Newcastle 2010 – Day 7

Today is a bus day so we got started early. It’s another grey day but as long as it doesn’t rain we shall be fine.

Eldon Square bus station
Eldon Square bus station

For breakfast we picnicked briefly on a bench in Eldon Square then went into the nearby bus station to take a bus to Beamish, “The living museum of the North”.


Arriving at Beamish
Arriving at Beamish

On arriving at Beamish the first thing to do was have a cup of tea in the rather Spartan cafe. When it came to buying tickets to go in, we received a 25% discount because we had come by bus – a nice piece of environment-friendliness.

A rather Spartan cafe
A rather Spartan cafe


Beamish resides on a beautiful and large site. Its size allows for various forms of transport to be put into meaningful use. There are several areas to explore. You will find a map of these on the Beamish Web site and I will just mention four: the Town, the Pit Village (and coal mine), Home Farm and Pockerly Manor. Each of these contains appropriate buildings built from parts of genuine period houses, banks and shops rescued from demolition in various parts of the UK. Here is an example, a branch of Barclay’s Bank as it would have appeared in Victorian times.

Barclay's Bank, Victorian era
Barclay’s Bank, Victorian era

There were two trams in action and the first one we rode on was a single-decker.

The scramble for seats
The scramble for seats

I have to admit that my favourite part was The Town. That’s where the bank is, together with a row of beautiful old shops. There is also a Freemasons’ Lodge, and when we visited it, someone very knowledgeable – a Mason himself – was there to explain things to us.

A row of shops in The Town
A row of shops in The Town

We visited the garage and cycle works, that you can see in the above picture, the Co-operative store, and – not least – the first-floor tea-room! In the clothing shop, Tigger tried on some of the hats.

Inside the Co-operative store
Inside the Co-operative store

We visited all parts of the Co-operative store, had a quick look inside the pub – which was doing a good trade as an actual pub – and then went for coffee in the large tea room above the Co-op.

The Beamish Board School, 1891
The Beamish Board School, 1891

We had a look inside the large and well appointed Beamish Board School dating from 1891. I managed to squeeze into one of the desks, something I had not done for… for… well, for quite some time!

Interior of a miner's cottage
Interior of a miner’s cottage

There is a row of miners’ cottages beside the drift mine. Each cottage is furnished and decorated in the style of a different period.

1903 saloon car
1903 saloon car (replica)

To go back up the hill, we took a ride in this magnificent saloon car, whose design dates from 1903. It is an exact replica and was driven by a very informative chauffeur.

A double-deck tram
A double-deck tram

We also travelled on the double-deck tram, the site being large enough to give you a realistic trip. We thought of going upstairs but as the tram had been built in an era when people were smaller, it would have been a bit of a squeeze, so we stayed downstairs!

Stained glass, Masonic Lodge
Stained glass, Masonic Lodge

We had a very busy time at Beamish but did not cover the whole site. There were parts we gave cursory attention to and others that we missed altogether. We could go again and there would still be plenty to see. Our tickets are valid for one year, so we might well return.


We went to the bus stop outside the entrance, hoping to travel on to Chester le Street before returning to Newcastle. A bus soon arrived but it was for Newcastle. The driver told us that the next bus in 5 to 10 minutes would take us where we wanted to go, so we waited. Either he was lying or the bus alluded to didn’t run because it never appeared.

A more reliable bus
A more reliable bus

We waited 40 minutes until another Newcastle bus arrived and we boarded this one, now having lost our enthusiasm for travelling further afield. We were in fact feeling quite tired and thinking that we should return to the hotel for a rest.

After our rest, Tigger’s idea was to go down the Quayside as we had not yet seen it and there are plenty of eateries and perhaps more choice than in the centre. If all else failed, we could always come back and eat again at Tandoori Nights.

A lady crossing the road
A lady crossing the road

We boarded bus Q2 with destination St Peter’s Basin and Tigger pinged the bell at what looked like a good place. We dismounted and found we were at Quayside. Here we were spoilt for choice as there were restaurants of every kind. Walking and looking at menus, we chose an Indian restaurant, called Simla, offering vegetarian thali. This one had an interesting twist: you could choose any three items from the list of side dishes. They would even do matar paneer even though it wasn’t on the menu.

Bridges
Bridges

After dinner we went for a wander along the bank of the Tyne. With all the lights, the scene was very beautiful. We crossed the Gateshead Millennium Bridge to the south side of the river, in Gateshead. Very soon a Q1 bus hove is sight and we ran towards the stop, hoping to catch it. The driver kindly stopped and we boarded. The bus took us on a complicated trip around the quay area of Gateshead but eventually crossed the river into Newcastle and deposited us within easy walking distance of the hotel.

Bridge lights
Bridge lights

Today’s visit to Beamish was certainly one of the highlights of the trip. We probably saw no more than half of it but our tickets are valid for a year and we will try to return within that time to see some of what we missed.

The Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge

This was our last day in Newcastle. Tomorrow we return to London. I can say that Newcastle held some surprises for me, and that there are many interesting and beautiful things to find here. The people are generally friendly and helpful. I sometimes wished they came with subtitles, though, and they didn’t always understand me straightaway, either.

Night streets
Night streets

Was it a good trip? Yes, undoubtedly.  Would I come again? Yes, but not immediately. There are other places I would like to discover or revisit first.

Tomorrow we return to London and I am looking forward to it, as always.

Newcastle at night and Earl Grey monument
Newcastle at night and Earl Grey monument

Copyright © 2010 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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4 Responses to Newcastle 2010 – Day 7

  1. AEJ says:

    I love paneer… What is matar paneer, though? I like paneer masala. When hubby and I visited London a few years back we had the best Chinese food we’d ever tasted. Go figure.

    How nice that the lady smiled for you as she crossed the street! Here in the U.S. when you try to take someone’s picture they act like you’re trying to steal their soul.

    • SilverTiger says:

      One of the problems of Indian cuisine is the different ways there are of transliterating terms into English. “Matar” can appear as “motor”, “mutter”, etc. Cutting to the chase, it means “peas”. Matar paneer is a dish made with peas and Indian homemade cheese. But what peas?

      Most Indian restaurants in Britain make matar paneer with “garden peas”, those little green peas that we are so familiar with in English cuisine. A few, however, make it with chick peas. You are never quite sure in a restaurant you have never visited before which you will get. That’s part of the fun.

      The lady was either a member of staff or one of the volunteers at Beamish. They are there to take on various roles such as shopkeepers, bank clerks, etc. and they answer visitor’s questions. If I am honest, when I took that photo, I was only vaguely aware of the lady walking into the frame. I was photographing the buildings but I suspect she thought I was photographing her, so she kindly smiled and thus made a nice photo for me.

  2. AEJ says:

    One of our local Indian restaurants here in North Carolina makes a chick peas and potatoes dish. When it comes out it looks like it’s been scraped off the floor, but is surprisingly quite tasty. I’ve also tried palak paneer, which I think is the one with spinach. I grew up vegetarian so I’m fond of all things “cheese.”🙂 You’re right, the variety is what makes it fun.

    • SilverTiger says:

      Palak paneer and sag (or saag) paneer are dishes with spinach combined with cheese.

      One reason why I like Indian food is precisely because I am a vegetarian. Indian cuisine is one of the few in which purely vegetarian dishes are so tasty.

      The Chinese restaurants here are catching up fast and often often a separate vegetarian menu but Indian remains my favourite.

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