Quayside hero GP BLOG

We asked talented local photographer Graeme Peacock to takeover our Instagram for a week during the coronavirus lockdown back in April 2020. Graeme shared five photos that reminded him of a brilliant event, a favourite landmark in NewcastleGateshead and some of his best places to photograph in the North East. 

Take a look, and whether you're local or have visited before, see if you agree with Graeme's five suggestions. We love his explanations of how he took some of these photos and hope you find the great amount of history about many of the locations as fascinating as we did.

During this time of lockdown in the UK, we hope you enjoy travelling virtually through NewcastleGateshead with the help of Graeme's exceptional photography and keep this list for another day when we look forward to welcoming you all to explore NewcastleGateshead in person. 

Update September: So we might be back in a local lockdown here in the North East but this time... you can visit all of the places that Graeme has mentioned in his blog (except Sage Gateshead). NewcastleGateshead and our attractions and venues are ready to welcome you back safely in your households.

All images in this blog have been taken by Graeme Peacock.

Over to Graeme...

One of my favourite places: Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene0 GP BLOG

Every city needs its own special sylvan green lung in which to reconnect with nature and escape for a short time the often overpowering intensity of day-to-day urban living. Newcastle is blessed with 33 parks within its boundaries, and arguably the most scenic is Jesmond Dene, a wonderful historic park which follows the line of the River Ouseburn in a steep-sided valley for 3km from South Gosforth to Jesmond Vale. Beloved by generations of families since the 19th Century when it was bequeathed to the City by Lord Armstrong, it serves as a haven for wildlife as well as providing honey pots of activity, including a Pets Corner and a Visitor Centre which opened in 2011 after a £6m regeneration programme, plus a myriad of interconnecting paths and bridges. As for the subject matter in this autumnal capture, well now, the stone bridge and man-made waterfall surely need no further introduction.

My ‘must-visit’ place to visit you might not have heard of in NewcastleGateshead: Ouseburn

Ouseburn3 GP BLOG

Once upon a time not so very long ago, Ouseburn was a largely derelict, neglected and anything but appealing former industrial hub which had seen better days. By contrast over the last few years, the Ouseburn valley has witnessed an incredible transformation into a 'must visit' and hip residential area clustered around the Ouseburn River. Today visitors can expect to be greeted by numerous cool bars, delicious farm-to-table eateries and a variety of well attended live music venues.

The Biscuit Factory is the UK’s largest independent commercial art gallery and showcases 2 floors of contemporary fine art, craft and design exhibitions. In a similar vein, Ouseburn Farm with its menagerie of farm animals in the heart of the city Is an ever-popular family destination. On the literary front Seven Stories, housed over 7 floors in a renovated Victorian mill, serves as the National Centre for Children’s Books and operates as a museum and visitor centre dedicated to children’s literature. And of course, visitors with a troglodytic persuasion can enjoy the Victoria Tunnel, a 3km long 19th Century coal wagon route running under the City from the Town Moor to the River Tyne. So then. What are you waiting for? Go visit!*

* Definitely one for the 'must-visit' list after the coronavirus pandemic!

One of my favourite landmarks in NewcastleGateshead: Grey’s Monument

Greys Monument GP BLOG

For 183 years now Earl Grey has watched and presided over one of the UK’s greatest Georgian cityscapes from a lofty eyrie perch 41m above the ground. The column was erected in 1838 to celebrate the achievements of local lad made good Charles Grey, 2nd Earl of Grey (he of the famous Earl Grey tea blend) whose sterling efforts paved the way for the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832. Today, he stands proud on his plinth, a figure of constant stability as reassuring to residents of Newcastle as Nelson is to Londoners. Chances are that if you ever arrange to see a friend for lunch in Newcastle, or braved that first terrifying date, then you will have most probably met at the base of Grey’s Monument.

Shoots such as this benefit greatly from choosing the right weather at the right time of day at the right time of year. In this case, that meant late afternoon in the late summer with just enough broken cloud in the sky so as to counter balance the busy city streets below. Access to a decent pair of stepladders also aids your task no end!

I couldn't do this without including a photo of: NewcastleGateshead Quayside

Quayside GP BLOG

OK, so you are here in Newcastle on a first time weekend sojourn from the planet Zog. What do you need to know about this view across the most famous city in the world with the world’s greatest dual waterfront?

In front of you stands 3 of the 7 bridges (in this case the Swing Bridge (1876), the Tyne Bridge (1928) and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge (2001)) which span the River Tyne at this point. That impressive looking hotel to your right is the 4 star Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, and to its right stands the unmistakable outline of Sage Gateshead, the internationally renowned music centre and conference and event venue which first opened its doors in 2004. Beyond that, we see BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, which opened to great fanfare in 2002 in a converted flour mill. It hosts a frequently changing programme of exhibitions and artistic events, with no permanent exhibition.

This colourful vista came about as a pixel afterthought, with the photographer taking a last minute gamble of there being a half decent end to the day last October. The kaleidoscopic palette of hues which then flooded the Quayside were some of the very best seen in these here parts for many a year.

One of my favourite events to photograph in NewcastleGateshead: Great North Run

GNR GP BLOG

Rites of passage come in many guises, and involve a multitude of activities and teachings which leave an indelible mark upon the individual. If you were born or live in Newcastle, then it invariably takes the form of lining up in September on the Central Motorway with 55,000 other people for a 13.1 mile run/jog/toddle dressed as one end of a pink rhinoceros to South Shields seafront, with a diamond 9 of the Red Arrows screaming overhead.

As the brainchild of Hebburn born Brendon Foster CBE, the former 1976 Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist and BBC sports commentator, the Great North Run half marathon was first staged on 28 June 1981 with only (!) 12,000 participants. By 2011, it had amassed 54,000 serious athletes and fun/charitable runners and by 2014 the race had been run by in excess of 1m competitors, the first IAAF event to pass this milestone. The 2014 race recorded 41,615 finishers, making it the largest half marathon in the world as certified by Guinness World Records in 2016.

This particular photo may look easy peasy but the task of capturing 9 Hawk T1 aircraft which are capable of flying at 645mph at just the right moment above the Tyne Bridge is not quite so simple a task as you might expect.

What do you want to do?

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