I Fell In Love With Newcastle & Gateshead

I’ve spent a lot of time away from home over the past decade. Seeing a lot of far-away, different places. I would get home and see family and friends then plan where to go next. I was always looking to go somewhere exciting. Truthfully, I would get sick of the same old places at home and long for something new.

It took a travel conference to change the way I see Newcastle and Gateshead. Traverse came to my hometown at the end of February and a large group of travel bloggers, equipped with cameras and a sense of adventure, helped me find that lost love.

Angel of the North

Looking up at the Angel of the North, nestled on a hillside near my hometown, I realised how little I actually take in when living back at home. I take for granted the beautiful (occasionally stormy!) countryside and the wonderful listed buildings and world renowned bridges. In Sydney, I loved being around The Rocks and Sydney Harbour Bridge and I would take loads of photos not realising the resonance with my hometown. Back in Newcastle, I don’t generally bat an eyelid at the beautiful bridges and historic buildings but with the crowd of travel bloggers exploring and tweeting, I actually opened my eyes.

Tyne Bridge

The setting for the conference was pretty perfect. We had a networking event on the Friday night at the beautiful Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art overlooking the quayside. The full day of workshops with sponsors and travel bloggers was held at the iconic Sage Gateshead. That first night, hearing the comments from people who had never been to Newcastle and Gateshead, really made me feel proud of where I come from. Everyone spoke about how friendly people are up here in the North East and how stunning the riverside location is, looking out to the Millennium Bridge. I was asked a lot of questions when other bloggers found out I was a local. Pointing out landmarks and describing great local places, I began to feel quite excited about this place I thought I knew so well.

The Quayside at Night

The next day I arrived in Newcastle early by bus, which crossed the Tyne Bridge, and saw the morning light glistening across the river and reflecting on the glass of the prominent buildings. It really is a beautiful place! Walking through Grainger Town, I looked up at the Georgian architecture. So well preserved, full of history and part of my family’s heritage. The Theatre Royal stands magnificent and elegant, with striking pillars and neoclassic adornments. I would usually walk past and not even glance, but that morning I stopped for a few seconds and really took it all in. Getting to the Sage Gateshead and looking out at the view, I decided to take a photo. Its not often that you can see the same thing with different eyes and it felt special again.

View from Sage Gateshead

Our day flew by with competitions, meeting people in the industry and other bloggers as well as taking down pages of notes of advice from the experts. I would recommend this conference to anyone. It was a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. I came knowing nobody and feeling unsure of blogging and where to go with it, and left with a head full of ideas and a pocket full of business cards and contacts. The after party that night was brilliantly hosted by Expedia and took place at As You Like It in Jesmond, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The good old Geordie nightlife did not let us down and most people danced the night away until the early hours.

The Millennium Bridge at Night

I learnt a lot about social media and SEO (a term I’d rarely come into contact with before) and also just meeting people who love the same things I do, helped me learn a lot about myself. I learnt that you can fall in love with your hometown all over again after being away and appreciate the sights you see and people you meet as if it was a new and different place. I’ll definitely be doing more posts in the future on this incredible region of the UK.


  • Naomi says:

    Totally agree Kate! I’ve been away for a while now and every time the train pulls into Newcastle and passes the Tyne bridge or we go past the Angel of the North in the car, I come over quite emotional (to which my mam and dad tell us to get over myself!) Newcastle is a great town and it was lovely to hear throughout Traverse how much people seemed to enjoy it!

    • Kate says:

      It’s so nice having locals come back too! Was great to meet you and I hope to keep in touch with people I met that weekend. Its a great place and I’m thinking of writing some more posts about places in the region 🙂 don’t stay away for too long!

  • Chloe says:

    I moved up to the North East 9 months ago and I’m in love, it’s the most beautiful city .. you are very lucky to come from here x

    • Kate says:

      I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying your time in the North East. There is so much to do and I really should write about it more. If you need any recommendations, I’m more than happy to help 🙂

  • sooo nice that you enjoyed a new corner of the globe. the travel blogger meeting sounds so nice too. nice to hear of the emotional journey too. i love those. gabi

    • Kate says:

      It was the first travel blog conference and the networking was fantastic. I loved seeing my hometown through other travellers eyes.

  • clay says:

    still haven’t got myself up there to see this interesting monument…must do it some day!!

  • I skipped it on my way to Sydney (hitch hiking) but next time I will go!!! We all go back to our hometowns at some point :))

    • Kate says:

      It’s actually Newcastle in the UK! A little further out of the way for you perhaps. Definitely worth the visit if you are over in the UK

  • Gabor Kovacs says:

    I have lived abroad for the last 8 years so I can completely understand your emotions…I prefer living in Spain to living in Hungary, my home country, but I have this special feeling of happiness every time I go home. The conference must have been awesome, we plan to participate in some events like this in the near future!

    • Kate says:

      Home is always special and it’s great to see it ‘as a tourist’. I’d recommend a conference to any blogger and Traverse are doing the world’s first blogging festival which sounds so cool!

  • This looks great! And, it’s awesome that you got to go to the conference 🙂 I’m excited to go to my first conference later this year.

  • That’s happened to me too, I think when you think of home you don’t necessarily see it as an adventure or opportunity to travel so the feeling is kind of meh. And then you meet someone who sees it with a fresh pair of eyes and you realize that there is actually a lot to do in your hometown, probably more than you ever realized!

    • Kate says:

      That’s exactly how it felt. Other people were pointing out great bits of the city and I’d look at them again differently. Thanks for your comment

  • Jules says:

    Sounds like you had a really successful personal and professional experience. I’m sure the networking and advice were invaluable to continuing on the travel blogging adventure. Keep up the great work 🙂

    • Kate says:

      It was very positive for me. My hometown is exciting again and hopefully I can do some more posts about great things to do here. Thanks for the support!

  • Beautiful shots. I was also at travese. Hopefully we can catch up and another event. I also wrote about the Angel of the North here: http://www.itsallbee.com/2014/03/Newcastle-Angel-of-the-north.html. Cant wait to read more of your post on the spots around the UK.


    • Kate says:

      Yeah I hope we can meet too. It was a really great first conference for me. I read your post and really enjoyed it, great photos!

  • The Angel-like statue is so cool! 😀

  • Pablo says:

    I’ve been hearing more and more about Newcastle recently, sounds like a place I’ll to visit eventually!

  • It really is a shame how often we humans tend to think the grass is greener on the other side before we really take an opportunity to admire the wonderful thing around us right at home. I know I have fallen in that line of thinking in many of the places I’ve lived. It wasn’t I left that I truly began to appreciate what the place had to offer.

    I’m happy to hear you got reconnected to your hometown and saw all those great places it had just waiting for you to discover! That Angel of the North is stunning. On the next trip I make to England I will definitely add newcastle to the itinerary.

  • I loved hearing you see your hometown with open eyes… we who love to travel often times do miss the wonders in our own backyards because we’re so curious about what all is out there to see. This is the second post I’ve read recently about Newcastle, I think it needs to be added to my bucket list.

  • Beautiful pictures of Newcastle and Gateshead. You have to love the Geordies right? I have only been to Newcastle a couple of times which is a little strange given that I am from just down the coast on the other side of England near Manchester. But the experiences that I have had there have been positive.

    St. James’ Park, home of Newcastle United FC, is a really great stadium to visit if you enjoy seeing those sort of things!

  • Sarah says:

    Love Newcastle too. We went a few years ago and were amazed by how much there was to do there and what a lovely mixture of old and new. And we went to Beamish too, which was fantastic! So lucky to live in such a gorgeous place – we love our hometown too (London).

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