressing month of the year.

    Christmas over, all spent up, waiting for pay day and nothing to watch on TV except weight loss and bake-off programmes.

    Add to that freezing weather and dark nights and it’s fair to say you need something fun to lift your spirits.

    Geordies love a good laugh and so it’s no surprise the city is full of comedy clubs and pubs holding open mic events.

    The staff at our Newcastle city centre Hotel have recommended their Super-Six comedy clubs in Newcastle, so if you are staying in Toon get your laughing boots on and gan canny!

    1. The Stand Comedy Club – Newcastle’s newest comedy club
    2. The Hyena Café – one of the city’s longstanding venues for mirth slap bang in the city centre
    3. The Grinning Idiot Comedy Club – with venues across the North East, the Grinning Idiot is guaranteed to deliver a laugh
    4. The Suggestibles – brilliant improvisational comedy troupe that gig at venues around Newcastle, check their website for a gig diary.
    5. Live Stand Up – Newcastle’s Live Theatre regularly hosts stand up nights with top class North East comedians.
    6. The Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre – regularly hosts big name comics like North East favourite Sarah Millican and American comic Reginald D Hunter.

    If you have any recommendations for great comedy clubs in Newcastle, we’d like to hear them. You can post them in the reply box below or on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/sleeperzhotels

  • 10 reasons to wake up in a city centre hotel over the Holidays

    Cardiff City Centre

    There’s no doubt about it, the festive holidays is party time, when most of us get together with family and friends, eat, drink and make merry.

    It’s great fun but preparing a Christmas dinner, zipping from festive bash to family shindig, and eating lots of naughty treats can be exhausting and leave your batteries in need of a recharge.

    Fitting in a budget city centre hotel break over the festive period can be just the tonic for holiday hangovers and bulging waist lines.

    Here are Sleeperz Hotels 10-reasons to wake up in a city centre hotel over the holidays.

    1. You can go to bed at 9pm and turn off your mobile phone and catch up on all the sleep you lost this year
    2. You can lie in for as long as you want
    3. You can be first to the post-Christmas sales if you stay in the centre of Newcastle or Cardiff
    4. There’s no washing up – at all
    5. A great big cooked breakfast with sausages, bacon and eggs is one of the best cures for a hangover
    6. You don’t have to miss out on a festive tipple, city centre breaks mean you can walk everywhere
    7. You can hole up in your room and catch up with TV programs you’ve missed.
    8. You only have to watch re-runs of James Bond and Wallace and Grommit if you really want to
    9. There’s no getting caught by your next door neighbour and dragged in for a sherry and a mince pie
    10. You can switch off and have quiet time without having to play Trivial Pursuit, Charades or Give us a clue

    If staying in hotel and recharging your batteries over the holidays sounds like a good idea, Sleeperz Hotels offer great value festive city breaks in Newcastle and Cardiff just minutes from both Central stations, with room, breakfast and free wi-fi starting from £45 per night.

    Check out our latest accommodation offers in Cardiff and Newcastle

  • Five money-saving tips for throwing the office Christmas party

    long

    Living in the so-called age of austerity hasn’t been good for the annual office Christmas party, with many bosses cancelling them altogether or setting a scrooge-like limit of £10 per person.

    The thing is, the office Christmas party has come to represent a pat on the back for employees – a reward for all their hard work and perseverance even though pay rises and bonuses are rare these days.

    Some companies worry about how it will look to the outside world and their competitors if they throw a big festive bash at a time when people are struggling.

    There is a way for the boss to have his Christmas cake and eat it.

    Javeed Anwar of Sleeperz Hotels, a fast growing budget hotel business specialising in stylish stays for smaller spends, has come up with five money-saving tips for bosses booking the Christmas bash.

    Bubbles that won’t break the bank
    In years gone by, you might have expected Champagne to flow at the work Christmas party when bonus time arrived and staff were laughing all the way to the bank.

    You can still put the fizz in your festive bash and save money without scrimping on style. A high quality Prosecco looks and tastes just as good as Champagne for a third of the price.

    Finger Food beats Fine Dining
    Sitting down for a three course dinner at a posh hotel or restaurant is all well and good but it’s formal, frumpy and pricey, with an average cost per head of between £30 and £50.

    Party food is called that for a reason – because it doesn’t stop the party.

    So why not go for a finger-buffet of cool canapés and quirky hors d’oeuvres, such as sliders (mini-burgers), fish and chip cones, zingy chicken kebabs, dim sum and profiteroles for pud.

    This way, the food is great, and you are still free to network and mingle rather than being stuck in a seat next to the office bore.

    Deafening Disco vs Chilled Out Lounge vibe
    Keeping the whole workforce happy at a Christmas night out is virtually impossible, some love to boogie on the dance floor, others like to cower in the corner.

    Rather than being deafened by an amateur disc jockey that cost you an arm and a leg, hold your party at a venue that can supply music as part of the package.

    We like to use the airy open bar and dining spaces at our hotels in Cardiff and Newcastle to create a laid-back lounge vibe. We find our guests love to relax to a soundtrack of contemporary chill-out music, soul, jazz and funk.

    Bar Prices that won’t bankrupt you
    Christmas is expensive full stop. The last thing you need at the office Christmas party is a bar bill that has you running to the nearest pay-day lender.

    Buying wine by the bottle for groups of colleagues or teams is a great way to save. Rather than pay £5 per glass, buy a bottle for £12 and share out the four glasses. That’s £2 per person per glass you are saving.

    Obviously you need a lot of wine lovers for this to work, but another way to save is to choose a venue that doesn’t charge premium prices for drinks, such as five star hotels or high class restaurants. They may impress people on arrival but your staff won’t be smiling when the barman delivers the bad news.

    Our money-saving tip – seek out a stylish venue with sensible prices.

    Set up a Car or Taxi-Pool
    Ordering a cab to get you home after a boozy office Christmas party can be expensive. In the days leading up to the party we suggest finding out how many people are going to be DD (designated drivers), or non-drinkers, and see if they are willing to provide lifts to people who live in their areas. If nobody is driving then find out who lives nearest each other and order a shared taxi home, splitting the cost between three or four people.

    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    Sleeperz Hotels operates stylish premium budget hotels in Cardiff and Newcastle, close to mainline rail stations, with a big focus on interior design and excellent architecture.

    It uses its open plan dining areas, lounges and bars to cater for groups of up to 80 people and intimate private rooms for groups of 20 or less.Its finger-food buffets start from £13.95 a head, Italian Prosecco from £17.95 per bottle and Chilean wines from £12.95 a bottle.

    For more about how Sleeperz Hotels run events and functions: click here

  • Newcastle hotel wins RIBA award for architectural excellence

    Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle - design led premium budget hotel

    Reinvention of classic Railway Hotel recognised by Royal Institute of British Architects

    (Newcastle, June 21 – 2012) A landmark city centre hotel in Newcastle is celebrating after winning a prestigious award from the Royal Institute of British Architects.
    Sleeperz Newcastle – the 98-bedroom premium budget hotel near Newcastle Central Station – was recognised by judges for architectural excellence at the RIBA Hadrian Awards in Leeds last night.
    The award means the hotel joins a list of elite buildings in the UK that RIBA recognise as having achieved the highest architectural standards and which make a substantial contribution to the local environment.

    The sleek glass fronted hotel opened in January and was built in a heritage conservation area on the site of a derelict former Parcel Works on Westgate Road.
    This is the second time RIBA has recognised Sleeperz Hotels for the quality and appearance of its hotel build and design.
    In 2010, its Cardiff hotel won the RIBA Wales Award.

    David Myers, chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, said: “We believe in acquiring land that is unusual and extraordinary in shape and transforming it into stylish landmark city centre hotels offering every modern convenience and comfort at affordable rates to leisure and business travellers.
    To win two RIBA Awards for our first two properties is a monumental achievement and worthy recognition for our vision of creating beautiful budget hotels in Britain’s leading cities.”

    Sleeperz Newcastle is only the second hotel built by the fast growing UK budget hotel operator. It has plans to open new hotels in Birmingham, London and Manchester by 2015.
    Both the Cardiff and Newcastle hotels were designed by award-winning London based architects Clash Associates, who have succeeded in making the hotels into modern, highly-visible and instantly recognisable buildings.

    Peter Clash, of Clash Associates Ltd, said: “This award is extremely pleasing. Sleeperz Newcastle is an innovative building made with quality materials and constructed on a difficult city centre site in the central conservation area.”

    Newcastle based Metnor Construction Ltd was hired to build the hotel with around 90 local jobs created during the construction.

    The RIBA Hadrian Awards are the regional awards for the North East from which the winners are put forward for the national RIBA Awards. The winners of those awards are considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

    For more about Sleeperz, visit: www.sleeperz.com

  • Sleeperz Newcastle wins award for architectural excellence

    SMP_Sleeperz_Newcastle_0095_v4

    Sleeperz landmark city centre hotel in Newcastle has won a prestigious award from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

    The 98-bedroom glass fronted hotel near Newcastle Central Station was recognised by judges for architectural excellence at the RIBA Hadrian Awards in Leeds last month.

    The award means Sleeperz Hotels Newcastle joins a list of elite buildings in the UK that RIBA recognises as having achieved the highest architectural standards and which make a substantial contribution to the local environment.

    The hotel opened in January and was built in a heritage conservation area on the site of a derelict former Parcel Works on the city’s Westgate Road.

    This is the second time RIBA has recognised Sleeperz Hotels for the quality and appearance of its hotel build and design.

    In 2010, Sleeperz Cardiff Hotel won the RIBA Wales Award.

    David Myers, chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, said: “We believe in acquiring land that is unusual and extraordinary in shape and transforming it into stylish landmark city centre hotels offering every modern convenience and comfort at affordable rates to leisure and business travellers.

    To win two RIBA Awards for our first two properties is a monumental achievement and worthy recognition for our vision of creating beautiful budget hotels in Britain’s leading cities.”

    Sleeperz Newcastle is only the second hotel built by the company. We have plans to open new hotels in Birmingham, London and Manchester by 2015.

    Both the Cardiff and Newcastle hotels were designed by award-winning London based architects Clash Associates, who have succeeded in making the hotels into modern, highly-visible and instantly recognisable buildings.

    Peter Clash, of Clash Associates Ltd, said: “This award is extremely pleasing. Sleeperz Newcastle is an innovative building made with quality materials and constructed on a difficult city centre site in the central conservation area.”.

    The RIBA Hadrian Awards are the regional awards for the North East from which the winners are put forward for the national RIBA Awards. The winners of those awards are considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

  • Olympics football

    S128-110-D-1024PX-SRGB

    Cardiff and Newcastle are becoming increasingly excited about hosting Olympics soccer this summer.
    The draw for the men’s and women’s tournaments has been held and event specialists at the Millennium Stadium and St James’ Park are now preparing for their moments in the global spotlight.
    The Games actually kicks off in Cardiff on July 25 when the Great Britain women’s team entertains New Zealand. The Welsh capital stages a further 10 games, including another GB women’s match on July 28 and the men’s bronze medal decider on August 10.

    Newcastle launches its Olympics activity with a men’s game on July 26 and hosts a further eight matches culminating in a men’s quarter-final on August 4.
    Sleeperz staff in our two great cities are looking forward greatly to welcoming Olympics guests from around the world. Best book your room now!
    For more on the London 2012 football tournament, click here (http://www.london2012.com/football)

  • Walking guide to the free and family friendly attractions of Newcastle Gateshead

    quayside-10

    NewcastleGateshead has more than enough to keep visitors busy on a shoestring budget, and with a compact city centre and excellent transport links you can get around for less too. The Metro is great for travel around the whole region, including right out to the coast, or for a quick ride in the city centre hop on a yellow Quaylink bus.

    Pick up a map of Newcastle at Sleeperz reception and start this walking tour to the best free and family friendly attractions in the city.

    Start the day at Great North Museum: Hancock where you can enjoy everything from Ancient Egyptian mummies to a large-scale model of Hadrian’s Wall; the diversity of the animal and plant kingdoms to a life-size T-Rex dinosaur skeleton.

    From here it’s a short walk through Newcastle University’s historic arches to The Hatton Gallery, where Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbarn, considered by many to be one of the seminal artworks of the twentieth century, is on permanent display alongside a highly-regarded programme of historical, modern and contemporary art exhibitions.

    Wander past Cath Campbell’s cascading ‘Escapology’ – Northern Stage’s crowning glory – on your way to the Civic Centre. Here in the spring and summer you’ll find ducklings and rabbits wild in the heart of the city, and plenty of perfect picnic spots. While you’re here, look out for David Wynne’s beautiful bronze sculptures – Swans in Flight  and River God of the Tyne, as well as John William Goscombe’s The Response, which shows soldiers responding to the call to arms in 1914.

    From here it’s a short walk down Northumberland Street to Tyneside Cinema, a jewel of an independent cinema, recently renovated to reveal its original art-nouveau fixtures and fittings, where you can watch a free old-fashioned newsreel film most mornings at around 11.30am. Check their website for full details of what’s on.

    Admire the scale and grandeur of Grey’s Monument as you wander below, and on the way don’t forget to look down – on each side of the eminent Earl Grey you’ll find one of four perspex cubes sunk into the ground, containing an eerie casting of the Earl’s head. The artist, Simon Watkinson, was inspired by the story of the statue’s head being knocked off the Monument by a bolt of lightning.

    Nearby you’ll find the Grainger Market housed in a Grade 1 listed building. This is a great place to pick up a light snack or just wander around taking in the variety of sights, sounds and smells. Have a look around and you’ll find the Marks and Spencer Original Penny Bazaar – the world’s smallest Marks and Spencer store.

    Head towards Gallowgate Street and wander through the ornate archway, constructed by a team of craftsmen from China, marking the entrance of China Town, towards a section of Newcastle’s surviving ancient walls at the end of Stowell Street.

    From here the Discovery Museum is just a short walk away.

    Inside you’ll find displays about life on Tyneside through history as well as interactive exhibitions that are a hit with kids and grownups alike.

    Head towards Newcastle Central Station and you’ll pass Sean Henry’s Man with Potential Selves sculptures at the corner of Grainger and Neville Street on your way to The Castle Keep – one of the finest Norman stone castles surviving in Britain today. Stand beneath its imposing walls and feel the weight of thousands of years of history.

    Next, make your way along the Quayside towards Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the world’s only tilting bridge, on your way to BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art – the world’s biggest gallery of its kind.

    While you’re at Gateshead Quays, pop into The Sage Gateshead to admire this amazing glass structure from the inside and take in the stunning views of the river.

    After the museums and galleries close the best way to end a thrifty day is with a walk along the Quayside after sunset to enjoy the stunning views of the beautifully lit bridges and the reflections of the twinkling lights in the River Tyne.

    Alternatively, if you’re here on a week night and still hungry for culture, make yourself comfortable at The Lit & Phil – the largest independent library outside London which stays open later Monday – Thursday. Check their website for full details.

    Our other recommendations for FREE things to do include: