Not so long ago, Guardian readers voted Newcastle Britain’s best-city.
The fun-loving and friendly Toon is always high on the list of cities where people can enjoy a big party, lashings of culture, hearty food and plenty of craic with the locals.
When the world settles into its ‘new-normal’ after the Coronavirus pandemic and our shops, cafes, restaurants and bars reopen; we have handpicked three great days out in the North East for less than £30.
Staying at Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle puts you in the heart of the Geordie Capital – known affectionately as ‘The Toon’ by its friendly locals – and two minutes’ walk from Central Station and close to St James’ Park, the Cathedral of football in the North East.
What you maybe haven’t considered when you’re planning your next North East escape is some of the brilliant cheap-as-chips days out you can have, using Newcastle as a base.
Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle is a design-led budget hotel less than 800m from the nearest Tyne and Wear Metro station and Central Station, giving brilliant access to some neighbouring cities, coast and culture for less than the price of a Mojito on the Toon’s diamond strip.
- Tynemouth – Surf Shacks and a beach that lives up to its LONG name
- South Shields – mega award winning Fish & Chips and a park dedicated to pleasure
- Durham – delicious cafe’s, cobbled streets, world class culture and history – and the best new burger joint in the North East
Here are THREE North East days out for under £30
Tynemouth is a trendy town, you guessed it, at the mouth of the River Tyne. It started life as an Iron Age settlement but is now the place to see and be seen on the North East Coast.
You can get there and back from Newcastle using a Nexus Metro Day Saver ticket, price £4.90, and have plenty left to enjoy the independent retailers, artisan shops, market stalls and café’s in what locals call ‘The Village.’
If you’re visiting on a weekend, your first stop should be Tynemouth Market, open 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday. This stunning station dates back to 1882 and is a Grade II listed building.
The market houses eclectic stalls, street food pop ups and traders selling everything from rare books to homemade cupcakes. Close by is Green Ginger Arcade, a series of quirky shops and businesses in a converted Church.
The real jewel of Tynemouth is its beach.
Called Longsands, it’s just that, long, sandy and a great place to enjoy stunning views of Tynemouth Castle and Priory (English Heritage, adult admission £5.80) and the local surf community braving the chill North Sea in search of waves.
Image courtesy of Arseni Mourzenko (Creative Commons)
There’s a nice little café on the beach called Crusoe’s, but expect to queue for a table, and it’s a prime spot for watching beach football, lifeguard training or groups of hardy young folks learning to surf at Longsands Surf School.
For a real treat, visit Gareth James Chocolatier at 12 Front Street. This bespoke chocolate maker has deservedly earned a reputation for melt-in-the-mouth delicacies. You can also grab a barista made coffee here while you browse the sweet treats.
If you still have some money left to spend, then you can try mini-golf, visit The Blue Reef Aquarium or splurge in one of the many great restaurants and bars that make ‘The Village’ so popular.
Next on our list of North East day trips under £30 is South Shields, home-town of Little Mix stars Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards, and let’s not forget X-Factor winner Joe McElderry.
It’s not all falsetto’s and talent shows, more like classic seaside fun with a beach, amusements, arcades, world class fish and chips, a stunning Park and ferry rides.
You can travel there on the Tyne and Wear Metro using a £4.90 day saver pass from Newcastle or combine your day out to Tynemouth with a short visit to South Shields by catching the Shields Ferry (also included in your day saver pass) from North Shields.
South Shields is the home of ‘sand dancers,’ and so the beach is your first stop for low-cost fun. More Blackpool than Bali, you’ll find amusements, candy floss and the Ocean Beach Pleasure Park – a waterfront fun fair with more than 40 rides.
Image courtesy of Newcastle University
After the adrenaline has eased, head to North and South Marine Park for a lovely stroll and a choice of boating on the lake, mini-golf or a ride on the Lakeland miniature railway. Entry is free but there is a small charge for activities such as hiring a pedallo.
Finally, no day out in South Shields is complete without a visit to Ocean Road – the long straight street leading down to the seafront. Its home to lots of great curry houses but one very special fish and chip shop.
Colman’s, 186 Ocean Road, South Shields, has been family owned and operated since 1926 and is regularly voted among Britain’s best chippies. Esquire Magazine even voted it #1 and it’s even been in the Waitrose Good Food Guide and Hardens.
Lather on the salt and vinegar and head for one of the many lovely benches in North Marine Park to hoover up your haddock, before jumping on the Metro and heading home to Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle.
Hop aboard the East Coast mainline at Newcastle, on most trains heading South, and 12 minutes later you’ll arrive in Durham (any-time day return costs £8.80).
Called a ‘perfect little city’ with ‘the best cathedral on Planet Earth,’ by travel writer Bill Bryson, Durham is a compact historic city with cobbled streets, world famous buildings, river walks and cool café’s hiding in unlikely nooks and crannies.
No visit to Durham is complete without a visit to UNESCO World Heritage site Durham Cathedral and Castle, one of Britain’s best-loved buildings and the best example of what clever folk the Normans were for building it in 1093. Admission is free but visitors are asked to make a donation to help with the considerable upkeep of the Cathedral.
Image courtesy of David Ireland (Creative Commons)
Durham Castle is a working student hall of residence so you can only visit it outside term-time and on arranged guided tours. It’s a stunning building, perched high above the looping River Wear with views down onto Framwellgate Bridge – one of seven in the city – and West to Durham viaduct and rail station.
A fun way to spend an afternoon is to hire a wooden rowing boat from Brown’s Boats and float your way along the River Wear, which loops around the peninsula where Durham Cathedral and Castle stand sentry and enjoy peace, quiet and stunning views.
Rowing boats courtesy of Darren Price (Creative Commons)
If you’d rather not row then take a trip on The Prince Bishops River Boat Cruiser which includes a brief history of Durham.
If you need to stop and refuel, Flat White Kitchen (Saddler Street) is a heavenly place to enjoy Barista coffee and superb food. New in town is The Fat Hippo, a burger lover’s bonanza, and the place to enjoy a juicy hulking meat patty in a brioche bun.
To spend your spare change, check out Durham Indoor Market (just off Durham Market Place) for odds and sods, rare comics, fresh fish, olives and local North East cheeses.
There are few better places to wile away a day and just 15 minutes door to door from Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle, Durham is a brilliant and affordable North East day out.
So there you have it – three North East days out for under £30 when staying at Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle.
One of the benefits of choosing a design-led budget hotel brand like Sleeperz, is that you get to stay in style for less – leaving you plenty of spare cash for great days out like these.
Our rooms are designed to be minimalist and functional without sacrificing style, comfort and convenience. You can stay with Sleeperz in Cardiff and Newcastle and at our sister brand Cityroomz in Edinburgh. For the best rates book direct at www.sleeperz.com