Those long time blog readers among you might remember that way back in the olden days of my blog, I lived in Newcastle. In fact, it’s where my blog began: taking outfit photos in the churchyard we lived beside and exploring the city. When I left in 2012, it was still somewhat the party city of the North, but times were starting to change: the first Newcastle Fashion Week happened during my days in the toon, and I actually won their Charity Shop Challenge!
Today, Newcastle is absolutely jam-packed with culture and great places to eat and shop. I’m definitely a countryside-dweller, but I still pine for the days in the city when I see new restaurants opening up there and knowing that there are fantastic shops just a short walk away.
So here are my five reasons why I think you should consider Newcastle Gateshead for your Christmas shopping this year:
Fenwicks Christmas Window
This was something of a Christmas tradition when I lived in Newcastle – a bit like the John Lewis Christmas TV advert is today! We’d count down the days until the Christmas window was revealed at Fenwicks, asking each other in our lectures: “Have you been to see the Fenwicks window yet?” It was a destination, not just a display. The window always features its own soundtrack with all-singing and all-dancing animatronic characters, sparkling Christmas lights and even a storyline sometimes. I miss kicking off the Christmas season with it now I’m not there any more!
International Christmas Market
Around the iconic Grey’s Monument, every year Newcastle runs its own International Christmas Market. The best part is you can smell it all the way down Northumberland Street! I used to walk back from uni this way and “accidentally” wander through the market. It’s as good as any of the markets on the continent, packed full with amazing food and drink, unique and handmade gifts and more. My top purchase ever there was ginger wine which we sampled while we wandered the stalls – it had been heated up and was simply delicious.
This runs from Friday 17th November to Sunday 10th December.
Intu Metro Centre & Eldon Square
Newcastle Gateshead was always known for its Metro Centre – I’m sure that if you’re from the North, you’ll recognise this name. Maybe even if you’re from the South! My parents used to do their Christmas shopping at the Metro Centre when I was younger, even though they lived about 90 miles away from it – proof of how brilliant it is! In fact, it’s got more than 340 shops and more than 60 restaurants – if you can’t find something there, you must be seriously fussy!
Eldon Square, on the other hand, was until recently lesser known, but I’m always singing its praises. This is another shopping centre but one that’s located in the heart of the city. I literally spent every spare minute in between lectures in Eldon Square! In my last year in Newcastle, the new section, Grey’s Quarter, opened with 20 new restaurants and a rooftop terrace overlooking Grey’s Monument to give you fantastic views over the Christmas market.
Ice Skating @ Life
Between 11th November and 18th February, there’s ice skating every day at Life. This is ideal for a little break from your Christmas shopping, especially if you’ve brought the family with you for a longer break to Newcastle. It’ll add a little extra festive fun to your Christmas shopping trip, believe me.
This is one I actually haven’t been able to experience yet but am dying to – it sounds fantastic! Hadrian’s Tipi is an 8 week pop-up to give Christmas shoppers a well-earned break. Get cosy in the snug seating around a roaring log fire and enjoy a drink or two, hot or cold, from the bar stocked with favourites from local breweries and suppliers. If you’re a little braver and don’t mind experiencing the brisk winter chill of Newcastle Gateshead, they have an outdoor Winter Beer Garden – don’t worry, there is shelter to protect you from those infamous Newcastle “breezes”! Bratwursts and Frankfurters from Bavaria are roasted over a charcoal fired swing grill and the garden is lit by Christmas trees and lights – what more could you want?!
Have you experienced Newcastle Gateshead at Christmas? Do you have any tips?
This post is in collaboration with Newcastle Gateshead.