First day back at work after two weeks away is always a struggle but I'm happy to get back into a healthier routine after far too much dim sum and ramen! 😋 I've added Hong Kong and Tokyo to my Stories highlights for those who missed my updates!

We found this pretty street in Shibuya, Tokyo, near the famous and very hectic Scramble/crossing. So nice to see some more traditional streets hidden amongst the super modern tower blocks and huge neon lights.

#japantravelphotos #traveltokyo #tokyolife #discovertokyo #visittokyo #tokyo #japan #shibuya #tokyocityview #visitjapan #shibuyatokyo #tokyonightview #tokyobynight #tokyonightview #traveldeeper #traditionaljapan #oldtokyo #tokyostreet #cityscape #urbanview #citylandscape #guardiantravelsnaps #lppathfinders #lpfanphoto #travelblog #travelblogger

First day back at work...

After a long hiatus from the blog, I've just shared some of my recent favourites. From @oddboxldn to @olio_ex, they're all helping to make our lives more sustainable! Click the link in my profile and let me know what you think.
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Featuring my beautiful WWF KeepCup!
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#sustainability #sustainableliving  #keepcup #london #thisislondon #wwf #noplanetb #sustainable #ecofriendly #londonblogger #plasticfree #londonbylondoners #climateweek #reusable #reducereuserecycle #foodwaste  #olio #oddbox #allplants #eatlessmeat #londonblog #ecofriendlyliving

After a long hiatus from...

Spending a few days enjoying Sicilian views, sunshine, food, and spritz!
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#sicily #topsicilyphoto #sicilia #sicily_my_love #ortygia #syracuse #siracusa #ortigia #italy #topitalyphoto #prettylittleitaly #ladiesgoneglobal #gltlove #girlsborntotravel #thetravelwomen #travelgirlsgo #girlsjustwannatravel #darlingescapes #girlslovetravel #sheisnotlost #letsgosomewhere #athomeintheworld #guardiantravelsnaps #lppathfinders #lpfanphoto #postcardplaces #prettylittletrips

Spending a few days enjoying...

Take me back please!! 🙏🏻 The walk to the calanques near Marseille was tough in the heat but the views made it worth doing! Loved having a picnic in the shade before going for a swim in the clear waters.
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#provence #southoffrance  #frenchriviera #igersfrance #merveillesdefrance #travelblogger #travelblog #travelfrance #topfrancephoto #visitlafrance #jaimelafrance #france_photolovers #marseille #prettylittletrips #darlingescapes #athomeintheworld #neverstopexploring #travelfolk #iamatraveler #mytinyatlas #letsgosomewhere #postcardplaces #lifeofadventure #traveldeeper 
#calanques

Take me back please!! 🙏🏻...

When you spot a pretty backdrop! 🏃‍♀️ Marrakesh was 10x more beautiful than I had been expecting, with decorative arches, colourful tiled courtyards and orange trees being common sights. I loved the smells as well - argan oil, orange blossom and fresh mint all remind me of Morrocco now.
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#marrakech #marrakesh #maroc #Morocco #visitmorocco #africa_vacations #moroccovacations #simplymorocco #moroccotravel #visitmarrakech #inmorocco #exploremorocco #ladiesgoneglobal #gltlove #girlsborntotravel #thetravelwomen #travelgirlsgo #girlsjustwannatravel #darlingescapes #girlslovetravel #sheisnotlost

When you spot a pretty...

I think the cats of Essaouira and Marrakesh deserve to have a post dedicated to them, given how much time I spent admiring them! 😍 #catsofmorocco
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#marrakech #marrakesh #maroc #Morocco #visitmorocco #essaouira #africa_vacations #moroccovacations #simplymorocco #moroccotravel #visitmarrakech #inmorocco #exploremorocco #ladiesgoneglobal #gltlove #girlsborntotravel #thetravelwomen #travelgirlsgo #girlsjustwannatravel #darlingescapes #girlslovetravel #sheisnotlost #cats_of_world
#catsofinstagram

I think the cats of...

A Weekend Guide to Cologne

By Posted on 3 min read 668 views

Growing up in Brussels, Germany was never very far away. Cologne in particular is less than 2 hours away from both Brussels (by train) and London (by plane) but until recently I had never taken the time to properly explore the city. Which was a shame really, because it’s a lovely place with just enough culture, shopping, food, and drink to make it a great weekend destination.

My Mum still lives in Brussels and she had been saying how she wanted to explore Germany more, so for her birthday I gifted her this weekend away. I think we really made the most of it and both had a lovely time (as we always do when we’re exploring somewhere new) so I’ll share my quick weekend guide with you below.

Where to stay
  • 25hours Hotel The Circle is modern and super quirky with space-age vibes. Rooms are stylish and comfortable, service is friendly and the bar and restaurant upstairs have a great view.
  • The QVEST Hideaway is another very stylish hotel set in a neo-Gothic building that used to be Cologne’s historic archives.

Both hotels are a 15 minute walk away from Cologne’s main train station and the famous Cathedral. Both looked great so it was a tough choice but we went with 25hours!

Where to eat

For brunch:

  • Kaffeesaurus (pictured above) is a great place for breakfast. We had a platter with the most delicious bread, grilled veggies, poached egg and cheese. Yum!
  • Hommage café was too busy when we wanted to go, but that tells you it must be good! Go there for crepes.
  • We also really enjoyed the breakfast at NENI, the restaurant at 25Hours Hotel. It had a delicious hot and cold buffet.

For lunch or dinner:

  • We enjoyed a schnitzel at Haxenhaus, which is a traditional German restaurant right by the river.
  • For a very “Cologne” experience, head to Früh am Dom. The place looks small from the outside but it’s huge! We had the Brauhausteller dish which includes both pork knuckle and bratwurst – perfect if you don’t have much time to try all the local specialities. Make sure you have a little glass of kölsh beer to wash it all down!
What to see
  • Cologne Cathedral or Dom is of course a must-see. It’s the city’s symbol and was once the tallest building in the world! You can walk up the steps to the top if you have a lot of energy, but we were happy just walking inside, admiring the stained glass windows. Look out for a modern window that was designed by Gerhard Richter in 2002.
  • Museum Ludwig (admission 11€) has a fantastic collection of modern art. I would highly recommend a visit there even if you aren’t usually into art. We went to a Hockney exhibition but most enjoyed the permanent collection which includes an amazing collection of Pop Art, Picasso pieces, and really gives you an overview of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century.
  • MAKK, the museum of applied arts, is worth a visit too. It was undergoing a refurb when we were there but we were able to see two nice exhibitions (Andy Warhol – Pop Goes Art and 34xDesign)
  • We only had time for two museums but there are many more: Kolumba (religious art), Kölnisches Stadtmuseum (history of Cologne), Farina (fragrance), Roman-Germanic Museum, Wallraf-Richartz (fine art) and more! The chocolate museum is popular.
  • For an iconic photo of the much-instagrammed colourful old houses, head to Fischmarkt by the river. It’s worth wandering around the little streets nearby too.
Where to shop

Museums are great, but we couldn’t resist doing a bit of shopping around Cologne. The Belgian quarter is a good place to start, with shops like Boutique Belgique and Simon und Renoldi offering some stylish womenswear. From there, head down Ehrenstraße which is a great shopping street offering everything you could possibly want! We found some designer bargains at the Zalando outlet – I’d definitely recommend a rummage around there.

Hopefully this quick guide will help you to make the most of your weekend in lovely Cologne. If you do end up using some of these tips, please let me know – I’d love to hear how your trip goes!

What to buy in Japan (+ Tokyo shopping)

By Posted on 5 min read 1763 views
Tokyo's famous Shibuya crossing

Tokyo is a huge city with endless shopping options and it can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to go or what you’re looking for. Planning ahead is key to getting the best gifts and coolest souvenirs possible, so I’ve prepared this short guide to inspire you!

(You might want to upgrade the baggage allowance for your flight home right now)

Beautiful japanese ceramics
Ceramics

Shopping for ceramics and pottery is actually one of the things I am most excited about doing on our next trip to Tokyo. I suppose it’s a sign of age because I had never really thought about ceramics much before recently!

Japan has a tradition of making beautiful ceramics, which you will have the pleasure to appreciate in many of the country’s restaurants. It’s common to have a meal served to you in many different tiny plates and bowls of different shapes, colours and sizes. These are traditionally made by hand, although you can find some more affordable yet still beautiful factory-made ceramics nowadays.

If you fancy buying some kitchen supplies like knives and beautiful bowls in Tokyo, head to Kappabashi Kitchen Town. You’ll also find some very realistic-looking plastic food there but I’d say the ceramics will be more useful when you get home!

Where to find ceramics in Tokyo: Kappabashi Street has plenty of shops. I’ve heard that Dengama and Niimi are good ones to go to.

Japanese make up
Beauty products

Before my first trip to Japan, I did a bunch of research to figure out which skincare and make up products I should bring back. South Korea is famous for its forward-thinking beauty industry but I’ve noticed that J-Beauty is being talked about more and more by various Beauty Editors in the UK and the US.

Some of the more famous Japanese brands you should look out for include SK-II, DHC and Shiseido. I’m no beauty editor though, so I’ll send you to read articles from Glamour and Marie Claire if you want to know more! I’d recommend printing out a page with images of the products you want to buy so you know what to look out for on the shop shelves.

Where to buy beauty products: you will see many drugstores around the country, for example the chain called Kokumin. You can also get products from Loft (department store chain, also has cute bath products) or Don Quijote (discount store).

If you’re after some Korean make up, you should also visit Etude House and the very pink Style Nanda.

Japanese stationery and stickers
Stationery

The Japanese LOVE their stationery. If you are a fan of a beautiful notebook, washi tape, and cute stickers, you are going to love shopping in Tokyo. I’m not usually drawn to cutesy cat stickers but this all changes when I’m in Japan! One of my favourite souvenirs is a travel diary where I wrote down everything we did each day for two weeks and used stickers and washi tape to stick lots of tickets, receipts,and pretty business cards.

Where to buy stationery in Tokyo: Itoya should be your first stop – it’s the most famous and most beautiful stationery shop in Japan. Loft department stores also have great stationery sections.

Japanese Kitkat flavours
Food

You’re never going to be able to bring back the best food from your trip, but having a taste of Japan to munch on when you get home will definitely help with the post-holiday blues.

Foods you can bring back include mochi, instant ramen, sweets, weird Kitkat flavours, dry noodles, and rice biscuits. Supermarkets are always one of my favourite places to visit when I’m in a new country!

Where to buy: any supermarket or 7-Eleven, or try the Don Quijote chain of discount stores for wide range of foods you can take home with you.

Eating cherry blossom ice cream
Vintage clothing

Tokyo has some great vintage shops. You’ll find a mix of American vintage streetwear but also beautiful old kimonos which make a lovely souvenir. I bought a pink silk jacket that is usually worn over a kimono and wore it around Kyoto with black jeans. Locals seemed to love a foreigner adopting part of their traditional dress!

Something else I’d love to get is a vintage bomber jacket or sukajan – American soldiers stationed in Japan after WWII brought these jackets over and personalised them with Japanese-style embroidery as a souvenir. This sparked a bit of a trend with local teenagers in the sixties so there are still a lot of these cool jackets around.

Where to shop for vintage in Tokyo: I like Chicago and Kinji in Harajuku, although people say Koenji is the best neighbourhood for vintage if you’re willing to go a bit further out.

Tokyo is also great for second-hand designer handbags. You’ll see a few shops dotted around Shinjuku, like Komehyo and Brandfirst. After almost 3 years I still wish I’d bought that Louis Vuitton backpack I spotted in one of the shops in that area – it was such a bargain!

I really can’t wait to go shopping in Tokyo again this October – I’ll definitely be making the most of my 30kg baggage allowance! I love how you can find so many cool items there that you just can’t get anywhere else, and the best thing is most of these souvenirs don’t have to be expensive.

Takeshita street in Harajuku

Oh, one last thing: don’t forget to make the most of tax-free shopping! If you spend 5,000 JPY (around £35 or 45 USD at the time of writing) in one day in the same store you can claim the 8% tax back or avoid paying it altogether. Look out for the “Japan. Tax Free Shop” stickers in shops and make sure you have your passport with you.

What are you most excited to bring back from Japan?

I’d love to hear what you end up bringing home!

Planning your trip to Japan? Check out my other blog posts:

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Senegal: A One Week Itinerary

By Posted on 7 min read 1361 views

Back in March I went on an epic trip to Senegal with some of my best friends. Senegal is a French-speaking country on the West coast of Africa and it’s where my lovely friend Sofia has been living for around two years.

I’ve been meaning to share the trip on here for MONTHS, but with job hunting, starting a new job, then flat hunting things have been a little busy. I also wanted to do this trip justice and didn’t want to miss out any of the things we did!

As a travel blogger, I make it my mission to research any place I’m planning to visit for weeks or even months before the actual trip takes place. I’m used to trawling TripAdvisor for the best restaurants, Instagram for the prettiest places, Booking.com for the best hotels and blogs and Lonely Planet for itinerary suggestions. But when Sofia said she’d organise everything for our group, I was kind of relieved. For once, I could just show up at the airport having done almost no research, whilst knowing that our itinerary had been organised by someone who knows all the best places to visit! For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to have someone like Sofia planning everything for you, I thought I’d share our brilliant itinerary.

Our one week itinerary:
  • Lisbon layover / stay near Dakar airport
  • St Louis (2 nights)
  • Lompoul desert
  • Dakar (2 nights)
  • Camping and kayak
  • Simal
  • Fadiouth
Day 1: Flight to Dakar via Lisbon

There are no direct flights from London to Senegal (that I know of) and the most affordable flights are usually with TAP Air Portugal via Lisbon. Although I would not recommend TAP at all for various reasons, I can recommend leaving Lisbon airport to explore the city if you have a few hours. That’s what we did, and we spent the afternoon browsing shops, drinking sangria and eating delicious Portuguese food.

When we finally arrived at Dakar airport very late at night (after some delays courtesy of TAP) we got a driver to take us to an Airbnb we’d booked by the sea and went straight to bed after hugging Sofia.

Do this: Get out of Lisbon airport! Make the most of the time you have.

Eat here: Pastéis de Belém do the best (warm) pasteis de nata (custard tarts). Time Out Food Market has a nice atmosphere and a wide range of foods to choose from.

Days 2 and 3: Saint Louis

Up early, we picked up a rental car and drove over to beautiful Saint Louis for the weekend. I was so excited to visit this city because I’d seen a few pictures of its colourful colonial architecture (check out Spirited Pursuit’s blog) and I just knew I’d love taking pictures there! On top of that, Saint Louis puts on a great jazz festival every year, and we happened to visit when the festival was on.

Over the course of two days, we enjoyed some concerts at the festival, went to an Electrafrique party, ate poulet yassa (one of Senegal’s most popular dishes), visited the photography museum, and had a lovely lunch at the beach in the Langue de Barbarie national park.

Do this: go to the Jazz Festival if you are there in April, visit the photography museum, shop at Rama Diaw, and go to the beach.

Eat here: La Crepe Saint-Louisienne for sweet or savoury crepes, Hôtel La Résidence for an elegant dinner, or Zebrabar for a beachside lunch.

Stay here: Chez Titi is a lovely affordable B&B. If you have a bigger budget, Hôtel La Résidence looks like a great option – we enjoyed a nice dinner there.

Day 4: Lompoul Desert

After a fun couple of days in the city, we headed to the desert of Lompoul. This amazing place looks like the Sahara desert and is a great place to spend 24 hours.

The five of us stayed in a big white glamping tent, which comes complete with its own toilet and shower. We had a great time taking photos in the sand dunes and trying out sandboarding (like in Peru!) before having a lovely dinner at the ecolodge’s “restaurant” tent.

Do this: take photos with a camel, and sandboard down a dune

Stay & eat here: Lompoul Ecolodge

Days 5 & 6: Dakar

Back to city life for a couple of days in the capital. I really enjoyed discovering what life is like for locals and expats in Dakar. Some of the highlights of these two days include eating at seaside restaurants, watching a sunset from the lighthouse, and getting a seamstress to make me a top using fabric I’d bought at HLM market.

We spent one of our afternoons wandering around beautiful Gorée island, which once was an important slave-trading centre (photos above). It’s strange to think that such a colourful, sunny island has a very dark past. We walked up a hill past some (sometimes pushy) street sellers to see the main memorial and a view of the sea, then walked back down to visit the House of Slaves museum.

Do this: visit the historic island of Gorée, shop for colourful fabric at HLM market, and catch a sunset with a cocktail in your hand at the Mamelles Lighthouse bar

Eat here: Club de l’Union or Le N’Gor restaurant for sea views

Stay here: I stayed at my friend’s place but I think these look great – Pullman for luxury, La Villa 126 for mid-range, Quiksilver Boardriders Surf Camp for a cheaper option. I wouldn’t worry too much about the location because Dakar is a city that’s made for cars, not walking, and taxis are affordable.

Day 7: Kayaking and camping in the mangroves

We left early in the morning and drove to the Sine-Saloum region, stopping for a wonderful lunch at Keur Marrakis. In the afternoon we arrived at the village of Palmarin where we were greeted by Pierre, our guide for the next 24 hours.

After buying a few supplies in the village shop, Pierre took us to our kayaks. Most of us had never kayaked before so getting to our campsite was quite the adventure! We had to make our way though the mangroves, sometimes in very narrow spaces. We crashed into spiky branches and got stuck a few times but thankfully Pierre was there to help us.

Once we got to our campsite, Pierre went to work on our dinner of fresh fish while we explored the area and watched the sunset over the mangroves. When the fish was ready, we sat by the campfire with a few beers, ate with our hands, and chatted away for a few hours before heading to our tents for some well-deserved sleep.

Some of us were very unlucky to get woken up by some flies called mout mout biting them in the middle of the night! I got spared but some of the girls had to finish the night outside!

Eat here: Keur Marrakis for lunch between Dakar and the Sine-Saloum area.

Stay & eat here: a patch of sand by the mangroves! If you want to book the same experience as us, contact Sangomar Kayak. Pierre will pitch the tents for you and cook a nice dinner. Just be aware that the tents and sleeping bags/blankets are very basic and maybe not the cleanest.

Day 8: Simal

The next day, we kayaked back to the village (we got the hang of it at this point!), said our goodbyes to Pierre and drove to our next destination, the Ecolodge de Simal. When we got there the place was incredibly busy with a big group of French tourists, so we were sent to Boundao Lodge for lunch.

Initially we were a bit annoyed but the Boundao (pictured above) turned out to be such a beautiful place. We had a lovely lunch of poulet yassa and a swim in the pool, before relaxing under a mango tree full of bats!

After returning to the Ecolodge de Simal (pictured below), we had showers (finally!) and went for a little boat trip up and down the river organised by the hotel staff. We enjoyed a riverside dinner and cocktails before going back to the cabana for some sleep.

Stay & eat here: I’d go for Boundao Lodge if they have space, otherwise Ecolodge de Simal was good too.

Day 9: Fadiouth Shell Island

We spent the morning lazing by the pool at the Ecolodge before driving to Joal-Fadiouth. After some car troubles (we got a flat tyre TWICE!) which helpful locals saved us from, we made it to La Taverne du Pecheur for a late lunch (I went for poulet yassa again because I love it) overlooking the bridge to Fadiouth Shell Island.

This amazing island is covered in clam shells, which are also used in the cement for building houses. It is car-free, has lots of piglets roaming around, and is the perfect place to pick up a few handmade souvenirs. The most amazing thing about the island has to be how Muslims and Christians live side by side in perfect harmony – even in the cemetery!

After a guided tour of the island, it was sadly time to drive back towards the airport. Before saying goodbye to Sofia, we had a nice dinner at L’Echo Cotier which is only 25 minutes away from the airport. A beautiful setting by the sea for our last meal in Senegal!

Do this: visit Fadiouth Shell Island, it’s a beautiful, unusual place

Eat here: enjoy poulet yassa at La Taverne du Pecheur in Joal-Fadiouth, and cocktails and seafood at L’Echo Cotier near the airport

After only one week in Senegal, I felt like I’d done and seen so much, and had many stories to tell. From flat tyres and mout mout attacks, to a jazz festival and glamping in the desert, we really went through a lot in a short space of time! I had a wonderful time and especially enjoyed the friendliness of the locals we came across. The fact that the country isn’t a typical tourist destination makes it even better in my eyes, so make your way there ASAP!

Are you heading to Senegal?

Send me any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them (or rather I’ll ask Sofia for some local knowledge!)

Review: My Travel Suitcase & Backpack from Osprey

By Posted on 2 min read 586 views

Osprey Review

A few months ago, I got an email from Osprey asking me if I wanted to try out one of their backpacks and a new carry-on bag that was yet to be released. As I’m sure you can imagine, I replied with a very enthusiastic “YES PLEASE!”. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some Osprey gear and wished I had it with me on my trip to Senegal instead of my clunky old suitcase. I’d heard so many good things about Osprey from seasoned long-term and long-distance travellers.

osprey backpack review

I was sent the following two items:

  • Hikelite 26, a small day pack that works both for hiking up a mountain and for exploring a new city.

Why I love it: it feels super comfortable and light, has a little zipped pocked at the front for your smaller items and a compartment inside which can fit either a laptop or a water reservoir. You don’t get a sweaty back with the Hikelite because of its genius suspended mesh backpanel, and it comes with a raincover in case the weather gets really wet.

  • Ozone 36, a lightweight wheeled bag that conforms to EU carry-on luggage sizes – perfect for a city break.

Why I love it: it is SO LIGHT! At 2.12 kg it’s amazing how much I can fit into this bag and still come under any hand luggage weight limit. On our recent trip to Sicily, I had frantically over-packed the Ozone and Chris still had plenty of space in his wheelie suitcase, yet mine came in much lighter! It has zipped compartments for shoes, a zipped outside pocket for small items and a large outside pocket for your magazines/books/laptop. Super handy.

osprey ozone 36

Both bags feel like really good quality. I feel like they are sturdy enough to withstand anything I will put them through on my travels. Feels great to not have to worry about getting them dirty or scratched. I know they will look and perform great even if I’m not precious about them.

After a few months of using them on my trips (and a festival!), I am super happy with the Hikelite 26 and Ozone 36. I’d recommend them to anyone looking for durable, practical and really well constructed travel gear. There’s a reason why Osprey bags are so well regarded in the travel community!

osprey ozone review

Have you tried Osprey before?

I’d love to try one of their larger backpacking backpacks next – although I’ll need to book a really adventurous holiday somewhere exotic first!

Newcastle: A Foodie Weekend Guide

By Posted on 6 min read 758 views
Wylam brewery sunday roast

NEWCASTLE GATESHEAD

I had the pleasure of visiting Newcastle for a weekend thanks to NewcastleGateshead.com. Their latest campaign, #TheTyneIsNow aims to show people that Newcastle (and Gateshead across the river) is an amazing, underrated weekend destination.

The “Toon”, as locals like to call it, will be hosting the Great Exhibition of the North this summer so it’s the perfect time to visit! Over 80 days, Newcastle Gateshead will be filled with amazing art, exhibits, and live performances. Head over there between 22nd June and 9th September to see the city buzzing even more than usual! 

Newcastle Queen Street Tyne Bridge
Newcastle Dean Street

How to get there

Virgin trains East Coast first class

Virgin Trains East Coast only takes 3 hours to get from King’s Cross in London to Newcastle Central Station. We travelled First Class which was fabulous as they served us a light breakfast and plenty of much-needed tea and coffee. The same journey would take you 5 hours by car, so I’d recommend opting for the train for a quick and stress-free journey.

Where to stay

Jesmond Dene House is a lovely boutique hotel in a quiet neighbourhood just a 10 minute taxi ride away from the centre. Rooms are spacious, beds very comfortable and service was friendly and helpful. They do a great afternoon tea, which was the best way to end our trip!

I stayed in the city center on my first ever visit to Newcastle and wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to go clubbing – it can get pretty wild! Jesmond is a very nice alternative.

Eat your way around the city

Around 90% of our time in Newcastle and Gateshead was spent eating delicious food, so it only seems right to make this guide a foodie one. We had everything from elegant dinner and afternoon tea to lunch in a shipping container and snacks at a fancy food hall.

What I love about Newcastle’s food scene is that there seems to be a real community of restaurateurs, pub owners, and local artisans. Ask questions and people will happily tell you about where their coffee/beer/cheese/chicken comes from. Geordies (as the locals are often called) take real pride in supporting small businesses and using local produce, which is really lovely.

Cook House

Cook House restaurant Newcastle

Head to Cook House for delicious food cooked by the lovely Anna Hedworth using fresh local produce. Eating at her restaurant feels like sitting in her kitchen – in a good way! Cook House was featured on Channel 4’s ‘Hidden Restaurants’ TV show and The Guardian has called it a hidden gem, so you know it’s good! Have a look at the website for supper clubs and food market dates, and keep an eye out for Anna’s upcoming book, merging recipes and stories of starting a food business. Her food blog is fantastic too.

Update: cook house has now moved to a bigger venue which is super exciting! I’ll be dropping by for some lunch next time I’m in Newcastle.

Wylam Brewery

Wylam brewery building
wylam brewery sunday roast


Visit Wylam Brewery in Exhibition Park for Sunday roast and craft beer. We were taken on a tour of the brewery and weren’t meant to eat anything there, but the lovely Dave couldn’t resist giving us a taste of the Sunday Roast. It was one of the best I’ve ever had! The roast pork was incredibly tasty. Book 3 to 4 weeks in advance to make sure you get a table – it’s very popular at the weekends.

Dobson and Parnell

dobson and parnell newcastle
dobson and parnell dessert

Book a table at the elegant Dobson and Parnell restaurant for a sophisticated meal. This is modern British cuisine with some pickling, curing and smoking incorporated. I really enjoyed my rack of Yorkshire lamb and the other girls only had good things to say about the halibut. Go for lunch Tues-Sat and get a 3 course set menu for only £19 – bargain!

Fenwicks Food Hall

fenwicks newcastle food hall

Visit Fenwick food hall for locally sourced treats including gin, baked goods, locally roast coffee, and cheeses from nearby farms. Try Doddington Cheeses or the Northumberland Nettle cheese, they’re delicious. Gin is the best selling category here and I can understand why: the variety of gins on offer is amazing and a pretty bottle from a local distillery makes for a lovely gift. The food hall reminded me of Selfridges Foodhall in London, but friendlier and with more local products. 

Grainger Market

Grainger market for retro signage and a variety of shops and cafes. One of Marks and Spencer’s original penny bazaars is here, and its beautiful signage dates back to 1895!

Try some freshly prepared dumplings from Nan Bei – I recommend the excellent house special!

Riley’s Fish Shack

rileys fish shack opening
rileys fish shack

Head over to the beach in Tynemouth for the best seafood in town, from a shack (two containers) on the beach. Riley’s is incredibly popular on a sunny day, and it’s easy to see why. Not only does it have a prime location on the beach next to Tynemouth priory and castle, it also serves up fresh, seasonal and delicious fish dishes cooked on a wood fired oven. The menu is ever changing but you can expect it to feature dishes like monkfish kebab, chargrilled lobster, and stuffed squid with chorizo.

House of Tides

If you feel like trying the very best fine dining in Newcastle, House of Tides is the place to go. This is the only Michelin Star in town, and Chef Kenny Atkinson has become quite the celebrity chef. He’s a double winner of The Great British Menu and is a regular on shows like BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen & ITV Saturday Morning with James Martin. Sadly we didn’t have time to visit on this trip, but the food has been described by the Michelin guide as “creative dishes which are well-balanced and attractively presented”.

Try some local watering holes

Ouseburn Valley is a fantastic place for craft beer lovers. Our guide for an evening, beer writer Alastair Gilmour, took us around this area of Newcastle and showed us all the best places. He is an expert and a fountain of knowledge, so check out his website and get in touch if you need a guide!

Cumberland Arms

Walk up a hill to The Cumberland Arms, my favourite of all the pubs we visited, and take a seat in the beer garden or inside by the log fire. The owner was happy to chat us through all of the different types of Northern Alchemy beers and I loved the sweet Pineapple IPA and the breakfast-inspired Marmalade & Assam Tea IPA.

Free Trade Inn

Head to the Free Trade Inn just before sunset to enjoy some real ales and the amazing views over Newcastle and Gateshead from one of its two beer gardens. Rumour has Jimi Hendrix used to spend time here!

Wylam Brewery

As mentioned above! The Tap Room is open Thursday to Sunday, and the beer is brewed in this beautifully restored building from 1928. There are tours of the brewery on Saturdays. We were told that it’s dog friendly, child friendly, and caters to everyone from hipster to hip replacement! Try the coffee-flavoured Macchiato beer while you’re there.

The Cluny

the cluny newcastle

Family-friendly pub by day, intimate bar venue by night – check The Cluny‘s website for listings.

Ouseburn bridge Newcastle
Ouseburn Newcastle
tynemouth castle and priory

More places to see

  • Quayside, as the banks along Tyne river are called, is lovely for a scenic stroll. Take in the views along the river, including some of Newcastle Gateshead’s seven bridges. For a spot of culture, visit the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art housed in an old industrial building on the Gateshead side. In the summer enjoy Quayside Seaside, Newcastle’s very own little beach.
  • Grainger Town is the historic heart of Newcastle, with classical architecture designed in the 1830s by Richard Grainger. Head South down Grey Street to admire some of the city’s finest buildings, including the much loved Theatre Royal.
  • Tynemouth Castle and Priory used to be one of the largest fortified areas in England, and enjoys views of the coast and out onto the North Sea. A nice picnic spot!
  • The Angel of the North is a huge sculpture in Gateshead that has become a symbol for the North East.
  • Next time, I want to visit Saltwell Park in Gateshead. It looks very pretty!
Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Newcastle Blog

This foodie weekend made me fall in love with Newcastle. I had visited the city once before but hadn’t been convinced – it just goes to show that knowing the best places to go instead of just wandering around can sometimes make a huge difference! I can honestly recommend all of the places listed above, and would encourage you to start conversations with every local person you meet. They’re usually more than happy to recommend their favourite places and share interesting stories about their beloved Toon!

This post was written in collaboration with NewcastleGateshead.com. Thanks to them for organising such a fun foodie weekend!

A foodie's weekend guide to the best food, restaurants, pubs and breweries that Newcastle has to offer. Taste the best that the city has to offer in only two days.