GNM Virtual tours HERO

Updated from 2 April 2020

The national lockdown continues and weekend activities and days out to museums, art galleries and attractions feel like a distant memory. We hope you're staying safe while you stay home but realise that it is a bleak, wintry start to 2021. Discover escapism, heritage and culture thanks to NewcastleGateshead's top attractions and museums who have created online experiences, virtual tours and activities to try from home.

The online tours, digital exhibitions and virtual dive into archives are a great chance to discover venues you might not have visited in Newcastle and Gateshead or help to remind you of what's to come when you can visit the North East once again. 

The wide range of online exhibitions explore the rich heritage, art and culture, innovation and science discovery on offer in NewcastleGateshead and can be enjoyed anytime you like and wherever you are!

Great North Museum: Hancock

For many, a trip to a city's museum is a great way to get to know the history and heritage of a place. Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle city centre is a brilliant, free museum that is packed with fascinating exhibits and history. While the museum is closed, visitors are invited to have a nosy around the virtual archives and exhibitions here! Find out what incredible artifacts and exhibits they have in their stores and get a sense of what it must be like to catalogue and look after such a collection. Take a deeper dive into their collection here. As well as a virtual foray into the archives, take a spin around two special exhibitions which were on display briefly during 2020: Other Worlds: The Art of Atomhawk and A British Museum touring exhibition Ancient Iraq: new discoveries.

    Great North Museum is one of 10 museums, art galleries and archives across Newcastle, Gateshead and Tyneside. Explore all the Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums from your home with a whole host of archive photography, digital art collections and podcasts including the brand new collaboration between TWAM and Curious Arts; a digital platform sharing stories of North East LGBTQA+ artists Re-imagining Pride

    BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

    If you've never visited BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art on the Gateshead banks of the River Tyne, then add it to your post-coronavirus lockdown places to visit! In the meantime, you can get some fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into some of BALTIC's exhibitions. The contemporary art centre has made sure its current exhibitions, although not physically accessible, are available digitally. Discover how personal experience helped shape artist Joy Labinjo's exhibition or enjoy a Spotlight tour of Animalesque / Art Across Species and Beings by BALTIC's knowledgeable front of house crew. 

    BALTIC are also providing weekly creative resources so you have no excuse but to have a go and get creative yourselves!

    Browse BALTIC's full list of virtual exhibitions, podcasts and resources here.

    Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books

    Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books can be found in Ouseburn, Newcastle and is a brilliant day out for families as well as book enthusiasts. During the lockdown, Seven Stories have shared some of their past exhibitions online so whether you've visited a hundred times before or you've never been, you can enjoy the wonder of children's books. Explore the magical world of Enid Blyton or discover how timeless classic The Tiger Who Came To Tea was created in an exhibition dedicated to author and illustrator Judith Kerr

    The Common Room

    Newcastle-based The Common Room was formerly known as The Mining Institute and is a recently renovated heritage venue near Newcastle's Central Station. The organisation is passionate about Newcastle's innovation and industrial heritage as well as encouraging the future development of engineering talent in the region. Delve into their online exhibition which explores the stories on North East engineers and uses their archives to tell us more about what they invented, innovated and were campaigning throughout history. The Common Room has more online programme here for you to enjoy including a fascinating podcast - Pioneering Minds. 

    Life Science Centre

    As part of their #LifeGoesONline series during lockdown, Newcastle's award-winning science centre has created loads of brilliant online videos, experiments and virtual events to keep science enthusiasts of all ages entertained. Now you can explore some of their exhibits from home including a virtual tour of the Brain Zone or Life Science Centre's most recent addition - the Space Zone. This is a brilliant resource for anyone home schooling or just to keep your brain cells fired up! 

    Discovery Museum

    Discovery Museum in Newcastle have recently launched a new online exhibition which explores how fashion and society over the years from the Victorian time to modern day have literally shaped the female body. Discover more in the fascinating, virtual exhibition: The Female Form Through Time available to view on Google Arts & Culture.  

    Laing Art Gallery

    Using the magic of Google Street View, art lovers can now go on a virtual tour of Laing Art Gallery despite the Newcastle city centre gallery remaining closed due to the coronavirus restrictions. The art gallery has only been able to open briefly in the passed 12 months which means that many visitors have not been able to browse their latest exhibition, Art Deco By The Sea. Not quite the same as wandering the splendid halls of Laing Art Gallery, virtual visitors can now take a look at the new exhibition online via Laing Art Gallery's YouTube channel here.

    If you're missing a wander in an art gallery - delve into Newcastle-based Hatton Gallery's online activities and exhibition here or take a virtual trip to Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead. 

    The Alnwick Garden

    Another great tour you can take from the comfort of your home is around The Alnwick Garden. Explore the Northumberland garden in all its glory before checking in on their famous Cherry Blossom! 
    Blossom Watch
    was a highlight during the first lockdown back in spring 2020 and we hope that visitors will have a chance to visit in person this spring and experience the incredible scenes of emerging blossom across the orchard. In the meantime, take a virtual tour of the magnificent award-winning garden thanks to YouTube! 

    The Alnwick Castle

    In 2020, Alnwick Castle celebrated 70 years since they opened to the public. Despite being subject to the same lockdown closures as other attractions and museums, visitors, enthusiasts and history buffs can still take a virtual tour of the historic castle with interesting videos of different areas of the historic Northumberland castle. Take your pick from lots of brilliant videos on the Alnwick Garden Facebook page. Here's a slightly more gruesome one about The Dungeons but nonetheless, fascinating!

    The Auckland Project

    The Auckland Project in nearby County Durham is a great day out (for post Covid-19 times!) and is a visitor destination centred in and around the 900-year-old Auckland Castle. The castle was home to the mighty Prince Bishops of Durham and was a place of great power and grandeur. The recently restores historic sites and attractions that make up The Auckland Project include a Spanish Gallery and restaurant, Faith Museum, Mining Art Gallery, Auckland Tower visitor centre, re-imagined Walled Garden and Deer Park.

    Enjoy their fascinating video below which takes you around the recently and lovingly restored Auckland Castle with insight into how the team had conservation of history at the front all they were doing. 

    Victoria Tunnel

    Arguably one of the most sort after tours in Newcastle takes place underground in Ouseburn with the opportunity to go into the historic Victoria Tunnel. It's entrance can be found in Ouseburn beside Hotel Du Vin and the tunnel, which dates back to the mid-1800s, leads underground to the heart of Newcastle. In 2008 The Victoria Tunnel was carefully repaired and opened for guided tours thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Tyne & Wear Partnership. The Ouseburn Trust now run these extremely popular and atmospheric guided tours lead by passionate, volunteer guides. 

    Unfortunately - the tours cannot run at the moment during the global pandemic, however, you can experience the tour online with this short taster video by Ouseburn Trust or book onto a virtual Victoria Tunnel Tour which typically takes place twice a month. Perhaps you should dig out your head torch, stand in a puddle and turn your lights off to watch it! 

    Palace Green Library, Durham University

    A new online exhibition has been curated by Palace Green Library at Durham University and explores the idea of travel and tourism in time gone by. Journeys: Reading the World is a great way to indulge your desire to escape and explore but from the comfort of your armchair. 

    If you are bored of being stuck at home, why not set sail on a voyage around the globe with their new online exhibition and explore the ways people have planned and prepared for journeys throughout history and the written works that have paved the way for the travel resources we are familiar with today. There is even a specially curated playlist to accompany the exhibition to give you the full, immersive experience. 

    Journeys: Reading the World
    Journeys: Reading the World online exhibition by Palace Green Library, Durham University

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