Hop on the train to Corbridge. If you're staying in Newcastle, but also want to experience some of the beauty of rural Northumberland, Corbridge is the perfect place. Around 35 minutes by train from The Toon, Corbridge is a picturesque riverside town not far from Hexham. Apart from stunning riverside walks, quirky local shops and galleries and masses of history, highlights of the town for me include Grants Bakery (THE best cakes. THE. BEST.), RE Homestore, which stocks an eclectic mix of old and new furniture and accessories you'd never find anywhere else, and The Angel, a coaching inn built in 1726 that has a certain olde world charm and serves the most delicious fish and chips. The pub even has it's own chippy, the Angel Takeway, and it's probably a good thing that I don't live too close by because I'd be stopping off there every day after work.
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, it may seem like I spend every Saturday afternoon in this little vintage style tea room. And in fact, I do. Nestled in the countryside village of High Spen, around a 40 minute bus ride from the centre of Newcastle, VIP Teas is most definitely a hidden gem. Run by three (incredibly friendly) sisters, VIPs serve an amazing range of home-baked cakes, pies and pastries, and of course tea, in vintage china, surrounded by shabby-chic nick-nacks and antiques. The atmosphere is laid back, with plenty of regular visitors (like moi!) who keep coming back for more. If you love home-baking (and who doesn't?!), VIPs is the place for you.
The Derwent Walk
Not far from VIP Teas, in my neck of the...errr...woods, is the Derwent Walk Country Park, 11 miles of countryside walks and woodland. Twenty years or so ago, the Derwenthaugh part of the walk, formerly abandoned coke works, was lansdcaped into meadows strewn with lovely riverside walks which are popular with dog walkers, cyclists and joggers as it's such a pretty place. Venture a little further along the walk, slightly off the beaten path (and up quite a few steps), and you'll find Hollinside Manor, an eerie ancient monument with breathtaking views over the valley. I always dread the walk up to the manor, but once I'm there, am struck by the serenity of the place. On the way back down you could always stop at the Red Kite, a pub which conveniently backs onto the walk, for a well earned glass of wine.
So after all that cake, fish, chips, more cake, and wine, I'd probably head back to my digs for a power-nap before hitting Newcastle City Centre for gin and cocktails (because you really can't beat The Toon for a night out). And as for somewhere to stay - Travelodge have a fair few establishments in and around Newcastle - the Newcastle Central hotel being in the perfect party position, right in the heart of Newcastle's quayside.
*This post is sponsored. If ya'r lookin' for somewhere convenient an' central to rest ya heed up in wor Toon, check oot Travelodge's Newcastle hotels: https://www.travelodge.co.uk/