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If you’re planning a festive city break or a weekend away in the UK to get started on your Christmas shopping then let us be the first to throw a North East staycation into the mix. To make it even easier for you – we’ve created a packed festive itinerary of things to do in Newcastle and Gateshead at Christmas and top tips on where to stay and where to eat while you’re here.

2020 has been a tough year and the ongoing measures in place to control the spread of coronavirus can be difficult to keep up with. Newcastle and Gateshead are ready to celebrate Christmas safely! The most up to date information about what you can do in Newcastle and Gateshead under the current tier restrictions can be found in our practical information section and there are more tips for visiting NewcastleGateshead safely here.

Day 1 | Christmas in Newcastle

Where to stay: Motel One in the heart of Newcastle city centre.

Stay in the thick of the festive action at Motel One. The modern hotel is both stylish and well-placed for Christmas fun in Newcastle city centre. Tucked along the cobbles of High Bridge Street just off the historic Grey Street, Motel One has a range of comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.

Start your day with a little Christmas shopping in Newcastle

Enjoy a slap up breakfast at Motel One before wandering into the centre of Newcastle to hit the Christmas shopping on offer in the city centre. If markets are your thing, then don’t miss an opportunity to stroll through Grainger Market a vibrant indoor market that has been part of Newcastle’s bustling retail experience for 185 years.

It wouldn’t be a visit to Newcastle without a trip to admire the Fenwick Newcastle Christmas Window  - an enchanting and elaborate window display which in previous years has retold the stories of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, The Snowman and Paddington Bear. Duck into the flagship department store and marvel at the racks of artisan products on offer in foodie's paradise - Fenwick Food Hall. Get ready for wall-to-wall delicacies, local produce, artisan treats and top-quality patisserie, meat and grocery counters. Fenwick’s dedicated Christmas market is well-worth a browse too – especially to marvel at the glistening wall of Christmas decorations in every possible colour and variation.

Stop for lunch

All that shopping will build up an appetite. Choose from a wide range of restaurants and cafes in Newcastle city centre or take a stroll towards Newcastle Quayside and stop off at Great British Cupcakery to indulge in a traditional afternoon tea.

There's time to squeeze in a truly unique experience this afternoon with a guided tour of the River Tyne... from the water. Book a Glow Tour with CBK Adventure and take to the River Tyne in an illuminated kayak to experience the iconic Quayside and light up the dark evenings. Tours last approximately 2 hours and the December dates typically start at 2.30pm and end with a rewarding hot drink. 

Festive evening vibes in Newcastle

If you’ve still got any energy after a busy day of shopping and navigating the Tyne… head to STACK for a drink and nibble. Choose from a range of street food kiosks which make up the open air entertainment hotspot or head into Hadrian’s Tipi for a hot mulled wine or cider around their open fire. There is always a lively atmosphere in STACK and if you’re feeling up for a bit of chair dancing, hang around for live music and party classics.

The beauty of staying at Motel One means you can dash home and spruce up before joining the festive revellers for a glass of fizz and celebratory cocktail in Newcastle’s famous and vibrant nightlife. Try Banyan and Leila Lily’s for an impressive array of cocktails and all your Instagram needs.

It's worth mentioning that although some pubs, bars and restaurants are still accepting walk-ins, it is best to pre-book your table so you don't miss out. Sit back and relax with table service only at all venues.

Day 2 | Christmas in Newcastle

Lazy morning in Newcastle

Start your second day in Newcastle with a slap-up brunch (with bubbles!) at The Botanist which also has brilliant views of Grey’s Monument.

Hop on the metro just outside The Botanist at Monument and travel the short journey to Manors. You can then talk a 10-minute walk to Ouseburn where you will find Newcastle’s cultural quarter and a great range of pubs.

Explore Ouseburn and the Quayside

Browse the art galleries and independent shops at The Biscuit Factory and Seven Stories for Christmas gifts. Pop in to say hello to the animal residents at Ouseburn Farm before wandering along the river to the Quayside.

Take in the bridges that you will have kayaked underneath yesterday and walk along the Swing Bridge to By The River Brew Co where you can take a break and sup a craft beer or two. 

Stroll back along the Quayside to complete a loop and enjoy some contemporary art on display at BALTIC, Centre for Contemporary Art which also has a brilliant gift shop where you can pick up some unique Christmas gifts and souvenirs. 

Treat yourselves to a final festive feed before you go home

Wander back to By The River Brew Co and indulge in the ultimate feast at Trakol. You will need to book in advance as this is a very popular place for dinner and tables book up quickly. Nearby River Beat also situated on Gateshead Quayside is another excellent choice for relaxed but delicious dining – this time with an Asian-fusion vibe.

Alternatively, wrap up warm and book your own pod on Newcastle Quayside. Dine By The Tyne with views of the bridges from your personal pod which is decked out with twinkling lights as you enjoy a festive 3-course meal.

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