Gateshead is a town in Tyne and Wear in the northeast of England. It stands on the south bank of the River Tyne looking across to Newcastle upon Tyne on the north bank. It's industrial and in 2011 had a population of 120,046. It was historically in County Durham, but in 1974 became part of the metropolis of Tyne and Wear.
- "No true civilisation could have produced such a town . . . ", it was designed "by an enemy of the human race" - JB Priestly, English Journey 1934.
Gateshead stands on a hill on the south bank of the River Tyne and was industrial from the 14th century through coal-mining. This was sufficiently lucrative for the north bank city of Newcastle to attempt a takeover; but the coal was from shallow bell-pits that soon became unworkable, whereupon Newcastle's interest waned. The main deep-mining belt was south towards Durham, and those pit owners became stinking rich, while Gateshead developed metal-bashing and other traditional smokestack industries. It never had much architectural heritage, and that little was blown away by the great fire and explosion of 1854, when a burning worsted mill set off sulphur and other combustibles in a nearby warehouse. So great were the devastation, the deaths and the mutilation of survivors, that special trains had to be laid on for all the thousands of trippers thronging to enjoy the spectacle.
Gateshead was further assaulted in the 20th century by industrial decline and by modern "brutalist" architecture. However in the 21st century it was revived, along with Newcastle, by attractive developments. Sage and the Baltic gallery are on the riverfront near the Millennium Bridge, and The Angel of the North stands guard by the motorway from the south.
For long-distance routes see Newcastle upon Tyne.
1 Newcastle Central station just north of the river has frequent trains from London and the Midlands via York, from Edinburgh via Berwick, and from Carlisle via Hexham - Gateshead doesn't have its own mainline station. From Central it's a short walk, bus, Metro or taxi ride into Gateshead.
Gateshead is on both lines of the Tyne and Wear Metro. The Green Line runs from the airport via Jesmond, Newcastle city centre and Central Station to Gateshead, then heads south to Sunderland. The Yellow Line makes a grand loop from city centre round the north bank towns and burbs, circles back to Jesmond, city centre, Central Station, Gateshead and Heworth, then follows the south riverbank to Jarrow and South Shields.
Trains run every 10-15 min between 5:30AM and 11:30PM. Gateshead is in Fare Zone A, so in 2022 an adult single from city centre is £2.30. The airport is in Zone C so that's £3.90.
Newcastle Bus Station is west side of the railway station.
By road from north or south follow A1, which bypasses the conurbation to the west. Exit onto A184 to come into Gateshead.
Walk: the Tyne bridges, Sage and Baltic are all with a 15 min walk, with the International Stadium a little further.
2 Gateshead Interchange is the Metro and local bus station. Bus fares are the same as Metro, see above.
The main bus routes are by Go North East:
- Bus 1 to Newcastle, North Shields and Whitley Bay
- Bus 21 to Angel of the North, Chester-le-Street and Brandon
- Bus 49 and 96 / 97 to Metrocentre and Blaydon
- Bus 51 / 52 to Heworth and Newcastle
- 1 Gateshead Millennium Bridge, opened in 2001, is a cyclist and pedestrian tilting bridge. It's often called the Blinking or Winking Bridge for the way the footpath deck tilts up to allow river traffic to pass. That's an infrequent occurrence: Gateshead Council lists upcoming tilts. They'll even let you request a tilt for free, given 7 days notice, at any hour 365 days a year. They're more likely to grant such a request if you turn up with a vessel of mast no taller than 23.9 m.
- Cross this or any other bridge for sights in Newcastle upon Tyne.
- BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA (south end of Millennium Bridge), ☏ . W-Su 10AM–6PM. Opened in 2002, this is in the former Rank Hovis flour mill. It has changing exhibitions of contemporary art and doesn't have a permanent collection. Fine views over the riverside from the balcony. Free.
- St Mary's on Oakwellgate next to Sage is a former parish church and now a small museum. It's open Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM.
- 2 Shipley Art Gallery, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead NE8 4JB, ☏ . Tu-F 10AM–4PM, Sa 10AM–5PM. Small but well-stocked gallery of Dutch and British art and craftwork, including ceramics, wood, metal, glass, textiles and furniture. Free.
- 3 Saltwell Towers is a Victorian confection, now the centrepiece of Saltwell Park. There's a visitor centre and tea room.
- 4 Bowes Railway, Springwell Rd, Gateshead NE9 7QJ, ☏ . Standard-gauge colliery railway, originally 15 miles long, and the central 6 miles were so steep that they were cable-hauled by static engines.
- 5 Angel of the North is the 1998 sculpture by Antony Gormley that was initially disliked by many, but is now symbolic of the northeast. It's 20 metres / 66 ft tall, with a wingspan of 54 m / 177 ft. The site is free, 24 hours.
- 6 Gibside, Rowlands Gill NE16 6BG, ☏ . Daily 10AM–5PM. Grand estate formerly owned by the Bowes-Lyon dynasty (ancestors of HM Elizabeth Queen Mother) - they got so rich from Durham coal that they acquired more castles and mansions than they knew what to do with. Gibside Hall was built 1603-1620 but fell into disuse then dereliction from the 19th century, so only a shell remains. The Banqueting Hall is a separate building which also fell derelict but has been restored - it's described as "Gothick" but resembles a mortuary. The Georgian chapel is the estate's finest feature and it, rather than the Hall, is the focus of the landscaping, with a vista towards the Column to Liberty. There's also a stable block, orangery and extensive grounds, dogs on leads welcome. The estate is now managed by the National Trust. Adult £12, child £6, NT free.
- 1 The Sage Gateshead, St. Mary's Square, Gateshead NE8 2JR, ☏ . A modern music arena, designed by Foster and Partners in the early 2000s. The building houses two large concert halls, bars, a restaurant and reference library. The building hosts a wide variety of musical talent, especially classical and folk.
- Cinema: Vue Cinema is next to the Interchange.
- 2 Gateshead International Stadium is multi-use, and its sports facilities can be used by members. It has its own Metro station.
- Football: Gateshead FC play soccer in National League North, the game's sixth tier. Their home ground is the International Stadium. Sure you wouldn't rather cross the river to Newcastle United, or take the Metro to Sunderland Stadium of Light?
- Golf: local courses are Ravensworth and Whickham. Heworth GC only accepts visitors as competitors in occasional open competitions.
- Derwent Walk follows a former railway trackbed for 12.5 miles beside the River Derwent. It starts in Derwenthaugh Country Park just west of Metro Centre and heads southwest via Gibside to Shotley Bridge and Consett.
- 1 Metrocentre, ☏ . Metrocentre is one of Europe's largest shopping centres, and hosts a number of well-known retailers. It also offers a variety of food outlets, as well as an arcade and cinema.
- Beneath Tyne Bridge are Träkol (below), Riverbeat, Windows on The Tyne (within Hilton Hotel) and Raval.
- Träkol, Hillgate Quays NE8 2BH (beneath Tyne Bridge), ☏ . W-F 5PM-10PM, Sa noon-2PM, 5PM-10PM, Su noon-6PM. This gets great reviews; it's mostly seafood.
- Low Fell two miles south on the old Durham road has a strip with Primavera, Rosa 12, The Bank, Imperial and Ilbay's.
- Plenty more in Newcastle just across the bridge.
- The central pub cluster (often with live entertainment) includes The Black Bull, The Central, Grey Nag's Head, Metropole, Curley's, Ye Old Fleece and William IV.
- Hadrian Border Brewery on Hills St has its own pub, Station East.
- Steampunk Spirits produce gin and rum. No tours.
- See also hotels north of the river in Newcastle upon Tyne.
- Jurys Inn, South Shore Rd, Gateshead NE8 3AE (east side of Baltic), ☏ . Good chain budget place on riverside. Limited parking. B&B double £70.
- Ramada Encore, Hawks Rd, Gateshead NE8 3AD (southeast side of Baltic), ☏ . Decent enough hotel for what you're paying. Limited parking. Double (room only) £50.
- 1 Premier Inn, Maingate, Kingsway North NE11 0BE, ☏ . Reliable budget chain handy for motorists on A1. B&B double £70.
- 2 Eslington Villa, Station Road, Low Fell, Gateshead, NE9 6DR, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A 3* hotel, located in the affluent suburb of Low Fell.
- 3 Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, Bottle Bank, Gateshead, NE8 2AR, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A 4* hotel, located a short walk from the Quayside.
- 4 Marriott Hotel MetroCentre, Metrocentre, Gateshead NE11 9XF, ☏ . Value-for-money hotel convenient for motorists and shoppers. B&B double £95.
As of July 2021, Gateshead has 5G with EE and 4G from the other UK carriers.
- Walk across a bridge to Newcastle upon Tyne
- Take a Metro east to Jarrow and South Shields
- Southeast to Washington and Sunderland
- South to the attractive cathedral city of Durham.
- West to Hadrian's Wall: the best sections are between Hexham and Haltwhistle.
- The Northumberland coast becomes attractive from Alnwick, with battered castles and the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne.
- Beamish has an extensive open-air industrial museum.
|Routes through Gateshead|
|Edinburgh ← Newcastle Airport ←||N S||→ Washington → Leeds|