The Hoppings arrives back in Newcastle today until the 24th June, and what’s even more exciting is that it’s actually forecast for sun! Crazy. Located on the Town Moor and free to visit, the Hoppings has been a family favourite of the Newcastle summer calendar since 1882. That’s 135 years it’s been going strong, and why it’s one of Europe’s biggest fun fairs.
Whether you’re a thrill seaker looking for some of the bigger and scarier rides, prefer old favourites like hook the duck, like to have your fortune told, or just enjoy a wander around while munching on sugary snacks a visit to the Hoppings has it all.
Safety first. Let’s get this out the way, as it’s always the case that there are some wronguns about, either underage drinking, pick pocketing or looking for trouble. The police and security are pretty good and I’ve never seen any trouble myself, but as always with this type of thing just be aware and don’t take anything valuable.
Now let’s look at some of the fun to be had!
There’s a lot more on offer than just candy floss and toffee apples, although you can get all the fairground favourites too of course. In addition there’s Chinese noodle stalls, Dutch waffles, every flavoured cookies, chocolate dipped marshmallows and pulled pork sandwiches to name just a couple. The chip vans are pretty popular too.
There are so many! This year there’s a new one called the Ice Jet, as well as all the old favourites. If you can stomach them there’s the waltzer and cyclone, but there’s the tamer ones like the fun house, car racing, helter skelter etc too.
The carousel is one of the oldest rides there and one of the most popular. It’s been around since the early days of the Hoppings.
Providing you’re not scared of heights the Ferris wheel towers over the entire Town Moor, and actually gives a lovely view of the whole of Newcastle. It is pretty high though!
There are plenty of smaller stalls to enjoy too like hook the duck, basketball hoops and rifle shooting for example, all with bright soft toys spilling out for you to win. I think there’s even a tombola if I remember rightly.
The strongman stand definitely draws in a crowd, and it’s where people can take their turn to hang from a metal bar for 2 minutes to win £20. It’s actually really hard and you can’t adjust your grip or change hands, you literally have to just hold on. Nobody managed it when we stood and watched for about half an hour.
If you wish to get your fortune told there’s plenty of opportunity, with old fashioned caravans and gypsy wagons dotted about the place. They’re quite popular too and often have long queues outside.
The Newcastle Military display will be there, an outdoor exhibition that shows off equipment, technology and the military units in the area.
With over 300 rides/attractions you won’t be short of things to do, or even just watch if rides aren’t really your thing. It’s free to enter the Hoppings but each ride is individually priced by the vendors manning them. There is parking available at a small cost too.