Exhibition Park Newcastle picnic

Updated 15 June 2021

Whatever the season, it’s so good to get outdoors into the fresh air and soak up nature! Despite being a city, Newcastle and neighbouring Gateshead are blooming with parks and gardens that make it easy to breathe in the fresh, restorative air without travelling far. Whether it’s a fresh autumnal walk to enjoy the changing colours of the trees and leaves; a frosty winter walk or a spring picnic and an evening stroll in the summer – there are many open spaces in Newcastle and Gateshead to discover.

It’s good for the soul to breathe in the countryside and with so much leafy-green in Newcastle’s urban setting – you have the best of both worlds – not to mention you’re a skip and a jump away from vast expanses of rolling countryside and wide-open space to feel rejuvenated in nearby Northumberland. 

There are plenty of places to stop for a picnic in NewcastleGateshead parks or enjoy your takeaway Afternoon Tea, coffees or pizzas in pretty al fresco settings!

Jesmond Dene, Newcastle

Situated in Newcastle’s stylish suburb Jesmond Dene is an expanse of changing scenery and an excellent place for a winter walk. Follow the river as it meanders through the urban park through tunnels and leafy nooks, through trees and tranquil spaces to a picturesque waterfall. Jesmond Dene is popular with dog walkers and fitness enthusiasts as well as a great place to grab some peace in the city as you walk deeper into the Dene. Families love a visit to the furry and feathered residents at Pet’s Corner in the heart of Jesmond Dene and the park’s café is a welcome pitstop for those looking for a hot drink or slice of something sweet. If you want to push a little further – enjoy the full walk through neighbouring parks Armstrong Park and Heaton Park. Keep your eyes out for the famous Shoe Tree.

Public toilets at Jesmond Dene Visitor Centre are open to members of the public. Jesmond Dene Visitor Centre Cafe and Pet's Corner are also open. 

  • If you are out for a walk at the weekend, try Papa Ganoush at the bottom corner of Shortridge Terrace where it meets Jesmond Road. Pick up freshly squeezed juices, shakes and falafel wraps to go. 
  • If you're entering via Heaton Park and Armstrong Park, then stop off at The Shoe Tree Cafe on Heaton Park Road for takeaway vegan treats, hot dogs and hot drinks. There is also an independent General Store along the same road, full of fresh baked bread and supplies for a DIY picnic.

Ouseburn Parks, Newcastle

Ouseburn is a creative hub in Newcastle but it is also a haven of nature. Wander through the trees and beside the Ouseburn river under the Byker Bridge and then out along the river towards the Quayside. Alternatively, head in the other direction and follow the river from the Quayside, through Ouseburn and Heaton Park all the way to Jesmond Dene for a longer, leafy walk. The valley is also home to Ouseburn Farm – an urban community farm which is burgeoning with life. Ouseburn Trust have created a series of self-guided walks which will help you explore the population destination. Download the Ouseburn self-guided walks here.

  • Try Kiln's new kiosk on Ford Street (10am - 4pm) where you can pick up takeaway drinks, cakes and pastries or head to Northern Rye or Di Meo's both beside the Ouseburn river. Expect to queue safely.
  • If you are heading to Heaton Park then you really should wander along Heaton Road to grab a hot drink and slice of cake from Fork in the Rose or Estate Tea Co.

Leazes Park & Newcastle city centre

Leazes Park has been a leafy treasure in Newcastle city centre for many years – it officially opened in 1837. If you’re a new student in Newcastle or taking a wander to marvel at St James’ Park stadium – keep walking and stroll through the tree-lined paths of Leazes Park or walk all the way round the central lake. It’s a perfect city centre spot for picnics in the warmer months and even a popular place for local anglers!

If you do find yourself in Newcastle city centre then why not take a break and grab a bench on the green outside Newcastle Civic Centre or Old Eldon Square. You're just a short stroll downhill to the Quayside too, where you can watch the world go by as you catch up with friend at a distance with your takeaway coffee or picnic.

Exhibition Park, Newcastle

One of Newcastle’s finest city parks is Exhibition Park. Home to Wylam Brewery at Palace of Arts; host to a range of popular festivals and a great starting point for many fun runs and Park Runs. Grab a takeaway coffee and cake from Palace of Arts and enjoy Exhibition Park's mix of tree-lined paths, large informal lawned areas, beautiful flowerbeds and a lake as well as a selection of recreational areas like a skatepark and children’s play area. Exhibition Park is perfect for dog-walking in the heart of Newcastle city centre or wander onto the neighbouring Town Moor to make the most of its vast grassy landscape – be careful to navigate the cows who graze there during the warmer months! Stay awhile and watch the passers-by from the comfort of brand-new cafe Urban Green Cafe.

  • Try local independent bakery on Clayton Road, Batch Bakery for a collection only takeaway hot drink and a selection of pastries, cakes and hot sandwiches to die for! Open Wednesday - Sunday.

Saltwell Park, Gateshead

Saltwell Park is an award-winning park in Gateshead which is very popular with locals. Saltwell Towers – a grand building in the centre of the park – has a café where (in 'normal times') visitors to the park can enjoy lunch or pick up a hot drink to takeaway with them. There is plenty of space to wander, walk the dog around its lake or take part the regular Park Run at Saltwell Park. Community festivals and events as well as food markets take place throughout the year in Gateshead’s park. Set out your picnic blankets and enjoy the many nooks and picturesque corners in Saltwell Park for your picnic.

  • Try a takeaway lunch or afternoon tea from Stairwayz cafe in Low Fell.

Gibside National Trust and wider Gateshead

Gibside National Trust is a brilliant place for a walk all year round and National Trust members get in free. The outdoor areas and play park of Gibside National Trust in Gateshead will remain open during the current coronavirus lockdown. Visitors must prebook their ticket online and be prepared for new routes, one-way systems and limitations to other facilities like toilets and cafe. Full details about Gibside's reopening can be found on the National Trust website here.

Gateshead has a wealth of rural countryside to explore whether it's a stroll around the feet of the Angel of the North or discovering Derwent Valley Country Park where you can keep an eye out for the Red Kites who can be spotted in the area. Head into Gateshead’s Great Outdoors for some fresh air whatever the season.

Find a patch of Urban Green Newcastle on your doorstep or close to your hotel with the help of Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust. You can also find out more about parks and countryside in Gateshead here.

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Kynren 2021
Kynren 2021

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