18th Nov 2012 6:13pm | By Helen Elfer
Once your ears have grown accustomed to the inimitable Geordie accent, and your body to the chilly weather, you’ll find Newcastle a brilliant place to spend a weekend.
10:00 A far cry from its reputation as a grim, industrial, coal mining city, Newcastle is smart, sophisticated and packed with culture and entertainment.
Start your day with a good northern fry up at Kafe Neon (full English breakfast £4.50) to steel you against the cold.
11:00 Get your bearings with a walk over one of Newcastle’s most famous landmarks, the Tyne Bridge, which crosses the River Tyne in the centre of the city.
There are a cluster of other bridges nearby, including the award-winning Millennium Bridge, nicknamed the Blinking Bridge because it opens like an eyelid to let boats pass.
12:00 The Laing Art Gallery is packed with collections of world-class paintings and sculptures which you can see free of charge. Go and admire the Henry Moore and Paul Gauguin works.
14:00 Get stuck into a hefty portion of mussels or fish and chips from great-value seafood grill The Big Mussel (mains from £5.50 before 7pm. The atmosphere here is laid-back and cheerful.
15:00 Fancy delving into a bit of northern history? Visit the Castle Keep (entry £4), which was built by Henry II between 1168-1178, and is one of the best-preserved examples of a Norman keep in England.
16:00 While you’re there, stop by Newcastle’s iconic Black Gate. The last addition to the medieval castle defences, it was added by Henry III in 1250.
17:00 Just a few hundred metres away is The Cathedral Church of St Nicholas, England’s most northerly cathedral. Inside are beautiful stained glass windows from the late 19th century.
19:00 Treat yourself to a slap-up dinner at The Cherry Tree (mains from £11.50) where the meaty menu offers crispy belly pork, five-spice roasted duck and a rib-eye steak for two to share.
21:00 The city’s nightlife is notoriously raucous, so after filling your boots, join the revellers down at The Quayside, where every chain bar in England seems to be represented.
Want a dirty, boozy evening of Aftershock shots and two-for-one blue WKDs? Head to branches of Pitcher and Piano, Wetherspoon’s, Tiger Tiger and The Slug and Lettuce.
All will be jam-packed on a Saturday night, but if you’d rather drink somewhere a little less generic, opt for World Headquarters (admission £5, drinks about £3), where alternative DJs and bands play until 5am.