We all know I love and adore my hometown of London. I’m also rather fond of Newcastle, a city in the Northeast of England. I spent some time there working in my 20s and it always had an up & coming feel to it, with a lively restaurant, bar and culture scene. Plus a rather dodgy disco boat moored on the Tyne with a revolving dance floor. Anyway, back to the world of family travel. Jetlag & Mayhem contributor Kirti recently visited London and Newcastle with her family and shares her tips on what to do and where to eat! In addition to the tips, enjoy her amazing photography….
Where we visited and when
London in springtime is gorgeous and definitely needs to be visited. In fact for the 10 days we were there, from April 3-14, sunshine and blue skies followed us everywhere
We visited Newcastle upon Tyne, at first, it’s my alma mater and I really wanted to show my husband & our 4 year old the city. We then visited London and spent an amazing 8 days there.
How did you book the trip? Where did we stay?
We booked the flights through Emirates and boy, that A380 is just goddamn(!) amazing. Highly recommended and the crew is lovely to kids – ours got like a hamper with colouring books, pencils and we even have a Polaroid photo of ourselves grinning away to glory
Stayed at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead in Newcastle and an Airbnb in Clapham in London. The Hilton was decent – lovely views from our room, it’s a very business oriented hotel so there were no family perks. The Airbnb in London – we faced a whole lot of problems with it so I am not recommending it but do visit Clapham Common- a lovely area with a fabulous Lebanese restaurant there – Del’Aziz & Zahra Bar – very highly recommended.
Newcastle upon Tyne
On the Bab in Covent Garden – Brilliant Korean food and decently priced too. We ate a significant amount of Indian food and there are two restaurants I must recommend – Dishoom for its fun take on Indian food and Gymkhana, which is a Michelin starred restaurant. Go for the lunch menu in the latter and you won’t regret it. Wagamama for Asian food – it’s a chain but the food is spicy and hits the taste buds at all levels.
Best Things to do in Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle’s Castle is a hoot – make the climb to the rooftop for some amazing views of the city.
The Centre for Life is a great retreat for kids and there’s so much stuff to interact with that we had a great time there. Do note that it’s great for slightly older kids.
Highly recommended comes Seven Stories, which is the National Centre for Children’s, Books – my kiddo enjoyed it especially as there was a story telling session of an Oliver Jeffers story!
And do walk along the Quayside – its super pedestrian friendly and the views of all the bridges in Newcastle are quite lovely.
Best Things to do in London
On our first day we ended up at the London Transport Museum, which while great did have a steep price tag for entry. So its best if you really have nothing to do or for a really rainy day!
The view from the Tate Modern is to die for. You can of course peek into other people’s apartments too (i.e. if you are in the mood for some voyeurism)
The British Museum is crowded; I honestly don’t think that is going to change, no matter time and day to be honest. We went as early in the morning as we could – I would suggest that you grab one of the child friendly activity trails offered by the museum and let your child guide you to a gallery and enjoy it through their eyes. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience until the crowds got too much for us.
Do visit Hyde Park and the Princess Diana Memorial Playground (do note that its sandy).
London Zoo is a wee bit further from the city but worth the visit especially for the lion and tiger enclosures and the giraffe that was really enthralling. Also if you have some spare time, do visit Leadenhall Market – we loved the ambience there.
The Natural History Museum is also a great way for the kiddos to spend time albeit crowded too. We did London Eye first thing on one of the mornings – bought the fast track and trust me, this is an investment. Worth every penny you spend.
Travelling between Newcastle upon Tyne and London
We took trains – bought a Family and Friends Railcard, which was a one-time buy, but totally worth the prices we got on train tickets.
In conclusion, we had a ball in England and would return in a heartbeat minus those visa fees, which gave us walletburn really! People are friendly and so polite and the weather really helped too