Before recently my experience of Ouseburn had largely been an annual bar crawl that I did every June with my family. So I feel like the pubs were really only the places I’d ever explored, not that that’s a bad thing as some of the best pubs in Newcastle can be found along the Ouseburn Valley. In June when we both had some time off, and fully inspired by a mini route to walk that Melis suggested to me we went for an afternoon out. The Ouseburn has changed a lot in recent years for the better, so there’s plenty of things to see, do, eat and enjoy. Here’s how to enjoy a day out to Ouseburn, Newcastle.
Historically a very industrial part of Newcastle, that aesthetic is very much still part of the culture that makes up the Ouseburn valley now. With local improvements, as well as artists, musicians and breweries moving in to the old industrial buildings, it has become one of the most creative areas to visit in the North East. I find that hardly anything is just one ’thing’. There are cafes that are also pottery studios, art galleries that are also restaurants or venues for live entertainment, and much more.
How To Get There & Parking
We parked under the Arches in the car park there, underneath Byker Bridge. It’s on Lime Street and Stepney Bank and you pay at the machine using a bank card rather than cash. Put postcode NE1 2NP in your sat nav. There are additional car parks next to the Cycle Hub on the Quayside, and Foundry Lane.
You could also park at any of the Quayside car parks, such as the NCP or further into town, and walk along the quayside which is a nice walk until you reach Ouseburn that way. The nearest metro station is Manners and again it’s a walk from there along the quayside.
Street Art in Ouseburn
One of my favourite things about Ouseburn is that the graffiti and street art is welcomed, and is actually very good with a local flair to it. You can find it in a number of locations as you naturally walk through the area, from the top under Byker Bridge right down to the Quayside. I don’t really have a problem with graffiti or street art if it’s in the right place and it fit’s in well with the character of this part of Newcastle.
Some of the spots you can find it are under the arches of the Byker Bridge in the car park, and from here you can also see the murals on the walls of the Ship Inn too.
Lime Street has various different bits to look at and is probably the most local of them if you’re looking for real Geordie influence. The concrete blocks at the top, and along the row of buildings and archways. The ‘home sweet home’ sign behind bars felt quite ironic as I walked along after lockdown.
Find more along the river tow path, on the gates or walls, across the river on the side of the Toffee Factory, and then much bigger pieces on the empty buildings and walls behind Tyne Bar.
As you come down onto the Quayside and look back there’s more on the bridge going over the top, and the Young Hearts Run Free big mural too.
Creativity doesn’t just stop with the local artwork, the pubs are known for showcasing local talent in the form of live music and entertainment. Of course if you’re just after a pint then like I said the charming Old pubs of the Ouseburn are some of Newcastle’s best and serve pub food as well as locally brewed craft ales from nearby breweries.
Some of the pubs not to miss include the Cumberland Arms, The Ship Inn, the Cluny, Tyne Bar and the Free Trade Inn. You could easily do a bar crawl on a Saturday afternoon along here and not be disappointed by their offerings. I’ve spent many a Saturday in June doing just that.
All have outdoor seating and space, or bigger beer gardens. The Free Trade offers one of the best views in Newcastle straight up the river, Tyne Bar beer garden is underneath the old Glasshouse bridge, and they’re all dog friendly for bringing your furry friends along too.
Also don’t miss Arch2 which is found in an old tyre garage, they brew there own and have a full selection available in their tap room.
Cafe’s & Restaurants
Kiln can be found in what was basically an old disused garage, but is now one of the most thriving little spots. A pottery studio that makes a whole range of ceramics for sale, pots, plates, cups…you name it, on the side of a little restaurant and cafe, with rugged outside seating on barrels and wooden planks, and a little lemonade shack just outside.
They serve everything from fresh tea and coffee with cakes, to soups, breakfasts, salads and bigger dishes in the restaurant. I’m told the breakfasts are pretty good and I’m dying to get along for more than just the lemon cake – which is also pretty fabulous.
As mentioned above the pubs all serve food, comfort food mainly including pizzas, hot dogs, British dishes and of course the traditional Sunday Roast. The Cluny does a very good one and is probably the first place I’d go to.
Di Meo’s, usually associated with the coast and Whitley Bay, have opened another pizza and ice cream parlour in Ouseburn and you’ll come across it as you walk along the tow path. Their ice cream is simply unbeatable, but you can just pick up a coffee instead if you prefer.
Ernest is a restaurant in Ouseburn that is very much on my list to visit, and I’ve just seen they’re taking part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme so I really hope to get there over the coming weeks. Like most places in Ouseburn they don’t just trade as a restaurant, and often host events and entertainment nights. Their staff, also like most Ouseburn inhabitants take great pride in their creativity, and that which makes them independent and different from elsewhere in Newcastle. Take a look at their menu it looks great.
Thali Tray is another on my list, meaning metal tray that is essentially what you get your Indian street food served on. I’ve heard great reviews of the food from here. They are offering takeaway but I think an in person visit is needed for the real experience.
Under the Bridge is the newest space serving food and drinks, as well as a big screen and live music. I’m yet to get a table but it looks another good offering especially at the moment when outdoor spaces are very popular and people are looking for something a bit different.
Places to visit
Victoria Tunnel is a heritage site and is an old underground wagon way, that also was turned into an air raid shelter during the Second World War. You can visit and get a guided tour, to see this unique site in Newcastle.
The Biscuit Factory is classed as Ouseburn but it’s a bit further out, however it’s my favourite gallery in Newcastle because it fits with the mould of Ouseburn, by being a bit different. I also love the gift shop and the artwork available to buy,
Visit the Cycle Hub if you’re into cycling, or if you just fancy a coffee with a view. They are a bike hire facility, a bike workshop and a cafe rolled into one, and offer a range of coffee and cakes that are all locally produced.
Seven Stories is a children’s museum celebrating all things literature. It explores everything from old manuscripts, illustrations, storytelling and much more to keep the family entertained. I dont have kids so probably not the best person to talk about it, but instead have a look through their site for all the information.
Hoult’s Yard is nearby and also offers a lot of different activities and things to do, including Ghetto Golf, Tyne Bank Brewery and the best donuts you’ll get in Newcastle at Proven.
And finally if you’re a visitor to Newcastle and like the sound of Ouseburn as a place to base yourself, Hotel Du Vin is on the edge of Ouseburn and is lovely.
So I hope this has tempted you in to explore or enjoy a day out to Ouseburn. I still feel like there’s so much to discover along there and I really hope all the independent places make it through in the current post Corona climate. I’d really recommend it as an alternative day out to the centre of Newcastle, as there is so much on offer. I know I need to take my own advice too and will be doing the same in the coming weeks.
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