Top 5 date ideas for hitting ‘the Toon’


By Daisy Ridley. Blogger at Daisy Dreams Of


When it comes to choosing a day out on ‘the toon,’ (as it’s affectionately called by northerners) the choices are many and varied. Couples can venture well beyond the boundaries of the legendary Bigg Market, which comprises mainly of clubs, bars and restaurants.

In short, you have to be lacking in imagination not to know what to do or where to go when you want to make a lasting first impression on that all-important date in Newcastle.

1. Blackfriars, Chinatown

image 1

Image source – Flickr

 If you do want to splash the cash and show a little bit of sophistication, culture and fun, a trip to Chinatown should be high on your list of places to go and things to do. Tucked away in a far corner is a 13th century Dominican Friary called Blackfriars. This is one of Newcastle’s most popular restaurants with foodies and was recently presented with the Taste of England Award in 2013.

However, if you want to do a little more than sit down and peruse the wonderfully northern-inspired menu, Blackfriars also offers workshops for those interested in learning a new skill. These include bread making, food and wine matching, and how to cook for a dinner party, amongst others.

2. Farmers Market, Grey Street

At £40 per person, learning the art of making bread might be a little out of some peoples’ budgets. But if food still rocks your world, a trip to the Farmers Market by the Monument at the head of Grey Street might be more suited to your pocket.

The market is held on the first Friday of every month and is a celebration of local foods and produce, which should inspire most food lovers to literally cook up an evening in the kitchen. What could be a better bonding experience than buying, mixing and working together with locally sourced ingredients to make a meal for two?

3. Newcastle Quayside, north bank

image 2 quayside

Image source – Flickr

 Of course not everyone wants to get up to their armpits in bread and flour and some people simply eat to live instead of live to eat. But if culture is still your thing then a tour of Newcastle’s famous quayside should satisfy your interest.

Warm clothes and sensible shoes are de rigueur as you check out the amazing renovation of the quayside – there’s a wonderful market on Sundays – which is dominated by the old flourmill on the Gateshead side of the River Tyne. The Baltic, as it’s known, dominates the skyline and is now a major centre for international contemporary art and a great place to go learn more about Tyneside’s rich heritage whilst escaping the chill on a grey day after a riverside stroll.

4. Lane 7, St James’ Boulevard

If that’s a little tame and you want to check out your date’s competitive streak, head for the trendy Lane 7 which offers American-style ball games from ping pong to 10-pin bowling and pool tables. There’s also a belt-busting menu on offer and, if you really want to discover if your partner has the X-Factor, there’s a karaoke room. Certainly not an experience for “shy bairns” as the natives say!

5. Bigg Market

image 3 Bigg Market

Image source – Flickr

 There’s a good reason why Newcastle earned the title of being Europe’s party capital a few years back. This is down to the antics of Friday night revellers in the Bigg Market. But be warned – it’s not for the faint-hearted and could easily break a relationship if your partner doesn’t share the same rambunctious nature.

The venues include Ohso, Victoria 22, Tup Tup Palace, Cosy Joes and Bar 38, which are usually rammed with hen and stag parties so might not provide the sort of intimate surrounds required for a first date.

Of course you could always venture out as voyeurs for a few minutes of live entertainment before heading off to one of the many eateries nearby.

There’s an array of restaurants within walking distance to cater for all appetites and budgets. The key to a ‘Bigg Market Experience’ is advance planning, booking ahead and organising an exit strategy – taxis become as rare as hen’s teeth when the pubs and clubs close.


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