By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
Calling all art and culture lovers! Newcastle and Gateshead have thriving arts scenes, alongside some of the best museums in the country. So pull on those comfy shoes and get exploring – you’ve got a lot to fit in.
You’ll quickly discover that no trip – however fleeting – is complete without a visit to the riverside, whether it’s a quick stroll to see the seven magnificent bridges that draw Newcastle and Gateshead together, or a deeper dive beneath the surface.
On the Gateshead side, what was the Baltic flour mill has been gloriously reinvented as an art gallery. Opened in 2002, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art dominates the skyline and is the biggest gallery of its kind in the world. Showing a dynamic, diverse and international programme of contemporary visual art and exhibitions over four vast gallery spaces, it’s a place to relax, have fun, discover fresh ideas and be challenged.
BALTIC also offers panoramic views across the Newcastle-Gateshead cityscape from both its fifth-floor viewing box and fourth-floor outdoor terrace. From the latter, you can get up close to what is the UK’s most inland nesting colony of kittiwakes and take in the spectacular vista along both the north and south banks of the river spanned by the arched Tyne Bridge, the Swing Bridge and the gently curving Millennium Bridge.
Opened in 2002, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art dominates the skyline and is the biggest gallery of its kind in the world
BALTIC’s neighbour is the fantastic Sage Gateshead, a ground-breaking live music venue with its uniquely undulating steel and glass roof that wraps around two concert halls and public areas.
A short walk away is the Laing Art Gallery, which focuses on British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics and glass and silverware. Highlights include pieces by Paul Gaugin, John Martin and the Tyneside-born engraver and natural history author, Thomas Bewick.
The Hatton Gallery within Newcastle University houses important works from the 14th century through to the present day, including key pieces from Francis Bacon and Eduardo Paolozzi and Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn Wall collage.
The impressive Great North Museum: Hancock is packed with fascinating exhibits guaranteed to enthral young and old alike, from a menagerie of stuffed animals to archaeological and geological specimens, fossils, a planetarium, exhibitions, special events and a life-size T Rex skeleton.
The Discovery Museum is where you can find out about the region’s maritime, scientific and technological firsts, including Charles Parsons’ famous steam-powered ship Turbinia, which is on permanent display.
A few minutes’ walk from the Discovery Museum is the Life Science Centre. Here you can learn more about the brain, try out experiments, take part in workshops, wonder at the beauty of our solar system, sit in on fun talks in the science theatre and take an exciting journey on a 4D motion ride.
At the Life Science Centre you can learn more about the brain, try out experiments, take part in workshops, wonder at the beauty of our solar system
Travelling with kids? Whatever you do, don’t miss Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books. You can immerse yourself in amazing world of children’s literature, with words and pictures brought to life through regular exhibitions, activities and special events.
If you’re into sport, then a tour of the home of Newcastle United FC – St James’ Park – is not to be missed. Tours take you around the changing rooms, the media centre and even on a pitch-side visit to the dugouts. If you’re brave enough, you can climb to a walkway 150 ft above the ground for a visually stunning view not just of the famous sporting arena, but of Newcastle and Gateshead too.
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