Culture & Shopping

Culture & Shopping

From the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts to The Sage Concert Hall, the North East is alive with art, music and theatre.

The Alnwick Playhouse is one of the leading small arts venues in the North of England and offers a varied programme of music, theatre, film and art exhibitions.

Newcastle’s Theatre Royal hosts the northern season of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s national tour and ballets and shows from around the world, Northern Stage is an exciting and dynamic venue for comedy, theatre and dance and the Laing Gallery is home to an impressive collection of art and sculpture. The Biscuit Factory exhibits and sells original art works from a wide range of artists while the Baring Wing at Northumbria University often has photography exhibitions by world-class photographers.

The Side Gallery and Cinema is a film and photography collective based in the North East down near The Quayside in Newcastle and has works by famous local photographers and film-makers as well as international exhibitions. The Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle is the last surviving Newsreel theatre still operating full time as a cinema in the UK and its Grade II-listed building has been lovingly restored to preserve and celebrate the grandeur of its original 1937 art deco design. It’s also one of the few cinemas in the country where you take a glass of wine from the bar through into the cinema while you watch your film.

For book lovers Barter Books in Alnwick is one of the largest second hand bookshops in England. Based in the Victorian Station building in the town it has a café and gift shop and shelf after shelf of beautiful books, ideal for all your holiday reading requirements.

The National Trust and English Heritage shops in Northumberland all sell a selection of locally produced goods, from local foodstuffs to woolen blankets made from Northumbrian flocks. In Morpeth the Sanderson Arcade combines high street shops with specialist local retailers under one roof while The Chantry offers a ‘Northumbrian Experience’ with arts and crafts for sale and even a Bagpipe Museum.

Newcastle City Centre is a great place for a day of shopping with Fenwicks and John Lewis as well as smaller shops like Attica which is filled with vintage clothing and furniture, Cruise which stocks designer labels and – at the end of a hard day’s shopping – you can now have a fish pedicure at the Footlove Spa behind Central Station.

Further south in Gateshead The Metro Centre has over 330 shops and is the largest shopping centre in Europe with a new leisure and dining area, The Metrocentre Qube.

For aficionados of Tyneside culture, visitors, locals, fans of North East music and anyone who enjoys finding out where Bryan Ferry bought his records, you must try Tyne Idol tours.