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A whistle-stop guide to NewcastleGateshead #AMAconf

The AMA team love conference but this year, Senior Marketing Officer — Events Jemma Green is particularly excited as she counts Northumberland as her second home. Jemma says:

Brightly coloured beach huts can be found along the prom on Blyth beach.

My mum comes from a small town on the Northumbrian coast called Blyth. Every school holiday we would travel up the A1 and spend our time exploring the county. As I got older these trips included regular visits to the ‘Toon to take in its shopping, sites and culture and I can’t wait to help show the city off to our AMA conference 2019 delegates. There’s definitely more to Newcastle than Geordie Shore.

To my family, I will always be ‘the southern cousin’, so I thought I would put together a short guide for all the other ‘southerners’ (and those north of the wall) travelling to NewcastleGateshead for conference.


The words

Geordie isn’t just an accent, it’s a language. Whilst slang goes in and out of fashion, there are some words that you will always hear:

  • Wye Aye — Yes
  • Howay — Come along
  • Aal reet — Ok
  • Canny — Very good
  • Bonny lad/lass — Informal term of endearment
  • Blather — Talk nonsense
  • Cadge — beg e.g. “can I cadge a lift?”
  • Mint — Great, excellent etc.
  • Mortal — Drunk
  • Pet — Term of endearment


The food

A pack of 2 Stotty Cakes, freshly bought from Greggs.

There are some things I’ve only ever tasted in the North East, and every time we visit the family I have to go to Greggs (which was founded in Newcastle) to pick up some stotty cake (I actually moan about it on the way home if I haven’t managed to pick any up):

  • Stotty cake — a flat, round loaf of bread.
  • Monkey’s blood — raspberry sauce for your ’99 from the ice cream van.
  • Pace eggs — a real treat at Easter, the eggs are hard boiled in onion skins to give them a dark red-brown colour. Sounds awful but tastes delicious!
  • Ham and pease pudding — one of my mum’s favourites growing up. Pease pudding is made from yellow split peas and has a soft paste-like consistency.
  • Broth — a soup consisting of meat or vegetables cooked in stock, sometimes thickened with barley or other cereals. This is something my Aunty makes for us every Christmas Eve.


Eating/drinking out

There are plenty of places to eat out in Newcastle. The Quayside is famous for providing a great night out and there are loads of bars on the Gateshead side of the Tyne.

I asked my cousin for her top picks of where to eat and drink, and she suggested:

  • Scrumpy Willow and Singing Kettle — a vegetarian café on Clayton Street
  • Super Natural — a vegan bar and café on Grainger Street
  • Dala Café — a Swedish café on the Quayside. Does good vegetarian/vegan alternatives
  • Bridge Tavern — a pub on Akenside Hill that does a great selection of real ales
  • The Botanist — a bar and eatery near the Monument, that does a great selection of cocktails


What to do

There are some great cultural venues in NewcastleGateshead. The Sage Gateshead is home to large-scale concerts and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead. The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art has some fabulous exhibitions and there’s a nice restaurant on the sixth floor. There’s also a viewing gallery, which offers stunning views across the Tyne.

The Sage Gateshead is also home to AMA conference 2019 and this year’s Spektrix Ginterval. The BALTIC will be playing home to the AMA conference 2019 First Night Social, which is sponsored by Art Fund, so you might just have time to look around these fantastic cultural venues, throughout conference.

There are plenty of other things to see and do in the ‘Toon. From shopping to sports, you’ll want to extend your trip to take it all in:

  • Elden Square — the main shopping centre in the city, it has recently been done up to include restaurants
  • The Metro Centre — a short hop into Gateshead on the Metro will take you to what was once the biggest shopping centre in England. It’s so big, it used to have its own funfair and roller-coaster
  • St. James’ Park — home to Newcastle United, you can take a tour of the stadium
  • Mog on the Tyne — a cat café in the city centre, you have to book to avoid disappointment. There is also a pop-up daschund café that visits the city but sadly not in July.


What to see

The Angel of the North welcoming us up to the North East.

There are some fantastic monuments and architectural features across NewcastleGateshead, including:

  • Angel of the North — one of the most famous sculptures in England, she welcomes everyone travelling on the A1 to the North East.
  • Tyne Bridge — opened in 1928, the bridge links Newcastle and Gateshead and is a welcome site as you are pulling into Newcastle from the south by train.
  • Grey’s Monument — this Grade I listed monument to Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey built in 1838, can be found in Newcastle city centre
  • Blacksmith’s Needle — a sculpture found on Newcastle’s Quayside.


The view of Blyth beach, heading toward Whitley Bay and Tynemouth

Further afield

If you have time to do an extended trip, it’s worth getting out of the city and exploring the best that Northumberland has to offer. My top picks include:

  • Tynemouth — home of the Boxing Day North Sea dip, this beautiful little seaside town has some lovely shops and one of the nicest coastal walks in the North East.
  • Alnwick Castle and Gardens — known to Harry Potter fans as Hogwarts, you can very easily spend a day perusing its history and horticulture
  • Woodhorn Museum — all the men in my family used to work down the pits, so I have vivid memories of this mining museum in Ashington, including an exhibition on the Charlton brothers, who came from the area.
  • Hadrian’s Wall — stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, you can still see the remains of this piece of history at various sites across Northumberland.

So there you have it, my whistle-stop guide to NewcastleGateshead. I’m so proud that we are visiting these fantastic cities for AMA conference 2019 and I can’t wait to see you all there.

For full details on AMA conference 2019 or to book your place, please see the conference home page.

All images © Jemma Green