Yesterday was International Happiness Day, and since there are few places that make me feel happier than the Ouseburn Valley, I’ve decided to write about this fantastic area of the North East. The Ouseburn area of Newcastle was once a heavily industrialised part of the city, but it is now home to a mixture of independent eateries, music venues, watering holes and creative industries and workshops. Not to mention Seven Stories, the magical children’s literature institution on the banks of the River Ouseburn! Recently described as ‘the Shoreditch of the North’, the Ouseburn is now a thriving, quirky and cultural district of my hometown and there is so much to get up to while you’re there.
Here are a list of things I like to do on a day out in the Ouseburn Valley:
Lunch at the Cook House
Those of you who read my 2018 Bucket List article earlier this year will remember that I was determined to get to Anna Hedworth’s shipping container-turned-restaurant, the Cook House. Well, on Monday I finally made it for lunch and I couldn’t be happier! I love the whole concept of this restaurant – the chef uses local and home-grown ingredients to create feel-good, tasty dishes in an environment that very much feels like a friend’s kitchen. You can actually see Anna create the wonderful food she serves, and enjoy the array of colourful jars of pickled fruit and vegetables in her kitchen, as you sit and enjoy a glass of refreshing, homemade lemonade.
I opted for a beautiful Chicken, Celeriac and Wild Garlic Salad with Aioli and Sourdough Crumb, that came with some nutty-tasting, moreish bread. I really could not fault this dish – it was light, full of different textures and tastes, and its freshness was a welcome reminder that Spring is (hopefully) on its way!
Visit Ouseburn Farm
If you head down to the River Ouseburn and walk along the winding path, you’ll soon come to Ouseburn Farm. Many people assume that the farm is the perfect day out for families with young children, but Alex and I had a great time there last Summer together too! There is something quite special about having a non-profit charitable farm right in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne. Ouseburn Farm is a working farm that relies on your donations to help staff and volunteers provide for the animals that live there. You can see animals from many different habitats and backgrounds – you’ll meet species from pigs to lizards, and goats to guinea pigs!
The farm has a really wholesome and positive feel about it, and I love that they grow their own fruit and vegetables for places such as the Cook House. The idea of local charities and businesses supporting each other is so great, and what makes areas such as the Ouseburn Valley so special.
Coffee and Cake at The Kiln
Have you ever drank coffee from a cup that has been made in the workshop just next door? The Kiln is said to have brought ‘the Mediterranean to Byker’, but I believe it’s brought a whole lot more! This bar and kitchen is the epitome of industrial chic, and harks back to the Ouseburn’s industrial past in its style, décor and purpose.
All of the pottery and ceramics that you drink your coffee out of, or eat your mezze and cake from, have been made in the 1265 Degrees North workshop which you can see into from your table! I love that these two businesses have joined forces to bring something very creative and unique to the table for all those who love Mediterranean food, great coffee, supporting independent businesses and creativity! Did I mention they do cocktails in the evening? What could be better?
Relax With a Few Pints
For those of you who, like me, enjoy a few pints in a great independent pub, you’re really spoilt for choice if you head to the Ouseburn Valley! You’ve got the Free Trade Inn, The Cumberland Arms, Ernest and The Ship Inn, to name but a few. All of these places have great food menus too, so you’re definitely not going to be stuck for somewhere to go to be fed and watered on your Ouseburn day out!
My absolute favourite spot for a good pint of beer is The Cluny – in my opinion this is Newcastle’s coolest independent music venue, and it draws crowds from all walks of life who enjoy chilling out with friends, a few drinks and some great music. If you’ve never been to The Cluny before, you absolutely have to go! They also stock Wylam Brewery beer, which is always a bonus in my eyes!
There are so many reasons to visit the Ouseburn Valley, only a few of which I’ve mentioned here in this blog post. Not only does this district have a hint of that ‘Shoreditch’ style, but it also has a sense of community that comes from the resident business owners and charities working together to create what I think is the new beating heart of the toon.
There’s a lot going on in the Ouseburn Valley in coming months, and if you fancy going to one of the many events that take place there, check out the following link: http://www.ouseburn.co.uk/events/
I’ll be seeing you all at the Ouseburn Festival in July – wouldn’t miss it for the world!