I have spent a lot of time over the last two months traveling around Northumberland, collecting material for this article. This article will tell you about my trips to visit the locations mentioned in the blog posts, as well as give you some great tips on how to make the most of your next stay in the area.
Museum Of Steam and Technology
This museum is an absolute must for any steam or technology fan. It was originally opened in 1881 as the North Eastern Railway Museum. In 1966 it was taken over by the then-newly formed Science Museum, which later became part of the Natural History Museum. The museum contains everything from early locomotives and printing presses to vast model train sets and aircraft. It’s an incredible collection. While it’s not an easy place to find the time to fit in, it’s so worthwhile. If you have a day to spare when you’re in Newcastle, then make sure you pop in here. Even if you’re not normally a fan of historical or traditional museums, this one will change your mind. It will take you back in time – to a period when travel was more challenging and people had more leisure time. You won’t be disappointed.
Tynemouth is a coastal resort town located in Northumberland, just a short drive from Newcastle. It was originally built in 1872, and over the years has become one of England’s most popular holiday resorts. It’s best known for its magnificent beaches and sweeping sandy promenades. There are frequent bus services from Newcastle and this seaside town is easily accessible by rail. At the minute, I don’t see enough touristic promotion for Tynemouth. There is a monthly market that takes place in town, and hotels and guesthouses are happy to help you make the most of it. The town’s restaurants and cafes are also well-stocked with outdoor seating, so you can enjoy a meal watching the sun set over the bay. Make sure you check out the beaches in Tynemouth, they are some of the finest in England.
Paddy Freeman’s Mechanical Marvel
Another one of Newcastle’s magnificent museums is Paddy Freeman’s Mechanical Marvel. Paddy was born in Ireland in 1864 and immigrated to England in 1882, where he established himself as a car repairman and undertaker. His workshops were located on Tynemouth’s Elswick Road, and were connected by an overhead walkway, which gave him access to all the different machines he serviced. Despite the area’s high unemployment rate, the museum still attracts many visitors, especially as Paddy himself was a fascinating character who freely admitted to being a bit of a mad scientist. He definitely had a hand in creating some of his more intricate mechanical marvels. Sadly, after Paddy’s death in 1934 the workshop and its collection were shut down. It was reopened in the 1970s and has since become one of Newcastle’s most popular attractions, with over 400,000 visitors annually. There are frequently special events and activities here, including a Scarecrow Huntship that brings to life characters from the English writer, William Shakespeare’s, works. Make sure you visit this museum if you’re in Newcastle. It’s easily accessible by bus or train, and well worth the hour or so you’ll spend there. Much of the site is at ground level, so even if there’s bad weather you can still get a good look at all the interesting mechanical stuff.
Located just outside of town on the coast is Shell Grotto, one of the best natural arches you’ll ever see. It got its name because of the beautiful sea creatures that live in the waters of the archipelago. There is a small sandy beach here, but it’s more fun to go on a boat trip around the caves, where you’ll find grouper, shrimp, crab and lobster. The best time to visit is in the summer, but it’s still a great place to come in the winter, too. You’ll need to contact the nearby port authority in advance to book a boat trip, which lasts around an hour. During that time, you’ll be able to swim with the sea creatures or just enjoy the spectacular view of the sunset over the sea. Sadly, there is no tourist information available here, so you’ll have to rely on the boatman’s own initiative to point out all the sights. If you want to visit this wonderful place, you’ll have to find out yourself how to get there. It’s best to contact the nearby towns’ tourist information offices, as they will have the address and phone number of the person in charge of the grottos, who will also be able to give you ideas on what to do here. Also, make sure you bring along some waterproof camera equipment, as the spray from the sea sometimes gets in the camera lens, causing blurry pictures. But it’s totally worth it.
One of the most iconic images of Edinburgh is that of the castle. It was first built in the 12th century, with additional structures being built soon after. It remained the capital city’s main stronghold until the early 18th century, when the government relocated to London. Since then, it has been the home of the Royal Alberts – the musical instrument brand, which is now part of the Royal Family. It is still the headquarters of the Royal Alberts corporation. Today, the castle houses a number of government-run departments, including the Scottish Parliament. It also occasionally hosts large-scale festivals, including the popular Fringe Festival. It’s a must-see if you go to Edinburgh. Even if you don’t normally like historic castles, this one will change your mind. It’s been over 60 years since its last major renovations, so it’s definitely something different. The setting is beautiful, with the town of Edinburgh spread out below the castle’s battlements. If you park in the nearby lot, you can walk to the castle gates in about 10 minutes. It’s free, so there’s no excuse not to go here. Just make sure you go when the gates are open, as they only open once a day, in the early afternoon. You can get a good look at the outside of the castle from here, so even if the weather isn’t perfect, you can still get a good photograph.
That’s pretty much everything you need to know about the area. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what you can do while you’re there. The following are my top five things to do to make the most of your next travel to England’s northernmost county. Just remember, the best guide is the one that you make for yourself, so don’t worry about what anyone else is doing or saying.
Newcastle is the largest city in northern England and the county’s capital. It was founded in 1838 and became an independent city in 1921. In 17th century, Newcastle was the sixth-largest city in England, and it still maintains a large number of buildings and structures that date back to that time. These include the 17th century Town Hall, which is now used for concerts and exhibitions, and the Baltic Exchange, which now houses a museum that tells the history of the port of Newcastle. If you want to get a feel for what life was like in the city in the 17th century, then you should visit the Tyne Bridge, as this was the first bridge to be built over the River Tyne. It was designed by Sir John Soane and built between 1817 and 1824. Also, a word of advice: bring small bills, as lots of places in Newcastle don’t take credit cards (and some don’t take any forms of payment, either).
Take A Walk On The Ouse
As I mentioned above, Newcastle is easily accessible by rail and bus. There are also a number of walking trails that lead from the city’s central bus station to the nearby beaches. One of the most popular walks is along the Ouse River, a tributary of the Tyne that runs through the center of the city. It’s a pretty flat walk, so it’s good for anyone going for a stroll or looking for some exercise. You can also hire bicycles to get around the city quickly and easily. Even better, there are also a number of electric car charging points located around the city (and on the outskirts), so you can charge up at one of these locations and take a spin around the city.)
Visit The Museums
The museums in the area are a great source of historical information and displays focused on science, industry and technology. Some of the best museums in the area include: