There’s no event quite like the Great North Run. Not only is it the biggest mass participation event in the UK, but the route takes you through some of the most iconic spots in the North East as the 13.1 mile-route weaves its way from the centre of Newcastle to the coast at South Shields. And while you may see some of the incredible sights as you run among the crowd, you don’t really get the time to appreciate them to the full. So why not make a weekend of it? You’ll recover from all your exertions and discover one of the UK’s most lively cities.
As a runner, you’ll cross the famous Tyne Bridge at one of the earliest stages, but it’s well worth taking a trip to the riverside to get a proper view of this landmark and even take a picture or two. This stunning monument to engineering was completed in 1928 and at the time was the longest single span bridge in the world. Newcastle is a city filled with football fans and St James’s Park is a magnificent monument to their passion. And although there isn’t a match during the weekend of the run, you can take a tour of the 52,000-seater stadium and find out more about the rich history of Newcastle United’s home since 1892. Don’t miss the Angel of the North, Anthony Gormley’s stunning sculpture which stands on the site of a former coalmine. While it can be seen from the A1 motorway, it’s worth taking a trip to see it in person just to appreciate the scale of this artistic achievement. The sculpture stands at 20 metres tall with a wingspan of 54 metres and can withstand winds of up to 100 mph.
Newcastle boasts one of the largest city-centre shopping malls in Eldon Square, so you can enjoy a great retail experience right in the heart of the city without having to worry about that unpredictable North East weather. For an out of town retail experience, head for the Metrocentre in Gateshead ¬– the UK’s largest shopping centre. With over 2 million square feet of shopping space and 370 shops, you can get lost in the endless maze of stores. As well as the shopping, there are more than 50 places to dine, so whether you’re in the mood for sushi, Italian or burgers, you’ll find the perfect meal to suit your tastes. And with a cinema, bowling alley, entertainment arcade and soft play, you can turn your shopping excursion into a fun day out.
Newcastle has a rich culture to explore from fascinating historic sites to world-renowned museums. The castle in the city centre dates back to the 12th century and the remaining castle keep is a fascinating insight into the origins of the city and the people who lived there. Move forwards in time and explore the Victoria Tunnel, a 19th century wagonway which was used to transport coal the 2.4 miles from the Town Moor to the River Tyne. It was first opened to the public in 2008 and has become one of the city’s must-see attractions. Beamish is an open-air museum telling the story of the people of Newcastle. You can step back in time and discover what life was like in a 1900s colliery and pit village, a 1920s village, or a 1940s town. To explore the world beyond the Tyne, the Great North Museum was constructed in the 1884 and features a huge range of natural history exhibits, from ancient fossils to live animals as well as historic collections from around the world.
Newcastle is famous for its fabulous nightlife with hen and stag weekends coming from all over the country to sample the unique atmosphere. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, casinos and clubs to choose from, so whether you want a quiet cocktail or dance the night away, you’re sure to find your perfect destination. The Gate entertainment complex near St James’ Park is home to wide choice of bars as well as the Tiger Tiger club, which has a number of themed rooms to explore. The Quayside area is popular with locals and offers a selection of great bars from the beer heaven of Brewdog or the great food and marvellous mixology of Canteen & Cocktails, all with some spectacular views of the Tyne. And if you want to stay out later, head for some late-night fun at the luxury club Livello on Lower Dean Street.
Good luck with the run everyone and have a great time in Newcastle!