We all know the phrase, ‘new year, new me.’ I’ve decided to turn this cliché on its head for 2018, and go with the mantra: ‘new year, new places in the North East to visit!’ Although I’ve lived in the North East of England my whole life so far, there are always new and exciting places to discover in this region – this is part of the reason I love it so much. So, today I decided to sit down at my laptop with my new ‘Highlighting the North East’ mug, and write a bucket list of places I intend on visiting in 2018.
Here’s what I came up with:
The Potted Lobster, Bamburgh
I absolutely love Bamburgh, and never need an excuse to take a trip along the coast for a day visit or weekend break there. I am slowly eating my way around the great restaurants and tearooms this coastal town has to offer, but 2018 will be there year I stop saying ‘Oh, I’ll have to try The Potted Lobster on my next visit,’ and actually eat there! The twinkling lights at the window have always caught my eye, not to mention the fantastic seafood menu including fresh haddock, crab and lobster delivered daily! When the weather gets a bit warmer again, I can’t wait to drive North and tick this little gem off my bucket list.
Cook House, Ouseburn
Nestled in the Ouseburn area of Newcastle are two shipping containers that have been transformed into a pioneering restaurant by Anna Hedworth. I first came across this restaurant whilst watching Michel Roux Jr’s ‘Hidden Restaurants’ in the summer last year, and ever since then I have been waiting for an occasion to visit! I’m going to jump at the first opportunity someone suggests going for breakfast or a light lunch somewhere this year, and make sure we head to Anna’s quirky creation. I’ve been following Anna (@thegrazer) on Instagram for a while now, and some of the things she is making for the Cook House send my foodie imagination into overdrive! From pickling her own vegetables, to producing seasonal puddings and homemade lemonade, this chef has brought something extremely exciting to the Newcastle restaurant scene.
Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland
Who wouldn’t want to visit the country hideaway that has been voted ‘Inn of the Year’ for 2018 by The Good Food Guide? My parents have spent many a fantastic weekend at this medieval inn in Blanchland, making me even more eager to visit for myself! Complete with a stone-walled pub called ‘The Crypt’, a fantastic restaurant called ‘The Gatehouse’ which has been branded a ‘foodie haven’, and beautifully-decorated rooms, all surrounded by stunning countryside, the Lord Crewe Arms is set to be my next staycation location!
Wallington Hall, Northumberland
I haven’t been to Wallington Hall since I was about ten years old, and I have nothing but fond memories of the grand hall and its collection of magnificent dolls houses dating back to 1835. The house at Wallington, only a few miles from Morpeth, has been the family home of the Trevelyans for many years, and each generation has left its mark through the artwork, furniture and gardens. The National Trust has preserved the collections and beauty of Wallington to be enjoyed by all – whether you’re a cyclist, a keen walker, history enthusiast, or just intrigued by the Cabinet of Curiosities and other collections hidden within the hall, Wallington is just the day out for you. I can’t wait to visit again!
House of Tides, Quayside
Ever since it opened in February 2014, I have set my sights on dining out at House of Tides on the Newcastle Quayside. This fantastic restaurant, situated in a Grade 1 listed building, has maintained its One Michelin Star status three years running now – a testament to Kenny and Abbie Atkinson’s desire to create something beautiful with ‘natural, seasonal and sustainable’ ingredients. Having had great experiences at Abbie Atkinson’s café, ‘Violets’, I am even more eager to try out the tasting menu at House of Tides sometime in 2018. I’m thinking Valentine’s Day!
Victoria Tunnel, Newcastle
The Victoria Tunnel is an award-winning attraction running between the Town Moor in Newcastle, to the River Tyne. It was created as a waggonway in the 19th century to transport coal around the city, but was transformed into an air raid shelter during World War 2. Amazingly, I went to school right next to the tunnel itself, yet never seemed to find the time to go on the guided tour of the tunnel! The tours have been running since 2010 after funding was given by the Heritage Lottery Fund and TyneWear Partnership. I think discovering more about the lives of the citizens of Newcastle in a time of war, and the struggles of constructing a Victoria waggonway in my home city, sounds like a fab way to spend an afternoon!