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Springing In To The May Day Bank Holiday

Although May Day has lots of connotations – as a pagan celebration of the beginning of summer, and more recently as a day to celebrate international workers solidarity – the bank holiday as we know it only dates back to 1978! The spring connection is probably the one foremost in most people’s minds and so we thought we’d suggest a day’s worth of activities that celebrate the new season and the many al fresco attractions the city offers.

Newcastle is surrounded by beautiful green spaces, from the edges of the city into Northumberland and beyond, but don’t forget that the city centre itself has some wonderful parks. At this time of year, Exhibition Park and Leazes Park are looking their best. Exhibition Park is especially well-served for activities of all kinds – from skateboarding to tennis – as well as the wonderful gardens themselves and the picturesque swan lake. And of course, Wylam Brewery is dead centre in the impressive Palace Of The Arts.  Leazes Park is even more central and offers a quiet respite from the city bustle. You can find children’s playgrounds, woods and even a lake that’s fully stocked for the anglers among you (check out the Leazes Anglers website).

At the other end of the city you can find Ouseburn Farm, nestled under the Byker Bridge in the heart of the vibrant Ouseburn community. A registered charity, the farm invites thousands of visitors per year to learn something about animals, plants and nature – often through a range of activities that you can find on the farm’s website. And after that, how about a stroll along the riverside into the city centre, taking the in the views and stopping for a drink or a bite in the numerous bars and cafes that line the route. You can also drop by the NE1 features on the Quayside – the rascal porch swings, loop light seats and colourful, greenery-filled planters that are a perfect place to take a break and take things in.

Weather permitting, central Newcastle is blessed with a number of fine bars and restaurants for alfresco dining. Kafe Neon in the Bigg Market is a great spot for people watching while you graze on their excellent meze or get stuck into something a little more substantial. Blackfriars is a historic building in a lovely setting and you can even take afternoon tea in the Cloister Garden alongside a range of other menu options. Grey Street is perfect Mor May Day alfresco options – you could soak up the ambience on the Barluga terrace while choosing from a wide range of cocktails, bar snacks and mains, or head across the road to Las Iguanas and immerse yourselves in all things Latin American (and two-for-one cocktails). Or if you fancy seeing the city from a new angle, you could head to the remarkable 3Sixty Newcastle, situated at the top of Hadrian’s Tower just off St James Boulevard. Newcastle’s newest landmark is also its highest and the restaurant/bar comes with fine views to accompany the fine dining. Booking is recommended and it’s worth remembering that there is a dress code, so do check the website in advance.

As the sun goes down you might be looking for something to keep the fun coming and aside from any number of bars, pubs, cinemas and more there are a couple of gigs that might appeal: Feeder are nearly thirty years into a remarkable career that has seen them outlive any number of bands of their vintage, and they’re playing NUSU Newcastle University. Or if your tastes are even more vintage, Trillians in Princess Square is hosting the first Rockabilly Underground event, nearly twelve hours of rocking bands and DJs – including regular Newcastle visitors Howlin’ Ric & The Rocketeers and Glasgow’s wonderful The Strange Blue Dreams.

So there you have it! Newcastle is filled with fun activities this bank holiday, both indoors and out and hopefully, this has inspired your plans for a really enjoyable day in the city.

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