Sometimes holidays are all about adventuring, exploring and fitting as much activity as humanly possible into two or three days. Other times, it’s all about being unbelievably lazy, relaxing and ignoring all other responsibilities. And that’s exactly what I did on a recent trip to Newcastle. Travelodge kindly put me up in their recently revamped Newcastle Central hotel and, with the accommodation taken care of, I could concentrate on sleeping, eating and chillaxing. Bags packed and train tickets booked, it was time for a whirlwind 48 hour trip to the Toon.
Eat & Drink
Newcastle is full to the brim with restaurants and bars and, with it being Easter bank holiday weekend, everywhere was busy. After much deliberation, Friday night’s restaurant choice was Dabbawal. Their Indian tapas style menu reminded me of one of my Edinburgh faves, Tuk Tuk, so I was looking forward to trying out some sharing dishes. But, by the time we got there I was so hungry I decided to ditch the tapas and opt for a regular main course instead! I’m glad I did as the Railway Lamb Curry I chose, one of the chef’s signature dishes, was delicious. A couple of drinks and a couple of naans later, we decided to call it a night and rather than fighting our way round a busy bar, we stopped off in Tesco for some cider to take back to the room. Such a novelty being able to buy alcohol after 10pm!
After some recommendations on Twitter, on Saturday evening we headed to The Fat Hippo Underground. If there’s one thing you should know by now it’s that I love a good burger, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try out one of Newcastle’s favourite burger joints. After sharing some jalepeno poppers to keep the hunger pangs at bay, I opted for the Gastro burger which consisted of two beef burger patties, parma ham, rocket and pesto mayo. The burger was just as tasty as I had hoped, and my side of sweet potato fries were top notch. The service was a little bit slow but the food more than made up for it, so I’d definitely recommend trying The Fat Hippo if you’re ever in Newcastle.
See & Do
As I mentioned already, this was a lazy holiday. Very lazy. I did have a couple of museums and attractions earmarked as possible to-visits, but turns out comfy kingsize beds are impossible to get out of on a Saturday morning. Instead of doing anything specific, we just wandered around Newcastle and took in the sights. The centre of Newcastle is fairly small and compact so it’s really easy to get around on foot. Our hotel was next to the Quayside so we spent a lot of time down by the water; the Gateshead Millennium Bridge looked b-e-a-utiful all lit up at night, and it was equally impressive in the daytime too. Sunday was a lovely sunny day so we headed down to the Quayside for a bit before the train home, and just by accident we timed it perfectly and crossed to the other side of the bridge just as it was about to do its daily tilt. We spent an hour or so basking in the sunshine and watching the world (and the bridge) go by, before having a wander through the Quayside Sunday Market and then on to the train station.
Travelodge offered me a complimentary two night stay for two, and I chose to stay at the Newcastle Central Hotel. The hotel is in a great location; it’s just a 15 minute walk to the train station, 10 minutes to the town centre and 1 minute to the Quayside. Our double room with en suite shower was nice and spacious, and the main attraction was, of course, the kingsize bed. Travelodge have their own “Dreamer” Sleepeezee mattresses which are SO. COMFY. So comfy. Guys, they are so comfy. The room itself was nice and clean with all the basics you’d expect like a TV and tea/coffee making facilities. When we arrived we discovered there was only one towel in the bathroom, but this wasn’t a problem as the reception is open 24 hours so we just picked up a spare one (and a hairdryer!) on the way back in from dinner. The Newcastle Central Travelodge also has a bar and cafe where breakfast is served, plus they do lunch and dinner if you’re in a rush and want to grab something quickly in the hotel. As you can probably imagine, on the holiday weekend in Newcastle the hotel was full of revellers and stag parties, but once you got in your room things were nice and quiet and it was easy to get a good undisturbed sleep. Well, apart from a fire alarm incident at 2.30am on Friday night when we had to evacuate the building and stand outside for the best part of an hour… a bit of an inconvenience but luckily I had no plans to get up early! Overall, I was really impressed with Travelodge as everything was clean, comfy and just what you need for a weekend away. You have to pay for wifi and our TV only had 5 or 6 channels, which could get annoying for a longer stay, but for a weekend stay on a budget Travelodge was perfect.
Have you been to Newcastle before?