If you’re based in Newcastle, whether you’re a lifelong native of the city, or you’re just staying for a few years in Newcastle student accommodation to complete your studies, and you have an appreciation of great food and drink, then you’ll want to set aside the time to visit at least a few of the food and drink festivals to take place in and around the city throughout the year. Let’s take a look at some of them.
First, let’s consider a weekly occurrence in the middle of town – the Quayside Market, which attracts a host of different local producers, all of them eager to demonstrate the quality of their wares. It’s especially vibrant during summertime, when you’ll be able to wander around and inspect the various goods on offer beneath the sun.
The market assembles on quayside (as you might expect) every Sunday, and is constantly evolving as new producers enter the fray, and the existing ones introduce new recipes. If you’re looking for freshly-brewed coffee, freshly-baked cakes, or ready-prepared hot food, you’ll be able to find it here. It makes a great alternative to whatever chain restaurant you might have planned on visiting before!
The market runs between 9.30am and 4pm, but if you arrive late then you might find that the more popular stalls will have run out of stock, and so will have packed up and gone home. Make a point of getting there for midday – that way you’ll get a great compromise between a Sunday lie-in and a relaxing stroll among the best food and the city’s producers have to offer. You’ll get an idea of which restaurants and shops you should be visiting, and, what’s more, you’ll be able to take in the picturesque view of the Tyne as you’re doing so. Just be sure to watch out for seagulls!
This famous travelling gin festival is set to arrive in exhibition park in early July 2017. Named after the method of distillation that came to be favoured during the prohibition period of American history, this festival assembles some of the world’s finest gin companies, including some of the best independent ginmakers in the UK. With more than 150 different spirits on offer, you’re sure to find enough to keep your taste buds tantalised. Gin is increasingly popular in the UK, as it’s relatively cheap and offers an astonishing variety of flavours. The festival will also come with a healthy amount of street food attached, so you’ll be able to sate your appetite in between rounds of G&T!
Gateshead Beer & Music Festival
The purpose of this miniature festival, when it first began operating in 2010, was to create a sense of community. This purpose has been retained through the lifespan of the festival – despite the rate at which its grown and attracted people, drinks and bands from far and wide. The festival takes place in April, and covers an entire weekend starting on the Friday and finishing up on the Sunday. During this time, you’ll be able to choose from an extensive range of ales, ciders, whiskies and beers, all of which are sourced from across the country. The real purpose of the festival, however, is to provide high-quality brewers from around the Tyne and Wear area with a chance to show off what they can do – and thus you’ll find their wares displayed most prominently.
Tynemouth Food Festival
Once a year, it’s worth taking the trip on the metro to Tynemouth, which regularly hosts a sizeable food festival. The occasion takes place within the grounds of the Tynemouth Priory and Castle, which sit just at the top of a nearby cliff. The festival unites the best producers in the North East, and so arriving with an empty stomach is near-enough obligatory.
The festival is, like all good food festivals, a celebration of all of the best artisanal producers in the region. You’ll find coffee-roasters, butchers and cheesemakers all present, alongside a healthy smattering of local celebrity chefs. There will even be workshops on display, where you’ll be able to learn new things and improve the results in your own kitchen.
Alongside food, you’ll get live music and performance, and food-themed activities. Unlike many other food festivals, however, you’ll need to buy your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. The winter edition of the festival is due to take place in November – shortly after novelty of staying in your Newcastle student accommodation will have worn off. Be sure, therefore, to book your tickets now!