First Year – new people, pasta and getting plastered. Somehow, every fresher finds themselves tumbling down the rabbit hole and into a state of blissful oblivion where the ‘drink me’ bottles are bottomless and the ‘eat me’ labels are all too tempting. But what about the culture? What about the side of Newcastle that no-one ever mentions? There are copious activities awaiting you keen beans, but sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing where to start.
For those creative members amongst you, the Baltic Art Gallery boasts some quirky exhibitions year-round.
This contemporary artwork appeals to those who enjoy the highly interactive space. Last year I attended the ‘Disappearance at Sea’ exhibition – thought-provoking pieces exemplifying the journey undertaken by migrants and refugees to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Their virtual reality section became a focal point in allowing audiences to engage with a current and incomprehensible matter. It’s useful to check the Baltic’s website and see what’s on before you go – or alternatively, sashay across for a pleasant surprise.
As the Baltic is located at the Quayside, it’s also worth a mosey around the surplus of restaurants and cafes. Of course, as a fresher it’s also imperative you get some squad snaps by the impressive Millennium Bridge before slumping in one of the deck chairs on the small patch of sand.
For a more authentic beach experience, hop on the metro to Tynemouth to filter out those fresher’s lungs with some salty sea air.
A day out in Tynemouth is a cheap yet cheerful adventure promising childlike nostalgia. The vast beaches are ideal for those romantic strolls – or just a competitive game of rounders… For the thrill seekers, a dip in the sea will get your adrenaline rushing (and most likely your body suffering from a solid case of pneumonia). No fear though – just off the beach you can warm up with a stodgy tray of fish and chips and a friendly round of Crazy Golf (it really is crazy).
Similarly, if you feel the need to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, a short fifteen-minute train ride can do just that and land you in the quaint City of Durham.
Packed with historic monuments and cobbled streets, Durham encourages a slower pace of life (and perhaps even a little rivalry with Durham University students!). A combination of boutique and high street shops curve around the main square, as well as some tasty brunch spots to kick-start your day with. If you’re a closet Harry Potter fan, make sure you Slytherin to Durham’s cathedral to relive some of the movies famous scenes!
If you fancy staying closer to Newcastle itself, however, a venture into Jesmond never goes amiss.
Osbourne Road is teeming with quirky cocktail bars and eggs benedict brunches that are sure to make your Instagram pop. Whilst you’re in the area it’s also worth browsing round potential houses for second year.
In reality, Newcastle offers an extensive list of pastimes that make stepping out your Uni halls worthwhile. Immerse yourself in this vibrant city bursting with backdrops, beaches and brilliance. Your adventure in wonderland awaits you.