51 reasons to live in the Ouseburn Valley
Crowned the ‘Shoreditch of Newcastle’ by The Guardian and included in the Sunday Times’ ‘Best Places To Live’ in 2019, we take a look at just why house hunters should be looking a little closer at Ouseburn
By Becky Hardy
We know there’s a lot said about this little nook of the North East, but we tend to find there’s rarely smoke without fire when it comes to word-of-mouth reputation. And as regular visitors to the Ouseburn Valley ourselves (although we’re relying on deliveries at present), we can vouch for the fact that you’d be hard-pressed to find another pocket in the region more densely-populated with foodie finds, pubs, bars and cracking cultural hotspots.
Don’t believe us? Challenge accepted…
** All information included below is provided on the basis of hospitality and retail venues being reopened as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s start with the most important, because we all know an army marches on its stomach. Ouseburn Valley is a foodie’s paradise – whether you’re picking up a pastry from micro-bakery Northern Rye, stopping by Di Meo’s riverside hangout for gelato on-the-go, digging into a dessert with a difference at Dreamworld Cakes, or popping into Proven Goods for a freshly-glazed (and absolutely unreal) doughnut, there’s plenty to satisfy your sweet tooth.
The Garage Caféis a breakfast favourite of ours, or take your lunch with a view at The Factory Kitchen. If you’re wanting to bridge the gap between day dining and evening eating, it’s café/bar Ernest you should head to – they’re usually open from 10am–11pm – or pop by their little brother-deli Ernie for takeaway.
The view from Cook House is one of the most unbeatable and the food’s even better; casual, all-day dining with plenty of va va voom – it’s little wonder they’ve earned themselves a Michelin Plate. They’ve moved out of their previous shipping containers to a building on Foundry Lane which has a gorge outdoor terrace – perfect for post-lockdown catch-ups. Pizza lovers should stop by Gingerinos Kitchen or Full Circle Brewery (where you can find Scream For Pizza on the menu), while those looking for something more exotic should head to Thali Tray for incredible Indian street food.
As for producers, Lowrie Foods have been on the site for more than 100 years and are now one of the most trusted suppliers of egg products, meat, poultry and frozen foods in the North East. Ouseburn Coffee Co, meanwhile, have got the drinks side of things covered – they’re the region’s leading speciality coffee suppliers.
A close second in importance for us (a little too close, you might say), we’d need to be sure there was a decent pub about before we moved anywhere. Well, that’s certainly the case in Ouseburn – and then some!
Some of our favourites? We’ve got to start with The Tyne Bar. Arguably the face of the Ouseburn revolution since 1994, its combination of locally-brewed real ales, free gigs and its Insta-worthy beer garden makes it a hit time and time again. Just up the hill, The Free Trade Inn is another supping stalwart and boasts some cracking views over the Tyne.
For a little bit of everything cute, quirky and characteristically Ouseburn, Kiln’s your stop. An industrial street food café-cum-sexy ceramics studio serving up craft beers and artisan coffee, their twinkly fairy lights-vibe often makes Kiln as popular with couples as it is with creatives. Their pub quiz is rumoured to be the hardest in Newcastle, too.
For beers and beyond-excellent burgers, look no further than the arty Brinkburn Street Brewery, Bar & Kitchen; micro-brewery Arch2’s undercover beer garden is always a hit (and their Indian street food knows how to get the tastebuds tingling); while The Tanners Arms is a proper Geordie boozer with proper canny pub grub to match.
Speaking of proper Geordie pubs, it wouldn’t be right to talk about Ouseburn without mentioning The Cumberland Arms. A traditional pub known for its live music offering, on its quieter days its a great place to borrow a book and enjoy a quiet pint by the open fire. Another of the oldest pubs in the area, The Ship Inn, boasts an incredible beer garden for when the sun shines, and its vegan kitchen is a favourite with locals.
Perhaps what we love most about the nightlife offering in the Ouseburn Valley is the space they make for live events. Nowhere more so than at Tyne Bank Brewery, which hosts everything from markets and live gigs (sooo many live gigs!), to album launches, comedy clubs and Bob Ross painting events. Home to Northern Alchemy Brewery and taproom, The Old Coal Yard is also known for their live entertainment offering and they share their uber-cosy warehouse space with some fantastic designer-makers. For more intimate gigs, Little Buildings is your spot – especially if you fancy a speciality cocktail or two.
Finally, Under The Bridge is a product of lockdown we’d like to keep around a little longer. A ‘grammer’s dream of a beer garden, complete with shipping container bar and a Bowie-inspired diner, it’ll be the perfect place to kick back with a bev after work once summer hits.
ART & CULTURE
Ouseburn is a renowned cultural hotspot, and with good reason. As well as being something of a Mecca for independent music – up and coming artists from near and far often get their first taste of stardom on one of The Cluny’s stages, or cut their demos at Blast Recording Studios or the neighbouring Blank Studios – Ouseburn is a hive of designer-maker activity.
The Biscuit Factory is perhaps the biggest testament to this, being the UK’s largest independent commercial art, craft and design gallery, but it’s 36 Lime Street which lays claim to being the oldest and largest working studio group in the North East. Home to over 40 artists and makers, their seasonal showcases are not to be missed. Mushroom Works is another hive of designer-maker activity, bringing together jewellers, illustrators, furniture makers and textiles artists all under one roof. Shieldfield Art Works offer a broad programme of art exhibitions, events, publications and workshops, while Cobalt Studios is a beloved jack-of-all-trades, offering up live music and dance, artist studios and co-working opportunities. And not only does the Ouseburn valley bring creatives together, but it lets them flourish – Northern Print has now become a centre of excellence in printmaking. Explore all these hubs in greater depth – whether creatively-minded or not – when events such as The Late Shows and Ouseburn Open Studios roll back around.
If you’re looking to do a little shopping in the area then you’re in luck – particularly if you’re after something for the home. Crescent Fifty One hand-make all of their hardwood furniture to order and offer everything from tables and chairs to clocks and serving boards; Ouseburn Pottery have the most gorgeous selection of ceramics to choose from; and Flea Circus offer a whole host of original products from local creatives, as well as plenty of rare vintage treasures. And if you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, check out Ouseburn’s markets which, following the success of their Christmas debut, are set to be more of a regular feature in the area.
Seven Stories is the National Centre for Children’s Books and is a great way to promote interactive learning, as well as indulge any little ones in your life with live storytelling and family events. And if history’s more your thing, then the Victoria Tunnel should be your kinda vibe: a preserved 19th century waggonway stretching from the Town Moor to the River Tyne, it was converted into an air raid shelter during the Second World War and its rich history is fantastically brought to life in the guided tours and special events you can enjoy today.
FUN AND GAMES
We all need to let off a little steam, especially when we finally emerge from lockdown for good, and Ouseburn is full of fun to be had.
Ghetto Golf is pretty high on the list – a neon-clad haven of seriously-twisted crazy golf in Hoult’s Yard, its urban vibe, banging tunes and exceptional cocktail bar will set you up for a night to remember (or not, depending on how many cocktails you sink). Or for a more physical (less alcohol-induced) sport, drop into The Valley Bouldering Centre for all a click-and-climb challenge.
Film buffs should head straight to the Star and Shadow Cinema. The volunteer-run co-operative is dedicated to providing a platform for as much grassroots film and music talent as it can, so you’ll always be expanding your cultural horizons.
If you’re prone to a cheeky cycle every now and again, why not set your route along the river and stop off at The Cycle Hub? They’ll make it worth your while with a cup of coffee (or something stronger) and one of their freshly-made sandwiches, and you might just find the missing member of your peloton on the next table.
Ouseburn Farm is an animal lover’s dream – a green oasis within the urban heart of Newcastle, you’ll find every animal you’d expect on a country farm (as well as a few you wouldn’t!) and their learning experiences cater to children, adults and those with learning difficulties and disabilities. And if you’d like to take up (or continue) horse riding, Stepney Bank Stables is just a short walk away.
The area prides itself on providing a reliable, accessible and environmentally-friendly transport infrastructure that suits local residents and businesses as much as visitors.
Walking along the river from the Millennium Bridge to The Tyne Bar only takes between 10-15 minutes, while cyclists would get there in under five.
There’s free parking in the Ouseburn South Car Park, as well as plenty of street parking and payable parking lots available. Good bus links exist from the centre of Newcastle and Byker, while Manors is the nearest Metro station and is a 10-15 minute walk from The Tanners Arms.
NOW, WHERE TO LIVE…?
Have we sufficiently piqued your interest? Thought so. If the Ouseburn Valley is now the next stop on your property hunt, let us give you one last tip: check out Steenberg’s Yard.
From Urban BASE – the sales team behind some of the region’s coolest and most unique developments – and in partnership with PfP igloo, Steenberg’s Yard is the most sought-after new development for professionals in the North East. With Danish-inspired architecture, private terraces and stunning views, this collection of 2- and 3-bedroom homes are set to go fast. Don’t miss them!